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RAID in WHS 2011


fblittle
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Has anybody tried the RAID functionality in the Disk Manager in WHS 2011? I Have a 12 port 3Ware RAID card in my server and it was already set up before I discovered that there was a way to create a RAID in WHS 2011.

 

The Items that are possible are:

New Spanned Volume

New Striped Volume

New Mirrored Volume

New RAID-5 Volume

as well as convert to GPT and Convert to Dynamic Disk.

 

This list can be viewed if you enter the Disk Manager, and right click on the side where it says Disk 1 or Disk 2 etc. . . The menu will come up and display this list at the top. I have an image of the list but don't know where to post it, but you get the picture.

 

Has anybody tried this functionality?

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If you have a 3ware controller, use that controller's software to create RAID arrays. The functionality you've come across is Windows' built-in softare RAID capability. It works, but in terms of performance and easy-of-use, you basically get what you pay for.

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Listen to BYOB podcast 30. we talked about it extensively.

 

BTW this functionality is availiable in all Microsoft operating systems from all xp and server 2003 based products on up.

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Listen to BYOB podcast 30. we talked about it extensively.

 

BTW this functionality is availiable in all Microsoft operating systems from all xp and server 2003 based products on up.

 

 

I may have to skip ahead. Did you talk about advantages/disadvantages of software raid versus hardware raid. I have heard a lot for both being the best but nothing definitive by experts like on that podcast.

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fblittle, the short answer is yes. All the same disc management tools are still there and available.

 

ImTheTypeOfGuy,

 

Yes we talk about it quite a bit. Both do work but here is some key differences:

 

Software arrays:

Pros: Free, fast, some offer expansion

Con: Long build times, more tempermental, could present problems moving to a different motherboard

 

Hardware arrays:

Pros: Most offer expansion, fast, fast build times, can be moved to another systems or motherbaord/OS replacement without conern.

Cons: Cost. Hardware controllers are expensive especially if you want allot of ports.

 

You might want to look at these two posts as well as it has a bit more detail:

 

 

 

http://homeservershow.com/playing-with-raidalternative-to-de-part-1.html

 

http://homeservershow.com/playing-with-raidalternative-to-de-part-2.html

 

http://homeservershow.com/another-round-with-raid.html

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I have an XP system and a Win 7 system here, as well as my WHS system with a Hardware RAID5. The Win7 has a Software RAID5, the XP system has only single disks. This RIAD functionality is not available on either of these systems in the Disk Manager. Spanned Volume and Striped Volume are on Win7 but not on XP. WHS 2011 has "Mirrored" and "RAID5" functions speciffically. I think these are new functions to WHS 2011? I have never seen them before.

 

Also BEWARE of RAID cards that are not really hardware RAID cards. Some models advertise as if they are, but really use the CPU to do the work of the XOR process for the RAID card, which will slow down the whole system. Unless your system is doing nothing else besides processing data for the RAID card your performance will suffer greatly.

 

Rule of thumb: If the RAID card does not cost at least $300.00 new then it is probably a software RAID that uses the Motherboard CPU for the XOR function, AKA a "Fake RAID". The specs of a Hardware RAID should include things like CPU and RAM, just like your PC (DDR speed, CPU speed and type). Also a Hardware RAID should have ECC memory and a Battery Backup available as an option for the card to prevent data corruption (BIT Rot) during a power surge or system crash.

 

If you want an inexpensive 'Real' Hardware RAID card the best way to get an affordable one is to look on e-bay or similar for previous generation RAID cards that have come out of a server that has been upgraded or parted out. They're still not cheap, but are a fraction of the new price. These cards are plenty good enough for a Home system, in fact they have much better performance than a new "Fake RAID" card, and usually have more ports than you would ever need. The 3Ware card that I bought has 12 SATA II ports on it that can be used JBOD or almost any type of RAID, and HOT Swap, and HOT Spare, all at SATA II speeds that will overpower your gigabit network card, for $120.

 

Of course as with anything, It's your data. What is it worth?

Edited by fblittle
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I have an XP system and a Win 7 system here, as well as my WHS system with a Hardware RAID5. The Win7 has a Software RAID5, the XP system has only single disks. This RIAD functionality is not available on either of these systems in the Disk Manager. Spanned Volume and Striped Volume are on Win7 but not on XP. WHS 2011 has "Mirrored" and "RAID5" functions speciffically. I think these are new functions to WHS 2011? I have never seen them before.

 

Also BEWARE of RAID cards that are not really hardware RAID cards. Some models advertise as if they are, but really use the CPU to do the work of the XOR process for the RAID card, which will slow down the whole system. Unless your system is doing nothing else besides processing data for the RAID card your performance will suffer greatly.

 

Rule of thumb: If the RAID card does not cost at least $300.00 new then it is probably a software RAID that uses the Motherboard CPU for the XOR function, AKA a "Fake RAID". The specs of a Hardware RAID should include things like CPU and RAM, just like your PC (DDR speed, CPU speed and type). Also a Hardware RAID should have ECC memory and a Battery Backup available as an option for the card to prevent data corruption (BIT Rot) during a power surge or system crash.

 

If you want an inexpensive 'Real' Hardware RAID card the best way to get an affordable one is to look on e-bay or similar for previous generation RAID cards that have come out of a server that has been upgraded or parted out. They're still not cheap, but are a fraction of the new price. These cards are plenty good enough for a Home system, in fact they have much better performance than a new "Fake RAID" card, and usually have more ports than you would ever need. The 3Ware card that I bought has 12 SATA II ports on it that can be used JBOD or almost any type of RAID, and HOT Swap, and HOT Spare, all at SATA II speeds that will overpower your gigabit network card, for $120.

 

Of course as with anything, It's your data. What is it worth?

 

I am trying to get up to speed on RAID in prep for release of WHS 2011. I found another article that talks about these points:

 

http://www.servethehome.com/difference-hardware-raid-hbas-software-raid/

 

It is a little more technical and some of it is above my head. Thus I am still considering the OS level RAID options WHS 2011 will provide. I appreciate all of the helpful discussions on this forum.

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Listening to the last podcast, there was talk about being happy about using the raid controller on your motherboard to do RAID.

 

What would happend, if in say 3 years, your motherboard releases the Magic Smoke that makes it work, and you can't find another one?

If you go and buy a new mobo, will its raid controller be able to read the data on your array? Or can you kiss your array good-bye and hope you have backups from all of your data?

 

It's my understanding that hardware-RAID controller interoperability is basicly nonexistent. Is this still true (or has it ever been true in the first place)?

Edited by kermi
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What would happend, if in say 3 years, your motherboard releases the Magic Smoke that makes it work, and you can't find another one?

If you go and buy a new mobo, will its raid controller be able to read the data on your array? Or can you kiss your array good-bye and hope you have backups from all of your data?

 

From the article I posted above:

 

"One big advantage of software RAID is that it can be hardware agnostic when it comes to migrating drives and arrays. If a server fails, one can move drives to a new system with new HBAs and access data in most cases assuming that the vendor allows migration and the new system’s controllers are compatible. An example of migration not working using software RAID would be if one were to take Drobo drives and place them into another system without the proprietary RAID implementation."

 

However the items the author points out are a lot of "as long as" things to keep in mind. I am just starting on this as well, so I'll let the more knowledgable posters handle the question.

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There is no substitute for a backup on another disk or disks.

 

That being said. I think if you use the same motherboard RAID controller, for example intel ICH9R RAID controller, just buy another motherboard that has an intel ICH9R controller on it and you should be able to re-assemble the RAID, providing you re-insert the disks in the same port that they were on the old controller.

 

But after all that work it may be easier, and better, to use your backup disk to re-install the data on a new RAID, and you won't have the restrictions or using the same controller. You may even at the point where you are ready to expand your RAID drive at that point it would make more sense to create a new expanded RAID.

 

In reality you are much, much more likely to have a hard disk failure than a controller failure. It could happen, but much less likely. You are also more likely to want a new motherboard before the controller dies as well.

 

BACKUP, BACKUP, BACKUP.

Edited by fblittle
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