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Increased uptime reliability by RAID 1 (mirroring OCZ SSDs)?


TSWired
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After using my first SSD in my primary Desktop I vowed never to build another PC without one. At this point I have three SSDs (two Vertex 2s and one Agility 2). Things have been fine for about 9 months or so and then I had my first failure: 90 Gig OCZ Vertex 2 SSD. About a week later one of my HTPCs with a 60 Gig OCZ Vertex 2 died; both drives would not show up in BIOS.

 

So after it took a week to get an RMA for the first I decided to buy a spare SSD to put on a shelf, just incase I have another problem. These drives are for the OS and some programs only, all the data is on seperate traditional HDDs and everything is backed up via WHS so data loss is not a huge concern.

 

I just start doing some Consulting on the side and the first drive to die was the one for my primary Desktop the day my first job started. I have been slowly setting up the house to move to HTPCs for everything and away from my Series 3 TiVos. I just received a 6 tuner HDHomeRun Prime CC about 3 weeks ago or so and was ready to switch us over when these drives failed. With the way I plan to set everything up having a HTPC down for 2-3 weeks while I wait for OCZ to get out a replacement drive will completely destroy my spousal acceptance factor.

 

So really ease of replacement / no down time is my biggest goal here.

 

So after doing a bunch of research I thought what if I use a RAID 1 array/mirror and the next time a drive dies (and takes 3 - 4 weeks to be replaced) I just run off of the one that is still good. When the new drive arrives I can pop it in and let the array/mirror rebuild overnight.

 

So this leads me to my questions:

 

Is this a good idea, or is there something I am missing (I have never used RAID before)?

 

How do I go about this, I want to use the ports on the Mobos and avoid using a seperate controller card if possible (can anyone pointe me to a good guide)?

 

Do I need to change the SATA type in the BIOS from AHCI to RAID (I am hoping that if I do the RAID setup inside of Windows via software, I won't have to do this)?

 

If I do have to change from AHCI to RAID will Trim still be supported?

 

Should I expect a noticable performance hit from a RAID 1 mirror (I don't expect any gains)?

 

Here is what I am hoping for:

Drive A fails

The system notifies me in some way

Remove Drive A and send in for replacement

Drive B takes over and runs without any hickups

Replace Drive A when the replacement arrives

RAID rebuilds Mirror in the background (ok if things are slow for a while)

Rinse and repeat at next failure

 

Thanks as always for the help,

 

TSWired

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your mirror plan sounds pretty reasonable to me.

 

What's scary is how SSD's seem to be dying. This was one of the big fears everyone had when SSD's first started to appear — how long will they last? It appears that at least some of the worry is justified.

 

I'm also thinking it might be good to have a 3rd SSD handy. When the mirror is about 6 months old, replace one of the drives with the spare. That way, the 2 drives will have different amount of wear and it's less likely they will die at the same time, or very close together. You could move the removed SSD to another system, or keep it on the shelf for when one of the mirrored drives does fail.

Edited by ikon
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For the immediate future, I would not use SSD's in a RAID array because of the uncertainty. The OS will gain no appreciable speed from day to day operations and the data is norammly sotred on spindle drives. So, no SSD's for me unless it is an HTPC.

 

Spindles are too cheap and you could buy 5 for the price of 3 SSD's and have plenty of spares.

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<p> </p>

<p>

</p>

<p>After using my first SSD in my primary Desktop I vowed never to build another PC without one. At this point I have three SSDs (two Vertex 2s and one Agility 2). Things have been fine for about 9 months or so and then I had my first failure: 90 Gig OCZ Vertex 2 SSD. About a week later one of my HTPCs with a 60 Gig OCZ Vertex 2 died; both drives would not show up in BIOS.</p>

<p> </p>

<p>So after it took a week to get an RMA for the first I decided to buy a spare SSD to put on a shelf, just incase I have another problem. These drives are for the OS and some programs only, all the data is on seperate traditional HDDs and everything is backed up via WHS so data loss is not a huge concern.</p>

<p> </p>

<p>I just start doing some Consulting on the side and the first drive to die was the one for my primary Desktop the day my first job started. I have been slowly setting up the house to move to HTPCs for everything and away from my Series 3 TiVos. I just received a 6 tuner HDHomeRun Prime CC about 3 weeks ago or so and was ready to switch us over when these drives failed. With the way I plan to set everything up having a HTPC down for 2-3 weeks while I wait for OCZ to get out a replacement drive will completely destroy my spousal acceptance factor.</p>

<p> </p>

<p>So really ease of replacement / no down time is my biggest goal here.</p>

<p> </p>

<p>So after doing a bunch of research I thought what if I use a RAID 1 array/mirror and the next time a drive dies (and takes 3 - 4 weeks to be replaced) I just run off of the one that is still good. When the new drive arrives I can pop it in and let the array/mirror rebuild overnight.</p>

<p> </p>

<p>So this leads me to my questions:</p>

<p> </p>

<p>Is this a good idea, or is there something I am missing (I have never used RAID before)?</p>

<p> </p>

<p>How do I go about this, I want to use the ports on the Mobos and avoid using a seperate controller card if possible (can anyone pointe me to a good guide)?</p>

<p> </p>

<p>Do I need to change the SATA type in the BIOS from AHCI to RAID (I am hoping that if I do the RAID setup inside of Windows via software, I won't have to do this)?</p>

<p> </p>

<p>If I do have to change from AHCI to RAID will Trim still be supported?</p>

<p> </p>

<p>Should I expect a noticable performance hit from a RAID 1 mirror (I don't expect any gains)?</p>

<p> </p>

<p>Here is what I am hoping for:</p>

<p>Drive A fails</p>

<p>The system notifies me in some way</p>

<p>Remove Drive A and send in for replacement</p>

<p>Drive B takes over and runs without any hickups</p>

<p>Replace Drive A when the replacement arrives</p>

<p>RAID rebuilds Mirror in the background (ok if things are slow for a while)</p>

<p>Rinse and repeat at next failure</p>

<p> </p>

<p>Thanks as always for the help,</p>

<p> </p>

<p>TSWired</p>

<p>

</p>

<p> </p>

<p> </p>

<div style="font-family: 'Helvetica Neue', Arial, Verdana, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; color: rgb(34, 34, 34); background-color: rgb(255, 255, 255); ">

<p>Here is my two cents. You can certainly use raid in a mirror and it will do all the things you have listed. These features are built into the OS/RAID controller. The process is pretty simple there are a bunch of how to articles and good videos. You will most likely loose trim. Personally I would not do it for the OS as you may take a performance hit. I did a quick search and found this information</p>

<p> </p>

<p>http://community.spiceworks.com/how_to/show/1206</p>

<p>

<p> </p>

<p> </p>

</div>

 

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To avoid the extra expense of having a spare ssd lying around, its fairly simple to set up a partition on your data drive as a temp C drive, just make it the same size as the SSD that died, use WHS to restore to that partition, then when your SSD arrived, just restore back to it. Will take a performance hit for a while.

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To avoid the extra expense of having a spare ssd lying around, its fairly simple to set up a partition on your data drive as a temp C drive, just make it the same size as the SSD that died, use WHS to restore to that partition, then when your SSD arrived, just restore back to it. Will take a performance hit for a while.

very interesting idea; wouldn't have thought of it. Kinda like an OEM Recovery partition (like from Dell). 'Course, I detest those recovery partitions with a passion. :)

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