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WinXP Software RAID-5 vs. Dedicated Controller?


Habur Gate
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Hey there, I'm new here...

I have RAID-5 running on my File/BitTorrent/ToR Relay box, but it's Windows XP software raid. So far it's been really reliable, except for sometimes when Windows updates it breaks the RAID-5 functionality and I have to replace the hacked .sys file, but otherwise it's pretty solid. However, it's really slow. Do you guys recommend any hardware controllers for RAID? The read speeds are pretty good right now, but write speeds are killing me...

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Since you posted on here, obviously our first suggestion is going to be install WHS on that machine and use the built-in duplication for security.

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See, I'm not a big fan of RAID for anything but a scratch disk in desktop usage. Too much potential for problems with hardware failure or complexities associated with the array.

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  • 2 weeks later...

A good hardware controller card can be had at a good price and they are very reliable. If you are looking for a decent cheap card get something like the Promise TX4310....Controls 4 HDD in Raid 0,1,5,10 or JOBD.

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Has anyone here used unRAID? http://www.lime-technology.com/joomla/

I've been very intrigued by it lately as it has a lot of good features. It's free for up to three drives but you have to pay for a license after that.

So why am I writing about a NAS solution on a WHS forum? Because you need to backup and while WHS offers fault tolerance with disc duplication and can be the backup for data stored on your other PC's. Data that's just stored on the WHS needs to be backed up on some other device. I have a Drobo that's fitting that role right now but since it's an original USB only model it's a bit slow. I was thinking of building an unRAID server and using that as my primary media server and the WHS as it's backup device. Or vice-versa. How I'd set that up will depend on how well it would work with Media Center.

Any thoughts from the community on this?

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For most people, the next logical step beyond the WHS is offsite backup. This could be backing up to the cloud, or having an external device that you back up to and physically move somewhere else. This will allow for data security in the event of something catastrophic, such as your home being broken into or flood/fire etc.

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Carbonite seems to have a good deal....They will back up all the data on INTERNAL hard drives only (no external drives are backed up). They offer a free month trial if somebody is willing to give it a go. I would image the first backup would be painful but after that the speed should be OK.

Carbonite

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The cloud is good for that data you really don't want to loose, like your photos and home video. However are you really going to back up all your data? That can be an enormous amount if you're archiving your movies, etc. and most people don't need to or won't go to that extreme. An on site back up on the other hand is more economical and convenient. I've lost data stored on my WHS and my Drobo due to failures on both devices so now I'm a bit more paranoid about that sort of thing.

The WHS is a good back up device but if it's the only location you have a particular set of data then even with duplication your data is not backed up. Remember folder duplication is just fault tolerance.

With regards to Carbonite I have heard of some limitations to that service, although I can't remember what they are. I believe Mike Smith and Carey Holzman spoke about then in one of their Tech Vets podcasts www.tech-vets.com . In any case I would read the terms of service very thoroughly before committing to any cloud service. That's just my 2 cents.

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