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PCEddie

Software Raid 5 Options

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pcdoc

If you are going to do a raid than only use a card, otherwise go with drivepool or drive bender.  Storage spaces is OK in a mirror configuration however it is terrible in a parity.  It will ultimately depend on how much drive space you want when you are done.  If you want the fastest and greatest amount of space with resiliency, go with a card and a raid 5.  If you do not mind giving up half your space, then use a drivepool or drive bender, or (I am biting my tongue) use storage spaces.  The more drives you have, the less attractive mirroring is.

 

http://thedocsworld.net/storage-spaces-the-verdict-for-now/

 

http://thedocsworld.net/storage-spaces-performance-server-2012-essentials/

 

http://thedocsworld.net/server-2012-storage-spaces-testing-the-rtm-version/

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LoneWolf

Time right now is not on my side. I have a repurposed computer that is using a two 1TB hard drives in a RAID 0 that is running out of room. I bought the N40L to replace my temporary WHS 2011 computer. I just placed the order for two 3TB WD Red drives for now and will slowly add two more. With two 3TB WD Red drives will give me some expanded storage space with room to grow. Whatever decision I go with will be used in a production environment. My concern is software failure so I like a feature that i can remove the drives from the drive pool and place in another computer to retrieve the data as a last resort. 

 

How long have you been using DriveBender, Revengineer? What is your storage step up? 

 

I'm going to ask this --is your reason for needing to remove the drives to read the data solely based on your concern for software failure?

 

If so, (and based on your words "production environment") I really think a hardware RAID controller, and an adequate backup solution, is your best option here.  As you probably know, RAID isn't a backup --it's a redundancy to avoid system downtime.  You still need a good backup solution to keep your files safe, as sometimes, more than one drive in a RAID array does fail at once (I've seen it happen), and your backup is where you go to get those files you need, not your primary RAID array.  If you are relying on the RAID array as your "backup", you are inviting Murphy's Law into the equation.

 

Everything you're telling me indicates that you'd be benefitted in performance (you mentioned movies), and data security, by having a hardware RAID and then having a backup system for your server.  I've got nothing against DriveBender or Stablebit DrivePool, but your words "production environment" tell me this is your livelihood --and for that, IMO, hardware RAID is where it's at.

Edited by LoneWolf

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ikon

I appreciate your viewpoint LoneWolf, and I would have said the same up to a few months. Now, the reports from users about how reliable, stable, and versatile their DriveBender and DrivePool systems have been are making me think they may well be ready for primetime. I have a specific use-case for DrivePool that I'm just starting to test.

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LoneWolf

Ikon, I'll be interested to hear the results once you have them.

 

I'd be particularly interested to know if there would be a way to test the impact of not having a hardware memory cache, or hardware parity calculations affected performance, which brings up one thought in my head; it would be great if DriveBender or DrivePool could come up with an optional feature that could set aside a designated amount of RAM for a dedicated RAID cache.

 

I'd also be interested if one of the home server sites (here or somewhere else) did a comparison on rebuild times and recovery for both solutions.  I'd really enjoy seeing some data on it.

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ikon

Looks like results will either have to wait, or won't come at all.

 

What I wanted to test was using DrivePool to handle external, removable volumes. Specifically, I'm using a Lian-Li EX-503 USB3 drive enclosure for my server's offsite backups. I have 2 sets of 3 drives that I rotate through the EX-503 several times a week. The EX-503 is set to concatenate the drives together into a Spanned Volume.

 

Why would I want to use DrivePool for something like this? Because the drives, as they're formatted by the EX-503, are not individually readable on another system. DrivePool offers this feature. If I could set the EX-503 to MultiPort Mode (so the drives appear to Windows as individuals) and then pool them using DrivePool, I could retain the ability to use the EX-503 for offsite backup and gain the ability to read the drives individually on other systems. it would be an added bit of data resiliency in my regimen.

 

Unfortunately, so far, I have not found any feature in DrivePool that would let me eject the pool, or put it Offline. Without that feature, I just feel it would not be safe to use DrivePool for the intended purpose. I've put in a feature request to Alex at CoveCube. We'll see what he says.

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pcdoc

I tend to agree with Lonewolf expecially if you are using multiple drives.  Drivepool or Drivebender have not been able to handle the loss of space as effectively as a raid card.  As for data on rebuld times, I have tested against a raid card vs storage spaces but not against DP or DB.  It was 6.5 hours vs 32 hours if that helps.

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kylejwx

If you are going to do a raid than only use a card, otherwise go with drivepool or drive bender.  Storage spaces is OK in a mirror configuration however it is terrible in a parity.  It will ultimately depend on how much drive space you want when you are done.  If you want the fastest and greatest amount of space with resiliency, go with a card and a raid 5.  If you do not mind giving up half your space, then use a drivepool or drive bender, or (I am biting my tongue) use storage spaces.  The more drives you have, the less attractive mirroring is.

 

http://thedocsworld.net/storage-spaces-the-verdict-for-now/

 

http://thedocsworld.net/storage-spaces-performance-server-2012-essentials/

 

http://thedocsworld.net/server-2012-storage-spaces-testing-the-rtm-version/

 

Hey this post is over a year old, but I think it answers my question and I just want to confirm.  I am trying to figure out the raw capacity vs usable storage that would be available in a software pooling situation such as drivepool, drive bender, or storage spaces 2 way mirror.  From what I gather here, all of these solutions make two copies of your data and so your usable storage will always be 1/2 of your raw capacity.  Is that correct?

 

If I understand hardware RAID 5 correctly, then it is much more efficient in using your raw capacity and so you would have more usable storage.  RAID 5 gives you your raw storage minus one drive while raid 1 gives you half your raw storage.

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ikon

DrivePool and DriveBander do not have to cut your storage space in half. I use DrivePool. By default, when I installed it, it didn't duplicate anything. I would have to specifically pick folders and ask for them to be duplicated, if I wanted duplication. So, in my case, I basically get the entire aggregate space of all the drives in the pool as usable storage. Now, I wouldn't recommend this approach if the Storage Pool is the only copy of your data, at least not unless you don't care about the data or you have plenty of other copies (which is what I have).

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