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p212 Raid Card do i need?


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Hi I'm currently Running Server 2012R2 with 4x 2TB WD Sata 3G green drives with no issues but have it set up on a software raid within windows.


Never had any issues, but have always toyed with the idea of a proper hardware raid card, they were just always a bit pricey.

But now I've now noticed you can get a HP p212 for a smidge under £27 and then a few quid for a memory add-on which has got me back to hardware raid again.

My current setup runs from a APS 1000VA unit with lan connection for smart shutdown.


Is it a worthwhile upgrade or am I just doing to doings sake.


The server does local pc backups and HD film sharing across the LAN



Pros and Cons for this upgrade (apart from migrating all the data that's going to be a pain but do have 4 1tb drives I can use)



PS what are the maximum drives the p212 will take I saw somewhere they will take 4tb which is excellent for when I upgrade drives.

Edited by dhallam
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What CPU and how much memory do you have? What type of RAID are you running, RAID5, RAID10, RAID1?

Software RAID in Windows tends to be the most mobile. You should be able to move that RAID set to another Windows server. Performance is relative to CPU and memory. RAID5 is probably the biggest load on CPU and memory in a software RAID, due to parity calculations.

The main negative on the P212 is that it only runs SATA drives at 3Gb/s. It will run SAS drives at 6Gb/s. Some positives, ESXi support, RAID set migration to other HP RAID cards, tends to be higher performance especially in RAID5. If you have a Gen8 MS, the P212 is not supported by iLo. I do not know of any drive size limit today.

Here are some comparatives:


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Sorry should have mentioned my specs in the first post.

Its a N54L with 4gig ram, and currently running software Raid 5 across 4 disks.


Did notice about only supporting sata 3Gb/s but the current drives are only that anyway.


The amount i still have 3TB left so should be a while until i need to upgrade to 4TB drives.

My next upgrade with be to server 2015 or 2016 whatever they call it, goes gold.


Not using iLo and i only use esxi at work as i run out full 30 server farm on vmware 5.5 so no need to play at home lol


I was only thinking as I was hoping if i went hardware raid i should be able to swap 1 drive at a time to larger when needed, then when all swapped add the new space. \but as with software raid i would have to copy off then create a new raid 5 array.


Also my OS is running from a 64gig ssd in the ODD bay

Edited by dhallam
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I believe you can grow a RAID set by replacing one drive at a time, but it is a bit hard on the drives as the array will need to rebuild after each drive is replaced. Then you could expand the RAID set. Another way to do this would be to buy all four new drives and connect them to the external port of the P212. Then create a new RAID set on them, copy the data over, then shut down the server, swap the drives. 

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  • 2 weeks later...

Decided to stay with software raid until this week, i needed to backup my entire pc and write speeds we sooo bad it was taking hours to copy gigs of data, i grabbed a P410 of ebay for £35 with 250meg cache. Just now to migrate 3tb off the server for a rebuild :-)


Just a quick question anyone that uses a p410 do you use the Storage Admin within server 2012? also does this do the firmware updates, i normally use the smartstart but automatic firmware alerts would be excellent.



Thanks for all the help guys.

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I was using a p410 - but having write issues with iscsi vmdatastores...my esx servers are Lenovo servers..


Speed wise it was good...but just iscsi causing issues...


Will be selling the p410 to maybe buy the newer tyre raid controller...but @ £185 still thinking!

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