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Guide To RAID
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grunger
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Default Guide To RAID - 09-02-2005, 14:23 | posts: 1,874 | Location: London

Guide To RAID

Over the last few weeks RAID seems to be comming up over and over the boards so here's a quick rundown:

The Basics:

RAID = Redundant Array Of Inexpensive Disks
So you need 2 or more disks to create a raid array.

Ideally the disks must be identical, same size, manufacturer and model. RAID will work with drives of different manufacturers/models/sizes, but the lowest raid performace and size will only be as good as the poorest drive.

The Types:

SATA RAID is raid using the newer Serial ATA disks, this is common feature on newer motherboards

IDE RAID is raid using older Parallel ATA disks (IDE), this is an option on some motherboards or by the use of a PCI raid card

SCSI RAID (Unsuprisingly) RAID Using a SCSI controller and disks - Very fast, very reliable and very expensive.

The Flavors of RAID:

RAID 0 = Striping, 2 or more disks become 1, using a stripe, when data is written it is written accross both disks in a stripe, each disk gets half each, this leads to faster access times as the heads don't have to move as far.
The Benifits = Faster Access Times
The Problems = If you loose 1 disk you loose the data on both

RAID 1 = Mirroring = 2 disks are used in a mirror. The data is written to both disks - they are complete copies of each other
The Benifits = Redundancy - If you loose a disk, no problems, the other takes over and no data is lost
The Problems = 2X160Gb drives in a mirror = 160Gb space, so can be expensive

RAID 5 = Parity and data is striped accross 3 or more drives, you have the speed increase of RAID 0, but the due to the parity bits the array can loose a drive without data loss.
The Benifits = Good perfomance, and good redundancy
The Problems = Cost - 3+ identical drives and a mid to high end RAID controller are required

RAID 4 = Similar to RAID 5, but slower as a drive is used as a dedicated parity drive, which adds a bottleneck

RAID 3 = Same as RAID 4, but with a different stripe size

JBOD = This is an option on many RAID controllers, it stands for Just A Bunch Of Disks and is a way of having a bunch of different sized disks show up as 1 drive. No performance increase or redundancy is provided. I wouldn't say this is really a RAID array as such


There You Go!
Hope someone finds this usefull!

Last edited by WildStyle; 03-11-2006 at 21:11.
   
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instantcrash
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Default 09-02-2005, 14:31 | posts: 80 | Location: UK

Good basic guide to RAID! I vote sticky!
   
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grunger
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Default 09-02-2005, 16:05 | posts: 1,874 | Location: London

Thanks, just trying to get all the basics in 1 place!
   
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thecake90
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Default 09-02-2005, 16:34 | posts: 4,043 | Location: Germany

thank you that helps but can I use SCSI drive with an nforce 4 sli motherboard and how do you raid two drives
   
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grunger
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Default 09-02-2005, 16:53 | posts: 1,874 | Location: London

Ok, Part 2......
Actually creating an array is different for each card/board

Normally (after plugging the disks in) you will see the raid controller initialize (Promise/Adaptec/etc) and search for the disks, then you have the option of entering the raid options menu, CRTL+A on adaptec cards. From there there should be a menu with options to choose the drives to use, choose the type of RAID to use (RAID 0 or 1 will be the only options on most on-board RAID controllers - RAID 5 etc are normally only found on more expensive add-in cards), create, and initalise the array.

For those planning on creating an array which will be booted from, be sure to check the boot BIOS is enabled on the controller, and that it is a selected boot option in the motherboard's BIOS.

If you are planning on installing an operating system make sure you press F6 when prompted and have the RAID controller's driver diskette handy otherwise the drives will not be seen by the install process.
   
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grunger
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Default 09-02-2005, 16:56 | posts: 1,874 | Location: London

Quote:
Originally posted by thecake90
thank you that helps but can I use SCSI drive with an nforce 4 sli motherboard and how do you raid two drives
You would need a SCSI raid card and 2 indentical scsi disks. I doubt your board has on-board SCSI RAID, very few boards do, the few that do are high-end server boards
   
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thecake90
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Default 09-03-2005, 15:38 | posts: 4,043 | Location: Germany

thanks but give me an example of an motherborad that supports SCSI
   
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instantcrash
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Default 09-03-2005, 18:57 | posts: 80 | Location: UK

I'm not sure why people even want raid? http://www.intel.com/design/servers/boards/se7520bd2/ is an example of one. But there is really no need for on the desktop.
   
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Default 09-04-2005, 09:40 | posts: 4,043 | Location: Germany

cool
   
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grunger
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Default 03-11-2006, 20:03 | posts: 1,874 | Location: London

Someone was asking for a RAID Guide - i thought'd i'd bump this thread i did a while ago
   
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WildStyle
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Default 03-11-2006, 21:12 | posts: 15,302 | Location: UK

Stuck and formatted a little.
   
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grunger
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Default 03-11-2006, 22:02 | posts: 1,874 | Location: London

Quote:
Originally Posted by WildStyle
Stuck and formatted a little.
Cool Thanks!
   
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errorrrr
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Default 03-17-2006, 05:45 | posts: 362

My OS install still not recognizing my RAID config... and I put the diskette in... it's just not detecting it... it keep asking me for more stuff.... I have the ABIT KN8 SLI board...
   
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Default 03-17-2006, 06:06 | posts: 363 | Location: Ontario, Canada

Yea i had the same problem as errorrr, when windows was installing and it asks if u want to setup a raid i pushed the key then it says insert disk and it just doesnt read it. I set the raid up before hand by following the steps located in the DFI Lanparty SLI-DR manual and still nothing. I will be reinstalling windows again soon so ill try again.
   
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Default 03-19-2006, 13:45 | posts: 529 | Location: Down South Y'All

I thought RAID stood for Redundant Array of Independant Disks.
I myself have a 1.6TB RAID 5 with 4 disks. I think it can be explained more easily that in this case, one disk is used as an image for others while the rest split up data. When one disk goes down, the parity can restore the rest of the information on the working disks and keep the system up until you can get a replacement...of which the array will rebuild itself to original settings. In my case, all the disks act as a parity, so that even if "the image" disk goes down, another will take it's spot. Of course you lose capacity. And if it has more information than the image can take, the image acts as a regular splitting disk. Hope that helps
   
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RAID Editions
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AGP2xCRetin
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Default RAID Editions - 04-04-2006, 20:29 | posts: 16 | Location: England

erm anyone got any experience/opinions on whether WD (for example) 'raid edition' drives are better to use than ordinaries? They seem to have 8MB caches instead of 16 would this make a difference in this kind of purpose?

thanks
   
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Default 04-18-2006, 01:25 | posts: 151 | Location: Vancouver

What's the optimal block size for desktop use? I have 4 raptors in a raid0 config but it benches no faster than when I had 2 of them in a raid0. I left the block size at 64k, I was wondering if it'll go faster if I reduce it to 4k
   
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ShádyGuy
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Default 04-30-2006, 05:17 | posts: 65 | Location: Shreveport,La

With 4 Raptors you should go RAID0+1 imo
   
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littledragon
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Default 04-30-2006, 23:06 | posts: 151 | Location: Vancouver

Wasn't what I was asking but I'd go raid5 before I go raid 0+1
   
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ShádyGuy
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Default 05-01-2006, 08:06 | posts: 65 | Location: Shreveport,La

opps from what i've read 128k is faster than 64k.can anyone confirm ?
   
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Mr. Spock
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Default 05-04-2006, 03:02 | posts: 15 | Location: NYC

I just set up a RAID 0 using two 74GB WD Raptors with a 16k stripe size.

Since this is my first RAID 0, I have no other setup to compare to.

I received information from this link.
   
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littledragon
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Default 05-04-2006, 19:58 | posts: 151 | Location: Vancouver

I redid the raid with a 4k block size and it definately feels faster. It literally takes 5 seconds from the time you see the xp screen to the desktop. I don't count the post time cuz that varies with the different bios's out there.
   
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grunger
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Default 05-04-2006, 23:20 | posts: 1,874 | Location: London

The question of what block size to use for the stripe is a tough one.
Basically the smaller the block size, the smaller the pieces a file is split into and therefor the more disks can be used at the same time to perform a write.
A small block size with only 2 disks while it not likely to be as good, as with say 4 or 8 disks.
A small block size may possibly increase write performance, however as the file is split into smaller chunks the locations of the small blocks will be more fragmented therefor leading to poorer read performance, its a balancing act.
Basically the more disks you have the lower the block size should be
The block size choice often depends on the type of application using the disks, e.g. a database will benifit from a smaller block size than a game load will.

Last edited by grunger; 05-04-2006 at 23:22.
   
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grunger
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Default 05-04-2006, 23:28 | posts: 1,874 | Location: London

Quote:
Originally Posted by AGP2xCRetin
erm anyone got any experience/opinions on whether WD (for example) 'raid edition' drives are better to use than ordinaries? They seem to have 8MB caches instead of 16 would this make a difference in this kind of purpose?

thanks
The only real difference between the 'raid edition' WD's is the higher MTBF (Mean Time Between Failure) rating meaning the disks are more reliable than standard disks - 3million operational hours on the raid editions i think
   
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littledragon
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Default 05-04-2006, 23:36 | posts: 151 | Location: Vancouver

the way I see it is with a bigger block size, say 64k is that files smaller than 64k will be stored on a single drive, essentially taking performance down if it's only reading off one drive for that file. i believe the files smaller than 64k are evenly distributed across the drives but still gives poor performance. I have yet to bench the new setup, I probably should since it's a new windows install.
   
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