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Solved: RAID Card Practical?

Discussion in 'Hardware' started by mike360x1, May 26, 2013.

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  1. mike360x1

    mike360x1 Thread Starter

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    Hi
    I'm a computer nerd with moderate experience in computers(In no way related to IT), I have built, troubleshoot, Quality Control, many computers. However, when it comes to stuff that people are using in business, Virtual machines, Massive server Racks, Infrastructure. I would have very minimal understanding of such things.

    (the Computer is a Core 2 Duo with 8GB ram, with 5 WD REDs)

    What I want to know is on a topic regarding RAID cards. People use them because of redundancies so all data is safe from hard drive failure. My question is that, How long is the lifespan of a RAID card, and What kind of RAID card replacement (be specific)would one need to look for if their current one fails, (to allow your current array to still be used). Also, is it practical to use it for home file servers when running RAID 5 or should I just use software RAID?

    Thanks in advance
    : D
     
  2. Triple6

    Triple6 Moderator

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    Rob
    You can check the manufacturer's website for their estimated MTBF but you can have a card fail straight out of the box, to a few hours, to months, years, or even decades. I have some HP RAID cards going over 10 years and I have a failed Dell Perc4 that was closing in on 10 years. I also have several Adaptec controllers that didn't make it past 3 to 5 years. You generally have to stay with the same manufacturer to migrate RAID arrays and many will have a list posted on which cards can be used for migration as well. But migration shouldn't also be a given nor should RAID ever be considered a full safe guard for data or as a substitute for a true and proper backup. You can also have complete data corruption if the controller fails or in some bad cases lose all your data even if a single drive fails. And don't forget that anything beyond RAID-1 makes data recovery harder as you need multiple drives to rebuild the data.

    RAID generally doesn't make sense for a home user; RAID is best suited for an environment that requires little to no downtime. RAID-1 isn't too bad as cost isn't that bad and recoverability and migration is easier but you still need a proper backup and for most people a backup is the better and safer solution anyway.

    Home RAID solutions, either those built into the motherboard or those cheap RAID capable cards are nowhere on the same level of performance or reliability as expensive RAID controllers. Even if you place an expensive RAID controller into a home system that doesn't guarantee no downtime if you use standard home/off-the-shelf hardware. What makes RAID make sense in a business class server is that the whole server is built to higher standards and offers much higher reliability.
     
  3. mike360x1

    mike360x1 Thread Starter

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    ok, I see. Because RAID 1 is the easiest option and simplest and duplicates data onto two different hard drives, is it possible to take one drive out and open the contents of that drive (without raid card) or would I still need the same RAID card ( assuming I was using Card for RAID 1)

    Sorry I did not fully explain this in my post but, my idea for a raid card is flexibility, so in the future I would be able to Expand or Switch to RAID 0 for SSDs and re purpose the RAID card for performance.
    Also, I'm using a LSI MegaRAID card (I'm unable to check specifics right now) , Cost me about 100 dollars because the university (UBC) donated it since they were upgrading their infrastructure.

    One last thing, this card has Write Cache with a BBU, Is there any method out there to use SSD as the cache (Sounds like a weird question), I suppose this sounds quite weird because such a type of memory computers use would have to be a low latency and high demand (high read/write speeds) for RAID cards such as this one. So I would guess no right?
     
  4. Triple6

    Triple6 Moderator

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    You should be able to use the working drive from RAID-1 to continue running or build a new RAID-1 array.

    There are RAID cards out there that use an SSD or flash memory as a cache but I think they cost upwards of a grand but the more expensive RAID controllers already have much faster RAM for cache. Some motherboard's also support using an SSD alongside a mechanical drive for caching.

    Not sure what you intend to run on this configuration but generally such high-end configurations are not needed except for massive databases or large VM configurations where very high read/write speeds and very high IOPS are required.
     
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