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File Systems / RAID Query

Poll Results: What storage system would you go for on a media/backup/other server?

 
  • 0% (0)
    RAID5 with 5x2TB
  • 14% (1)
    RAID6 with 6x2TB
  • 14% (1)
    RAIDZ1 with 5x2TB
  • 14% (1)
    RAIDZ2 with 5x2TB
  • 28% (2)
    unRAID
  • 28% (2)
    unRAID + RAIDZ combo
  • 0% (0)
    unRAID + RAID combo
7 Total Votes  
post #1 of 19
Thread Starter 
Hi,

I'm looking into building a server, and I'm stuck on quite a fundamental decision:
How am I going to pool my drives?

Obviously I want a nice balance of all the potential benefits, data integrity, speed, volume size.

I've looked into
unRaid,
which has the following benefits for me:
  • being easy to expand in size (just add any size disk to the array - instantly larger)
  • allowing one drive to fail and not lose any data
  • allowing multiple drives to fail, and only lose the data on the drives that failed
  • disks don't have to be the same size
cons:
  • as slow as a single drive
  • costs money

ZFS RAIDZ (ubuntu)
benefits for me:
  • speed - but it doesn't seem to have as fast as traditional RAID
  • scrub - self healing
  • snapshots
  • in RAIDZ2 (equivalent of RAID6), losing 3 drives means all data is gone - probably not going to happen smile.gif
  • free - no cost
cons:
  • i dont have ECC memory, some argue ZFS is fail (eventually) without ECC, others have proven(i haven't followed through the calcs) that the odds of failure from consumer RAM is something like 1 in 2^256 (1 chance in one sexdecillion, one hundred fifty seven quindecillion, nine hundred quattuordecillion i think is how you say the number according to a website i typed it into tongue.gif)
  • to increase the zpool storage size, need to replace ALL drives in the array with larger drives, 1 at a time, wait for each rebuild, array expands when last disk is replaced and rebuilt.
  • in RAIDZ1 (equivalent of RAID5), losing 2 drives means all data is gone

Regular RAID 5/6
benefits for me:
  • speed - seems to be the fastest implementation for the 5/6 drive array im looking at
  • in RAID6, lose 3 drives simultaneously and all data is gone - probably won't lose 3 drives at once smile.gif
  • free - no cost
cons:
  • in RAID5, lose 2 drives simultaneously and all data is gone
  • same as RAIDZ to increase size of pool

Network bottlenecks hopefully won't be an issue as I'll use a quad port gigabit NIC and aggregate the links, hopefully returning the bottleneck back to the storage.

I've added combinations to the poll, I'm hoping they are achievable, it seems like a unRAID + raidz would be the best way to go for the best of all worlds.
Any comments and experience would be appreciated.
Edited by spinFX - 2/29/16 at 5:55am
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post #2 of 19
You count loosing 2 drives as a con, but the likely hood of that happening is slim to none. Unless you aren't monitoring your system properly or a power surge or something catastrophic takes out more than just 2 drives, you aren't likely to see 2 drives just randomly fail next to each other.

I believe there is a reason Raid 5 and 10 have been the industry standard for so long. They balance all of these points listed above better than the rest. I'd say it's a no brainer. Go for Raid 5.
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post #3 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by WizardontheJob View Post

You count loosing 2 drives as a con, but the likely hood of that happening is slim to none. Unless you aren't monitoring your system properly or a power surge or something catastrophic takes out more than just 2 drives, you aren't likely to see 2 drives just randomly fail next to each other.

I believe there is a reason Raid 5 and 10 have been the industry standard for so long. They balance all of these points listed above better than the rest. I'd say it's a no brainer. Go for Raid 5.

I have to disagree with a lot of what's said in this post. RAID10 is still an excellent option these days but I wouldn't touch a standard hardware RAID5 with a ten foot pole without a REALLY solid backup solution.

With the size of today's disks, the chance of getting a URE (unrecoverable read error) when doing an array rebuild after losing a single disk is fairly high. If you are using standard hardware RAID 5 when this happens, your entire array is gone. See here for more info on this.

Now if you use a software RAID solution such as UnRAID or SnapRAID where the data is not striped across multiple disks, then your risks of losing all your data are much lower because you would only lose the data on the failed disk(s) beyond your parity level.

Parity disks should also never be confused with backup disks. Even if you have a RAID array with 6 parity disks (possible with SnapRAID) you do not have a backup of your data unless you have a complete copy on a separate physical device (and ideally a third in a different geographical location).


Just an FYI...

I use UnRAID which only supports a single parity drive (although support for dual parity is right around the corner). On top of that my array consists of entirely 8TB drives so I have a fairly high risk of having a second drive fail during a rebuild. UnRAID helps mitigate these risks to a degree because the data isn't striped so I would only lose the data on the failed disks. On top of that I have a full backup of my UnRAID server on a second UnRAID server that sits in a separate geographical location and I use cloud backup for my important documents, photos, etc.
Edited by PuffinMyLye - 3/1/16 at 6:04am
post #4 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by PuffinMyLye View Post

I have to disagree with a lot of what's said in this post. RAID10 is still an excellent option these days but I wouldn't touch a standard hardware RAID5 with a ten foot pole without a REALLY solid backup solution.

Disagree all you want, it doesn't change the fact that we have used both RAID 5 and 10 at my company without issue for over a decade and they have both served us well. We have had drives fail in both RAID types and replaced them without issue. And yes, some of these are large drives, 1tb or more. That said, No storage solution should be run without a backup, it's basic storage 101.
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post #5 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by WizardontheJob View Post

Disagree all you want, it doesn't change the fact that we have used both RAID 5 and 10 at my company without issue for over a decade and they have both served us well. We have had drives fail in both RAID types and replaced them without issue. And yes, some of these are large drives, 1tb or more. That said, No storage solution should be run without a backup, it's basic storage 101.

Anecdotal cases do not change the fact that the numbers don't lie. And there is a big difference between 1TB drives and 4, 6, or 8TB drives. I use RAID5 at work as well but we are talking 600GB-1TB enterprise drives, not large drives for bulk media storage. There is a difference. Over 1TB is where the numbers start to get pretty risky with regard to URE's.

And please don't lump RAID10 in with RAID5 as they are COMPLETELY different solutions. RAID10 is a mirrored setup which will probably never be obsolete.
post #6 of 19
I thought with unraid you could use a SSD as a cache drive, that would speed up the transfers to the server. But it doesn't transfer that data until later.
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post #7 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by cones View Post

I thought with unraid you could use a SSD as a cache drive, that would speed up the transfers to the server. But it doesn't transfer that data until later.

That is correct. Not only can you use a single cache drive but you can also use multiple drives in a cache pool. I currently use 4 SSD's in my cache pool which uses BTRFS as the file system. With some tweaking it's even possible to saturate a 10gig network connection writing to a BTRFS cache pool as seen below. Then the UnRAID mover script will automatically write the cached data to the protected array at whatever interval you desire (hourly, every "x" hours, etc.).


post #8 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by PuffinMyLye View Post

Anecdotal cases do not change the fact that the numbers don't lie. And there is a big difference between 1TB drives and 4, 6, or 8TB drives. I use RAID5 at work as well but we are talking 600GB-1TB enterprise drives, not large drives for bulk media storage. There is a difference. Over 1TB is where the numbers start to get pretty risky with regard to URE's.

I would agree. "We use RAID5 at work and it's fine" is not evidence... in reality I'm just shaking my head. If that array really mattered to you, you wouldn't be using RAID5. We don't even use RAID5 on old SAN's with 147GB 15k drives, and the rebuild time there is very short. It's just a bad idea.

Outside of business is different. I use RAID5 at home because if the array dies it's no big deal, I don't lose income, I'm just without Plex for a few hours. I'd just replace the disks and restore from backup.
    
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post #9 of 19
RAIDz1 or RAID5 + unRAID, back the RAIDz1 up to the unRAID smile.gif
Edited by anti-clockwize - 3/1/16 at 8:06pm
post #10 of 19
Thread Starter 
thanks for your comments, great food for thought.
Quote:
Originally Posted by PuffinMyLye View Post

With the size of today's disks, the chance of getting a URE (unrecoverable read error) when doing an array rebuild after losing a single disk is fairly high. If you are using standard hardware RAID 5 when this happens, your entire array is gone. See here for more info on this.
Yes this is why i had it listed as a con, i heard the rebuild process can be very strenuous on the remaining drives, and if drives are of similar age, if one goes, another may be about to go also. The rebuild stress could kill another drive or two.
Quote:
Originally Posted by WizardontheJob View Post

You count loosing 2 drives as a con, but the likely hood of that happening is slim to none. Unless you aren't monitoring your system properly or a power surge or something catastrophic takes out more than just 2 drives, you aren't likely to see 2 drives just randomly fail next to each other.

I believe there is a reason Raid 5 and 10 have been the industry standard for so long. They balance all of these points listed above better than the rest. I'd say it's a no brainer. Go for Raid 5.
Good to hear about practical usage in commercial setting, gives me more confidence, especially since I think I will stick with 2TB drives for the RAID, possibly 3TB.
I've read software RAID5 can be expanded easily by adding another drive, rather than replacing all the drives with larger drives, can you comment on this @WizardontheJob ?
Quote:
Originally Posted by cones View Post

I thought with unraid you could use a SSD as a cache drive, that would speed up the transfers to the server. But it doesn't transfer that data until later.
You can use a cache drive, but won't that only speed up writes? I cant see how it could speed up reads, which is really where I want the speed. I don't mind if write speed is limited that much, although it's always handy to have the extra write speed, so maybe down the track I would modify the setup with some SSD caches, for now though, I pretty much have all the hardware that I need for any of these setups, so it's not going to cost me anything (except purchasing the unRAID server software).

Someone suggested RAID5 (hardware) needs a backup, so I'm starting to lean towards unRAID + RAIDz1/RAID5 combo (with the RAID1 or RAID5 being handled by software - not too interested in hardware RAID, due to issues with controller failures - software RAID is apparently good enough these days) and backup the RAID to the unRAID. Have 3x2TB drives in the RAID5 for 4TB of quick read speeds (which will store a shared steam library and other data), and then have a massive pool for the unRAID for the media storage, which shouldn't need to much more than what a single hard drive read speed can provide and will be easy to instantly expand when there is too much media smile.gif
Edited by spinFX - 3/1/16 at 8:19pm
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