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Advice on RAID 5 Setup for Home Server.

post #1 of 5
Thread Starter 
Hello,

I am looking for some advice/input on a upcoming build.

At the moment I have a DLINK DNS 343 serving as a home server (which btw I will be selling I guess after this build, lol), and I am looking to replace it with a Windows based Fileserver.

So far I am looking into a low power Atom Dual Core server board, supporting 6 sata ports and supports RAID 0/1/5/10, using the Intel ICH9R chipset.

My goals for the system are;
Low Power, Low Heat, Low Noise, Windows Based, Can use my current hard drivers (4x 1TB WD Green WD10EADS), and able to upgrade my drives later on.

Anyone have any experience in dealing with this RAID controller / Chipset and Western Digital drivers, the Green series in particular?

Performace, relability, combatibility. Again, this is for a home file server so I value relability and combatibility over performace, so obviously I am sticking with RAID 5/6/10 type arrays.

Thank you.

,Thedarklord
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Draconis
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post #2 of 5
Personally if you were even remotely considering a Linux server, I would tell you to build your array in MDADM, instead. If your board were to ever fail you could easily swap to any platform that has enough SATA ports, and have your array operational in 2-3 commands.

Also, the green drives tend to have a habit of dropping out of RAID arrays.
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post #3 of 5
beers is correct. The on-board ICH9R, while it isn't a true hardware RAID controller, still depends on the drives having TLER (or equivalent) otherwise it'll drop the drive out of the array if it doesn't respond in time. Unfortunately for you, Caviar Greens will not accept a TLER setting, and Western Digital RAID Edition drives (which support TLER) come at a premium price, since they are binned for 24x7 operation.

Your choices are:

a) Pick an OS which either does software RAID properly or does some kind of data redundancy. For you, since you want Windows, Windows Home Server would be the best choice. A very good (and free) alternative is Amahi Home Server

b) Buy desktop-class drives that behave properly in RAID. Samsung F4EG, Hitachi 5K3000 and Seagate Barracuda LP are your options. I'd keep away from Seagate though, because if you ever move to a hardware RAID controller, they are some of the most badly behaved drives you can get.
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post #4 of 5
Thread Starter 
Thank you "beers" and "parityboy" for your fast feedback . (BTW "parityboy" love the boondocks icon).

Ive been doing some reseach and it does look like the Intel ICH9R isnt a hardware level RAID. Fine, given that its for a home file server / home media streaming server / home back up server, performance isnt really a issue.

The cpu btw is a Atom Dual Core 1.8 Ghz (D525).

Ive been reading on various sites that with software RAID that TLER doenst really matter, as software RAID in most cases wont care if a drive takes a while to respond.

My current OS's of choice are Windows 7 64 Bit Ultimate or Windows Vista 64 Bit Ultimate, beacause I can use my AntiVirus/Firewall software (AVG Internet Security) and beacause I dont need AD in my case, as I can set individual users on the server and it will be as if I had AD running.

Also, as far as the Green WD's go, ive seen the AV lineup, which claim to be made for 24/7 support, though I cannot find any details on if TLER is there or if its simply for marketing.

Do you think WD Black drives would be any better in regards to combatibility (obviously performance wise they would be better than Greens). I wouldnt think so beacause they are both still labeled as "desktop" drives and not "enterprise".

Im a fan of WD drives as ive always had really good experiences with them, so id prefer to stay within WD, but some like "paritboy" are saying that Sam or Hit drives dont have issues with RAID.

I could be wrong on any of this, I am trying to peice together information here .

,Thedarklord
Edited by Thedarklord - 2/28/11 at 7:39pm
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Draconis
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Phoenix
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post #5 of 5
Thread Starter 
Any more feeds?

Does Software Raid / Firmware Raid (Intel ICH9R) not make a difference?

I think the AV Line up for WD is out, looks like they are set for no error correction? (I am correct in assumeing that this is very bad for RAID 5?)

Ive read that my current drives (WD10EADS) can be flashed with WDTLER to enable/set TLER.

Also, it looks like these drives bigger brother (WD20EADS) can be flashed to enable/set TLER as well?

Also, if I thought about going outside Windows and into a Linux Setup? What Distro's would you guys recommend for this setup?

,Thedarklord
Draconis
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Draconis
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Phoenix
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