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Newbie RAID-5 Questions

post #1 of 12
Thread Starter 
So i'm building a new RAID-5 box and i have a few questions, though i probably should have asked these before i decided to buy stuff. Anyways, I bought a TowerRAID 8 Bay eSATA TR8M-BP that comes with a RR622 RAID controller card.

My plan was to raid5 8 2TB drives, but they are pretty different:

1 x 2TB Hitachi 7200
2 x 2TB Hitachi 5400
5 x 2TB WD Green 5400

1) My first question is does anyone see any problems raiding all of those drives together? I see very mixed info online, but it seems like green drives are fine when all of the same drives raided together, but i am not so sure if the 1 7200 rpm drive is going to cause problems for the green drives. I actually already have my windows 7 set to never turn off my hard drives, not sure if that will help or not.

2) Is there a good way to test that the raid is working fine and wont have any unwanted drive drops?

3) Some of my drives are already filled with data. My plan is to initialize the array using the empty drives, move all of data to the array, format the old disks and add them to the array using online expansion. The card says it supports it and i know i will have enough space to do it. Is there any problems with this plan (other than it will take a long time)?

Sorry for such a long post. Thanks in advance.
Edited by pmaster - 4/10/11 at 9:58pm
post #2 of 12
1) RAID speed will be gimped by your slowest drive. There have been a few reports of green drives dropping out of arrays due to power saving features on the drive, I would test it for a couple of days before putting faith in it's reliability. Other than that, should work fine.

2) There are status indicators at the bottom of the enclosure for each drive.
3) Should work, but will likely take eons.
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post #3 of 12
Thread Starter 
1) I'm not too worried about speed considering most of the drives are 5400 anyways.

2) I was more thinking of some sort of stress test

3) Am i able to do online expansion for multiple drives, or am i going to have to expand it one drive at a time?
post #4 of 12
Alright so there's really no problem with RAIDing those drives together just know that the speed is determined by the slowest drive in the array. So you would be seeing 5400 speeds.

Furthermore, i would look up those drives properly before buying them, some older 5400 drives are not RAID compatible including some Green drives. It is not advisable to use Green drives in a RAID array, this is out of experience.

You should also tell us what you're going to be using the RAID array for, the stripe size can really impact performance depending on the size of the files you're working with. As you have 4 x 2Tb drives, i'm guessing you have a single objective in mind.

Lastly, to test the health of the RAID array you can download the Intel Rapid Storage Technology for constant maintenance, alternatively if you don't feel comfortable devoting CPU overhead to running that in the background you can always run HDTune's Error scan twice over, as we;l as the benchmark when you set up the array for the first time and post back here with screenshots.

Hope this has helped.
Edited by Razultull - 4/11/11 at 12:23pm
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post #5 of 12
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Razultull View Post
Alright so there's really no problem with RAIDing those drives together just know that the speed is determined by the slowest drive in the array. So you would be seeing 5400 speeds.

Furthermore, i would look up those drives properly before buying them, some older 5400 drives are not RAID compatible including some Green drives. It is not advisable to use Green drives in a RAID array, this is out of experience.

You should also tell us what you're going to be using the RAID array for, the stripe width can really impact performance depending on the size of the files you're working with. As you have 4 x 2Tb drives, i'm guessing you have a single objective in mind.

Lastly, to test the health of the RAID array you can download the Intel Rapid Storage Technology for constant maintenance, alternatively if you don't feel comfortable devoting CPU overhead to running that in the background you can always run HDTune's Error scan twice over, as we;l as the benchmark when you set up the array for the first time and post back here with screenshots.

Hope this has helped.
First of all, performance isnt that critical to me, as long as they perform about as well as the drives would individually.

The WD drives are WD20EARS, which are not supposed to be raidable, but many people have said they have raided them fine, but they were using only WD20EARS, and not mixing them like i am. The 7200 hitachi is actually the oldest one, i believe it is a HITACHI Deskstar 7K2000, and the 5400 hitachis are relatively newer and are Hitachi Deskstar Coolspin. But i dont think any of them are truly raid supported.

The raid array will be used as extra space for my htpc for large media files, etc. The array will not be plugged into the htpc, but it will be connected to a windows 7 box, and the raid will be accessed over gigabit lan to the htpc. This is why i already have some of the drives filled up, as i have been using some of them as a windows software spanned array for a little while now, but i want to upgrade to raid5 for at least a little protection.
Edited by pmaster - 4/11/11 at 11:16am
post #6 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by pmaster View Post
First of all, performance isnt that critical to me, as long as they perform about as well as the drives would individually.

The WD drives are WD20EARS, which are not supposed to be raidable, but many people have said they have raided them fine, but they were using only WD20EARS, and not mixing them like i am. The 7200 hitachi is actually the oldest one, i believe it is a HITACHI Deskstar 7K2000, and the 5400 hitachis are relatively newer and are Hitachi Deskstar Coolspin. But i dont think any of them are truly raid supported.

The raid array will be used as extra space for my htpc for large media files, etc. The array will not be plugged into the htpc, but it will be connected to a windows 7 box, and the raid will be accessed over gigabit lan to the htpc. This is why i already have some of the drives filled up, as i have been using some of them as a windows software spanned array for a little while now, but i want to upgrade to raid5 for at least a little protection.
Fair enough, but i would check the drives nonetheless because some of them(the greens) CANNOT be placed into a RAID array.

Since you will be dealing with large files, it is then advisable to use a stripe size(not width) slightly larger than the norm(128kb). You can go ahead and set it to the max stripe size for your particular RAID card(possibly 1024kb) since all the video files will be quite high in size. This will drastically increase performance of the drives, essential on such slow ones, and will be lighter on the RAID card which can get very hot when processing RAID 5 and 10 on smaller stripe sizes.
Edited by Razultull - 4/11/11 at 12:30pm
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post #7 of 12
the new WD green drives have the raid support locked out of the firmware and have a bad habit of dropping out raids. I went through this a few months back and decided on getting all new seagate ES drives for my raid-6 fileserver because it wasn't worth the risk. 8x2TB is alot to worry about having to back up.
    
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post #8 of 12
With RAID 5 you want to have all the drives the same (access speed, cache size, rotational speed, size, access time is not really super important though) for things to run right. you having a mix match of drives will result in unfavorable performance.


And when you setup your RAID5, you want to stripe it, not setup a single parity drive. If you have parity drive, then you got a single point of failure, striping puts all parity information across all the drives, so if one fails, you just put a new one in and let it rebuild (which happens automagically).

Stepdad and mom were once disaster recovery specialists for Veritas/Symmantec. My mom now deals with installing archieves and large data centers and stepdad is a senior manager at NetApp.
Edited by Lord Xeb - 4/11/11 at 12:32pm
 
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post #9 of 12
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by rmp459 View Post
the new WD green drives have the raid support locked out of the firmware and have a bad habit of dropping out raids. I went through this a few months back and decided on getting all new seagate ES drives for my raid-6 fileserver because it wasn't worth the risk. 8x2TB is alot to worry about having to back up.
Are you saying you actually raided them and they kept dropping out from experience, or just theoretically?
post #10 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by pmaster View Post
Are you saying you actually raided them and they kept dropping out from experience, or just theoretically?
Every time i have RAIDed a Green drive it has formed with corrupted meta data, it not worth the risk, you can buy a very good $50 drive from Samsung which performs exceedingly well.
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