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setting up raid/hdd/ssd in a server/render/video machine

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alistair murray
setting up raid/hdd/ssd in a server/render/video machine
on Apr 28, 2017 at 6:31:54 pm

Hi, so I customized a power edge t610 from bare bone by adding dual xeon dp x5650, 48gb ram and gpu (not sure what the dp stands for still)...i was and still a server a lot and still struggling with raid...after days of trial and error i removed the perc 6i card (put a gpu x16 in its place using a converter cable). now heres the dilemma...i need to sort my hard drives configuration:

currently i have one ssd 250gb as my windows 7 boot drive, i have also 2tb sata hdd internally installed + 5tb external drive via usb (its mac os formated, accessing it via paragone software but im emptying it now so i can reformate it for windows), and a few other old drives that i didn't install internally yet as im not sure of their integrity.

what i do now is raid 0 vd, i created one vd with the ssd then added an additional vd with the 2 tb (somehow i learned how to do this and stuck with it.

currently i don't notice any performance improvements im accustomed to with ssds
even my 8 years old dual core laptop is faster with a 60gb ssd.

my goal is to have a solid and fast machine with multiple hdd
the questions are...

is their anything i can do to have the ssd benchmarks specially with fast xeons.

should i install back the perc card?

are my thoughts correct to use raid 0?

should i keep my 5tb external as a safer option from disk failuer? (if over 2tb is a possibility in old servers).

is 64bit the best catch or should i leave advanced settings off.

I have 11 years photography work on these drives (with backup offline) plus i use this machine to play music, edit videos and do 3d rendering..
so performance and reliability is important.

raid is very confusing and not all raid options are available, maybe it has to do with me removing the perc card but do i need any other

raid configuration other than raid 0...its the only one from what i read and understood to be the best option for my uses, so i don't think i need any other raid configuration, do you agree??

please if you are kind enough to advice, try and make it simple for me to welcome to tell me do this and thats all you need lol...

reading up on raid has driven me more confused...i have enough as it is with 3d and video work.
thx in advance for any tips :)

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alex gardiner
Re: setting up raid/hdd/ssd in a server/render/video machine
on May 1, 2017 at 5:30:05 pm

I don't have much time to pick through all of this, but in an attempt limit any damage you might do...

RAID0 is not really used in production - it's not at all safe because it has no redundancy. I'm not going to go into the specifics, you can google about the different levels available. It isn't that complicated once you start looking. RAID5 (or preferably RAID6) is probably what you are looking for.

I don't think that PERC6i card is up to much (very old), but it probably supports 5 at least, unlike whatever controller you have on board.

AFAIK HP and Dell usually ship very simple storage controllers on their motherboards. Most people don't bother using these for any type of RAID, normally only for the passthrough of drives in AHCI mode. If you must use the on board controller choose RAID10, but it probably won't do much for performance and you'll only see 50% of the raw drive space usable.

Some other stuff...

* Use HDDs designed for RAID/24-7 use. They all fail eventually. *Don't* use WD greens. RED is OK, RED Pro or HGST Ultrastar are better. None are perfect.
* Generally you'll want the same model, firmware and capacity when constructing an array.
* DP = dual processor (probably)

Overall what I'd do...

If you're on a budget, look for an LSI 9260-8i from China via eBay - seem to be plenty available. If you have more money consider a new LSI, ATTO, Areca or Adaptec card - although these are not cheap, reliable high performance storage is not cheap.

The other budget card that works very well is the 3ware 9750-8i. At least one big shared storage company was shipping this card until at least the middle of this year and they work very well.

Depends how many drives your system can accommodate, but most of the 8i variations of these cards will allow you to attach upto 8 drives without an expander backplane in your server. Other than the card you'll need a pair of mini sas to sata cables and some good drives (as mentioned above).

You can mail me off list if you are still stuck.

Storage Engineer

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Rainer Wirth
Re: setting up raid/hdd/ssd in a server/render/video machine
on Jun 13, 2017 at 2:04:36 pm

hi Alistair,

alex gives you good advice. You are on the edge of a hardware raid. At least Raid5 level, better Raid6.
Internal software raids have their weaknesses. Apart from other topics it's cooling, because Raids get hot. An external hardware raid has a lot of fans inside.
Enterprise HD's are important, we use Hitachi Ultrastars.
Atto build one of the best hardware controllers.
I've never regretted the most expensive solutions, but the cheap ones, because I've thrown them away.



Rainer Wirth
Mac pro 8core
several raid systems

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