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Hardware RAID 5, or RAID 0 and backup to Drobo?

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Norman Willis
Hardware RAID 5, or RAID 0 and backup to Drobo?
on Jan 31, 2011 at 6:47:58 am

Hi Bob. I am starting an Internet Radio show, and cannot afford any downtime during the show, so I have to put C:\ in RAID 1. I still need to edit video, though, so what do I do for D:\?

I have a Dell T3400 with five drive bays, CoreDuo Quad at 3.0GHz, 8GB RAM, and an Intel X38 Express Chipset/ICH9R on the motherboard (software RAID). Anticipated video workflow would be multicam AVCHD converted to Cineform .avi with some light duty layers and FX.

Dell will happily sell me a PERC6/i RAID controller card and cables for about $300.00, which would give me true hardware RAID. Or, I can skip the card and just create D:\ as three 1.5TB's in RAID 0 (and back up D:\ to my Drobo); yet that would still leave C:\ in software RAID 1. When editing video, how much of a performance hit is software RAID 1 on C:\? And what is your advice? Thanks.

Norman Willis
http://www.nazareneisrael.org


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David Gagne
Re: Hardware RAID 5, or RAID 0 and backup to Drobo?
on Jan 31, 2011 at 5:51:18 pm

I'd shoot for hardware raid. $300 is cheap. You might consider using a SSD for C: and then have 4 drive slots available for your RAID... Throw in 4 nice drives and you'll get some good speeds.


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Norman Willis
Re: Hardware RAID 5, or RAID 0 and backup to Drobo?
on Feb 1, 2011 at 2:21:58 am

OK, I bought it.

Now we will see : )

Norman


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Bob Zelin
Re: Hardware RAID 5, or RAID 0 and backup to Drobo?
on Feb 1, 2011 at 3:51:07 am

David of course is correct. Hardware raid - no Drobo. You have limited budget - backup to a cheap SATA drive in a "toaster" for 39 bucks. No need to buy the Drobo.

Bob Zelin



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David Gagne
Re: Hardware RAID 5, or RAID 0 and backup to Drobo?
on Feb 1, 2011 at 4:41:29 am

We have a couple Drobo's. They're super slow, but great for large backups. Redundancy built in means I don't ever have to cry over a broke disk. But make sure you solidify the rest of your workflow first...

I really think you should consider SSD for C: instead of wasting 2 drive slots on it.


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Norman Willis
Re: Hardware RAID 5, or RAID 0 and backup to Drobo?
on Feb 1, 2011 at 5:40:01 am

>> I really think you should consider SSD for C: instead of wasting 2 drive slots on it.

Thanks David, I appreciate that. However, right now the need is to ensure 100% uptime on the air for the new internet radio show. How can I get redundancy if I do not use two slots?

Right now the need is to take the redundancy load off my Core2Quad, so I can also get decent performance under Vegas.

Norman Willis
http://www.nazareneisrael.org


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David Gagne
Re: Hardware RAID 5, or RAID 0 and backup to Drobo?
on Feb 1, 2011 at 5:46:46 am

I don't have a huge amount of experience with SSD, but from what I know they don't fail. And when they do, they fail to write, not read. Why go this route? So you can do a 4-drive Raid5. More space, more performance.

But it's totally up to you, I understand it might be too risky...


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Norman Willis
Re: Hardware RAID 1 and 5
on Feb 1, 2011 at 6:11:01 am

>> I don't have a huge amount of experience with SSD, but from what I know they don't fail.

Dude, where do you think the term "bricking" comes from?

Just Google "SSD failure", and see what you come up with. (Or just read the reviews at Newegg.)

For giggles I could put all five drives in Hardware RAID 5 and then partition out a C:\ and a D:\...but I'll probably stick with the old school technique (and make two physical arrays).

Norman Willis
http://www.nazareneisrael.org


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Walter Soyka
Re: Hardware RAID 5, or RAID 0 and backup to Drobo?
on Feb 1, 2011 at 9:37:43 am

[Norman Willis] "However, right now the need is to ensure 100% uptime on the air for the new internet radio show. How can I get redundancy if I do not use two slots?"

It's good that you're looking at redundant technologies for your system, but you cannot ensure 100% uptime in 2011 on commodity hardware. Having your system in RAID 1 will only offer you limited protection against a very specific fault. What if your power supply fails? Or RAM? Or a simple software glitch? What if someone doing construction outside jackhammers through your broadband line?

With any luck, none of these things will happen -- but any of them could. Live events require a healthy appetite for risk, and/or backup plans which you hope you will never use.

It sounds like you're already thinking these issues through. Good luck with your new project!

Walter Soyka
Principal & Designer at Keen Live
Motion Graphics, Widescreen Events, Presentation Design, and Consulting
RenderBreak Blog - What I'm thinking when my workstation's thinking
Creative Cow Forum Host: Live & Stage Events


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Norman Willis
Re: Hardware RAID 5, or RAID 0 and backup to Drobo?
on Feb 1, 2011 at 3:48:23 pm

>> It's good that you're looking at redundant technologies for your system, but you cannot ensure 100% uptime in 2011 on commodity hardware. Having your system in RAID 1 will only offer you limited protection against a very specific fault.

Yeah, good point. I guess I just want to do what little I can to minimize the likelihood of hardware failure on my end. But you are definitely right, the whole pipeline is a source of risk, and I am not in a position to control that.

>> Live events require a healthy appetite for risk, and/or backup plans which you hope you will never use.

Yeah, I also want to load the thing on my laptop (and backup), so I can "take the show on the road"....

Norman Willis
http://www.nazareneisrael.org


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Norman Willis
Re: Logical partitions on hardware RAID 5?
on Feb 1, 2011 at 3:57:45 pm

>> For giggles I could put all five drives in Hardware RAID 5 and then partition out a C:\ and a D:\....

Actually, the more I think about it, harware RAID 5 is supposed to be almost as fast as RAID 0; so would a logical C:\ partition on a 5-disk RAID 5 array give me more speed on C:\ than having C:\ in a simple two-disk RAID 1?

I can backup D:\ to the Drobo (even though, yeah, it takes forever on USB2) ... but how would I make a backup image of a virtual C:\ on a 5-disk RAID 5 array? Acronis?

Is a five disk RAID 5 an intelligent option? Or is it just safer and easier to stick with a RAID 1 C:\ on two disks, and a RAID 5 D:\ on three disks?

Norman Willis
http://www.nazareneisrael.org


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Norman Willis
Re: Logical partitions on hardware RAID 5?
on Feb 1, 2011 at 4:20:13 pm

>> Good luck with your new project!

Thanks.


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Walter Soyka
Re: Hardware RAID 5, or RAID 0 and backup to Drobo?
on Feb 1, 2011 at 4:36:14 pm

[Norman Willis] "I also want to load the thing on my laptop (and backup), so I can "take the show on the road"..."

I think that's the best you can reasonably do -- keep your backup laptop up and running in case your main computer goes down for any reason during your broadcast. You can't practically safeguard against every single point of failure because so many things are outside of your control, but some practical steps (like running a live backup) will help minimize the effects of the most likely failures.


[Norman Willis] "I can backup D:\ to the Drobo (even though, yeah, it takes forever on USB2)"

It's not just USB2. Drobo is just plain slow -- it's the tradeoff for that much storage at such a low price.


[Norman Willis] "Actually, the more I think about it, harware RAID 5 is supposed to be almost as fast as RAID 0; so would a logical C:\ partition on a 5-disk RAID 5 array give me more speed on C:\ than having C:\ in a simple two-disk RAID 1?"

What about getting an external optical disc drive and using all 6 bays for hard disks? Or what about getting an external enclosure for more disks in your media RAID set?

Walter Soyka
Principal & Designer at Keen Live
Motion Graphics, Widescreen Events, Presentation Design, and Consulting
RenderBreak Blog - What I'm thinking when my workstation's thinking
Creative Cow Forum Host: Live & Stage Events


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Norman Willis
Re: Hardware RAID 5, or RAID 0 and backup to Drobo?
on Feb 1, 2011 at 5:15:50 pm

>> What about getting an external optical disc drive and using all 6 bays for hard disks?

That is a great idea. If I move the optical drive outside of the box then I can put three hdd's in C:\ on RAID 5. Hardware RAID 5 is supposed to be almost as fast as RAID 0, so that should be a low-cost solution to maintain performance while adding redundancy.

But are external optical drives reliable? And will I be able to move my existing internal outside of the box? I was told that for some reason, optical drives were more reliable inside of the box. Is that true?

Norman Willis
http://www.nazareneisrael.org


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Walter Soyka
Re: Hardware RAID 5, or RAID 0 and backup to Drobo?
on Feb 1, 2011 at 5:20:33 pm

[Norman Willis] "But are external optical drives reliable? And will I be able to move my existing internal outside of the box? I was told that for some reason, optical drives were more reliable inside of the box. Is that true?"

You'd need an enclosure to re-use your existing optical drive. Is it SATA? I haven't heard of any problems with external optical drives. I'd think as long as your enclosure is well-ventilated, you shouldn't have any problems.

Walter Soyka
Principal & Designer at Keen Live
Motion Graphics, Widescreen Events, Presentation Design, and Consulting
RenderBreak Blog - What I'm thinking when my workstation's thinking
Creative Cow Forum Host: Live & Stage Events


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Norman Willis
Re: Hardware RAID 5, or RAID 0 and backup to Drobo?
on Feb 1, 2011 at 8:29:38 pm

OK, I got the parts on the way.

3 hdd's in RAID 5 on C:\,
and 3 hdd's in RAID 5 on D:\,
and one external USB2 optical drive.

Very nice. Thanks!

Norman Willis
http://www.nazareneisrael.org


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