[NBLUG/talk] RAID on the cheap?

Todd Cary todd at aristesoftware.com
Tue Jan 11 07:05:43 PST 2005

Lincoln -

I understand your frustration of having HD's fail and the time/work of 
getting the system back online.  Unfortunately my setup is different 
from yours in that my RAID is built into the motherboard.  With that 
difference in mind, I use four drives: one pair for the system and one 
pair for my data.  These are just RAID 1, but the setup gives me peace 
of mind.

My production box is Windows (that is what my clients use) and I follow 
the same setup as on my Linux server (if I do not use a Ghost image, it 
take 3-5 days to reconfigure my system - that is why I went the RAID 
route - once was enough).  For this system, I have added a fifth drive 
that is USB (builtin) with an ExShuttle 2000 just in case I need to 
access the data from a different computer.  I love those Kingwin 
pullouts - so convenient.  All of my source code is kept on one and a 
current Ghost image is kept on another.  Yes, a little paranoid, but I 
was burned once (actually, twice).

Probably not much help since on both systems I use motherboards that 
have the RAID builtin - picked the boards with that in mind.

Of course now that I have everything RAID'd, the disks have not failed - 
isn't that the usual situation?!?.


P.S. My client insists that I have a NT 2000 server in my office so that 
I can duplicate their system.  This has just one pair of RAID 1 drives 
since it just acts as a PDC (I do not tell my client that I really use 
the Linux box for my primary HTTP and FTP server - just keep their SQL 
Server DB's on the NT box).

Lincoln Peters wrote:

>Well, it happened again.  The hard disk that I got via warranty to
>replace the hard disk that failed, that I got via warranty to replace
>the other hard disk that failed, has failed.  I think I'll be able to
>get this one replaced via the warranty again, but I'm getting rather
>paranoid at this point, so I'm trying to figure out a way to protect my
>data using RAID without spending more any money than I need to.
>My current plan is as follows:
>* One internal IDE (parallel ATA) 250GB hard drive.
>* Two external USB2.0 250GB hard drives, or two external IDE hard drives
>in USB-to-IDE enclosures.  Additional hard drives may be added later.
>I plan to use software RAID-4, with the internal IDE drive as the parity
>drive (since it will get the most activity, I'd put it on the fastest
>interface).  I suspect that in this case, RAID-5 (with parity
>distributed among each drive) would offer lower performance, as any
>write operation to the array would require a write to each drive, which
>would cause all of them except the internal to constantly compete for
>The machine is running Debian/testing with a 2.6.7 kernel.  It has two
>onboard USB 2.0 ports.
>I am not inclined to purchase a hardware RAID controller, as all the
>ones I've seen that support RAID-4 and/or RAID-5 are too expensive for
>my budget.
>Has anyone ever tried anything like this?  Any pitfalls you've
>encountered, either with software RAID or external USB drives (or both)?
>Any reason(s) I should go for FireWire drives (or enclosures) instead?
>Lincoln Peters
><sampln at sbcglobal.net>
>A bird in the hand makes it awfully hard to blow your nose.
>talk mailing list
>talk at nblug.org


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