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Best Hard Drive / RAID setup for my server?

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  • Best Hard Drive / RAID setup for my server?

    First of all, let me say i want sure where to post this - so sorry if its in the wrong section, and this post is a bit rambling - sorry!

    ATM, i have a 2003 box with 2 x 160GB SATA drives in RAID1 on a DELL PERC 5/i RAID card. The RAID1 array is then partitioned (30GB for OS the rest for Shared Documents).

    Now, im about to install Exchange and setup a few mailboxes. Though there wont be many mailboxes, email is critical to the business - so these need to be kept safe.

    My server (Dell PowerEdge 840) can support 4 hard drives total. The server was bought in a hurry, and i believe we were miss sold the PERC card, as for 200 less we could have got another card that still does RAID 1. Needless to say, i dont think we're using the PERC to its full potential. The card can support RAID 0, 1, 5, 10, and 50, and i was wondering how i could use it best.

    The card says "2 x4 SAS connectors" does that mean i can build two arrays on it? In that case, I was thinking of getting 2 more 160GB SATA drives, and having:
    1 x RAID1: 2 x 160GB - OS
    1 x RAID1: 2 x 160GB - Exchange and Documents

    Is that the best setup do you think? Or put them all on one RAID 5? Or what? I still dont think the solution above is ideal (id prefer to put the Exchange and Docs on a RAID5, but i cant fit another drive).

    What do you think? All comments are much appreciated.


  • #2
    Re: Best Hard Drive / RAID setup for my server?

    PE840 is a rather low end box for a serious setup. I'd set the PERC5i card with 2xRaid1 Virtual Disks, one for the OS partition and programs, the second for the exchange database.
    Another good setup might be raid 10 over all of the 4 drives, or raid 5 with 3 of them and a hotspare.

    remember to update the server bios, and especially the PERC firmware. and if possible, switch to SAS drives - those are much safer and more reliable

    EDIT: and as for the other, cheaper controller, that's probably a fakeraid card, something that has no NVSRAM or computational abilities of it's own. With a card like that you might as well use softraid
    Super Cub
    Last edited by DYasny; 6th March 2011, 18:03.
    Real stupidity always beats Artificial Intelligence (c) Terry Pratchett

    BA (BM), RHCE, MCSE, DCSE, Linux+, Network+


    • #3
      Re: Best Hard Drive / RAID setup for my server?

      Thanks for the reply.

      Well, the network is only 5 workstations, and at the moment we only have a database app and 50GB of data on it. So, we didnt need anything mega powerful.

      So you think my original 2 RAID1's would be the best? Just to be ultra sure, the PERC5i does support two arrays at once?

      Looking up RAID10, it looks quite interesting, but for simplicity sake i think id perfer to know, where and on which disk all my data physically is.

      Ideally id have 5 drives, 1 RAID1 for OS and then 1 RAID5 for Exchange and Documents... but maybe that'll be next server.

      Final thought, i know you have to keep the same drives in arrays, but could i have my 2x160GB drives in a RAID 1 for the OS, and say get 2x250GB (possibly SAS drives) for the exchange and documents? i.e. can the second RAID1 array have different size (and/or) type disks?

      Thanks for the help.


      • #4
        Re: Best Hard Drive / RAID setup for my server?


        Might this file help you....

        change doc to xls.....

        Attached Files


        • #5
          Re: Best Hard Drive / RAID setup for my server?

          Hey guys,

          Oh dear, Ive just realised something and feel like a complete idiot.

          We have the "DELL SAS 5iR Adapter". Remembering back, i think we had the PERC spec'd by Dell, but questioned the high price, and so got the 5iR.

          So, where do i stand now? What can i do with this card? Can i still add a second RAID1 array?

          Thanks again.


          • #6
            Re: Best Hard Drive / RAID setup for my server?


            The best answer you will get from DELL tech support, why you are not consulting with them for right solution....