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RAID with a slave drive?
03-16-2011, 01:19 AM,
#1
RAID with a slave drive?
So I learned a little something today. Well, I haven't exactly researched it to the point where I understand it...but thought it might be easier to just ask here. I was told about a RAID configuration where you can have....for example....a RAID 10 set up using 4 drives...and then add a 5th drive as a slave. My understanding is that it isn't actually utilized and is only present in the event one of the other 4 drives fails. It would then automatically go into operation and set itself up as a replacement...doing some sort of magical data maneuver. They should just call it cloning! Tongue It sounds very interesting. I would think it only has a limited benefit though...because you could always just go down to the store and buy another drive and install it if you had a failure. BUT...if you live out in the boonies...or have a system operating at 3 in the morning and have a failure I would guess it might be nice. I guess you could also just buy a spare HDD and keep it on hand too! LOL

Now...just to get ahead of the subject a bit....if this is advisable for whatever reason....would this 5 drive array be possible with the motherboard....or would a separate RAID controller be necessary.

Okay and let me tack on one other drive-by question....are the 5400 RPM drives considered more reliable? I read a few reports...one in pdf format that suggests the most recent findings don't support high temperatures as being as important with regard to HDD failure as originally thought. I assume the draw of lower RPM drives are that they are lower energy....like the Caviar Green...and cooler. Yes/No?

Okay...and as master of the obvious I will leave you with one other thought that I managed to scavenge this evening. Hard drive reliability is really pretty much impossible to track. Once you know how reliable a drive is...it's no longer sold. And...hard drives have varying degrees of performance and reliability within brands...so past performance, or performance of a particular model is no guaranty of performance with regard to another model in a line up.

Looking forward to any thoughts you may have.
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03-16-2011, 10:59 AM,
#2
RE: RAID with a slave drive?
I haven't heard of having four drives + one drive as a slave before, but I'm pretty sure that you'd need a RAID controller that supports that feature.

My question to you is: Why are you looking into RAID? For reliability/backups?

As I mentioned in The Best SSDs/HDDs For Your Money:
"Hard drives do fail and RAID is not perfect. Sometimes, multiple drives will fail at once (Due to a faulty power supply, power surge, etc.). RAID has limits and is not a 100% fool proof solution for data backup.

It should only be used as one of many steps to protect your data, along with other backup solutions such as an external drive, USB thumb drive, a web server, optical disks (CD/DVD/Blu-Ray), etc."

"are the 5400 RPM drives considered more reliable?"
On average, yes. More so as capacity increase, hence why you usually see more 5,400rpm than 7,200rpm drives in the 2-3TB range.

However, some 7,200rpm drives are more reliable than some 5,400rpm drives, so it's not an absolute rule.

High HDD temperature issues are indeed mostly a thing of the past, thanks to more and more HDDs using less and less platters (more platters = more heat) and greatly improved case cooling in the last years.

"I assume the draw of lower RPM drives are that they are lower energy....like the Caviar Green...and cooler."
Correct. Also more silent, hence why they are often used for HTPCs or external enclosures, where performance is not as important.

As for reliability, I gave some failure rate % in The Best SSDs/HDDs article. Here, let me copy them here:
"Hard Drive Failure Rates:
Also from Marc Prieur, of hardware.fr, here are the hard drives failures rates according to a French e-tailer as of December 2010:

Maxtor 1.04%
Western Digital 1.45%
Seagate 2.13%
Samsung 2.47%
Hitachi 3.39%
The failure rates are based on parts sold between October 1st 2009 and April 1st 2010, for returns before October 2010, so it represents 6 months to one year of usage. The statistics per brand are based on a sample of at least 500 sales.

Do note that although these numbers don’t paint the complete picture of world wide failure rates they are an important sample to look at."

Now, that failure rate % varies from one year to another. The previous time that hardware.fr published
those failure rates numbers, Seagate was at like 4% and Samsung around 1%. So it varies and all you need is a bad model to screw up your average here.

Of course, some models are much worse than others. Seagate had a fiasco with their 7200.11 series not that long ago, especially the 1.5TB one, that was just horrible.

You can be sure that I do my research before recommending a drive though, the last thing that I want to do is recommend a particular drive with a high rate of failure. For example, the Samsung F3 1TB that I recommend all over the place is one of the best, with a 0.93% failure rate, according to hardware.fr

But yes, what you said regarding reliability is pretty much on the spot. Manufacturer history is something that I rely on though, hence why you don't see me recommending Seagate drives for example. Then again, Western Digital and Samsung usually offer the best performance, with Samsung doing so at a lower price, hence why I usually stick with them.
Laptop: MSI GS30 Shadow-045 Dimensions: 12.6" x 8.9" x 0.8" 2.65lbs CPU: Intel Core i7-4870HQ Quad-Core + Hyper-Threading OC 2.5-3.9GHz RAM: 16GB DDR3 1600MHz Video Card: Intel Iris Pro 5200 Storage: 2x128GB SDD RAID0 Audio: ASUS Xonar U3 USB Sound Card + Audio-Technica ATH-M50 headphones Screen: 13.3" - 1920 x 1080 IPS + 27" Dell P2715Q IPS 3840 x 2160 Keyboard: Filco Majestouch MX Cherry Blue Mouse: Logitech MX518
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03-16-2011, 02:23 PM,
#3
RE: RAID with a slave drive?
The biggest problem with RAID as a backup solution is that if a virus corrupts your data or you accidentally delete a file it's gone.
Your friendly forum administrator.
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03-16-2011, 03:26 PM, (This post was last modified: 03-16-2011, 03:37 PM by andiron.)
#4
RE: RAID with a slave drive?
(03-16-2011, 10:59 AM)MathieuB Wrote: I haven't heard of having four drives + one drive as a slave before, but I'm pretty sure that you'd need a RAID controller that supports that feature.

My question to you is: Why are you looking into RAID? For reliability/backups?

As I mentioned in The Best SSDs/HDDs For Your Money:
"Hard drives do fail and RAID is not perfect. Sometimes, multiple drives will fail at once (Due to a faulty power supply, power surge, etc.). RAID has limits and is not a 100% fool proof solution for data backup.

It should only be used as one of many steps to protect your data, along with other backup solutions such as an external drive, USB thumb drive, a web server, optical disks (CD/DVD/Blu-Ray), etc."

"are the 5400 RPM drives considered more reliable?"
On average, yes. More so as capacity increase, hence why you usually see more 5,400rpm than 7,200rpm drives in the 2-3TB range.

However, some 7,200rpm drives are more reliable than some 5,400rpm drives, so it's not an absolute rule.

High HDD temperature issues are indeed mostly a thing of the past, thanks to more and more HDDs using less and less platters (more platters = more heat) and greatly improved case cooling in the last years.

"I assume the draw of lower RPM drives are that they are lower energy....like the Caviar Green...and cooler."
Correct. Also more silent, hence why they are often used for HTPCs or external enclosures, where performance is not as important.

As for reliability, I gave some failure rate % in The Best SSDs/HDDs article. Here, let me copy them here:
"Hard Drive Failure Rates:
Also from Marc Prieur, of hardware.fr, here are the hard drives failures rates according to a French e-tailer as of December 2010:

Maxtor 1.04%
Western Digital 1.45%
Seagate 2.13%
Samsung 2.47%
Hitachi 3.39%
The failure rates are based on parts sold between October 1st 2009 and April 1st 2010, for returns before October 2010, so it represents 6 months to one year of usage. The statistics per brand are based on a sample of at least 500 sales.

Do note that although these numbers don’t paint the complete picture of world wide failure rates they are an important sample to look at."

Now, that failure rate % varies from one year to another. The previous time that hardware.fr published
those failure rates numbers, Seagate was at like 4% and Samsung around 1%. So it varies and all you need is a bad model to screw up your average here.

Of course, some models are much worse than others. Seagate had a fiasco with their 7200.11 series not that long ago, especially the 1.5TB one, that was just horrible.

You can be sure that I do my research before recommending a drive though, the last thing that I want to do is recommend a particular drive with a high rate of failure. For example, the Samsung F3 1TB that I recommend all over the place is one of the best, with a 0.93% failure rate, according to hardware.fr

But yes, what you said regarding reliability is pretty much on the spot. Manufacturer history is something that I rely on though, hence why you don't see me recommending Seagate drives for example. Then again, Western Digital and Samsung usually offer the best performance, with Samsung doing so at a lower price, hence why I usually stick with them.

Thank you Mathieu....very informative!

Brace yourself or take Evelyn Woods speed reading course...this is a long one! Tongue

Okay, believe it or not I have been showing some restraint! Big Grin So I do hesitate to ask you to basically spec a build out just for my personal needs. For this reason, I think the workstation builds are closest to what I would like to build. If it weren't for you I would have never thought of or considered a RAID array. To answer your question about RAID...it would be a bit of both. I would think it would be nice to have that constant safety running. Say for example my wife was working on a project for school...or perhaps even after school for work...then if she had a drive failure it would be nice to think she wouldn't lose progress. In effect I have been thinking of the RAID 10 as basically a way to back up data. I would assume once she finished the project she could back it up via other methods? But I haven't really explored this much. The best way to back up her data is alien to me. I'm really pretty ignorant with regard to setting up and operating back up systems. (One thought is that we will have the hot swap drive port on top of our Corsair 650D. Perhaps I could just have her set up to use a HDD or SSD as a huge thumb drive of sorts? LOL ) I think there could be a need to prevent a large graphics project from being lost...and for this reason reliability and back up are both of some importance.

When I first started researching this build...before I found your site....all I knew was that what I probably needed was a system with a professional graphics card instead of a gaming card. This has now evolved into a plan to basically build a workstation. Starting with the Quadro 4000 I decided to build backwards.

What do I really need on a personal basis? Well, my wife will be in school learning to become a technical illustrator for the next 4 years. In this time we need something that will serve as a desktop while still providing her the ability to work with high end graphics software. How many hard drives has been a question for me all along. But I've felt that the arguement for RAID was pretty strong. When I started out I would have imagined that we would be rich in space to have a total of 1.5T. Right now we have a single 80G hard drive! :-) For the money and redundancy/safety it seems we could do much worse than four 1T Spinpoints in a RAID 10 array. As for the 5th drive...if it were easily possible this would be fine....but I could just grab the 5th drive and store it on the shelf and have emergency back up! LOL It's like a doomsday scenario. It's so easy to get carried away. And I have the type of personality that I will push....or haven't you noticed!? Tongue

I originally thought I might build a system with a single 1.5T hard drive, professional graphics card, sound card, bluray burner and one monitor.

If I were to build now my plan would be to have a system with a total of 2T usable from four 1T drives in a RAID 10 array. A separate SSD to put the OS and all other productivity software such as Adobe, Maya...whatever. Not sure of a size...probably a minimum of 120G. The Quadro 4000. I Already have the Seasonic PSU, Corsair case, and two 23" Dell monitors.

In effect my plan would be to buy a SSD and 3 more HDDs than was originally planned upon. This adds about $350 to $400. On the other hand...you advised to go with onboard sound...so that saves @ $100+.

I view the price as creeping up due to increased quality of parts, the extra monitor and extra drives.

I want my wife to be happy and for this system to handle her requirements. And I want it to do so to the point where the comments are like..."wow...this is sweeeet". I realize however that builds get older and technology changes. It's hard to know how far down the road the next build will be utilized. This may be front line for the next 8 years...or relegated to back up in five?

We could be building a monster that totally dwarfs our needs. I mean, she's going to be going to school...but there will be a computer lab. She will have projects...some I expect to be intense...but how intense is a guess. She would like to be able to do her project at home. Then after the next four years she would transition to doing professional work. This is when I really expect this build to be tested. BUT...how much we need is really unknown. So I've been planning based on the software I know she will use and the possibility of her having some intense homework....and then conducting business at that 4 year mark.

Thoughts that occur to me are...

Do I need to go with RAID at all? Do I need 4 drives...would I be better off with two 1T Spinpoints in an array that mirrors and gives 1T of total space? Or perhaps two 1.5T drives? Should I go with one 2T drive and just set up an external back up? How much space do we really need? Will we be swimming in extra space? (We have pretty much filled up the 80G we have now....but what will larger software programs and graphics projects do to our space situation?

I will say that I hate the idea of having my wife get interrupted and lose data from a HDD failure...and from this I have felt more inclined to go with the move towards the redundancy RAID provides.

It's like the floodgates have been opened! Yes? That one little question about why we need RAID really gets to the point! Your probably sorry you asked?! Tongue

Heck, maybe we just need a total of 500G....end of story? In the absence of concrete evidence to the contrary I have been planning a full on Workstation.

I've never asked these questions before because I felt like they were too specific to my personal situation. Perhaps there are others though? Wink

If you want to pretend you never saw this post I will understand! Blush


(03-16-2011, 02:23 PM)Andrew J Wrote: The biggest problem with RAID as a backup solution is that if a virus corrupts your data or you accidentally delete a file it's gone.


So basically it's wrong to look at RAID as back up...with the exception that there is some back up in case of drive failure. Otherwise, back up from viruses or accidental deletion is not accomplished...yes? So I guess I've been thinking this would be the solution to back up when in fact it's only protection against certain methods of data loss. I thought if I had good virus protection that RAID would be enough. Now...accidental deletion...hmm...not sure I understand? Couldn't accidental deletion occur before the file was backed up?
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03-16-2011, 03:57 PM, (This post was last modified: 03-16-2011, 03:57 PM by Andrew J.)
#5
RE: RAID with a slave drive?
>Couldn't accidental deletion occur before the file was backed up?

Sure, but if you're working on a long-term project and backup daily you only lose a day's work max.

RAID is only protection against random hard drive failure.
Your friendly forum administrator.
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03-16-2011, 04:09 PM, (This post was last modified: 03-16-2011, 04:11 PM by andiron.)
#6
RE: RAID with a slave drive?
(03-16-2011, 03:57 PM)Andrew J Wrote: >Couldn't accidental deletion occur before the file was backed up?

Sure, but if you're working on a long-term project and backup daily you only lose a day's work max.

RAID is only protection against random hard drive failure.


Got it! Now that means I have to figure out the best size and method of back up. Thanks!

PS. I had a drive failure about 4 years into my current system. Not fun at all! So some protection there would be nice. But at least having a separate drive for the OS makes things a little more compartmentalized. So if that drive fails...it's only the operating system and software that woud need to be replaced! Not as nice as if it were mirrored...but with the OS disk probably not too awful bad.
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03-16-2011, 06:40 PM,
#7
RE: RAID with a slave drive?
"If you want to pretend you never saw this post I will understand!"
That would be too easy Wink

Here's one thing to keep in mind:
With four HDDs, you're more likely to experience a failure, compared to two HDDs. Even if you can recover the data thanks to RAID 10, there's still some downtime with the restore process. Hence why two HDDs in RAID 1 would be more reliable.

There are many ways to backup your data...Here's what I would consider: Two HDDs in the case in RAID 1 + two hard drives in RAID 1 in an enclosure (Via E-SATA, or networked, USB 2.0 is too slow. Your case comes with a E-SATA port if I'm not mistaken) would be ideal IMO. As for the backup process, most good enclosures come with software that allows you to automate the process, say on a daily basis (or more often, it depends on how you configure it).

That way, even if both drives in your case fail (which can happen) at the same time, you'd still have your data safely stored in the enclosure. You'd still experience downtime due to restore process, but you would not lose any data.
Laptop: MSI GS30 Shadow-045 Dimensions: 12.6" x 8.9" x 0.8" 2.65lbs CPU: Intel Core i7-4870HQ Quad-Core + Hyper-Threading OC 2.5-3.9GHz RAM: 16GB DDR3 1600MHz Video Card: Intel Iris Pro 5200 Storage: 2x128GB SDD RAID0 Audio: ASUS Xonar U3 USB Sound Card + Audio-Technica ATH-M50 headphones Screen: 13.3" - 1920 x 1080 IPS + 27" Dell P2715Q IPS 3840 x 2160 Keyboard: Filco Majestouch MX Cherry Blue Mouse: Logitech MX518
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03-16-2011, 07:31 PM, (This post was last modified: 03-16-2011, 08:19 PM by andiron.)
#8
RE: RAID with a slave drive?
(03-16-2011, 06:40 PM)MathieuB Wrote: "If you want to pretend you never saw this post I will understand!"
That would be too easy Wink

Here's one thing to keep in mind:
With four HDDs, you're more likely to experience a failure, compared to two HDDs. Even if you can recover the data thanks to RAID 10, there's still some downtime with the restore process. Hence why two HDDs in RAID 1 would be more reliable.

There are many ways to backup your data...Here's what I would consider: Two HDDs in the case in RAID 1 + two hard drives in RAID 1 in an enclosure (Via E-SATA, or networked, USB 2.0 is too slow. Your case comes with a E-SATA port if I'm not mistaken) would be ideal IMO. As for the backup process, most good enclosures come with software that allows you to automate the process, say on a daily basis (or more often, it depends on how you configure it).

That way, even if both drives in your case fail (which can happen) at the same time, you'd still have your data safely stored in the enclosure. You'd still experience downtime due to restore process, but you would not lose any data.

Okay, awesomel...I will plan on this method instead. The intersting thing is...my in case capacity will go down....but my total number of drives purchased will be the same. I have some reading to do...gonna go back and study up on your HDD article and RAID explanation. Since I have just barely exceeded the need for my 80G drive....I would think 1 to 1.5T inside HDD space plenty...and will now plan on RAID 1 to accomplish this capacity. I really appreciate your response! Big Grin

PS. Does a back up drive/s ideally need to be the same capacity as the drive/s it backs up? Thanks!

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03-16-2011, 09:07 PM, (This post was last modified: 03-16-2011, 10:27 PM by andiron.)
#9
RE: RAID with a slave drive?
PS continued....

So I tried to look for possible solutions for an external enclosure for a RAID 1 back up configuration. So far I've found two that caught my eye. Perhaps there are more? Again, not sure what the size of each of the two drives should be as compared to the ones being backed up....but these should work. I'm a bit wary though as it seems I read about one enclosure that would only utilize 2T drives if you used an included RAID controller. Since I will be using the motherboards RAID capabilities...I assume this would be unnecessary? Here are the two models I found....

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.as...-_-Product

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.as...-_-Product

The second one only has one review. Not a flattering review but hardly a referendum on it's quality. It looks like it is probably of better quality and has a 3 year warranty. The RAIDON enclosure has a 1 year warranty.

Hoping others here have comment/experience/opinions. Thanks again!

Edit: Also just found this one ---> http://eshop.macsales.com/item/Newer%20T...M8QKIT0GB/

and this one ---> http://www.silverstonetek.com/products/p...1&area=usa

(This last one...the Silverstone... only accepts 2.5 inch 9mm drives up to 1T. It's $73.99 shipped on Amazon)
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03-17-2011, 12:09 PM,
#10
RE: RAID with a slave drive?
You really won't need a RAID controller if it's just RAID 1 or RAID 0.

If you still plan on using an SSD to run the OS and key programs, I wouldn't even consider RAID 0. I'd also suggest to go with 1TB drives, especially considering you have an 80GB now.
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