RAID,.....how to?

Started Apr 22, 2013 | Discussions
Tareq Abdulla
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RAID,.....how to?
Apr 22, 2013

Sorry i keep asking many questions, i always like to learn so that i ask a lot.

I want to know how to make the Disks works into RAID mode? Also must i use same exact drives to do it or i can use different drives same kind or brand to do it?

For example i have Samsung SSD, can i make RAID of 2 Samsung SSD one is 830 Series and the other is 840 series or say one is 840 and the other is 840 Pro different sizes [256 + 128]?

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Bob Collette
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Re: RAID,.....how to?
In reply to Tareq Abdulla, Apr 22, 2013

Why are you wanting to use RAID: for speed or redundancy?  To answer your questions, you first need to decide what RAID mode you want to use: 0 or 1.

RAID 0 (sometimes referred to as striping) splits the data between 2 drives, giving you a speed advantage, since it alternates between the two drives when reading or writing.  The size of the RAID 0 array is the sum of the size of the two drives.

RAID 1 (sometimes called mirroring) gives redundancy.  The data is written simultaneously to both drives and can be read from either drive.  It gives a speed increase in reading, but not writing.  Both drives need to be the same size, and while not completely necessary, it's recommended that they both be the same make/model.  The size of the RAID 1 array is the size of a single drive.

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Tareq Abdulla
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Re: RAID,.....how to?
In reply to Bob Collette, Apr 22, 2013

Bob Collette wrote:

Why are you wanting to use RAID: for speed or redundancy?  To answer your questions, you first need to decide what RAID mode you want to use: 0 or 1.

RAID 0 (sometimes referred to as striping) splits the data between 2 drives, giving you a speed advantage, since it alternates between the two drives when reading or writing.  The size of the RAID 0 array is the sum of the size of the two drives.

RAID 1 (sometimes called mirroring) gives redundancy.  The data is written simultaneously to both drives and can be read from either drive.  It gives a speed increase in reading, but not writing.  Both drives need to be the same size, and while not completely necessary, it's recommended that they both be the same make/model.  The size of the RAID 1 array is the size of a single drive.

Ok i see, then in this case i will go with RAID 0, i am not thinking for having 2 to backup, i use each for different purpose, but was looking to speed up between the two, i will have another HDD for backup and scratch or files storage, but i was hoping if that RAID 0 will give me ability to move between te 2 drives without much issues and have the speed, i will keep one drive for OS + few Apps, and the second for Games.

So, if i go with RAID 0 option, it doesn't matter if both aren't the same SSD?

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Bob Collette
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Re: RAID,.....how to?
In reply to Tareq Abdulla, Apr 22, 2013

You should be able to use different drives in a RAID 0 array.  The two drives, when setup in a RAID 0 array appear (to the computer) as if it was a single large drive (sum of the two individual drives).  If the drives are currently separate drives (let's assume Drives C: & D:), after creating the RAID 0 array, you would only have a C: drive.

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Tareq Abdulla
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Re: RAID,.....how to?
In reply to Bob Collette, Apr 22, 2013

Bob Collette wrote:

You should be able to use different drives in a RAID 0 array.  The two drives, when setup in a RAID 0 array appear (to the computer) as if it was a single large drive (sum of the two individual drives).  If the drives are currently separate drives (let's assume Drives C: & D:), after creating the RAID 0 array, you would only have a C: drive.

I see, well, i have to be sure then if i want to go this way.

Do you think this is a better option to go with RAID 0 with say 2 SSD each is 128GB or i forget RAID 0 and use only 1 SSD 256GB? in both cases it will be only for C:, D i will use it HDD say 1TB or 2TB.

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GideonW
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Re: RAID,.....how to?
In reply to Tareq Abdulla, Apr 22, 2013

Tareq Abdulla wrote:

Bob Collette wrote:

You should be able to use different drives in a RAID 0 array.  The two drives, when setup in a RAID 0 array appear (to the computer) as if it was a single large drive (sum of the two individual drives).  If the drives are currently separate drives (let's assume Drives C: & D:), after creating the RAID 0 array, you would only have a C: drive.

I see, well, i have to be sure then if i want to go this way.

Do you think this is a better option to go with RAID 0 with say 2 SSD each is 128GB or i forget RAID 0 and use only 1 SSD 256GB? in both cases it will be only for C:, D i will use it HDD say 1TB or 2TB.

I would go with a single, larger SSD. While RAID-0 gives very clear performance-benefits in benchmarks, the actual "feelable" gains over a single SSD aren't that big. The jump from HDD to SSD is much bigger. In addition, RAID-0 carries additional risks. If one drive fails, all data on both is lost (as all data is split between both drives). Also, a single disk you can always transfer to another system without any hassle, while a RAID-array isn't as portable.

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Tareq Abdulla
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Re: RAID,.....how to?
In reply to GideonW, Apr 22, 2013

GideonW wrote:

Tareq Abdulla wrote:

Bob Collette wrote:

You should be able to use different drives in a RAID 0 array.  The two drives, when setup in a RAID 0 array appear (to the computer) as if it was a single large drive (sum of the two individual drives).  If the drives are currently separate drives (let's assume Drives C: & D:), after creating the RAID 0 array, you would only have a C: drive.

I see, well, i have to be sure then if i want to go this way.

Do you think this is a better option to go with RAID 0 with say 2 SSD each is 128GB or i forget RAID 0 and use only 1 SSD 256GB? in both cases it will be only for C:, D i will use it HDD say 1TB or 2TB.

I would go with a single, larger SSD. While RAID-0 gives very clear performance-benefits in benchmarks, the actual "feelable" gains over a single SSD aren't that big. The jump from HDD to SSD is much bigger. In addition, RAID-0 carries additional risks. If one drive fails, all data on both is lost (as all data is split between both drives). Also, a single disk you can always transfer to another system without any hassle, while a RAID-array isn't as portable.

So, when that RAID-0 can be handy without much risks or issues then?

OK, then i should think about a larger SSD as a single one rather than 2 SSDs merged as RAID-0, thank you very much.

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Bob Collette
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Re: RAID,.....how to?
In reply to Tareq Abdulla, Apr 22, 2013

Where RAID-0 is particularly useful is when used with conventional hard drives, since they are relatively slow compared to an SSD.  RAID-0 will give you approximately twice the sustained transfer rate of a single HD, since the controller is continually "toggling" back and forth between the two drives.  It can also slightly improve the latency as well.  Since SSD's are so fast (approaching the burst rate of the controller), doubling the speed of the SSD's (RAID-0) doesn't get you much performance improvement because the communication interface is saturated.

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Tareq Abdulla
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Re: RAID,.....how to?
In reply to Bob Collette, Apr 22, 2013

Bob Collette wrote:

Where RAID-0 is particularly useful is when used with conventional hard drives, since they are relatively slow compared to an SSD.  RAID-0 will give you approximately twice the sustained transfer rate of a single HD, since the controller is continually "toggling" back and forth between the two drives.  It can also slightly improve the latency as well.  Since SSD's are so fast (approaching the burst rate of the controller), doubling the speed of the SSD's (RAID-0) doesn't get you much performance improvement because the communication interface is saturated.

Cool, i will keep that in mind.

So my best way to go is to have a large size SSD + HDD, i was thinking about something like 256GB SSD + 1TB HDD 7200 as a start, then later i can add more either SSD or HDD when necessary.

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Bob Collette
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Re: RAID,.....how to?
In reply to Tareq Abdulla, Apr 22, 2013

Sounds like a good plan.  Use the SSD for the OS and applications, and the HD for general data storage.

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Tareq Abdulla
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Re: RAID,.....how to?
In reply to Bob Collette, Apr 23, 2013

Bob Collette wrote:

Sounds like a good plan.  Use the SSD for the OS and applications, and the HD for general data storage.

Yes i know, this is what i do with all my 5 computers [Except that they all run with one SSD only and i connect HDD externally for general files and storage].

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Roland Wooster
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Re: RAID,.....how to?
In reply to Tareq Abdulla, Apr 23, 2013

As others have said, RAID-0 is for performance, although it doesn't work quite as stated above. The two drives are not toggled between, but rather each data file is split into two halves and the two halves are written simultaneously to the two drives. Then on reading, both drives are accessed at the same time and then file is recombined in the RAID driver.

RAID-1 is for fault tollerance, and duplicates your data on both drives, yielding no performance gains on writing, and typically only a very small gain on reading.

Two drive RAID-0 will basically double your sequential read and sequential write performance (assuming you have identical drives) if you use two non idential drives, then you'll only end up with double the size of the smaller drive, and double the performance of the slower drive, and could possibly be a tiny bit worse than that.

What RAID-0 does not improve is random access (i.e. small file access) as this is latency limited, and the access time is the limiting factor, RAID-0 doesn't change this.

If you use RAID-0 be sure to connect it to the SATA Gen3, 6Gbps ports on the motherboard, and also assuming presuming you have an Intel 6-series or 7-series motherboard use the primary SATA ports (port 0 and 1, or 1 and 2 depending on how the board is marked), not the additional SATA 6Gbps ports connected through a discrete controller from Marvell or others, as these will be performance limited.

RAID-0 is more risky with your data because a failure on either drive will destory all the data on both. However, having said that, I have had lots of HDD failures due to thermal damage, but never had a failure with Intel SSD's, one array I've been running has 8 drives in a RAID-0 and that has been running flawlessly for over 2 years.

The other caveat is you'll need a Z67/Z77 or H67/H77 board to run RAID, or X79 if you have a High End Desktop. Setting up RAID isn't that hard. For all of these boards you need to set the BIOS to RAID mode in the SATA settings. Then during the POST press CTRL-I this will load the Intel RAID configuration tool, create your RAID-0 here. Then boot off your OS DVD to install the OS. For the H and Z boards you'll have the needed drivers for the OS to install on a RAID array. On the X79 you'll need to download RAID drivers from your motherboard vendor's website, or from downloadcenter.intel.com and put them on a USB stick or CD which you will need to install during the OS loading. There's a step during OS install that says press "F6" to install additional drivers, this is when you need to add the drivers, but this additional step should only be for the X79 boards.

Roland.

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Tareq Abdulla
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Re: RAID,.....how to?
In reply to Roland Wooster, Apr 23, 2013

Roland Wooster wrote:

As others have said, RAID-0 is for performance, although it doesn't work quite as stated above. The two drives are not toggled between, but rather each data file is split into two halves and the two halves are written simultaneously to the two drives. Then on reading, both drives are accessed at the same time and then file is recombined in the RAID driver.

RAID-1 is for fault tollerance, and duplicates your data on both drives, yielding no performance gains on writing, and typically only a very small gain on reading.

Two drive RAID-0 will basically double your sequential read and sequential write performance (assuming you have identical drives) if you use two non idential drives, then you'll only end up with double the size of the smaller drive, and double the performance of the slower drive, and could possibly be a tiny bit worse than that.

What RAID-0 does not improve is random access (i.e. small file access) as this is latency limited, and the access time is the limiting factor, RAID-0 doesn't change this.

If you use RAID-0 be sure to connect it to the SATA Gen3, 6Gbps ports on the motherboard, and also assuming presuming you have an Intel 6-series or 7-series motherboard use the primary SATA ports (port 0 and 1, or 1 and 2 depending on how the board is marked), not the additional SATA 6Gbps ports connected through a discrete controller from Marvell or others, as these will be performance limited.

RAID-0 is more risky with your data because a failure on either drive will destory all the data on both. However, having said that, I have had lots of HDD failures due to thermal damage, but never had a failure with Intel SSD's, one array I've been running has 8 drives in a RAID-0 and that has been running flawlessly for over 2 years.

The other caveat is you'll need a Z67/Z77 or H67/H77 board to run RAID, or X79 if you have a High End Desktop. Setting up RAID isn't that hard. For all of these boards you need to set the BIOS to RAID mode in the SATA settings. Then during the POST press CTRL-I this will load the Intel RAID configuration tool, create your RAID-0 here. Then boot off your OS DVD to install the OS. For the H and Z boards you'll have the needed drivers for the OS to install on a RAID array. On the X79 you'll need to download RAID drivers from your motherboard vendor's website, or from downloadcenter.intel.com and put them on a USB stick or CD which you will need to install during the OS loading. There's a step during OS install that says press "F6" to install additional drivers, this is when you need to add the drivers, but this additional step should only be for the X79 boards.

Roland.

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So tell me, what i should do? How many drives i should go with? OS+apps drive will SSD no doubt, done, then what?

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Roland Wooster
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Re: RAID,.....how to?
In reply to Tareq Abdulla, Apr 23, 2013

What you should do depends upon your goals and your budget. Although to cut things short, I would suggest making a choice and then seeing how it goes and upgrading what is necessary from that point forward.

Given the number of questions you've posted I suspect that RAID-0 might be more hassle than would be optimal for you. It's extra work getting it setup, it benefits some things, but not everything, and it's extra complex if something goes wrong.

So long as you setup the BIOS in RAID mode, even if you're installing the OS onto a single drive, then it's pretty easy to migrate to RAID after the OS has been installed. If however you don't set the BIOS to RAID mode before installing the OS, then it's a lot harder to change to RAID without reinstalling.

Roland.

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Tareq Abdulla
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Re: RAID,.....how to?
In reply to Roland Wooster, Apr 23, 2013

Roland Wooster wrote:

What you should do depends upon your goals and your budget. Although to cut things short, I would suggest making a choice and then seeing how it goes and upgrading what is necessary from that point forward.

Given the number of questions you've posted I suspect that RAID-0 might be more hassle than would be optimal for you. It's extra work getting it setup, it benefits some things, but not everything, and it's extra complex if something goes wrong.

So long as you setup the BIOS in RAID mode, even if you're installing the OS onto a single drive, then it's pretty easy to migrate to RAID after the OS has been installed. If however you don't set the BIOS to RAID mode before installing the OS, then it's a lot harder to change to RAID without reinstalling.

Roland.

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Well, it sounds that i shouldn't think about RAID-0 yet until i am aware about its pros and cons and then i am sure about what i want to do and how to do, i asked because i hear a lot about it so was curious what is there with RAID to be used, but for me now i don't see a big need to go that route yet, getting a new desktop very soon with high performance i feel i will be more than fine with just single SSD, and not any SSD, so i will pass that RAID for now but will keep reading about it and maybe one day i will give it a try.

I was thinking to buy another desktop after 6-7 months for tests only, but i will not buy high devices for it, maybe only i3 or i5, i saw Z77 motherboard cheap, so i may think to get another desktop for say $400-600 and then test RAID on it, don't want to make tests on my new i7 desktop and then restart things or trying to ix things if something bad happened.

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Richard
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Re: RAID,.....how to?
In reply to Tareq Abdulla, Apr 23, 2013

Tareq Abdulla wrote:

Well, it sounds that i shouldn't think about RAID-0 yet until i am aware about its pros and cons and then i am sure about what i want to do and how to do, i asked because i hear a lot about it so was curious what is there with RAID to be used, but for me now i don't see a big need to go that route yet, getting a new desktop very soon with high performance i feel i will be more than fine with just single SSD, and not any SSD, so i will pass that RAID for now but will keep reading about it and maybe one day i will give it a try.

I was thinking to buy another desktop after 6-7 months for tests only, but i will not buy high devices for it, maybe only i3 or i5, i saw Z77 motherboard cheap, so i may think to get another desktop for say $400-600 and then test RAID on it, don't want to make tests on my new i7 desktop and then restart things or trying to ix things if something bad happened.

There is a point of diminishing returns. That is where you are getting to. The SSD drives are so fast now, so you load the file in half a second. If you raid 0 2 SSD drives and cut that in half will you notice now it only takes a quarter second? Not really.

Now in large file transfers you will see a bigger difference, but do you do a lot of large file transfers often?

What I find Raid 0 good for is older spindle drives. Let say you raid together 3 1TB drives that transfer about 70mb per second. In large file transfers you will see that speed jump to just under 200mb per second. If you are working on videos on a SSD and move it to a raid 0  3TB spindle set, then the transfer would be a lot faster. But then you must question how many times do you do this to make it worth the extra price of buying 3 drives.

If you copy one image on from SSD to a slow 70mb transfer rate single spindle drive how long will it take, a 10th of a second. a 45mb raw file, under a second. Will you really notice a difference if you go to raid 0 with 3 drives? Not really.

So you have to figure out what you are trying to do. The best thing is when you have a system built if you feel it is slow or lacking in an area, you figure out the bottleneck and fix that. It could require an SSD or a Raid 0 for spindle drives, more memory, faster processor.

So can raid 0 be fast? Sure for file transfer or speeding up boot times by raiding a few slow spindle drives together in your system and but what are you going to use it for, what programs do you run, are you constantly coping data back and forth between drive. If you have a sata 6gb ssd in your system raiding ssds together will see only a tiny perceivable increase is some or I venture to say many cases.

If you are a gamer, you are going to put the most money into the video card because you want hiccup free smooth video, the hard drive will have less importance over the video card.

If you are running photoshop, most of the filters do not use a fast graphics card so an SSD and more memory would be important.

Point is, raid0 ssds together just for the heck of it for speed without looking at what you do with your computer may be a waste of money because you start hitting the point of diminishing returns, in other words, the money you spend for raid0 does not buy the peformance you think it will give you

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Tareq Abdulla
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Re: RAID,.....how to?
In reply to Richard, Apr 24, 2013

Richard wrote:

Tareq Abdulla wrote:

Well, it sounds that i shouldn't think about RAID-0 yet until i am aware about its pros and cons and then i am sure about what i want to do and how to do, i asked because i hear a lot about it so was curious what is there with RAID to be used, but for me now i don't see a big need to go that route yet, getting a new desktop very soon with high performance i feel i will be more than fine with just single SSD, and not any SSD, so i will pass that RAID for now but will keep reading about it and maybe one day i will give it a try.

I was thinking to buy another desktop after 6-7 months for tests only, but i will not buy high devices for it, maybe only i3 or i5, i saw Z77 motherboard cheap, so i may think to get another desktop for say $400-600 and then test RAID on it, don't want to make tests on my new i7 desktop and then restart things or trying to ix things if something bad happened.

There is a point of diminishing returns. That is where you are getting to. The SSD drives are so fast now, so you load the file in half a second. If you raid 0 2 SSD drives and cut that in half will you notice now it only takes a quarter second? Not really.

Now in large file transfers you will see a bigger difference, but do you do a lot of large file transfers often?

What I find Raid 0 good for is older spindle drives. Let say you raid together 3 1TB drives that transfer about 70mb per second. In large file transfers you will see that speed jump to just under 200mb per second. If you are working on videos on a SSD and move it to a raid 0  3TB spindle set, then the transfer would be a lot faster. But then you must question how many times do you do this to make it worth the extra price of buying 3 drives.

If you copy one image on from SSD to a slow 70mb transfer rate single spindle drive how long will it take, a 10th of a second. a 45mb raw file, under a second. Will you really notice a difference if you go to raid 0 with 3 drives? Not really.

So you have to figure out what you are trying to do. The best thing is when you have a system built if you feel it is slow or lacking in an area, you figure out the bottleneck and fix that. It could require an SSD or a Raid 0 for spindle drives, more memory, faster processor.

So can raid 0 be fast? Sure for file transfer or speeding up boot times by raiding a few slow spindle drives together in your system and but what are you going to use it for, what programs do you run, are you constantly coping data back and forth between drive. If you have a sata 6gb ssd in your system raiding ssds together will see only a tiny perceivable increase is some or I venture to say many cases.

If you are a gamer, you are going to put the most money into the video card because you want hiccup free smooth video, the hard drive will have less importance over the video card.

If you are running photoshop, most of the filters do not use a fast graphics card so an SSD and more memory would be important.

Point is, raid0 ssds together just for the heck of it for speed without looking at what you do with your computer may be a waste of money because you start hitting the point of diminishing returns, in other words, the money you spend for raid0 does not buy the peformance you think it will give you

Yes, it is clear enough, i said i will not get busy going with RAID 0 yet, i am very vey happy with SSD now without RAID, i was working with only 5400 HDD and i can see the big mprovments when i moved to SSD, i got Samsung Pro as my first ever and what an SSD it is, so never look back.

Now i know about RAID 0 and you told me about RAID 1 too, now what is RAID 2 or RAID 5 or another numbers?

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KewlEugene
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Re: RAID,.....how to?
In reply to Tareq Abdulla, Apr 24, 2013

hardware board/chip based RAIDs were obsoleted long ago by ZFS aka RAID Z

i hookup my Windoze PCs and Android tablet over 1000BT and WiFi to a home ZFS server ii built on a mini-ITX board, ECC RAM, Solaris 11 Operating System, ...

but most people who use ZFS have purchased off-the-shelf home ZFS servers bought on eBay, buy.com, etc.

search the dpreview forums for "ZFS" for more info.

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Tareq Abdulla
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Re: RAID,.....how to?
In reply to KewlEugene, Apr 24, 2013

KewlEugene wrote:

hardware board/chip based RAIDs were obsoleted long ago by ZFS aka RAID Z

i hookup my Windoze PCs and Android tablet over 1000BT and WiFi to a home ZFS server ii built on a mini-ITX board, ECC RAM, Solaris 11 Operating System, ...

but most people who use ZFS have purchased off-the-shelf home ZFS servers bought on eBay, buy.com, etc.

search the dpreview forums for "ZFS" for more info.

Thank you very much!

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Richard
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Re: RAID,.....how to?
In reply to KewlEugene, Apr 24, 2013

KewlEugene wrote:

hardware board/chip based RAIDs were obsoleted long ago by ZFS aka RAID Z

You should read up on Intel Rapid Storage. It comes on motherboards and is very inexpensive and reliable. ZFS is expensive by comparison and is more for business solutions.

i hookup my Windoze PCs and Android tablet over 1000BT and WiFi to a home ZFS server ii built on a mini-ITX board, ECC RAM, Solaris 11 Operating System, ...

Memory and SSDs and 2 or 3 spindle disk raid on a motherboard are becoming so inexpensive, it does not make sense for the average user to have a over the network storage which when hardwired is only 1gb, sata is 6gb and usb3 is 5gb, then we are talking over wireless is even slower..

but most people who use ZFS have purchased off-the-shelf home ZFS servers bought on eBay, buy.com, etc.

You can buy a WD 3tb nas storage device for 179 dollars retail, most people don't need more than that. I looked up on Ebay for the least expensive ZFS server, over 400 dollars including shipping. No storage. Except for redundant raid which you need at least 2 drives for mirroring and 3 for striping, why would you need this much storage and speed, doesn't help much over 1gb lan.

search the dpreview forums for "ZFS" for more info.

The OP was looking to speed up his computer local storage using SSD and or raid0. While I agree your solution works well for business use and possibly for someone who is a geek and wants online backup and multiple storage locations, but it really is cost prohibitive when you can get a 3tb drive on your network for 179 dollars.

But there are some users that want this. If you backed up all your Blue ray disks at and average of 29GB per disk and you have a lot of disks, you may want something like this but again this is outside the norms of the average user. None of my geek friends have a ZFS server for storage. Cost I think is the limiting factor.

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