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Has Anyone Set up a RAID Configuration for Their DIY Server Storage?

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Hey everyone,

I'm in the process of setting up a RAID configuration for my DIY server storage and could use some advice. Specifically, I'm torn between different RAID levels and wondering which one would be best suited for my needs.

  1. RAID Level Choices: For those who have set up RAID on their own servers, which RAID level did you choose and why? I'm considering RAID 5 for its balance of performance and redundancy, but RAID 10 also seems appealing for its mirrored stripe sets. What has your experience been with different RAID levels in terms of reliability and performance?
  2. Setup Tips: Any tips for setting up RAID efficiently? Are there any common pitfalls or overlooked steps that I should be aware of? I want to make sure the setup is done right the first time to avoid headaches down the road.
  3. Maintenance: What does ongoing maintenance look like for your RAID configuration? How often do you perform checks or updates, and what tools do you use for monitoring?

Looking forward to hearing about your experiences and any insights you can share!

Thanks in advance!

Posted : 04/07/2024 7:14 am
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The problem I've had (at least with lower end enclosures for my RAID systems in the dark past was they overheated and killed the drives so you need to get the "correct" HDD, Western Digital are my usual ones and the colour tells you which is which. You'll pay more for the higher end ones like red and black whereas blue are for everyday use.

The decision on which level (configuration) to use is determined as much as anything by the problem you're trying to solve. A simple mirror is more than enough for many people. Striping comes with the danger of losing everything unless you add more drives as checksums and even then... I've never had to recovered anything more than a simple mirror but the others were in data centers in air-conditioned rooms which rather changes the rules.

Then there's the bottleneck from the raid system to the network, unless you're working in a single workstation. With a standard hardware setup and a modern OS there's very little to worry about. It should (cough) go together and the bios on the RAID system will kick in and allow you to set up the drives. After that it looks like a single, very large, drive.

Personally (and this is because I'm incredibly cheap and lazy) I tend for micro-servers that are just powerful enough to run a reasonable drive without a major bottleneck over 100/1000 twisted pair or (argh egads) wireless and "rsync" for backup. I know people sniff at such solutions but rsync and others like it power the Internet and many of the mirrors across the world.

Duplication/redundancy is obviously slower (you might write a "cron" job to do it but there are file system triggers that will start the process for you). This is a bit outside of my area of expertise though so you might have to have a look at some Linux/*Nix/BSD forums for that.

Data security isn't protected by hardware checksums but you can always use a modern filing system. ZFS is great but you need some beastly machine to run even a basic setup.

It all comes down to why you feel the need for RAID: speed? Data security? Just nice to have (it is).


Take everything I say with a pinch of salt, I might be wrong!

Posted : 04/07/2024 6:00 pm