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Topic: To RAID or not to RAID? (stripe)

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  1. #1

    To RAID or not to RAID? (stripe)

    My setup has 2x IDE 80gb Maxtor HDDs and 2x SATA 200gb Maxtor DiamondMax16 HDDs. I'm using it due to massive quantity of sample libraries.

    My question is: Is it worthy to use those 2 SATA as RAID 0 (stripe)?

    Some friends told me that they couldn't use it for more than 3 months before it crash and they lose all their data. I don't know also if those HDDs are good quality, but I'm don't want to risk my data.

    Also, what would you recommend to prevent system or HDD failure? Using a good no-break, some line filters, etc?

    Thanks
    []'s, Fabrício Zuccherato
    Wormhole Studios

  2. #2

    Re: To RAID or not to RAID? (stripe)

    I'm using a RAID 0 (stripe) for my GS3 rig. I also loast a raid 2 weeks ago - and that is a nightmare that I do not want to re-visit.

    If you're going to RAID, then you MUST have a 100% current backup. Be prepared for the RAID to fail at any time, but if it fails, you simply format/restore.

    This means you will have drive(s) to store the contents of the RAID on...

    GS3 streaming performance with the SATA raid is substantially better than without.

    Don't forget to backup everything...restoring from your DVDs and CD-roms is a royal PITA.

  3. #3

    Re: To RAID or not to RAID? (stripe)

    Thanks Jeremy,

    But what's the deal about RAID 0? What happened to your array could happen if you were using RAID 1 or no RAID, for example? (I mean, of course it would not be the same problem, but if you weren't using RAID 0, it would make you lost all your data or it would be just another HDD reversible problem?)

    If not, I guess it's better for me to change it quickly... I'm already have data in the RAID 0 format, how can I convert it without lose anything?
    []'s, Fabrício Zuccherato
    Wormhole Studios

  4. #4

    Re: To RAID or not to RAID? (stripe)

    I've read posts that the on-board Promise RAID solution isn't as robust as we would like it to be. Maybe some of the add-ons are more solid. I advocate simply spreading samples across multiple drives, rather than RAIDing. It's simpler, less prone to failture and is more efficient, due to the lower overhead.

    If you really want to RAID, I'd recommend spending time searching dedicated hardware and tweaker forums, and choosing the most robust solution that you can afford.

    -JF

  5. #5

    Re: To RAID or not to RAID? (stripe)

    Quote Originally Posted by fabricioz
    But what's the deal about RAID 0?
    RAID 0 (stripe) writes the data to 2 disks, and splits the data, so that you can effectively stream at twice the speed of 1 drive.

    RAID 1 is a "mirror" setup -- that is, it writes to 2 discs at once... (that's the "R" - redundant - part of RAID (there's nothing redundant about RAID 0)

    RAID 1 is not recommended for DAW use (slows down write time as it has to write to 2 discs) -- but I don't see why we couldn't use it for Giga streaming... anyone using RAID 1 for giga samples?

    I don't think you can "convert" from raid 0 to raid 1. Another popular format (which I may do if I get a blessing from tascam) is raid 0+1 - that is, 4 identical drives... (2) configured raid 0 + (2) configured raid 0 then each array is configured raid 1 (so if you have 4x320 gig SATA drives, a raid 0+1 would give you 600 gigs of storage, however it is redundant... if any one of the drives fail, no problem...

    I think Jon's issue is the raid controller itself (and yes, I was burned by the on-board PROMISE controller). After doing lots of homework on this, I'd have to agree... lots of Promise controller failures. My new mobo has the nvidia nforce4 controller - and this seems to haver a better reputation.

    Regardless, a full backup of your data is needed.

  6. #6
    Senior Member Tom Crowning's Avatar
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    Re: To RAID or not to RAID? (stripe)

    Quote Originally Posted by fabricioz

    My question is: Is it worthy to use those 2 SATA as RAID 0 (stripe)?
    RAID 0 doubles the probability of data loss (if one of the drives failes
    everything's lost).

    Why do you want RAID at all?
    These days drives are extremely fast, and if the data is not fragmented
    (what you easily can avoid buy using one drive for your samples only)
    they are more then fast enough.

    I have a dedicated drive for my samples and have no problems
    with DFD even with large 24bit libraries.

  7. #7

    Re: To RAID or not to RAID? (stripe)

    This is why I use SATA Raid-0:
    ... for the simple reason of squeezing maximum power out of the SATA interface. SATA drives are usually 5-10% faster than PATA, but put SATA in raid-0 and I get about 150-160 Mb/s in/out speed. That's almost 4 times the speed of a regular PATA drive.
    The drives don't work faster in raid, but the mobo chipset does. Instead of writing to 2 different drives - meaning the chipset has to coordinate alot more actions and verifying - the chipset can fire away data twice as fast to what it percieves to be one single drive; since both discs work together. This minimizes system stress and computing power. I get alot more voices out of my system from Raid-0 than I do from having 2 SATA disks - I've tried it out rather well.
    It does mean having your streaming data sources, software AND system/swap file on the same 'virtual' drive, but by using SATA Raid-0 it's able to take it and still deliver more voices than having 2 disks with audio on the 2nd drive.

    I read a bit about this and that's where I got the idea to try it out, and thus I bought SATA drives. But I can't really defend it for all systems on a deep down technical level. I can just testify that it works great for me, and the practical tests I've done supports the idea.

    But like has been said: be careful. Every time you boot up your computer with Raid-0, both disks have to be synchronized on a software (i.e. Raid) basis. If the synch fails the boot up process will return an error saying it can't find an operative system on any drive. If the sync fails too many times, your sync may get corrupted from all the interrupts and hard reboots and may get too messed up to be able to sync both discs. When that happens, your software system is history.
    Kid: When I become an adult I wanna be a musician.
    Parent: Son, you cannot become both.

  8. #8

    Re: To RAID or not to RAID? (stripe)

    Well people, I`ve read all of your comments. I think that using RAID 0 will really improve the performance, but we all know there are the risks. Are they worthy it? Of course, we must backup everything, but...

    I talked to a pal right now and he told me that many users with Promise controller had problems in the same mobo than mine (A8V Deluxe), but in revision 1. With revision 2, updated drivers and newer identicals SATA HDDs and if those drives are not being used for system, the probability is very lower.

    Well, that is my case. I have 2 IDE 80gb HDDs (system and working files) and 2 SATA 200gb HDDs (sample libraries). I need performance, but I think the reability is more important.

    Do you think I shall stripe my HDDs or not? And if I do, what can I do to prevent failure? Using a nobreak, defragging the disk...?
    []'s, Fabrício Zuccherato
    Wormhole Studios

  9. #9

    Re: To RAID or not to RAID? (stripe)

    Quote Originally Posted by fabricioz
    Do you think I shall stripe my HDDs or not? And if I do, what can I do to prevent failure?
    The best way to prevent a piece of hardware from failing is have a current backup.

    In my experience, the devices know when there's a backup, and they rarely fail. Devices that know there is no backup, will fail when it is most inconvenient to the owner. Most computer drives have a chip that's made by Marvell Technology, and this chip is a wireless communication device... the chip keeps a database of all hard drives within 30 meters, and if it detects a drive that does not have a current backup, it alerts the device, and encourages it to find a moment when the user in on-deadline or failure to function would have the most impact.

    I know this to be fact.

    The end-user can fight this by having a current backup of all data, then the devices have no reason to fail, and historically, they don't (and if they do fail, it's due to some kind of 1 in a million mechanical failure) - but since you have a current backup, this is not a problem. Simply restore from your backup and continue.

    Marvell has also developed a chip that can be embedded in playing cards -- casinos have been using this for years... the cards know when you are chasing or bluffing and they change the spots based on the circumstances (and you thought the odds against the dealer getting 5 blackjacks in a row was 1 in 12 million)

    The only way to beat the Marvell chip is to have a current backup. Then it moves on and doesn't waste its time with you.


  10. #10
    Senior Member Tom Crowning's Avatar
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    Re: To RAID or not to RAID? (stripe)

    Quote Originally Posted by jeremyroberts
    The best way to prevent a piece of hardware from failing is have a current backup.

    In my experience, the devices know when there's a backup, and they rarely fail. Devices that know there is no backup, will fail when it is most inconvenient to the owner. Most computer drives have a chip that's made by Marvell Technology, and this chip is a wireless communication device... the chip keeps a database of all hard drives within 30 meters, and if it detects a drive that does not have a current backup, it alerts the device, and encourages it to find a moment when the user in on-deadline or failure to function would have the most impact.

    I know this to be fact.
    This is widely known as 'Murphys law'

    But keep in mind the Murphys law applies automaticly if you rely on
    it, that means the devices will notice any error in your backup and will
    fail immediately.
    The error in your backup is in that file you need most...

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