Software RAID considerations
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  1. #1
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    Software RAID considerations

    I'm thinking about building a desktop and using software raid on the motherboard. I would be using WD Red 3T drives, 4 or 5 of them which I'm about to order, on an MSI 870S-G54 motherboard (most appropriate of what I already have here). Using raid 5 would give me safety in case one hdd failed, but how vulnerable am I in case of motherboard failure?

    Any thoughts or advice accepted. I'm unlikely to go the route of a hardware raid card, and the cpu would either be one of several AMD I already have or another compatible with the AM3 socket this mobo has if it offers significantly better energy efficiency.

    I've never used raid.

  2. #2
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    Wow. That's going to be an enormous array. What are you going to use it for, if you don't mind me asking?

    RAID does not replace backups. Even if you have RAID5, you should still be making regular backups.

    Using raid 5 would give me safety in case one hdd failed, but how vulnerable am I in case of motherboard failure?
    Usually if you lose the MB (or RAID controller), you lose the array. If anything, you can try another MB that uses the exact same RAID chipset. The new MB might be able to recognize the array, but no guarantees. That's why you also need backups.

  3. #3
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    Hoarding personality.

    Planning on having backups external to this computer, but they would be done periodically, not frequently. Thanks for the feedback; it agrees with what I thought I'd read before. In my experience the two components most subject to failure are hdd's and motherboards. Software raid only protects me from one of them.

    If I use a separate hdd for the OS, perhaps an SSD, what does loss or failure of the OS hdd mean to the security of the raid array? Obviously I would be advised to image the OS drive for backup. The "perhaps" is because this computer would likely be hibernated much of the time and seldom completely shut down: an SSD might be wasted.

  4. #4
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    If I use a separate hdd for the OS, perhaps an SSD, what does loss or failure of the OS hdd mean to the security of the raid array?
    Not much. They are independent.

  5. #5
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    Pros and cons

    Software RAID is more flexible than Hardware RAID. Software RAID is also considerably less expensive. On the other hand, a Software RAID system requires more CPU cycles and power to run well than a comparable Hardware RAID System. Also, because Software RAID operates on a partition by partition basis where a number of individual disk partitions are grouped together as opposed to Hardware RAID systems which generally group together entire disk drives, Software RAID tends be slightly more complicated to run. This is because it has more available configurations and options. An added benefit to the slightly more expensive Hardware RAID solution is that many Hardware RAID systems incorporate features that are specialized for optimizing the performance of your system. For more detailed information on the differences between Software RAID and Hardware RAID you may want to visit: www.adaptec.com
    http://www.raidrecoveryguide.com/hardware-software.html
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  6. #6
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    Remember that RAID doesn't protect you from things like viruses or worse, accidental deletions. (yes, I am guilty of that) In that case, you'd need to restore from backup.

  7. #7
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    Up to now I've managed well against viruses. My biggest weakness has been procrastination in networking. Other than delivering internet to both upstairs and down via ethernet, I haven't employed it yet to link the laptops to the desktop. Been using sneakernet.

    The higher cpu load with software raid may not matter, since this won't be a server.

  8. #8
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    Depending on intended use, following may be of interest, unRAID
    "I know nothing."
    Cheers.

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