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  1. #1
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    advice on RAID-1

    I am looking to replace my ancient work PC with a new Vista machine. One of the options I have is a pair of 160-gb drives in a RAID-1 configuration. I have no experience with such a setup and am looking for advice. I understand the major advantages, and also that mirroring doesn't mean you don't have to back up data. But what are the disadvantages. Would I be better off going for the same pair of drives without the RAID and using that extra space for other things, like old-fashioned backups.

    For what it's worth, my small company has 4 machines in a peer-to-peer network. Because of our small size, I have never gone the server route, but I have been considering it lately. My instinct is that a RAID setup on a server makes more sense. But maybe RAID-1 on a pc is a good idea. I'd like to know what someone else thinks.

    Also, I saw this in Ed Bott's Vista book: "Mirrored and RAID-5 volumes are types of dynamic volumes that are not available in Windows Vista (they require a server edition of Windows)." Is this relevant?

    Fafner

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    Re: advice on RAID-1

    there was an informative <post:=593,270>post 593,270</post:> with another link to a raid tutorial you might want to check out. really, you need to find what you are most comfortable doing and what works for you.
    <img src=/w3timages/blueline.gif width=33% height=2>
    <big>John</big>

  3. #3
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    Re: advice on RAID-1

    Thank you for pointing me to that post. Before I made my initial post, I did a search on RAID in the hardware forum but only a few threads showed up, and this wasn't one of them. I read the entire thread as well as the tutorial and am beginning to think I'd be better off with a couple of hard drives and an old-fashioned backup plan. It's always worked for me before.

    Fafner

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    Plutonium Lounger Leif's Avatar
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    Re: advice on RAID-1

    I run RAID1 on our server which holds all our data files. In 10 years of using this configuration, I have only had to make use of it once, when one of the drives started to disintegrate rapidly. It took less than 5 minutes to open the box, remove the faulty drive, reconfigure the drive number link on the surviving disk and get back up and running.

    RAID1 is useful if you require that level of minimal downtime, otherwise I would suggest it is not an alternative to a backup - whatever is on one disk will be perfectly mirrored on the other. (e.g. - if someone deletes a file across the network, it will be deleted from both.) And backups, as you know, should be kept in a different location...

  5. #5
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    Re: advice on RAID-1

    Thank you. You are confirming my instinct to go with 2 drives without RAID and saving the RAID-1 for an eventual server.

    Fafner

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    Re: advice on RAID-1

    If the purposes of the eventual server will be backup and sharing, you may want to look at Paul Thurrott's SuperSite for Windows: Windows Home Server Preview and some of the threads at windows home server - Google Search. This product is due out later this year.

    Joe

  7. #7
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    Re: advice on RAID-1

    I am aware of this product and am interested in it as an inexpensive alternative to a server running Windows Small Business Server. We could use some of the collaboration features of SBS, but in our little company, administering it might be more headache than it's worth. I'm going to wait for the release of this home server and do an evaluation then. Mostly what we are interested in is data backup.

    Fafner

  8. #8
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    Re: advice on RAID-1

    RAID is not a backup solution. If that's what has your interest, stop there and go no further. RAID only provides two things:
    1. <LI>Redundancy/Failover, and <LI>Nominal speed increase, which may or may not be necessary
    If backups are your focus, look at a dedicated solution for it. RAID is intended for high availability with minimal downtime in the event something catastrophic occurs.

    As an example, I installed a "RAID 0" (in quotes because it is not true RAID) on a digital video workstation solely for the speed increase with huge video files. It's not a replacement for proper backups, which take place on external USB attached drives.
    -Mark

  9. #9
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    Re: advice on RAID-1

    Yes, I am aware that RAID is not a substitute for backing up data. I said as much in my first post. Nevertheless, this thread has given me a much better handle on the ins and outs of RAID-1, so I am much better equipped to evaluate my options. Thanks to everyone who has responded.

    Fafner

  10. #10
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    Re: advice on RAID-1

    Mark,
    Small point, but RAID does not, other than RAID-0, provide a speed increase. It can in fact cause a performace decrease often as not.
    Regards,
    Rory
    Microsoft MVP - Excel.

  11. #11
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    Re: advice on RAID-1

    Fair statement... and RAID 0 isn't really RAID anyway!
    -Mark

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