locked
Raid 5 Style Drive Extender RRS feed

  • General discussion

  • I think a really good feature of for WHS would be the ability to have 3 or more drives in a RAID 5 format that is inherently supported by WHS. So if you have 3 drives in the machine you will only lose one to redundancy as apposed to the current mirror style solution which does become rather expensive. The chances of 2 drives failing simultaneously is very low and I would rather have the extra space.

     

    Is this a likely feature in WHS ?

     

    Thanks

    Friday, October 19, 2007 2:53 AM

All replies

  • If you're comfortable with configuring a RAID array, you can install WHS on a hardware array now. It works, though Microsoft won't offer any support for that configuration. The main limitation is that WHS uses MBR disks, so you're limited to 2 TiB per "disk" (array, in this case).

    If you're looking for software RAID, or for RAID to be a supported hardware configuraiton, you should make the suggestion on Connect (after first searching for one that's already there; vote in that case).
    Friday, October 19, 2007 3:41 AM
    Moderator
  • One neat possibility is what's used by unRAID, www.lime-technology.com

    It's basically an software unstriped RAID 4, meaning you don't have files striped across multiple disks, and you have a single parity drive. 

    Advantages:
    - You can always expand it and recalcuate the parity so it maintains the expandability like WHS has
    - You only lose 1 disk worth of space for redundancy
    - Files are not striped across the disk, so even if multiple disks fail you can still recover the files on the remaining disks

    Disadvantages:
    - Slow due to every write operation having to calculate the parity
    - Rechecking the parity on a large system could take a very long time
    - No increase in performance compared to a RAID 5.  Of course since this is over a network that really doesn't matter.

    I always thought unRAID had a very cool way of doing storage, but it doesn't do nearly as many of the other things WHS does.
    Friday, October 19, 2007 3:55 PM
  • As an IT guy, I understand completely the benefits (and cost!) of RAID.  However, I think we are losing focus of who WHS is intended for --- home users.  When you start talking about RAID, striping, etc. you are going to lose 90% of the market because they want something they can plop down in the closet, plug in and forget about.

     

    I know, even for me, now that I have WHS up and running it is so much better than my previous Windows 2003 server solution.  I was constantly fooling with it, maintaining it, updating it.  It's like WHS is giving me "freedom" to just use my home network and not be constantly tied to it doing "IT Support" after-hours!

     

    Rob

     

    Friday, October 19, 2007 4:20 PM
  • Hi There I completely agree .. but thats why I said "drive extender" due to the fact that they can just add a third drive and away they go... no configuring no nothing. WHS just sees the 3rd disc and reconfigures itself to support a parity drive.

     

    But to be fair most people playing with WHS are not home people and are very keen to see support for some level of raid 5 (or Raid 4).

     

    Thanks

    Ryan

     

    Friday, October 19, 2007 6:29 PM
  •  Robert L. Stinnett wrote:

    As an IT guy, I understand completely the benefits (and cost!) of RAID.  However, I think we are losing focus of who WHS is intended for --- home users.  When you start talking about RAID, striping, etc. you are going to lose 90% of the market because they want something they can plop down in the closet, plug in and forget about.

     

    I know, even for me, now that I have WHS up and running it is so much better than my previous Windows 2003 server solution.  I was constantly fooling with it, maintaining it, updating it.  It's like WHS is giving me "freedom" to just use my home network and not be constantly tied to it doing "IT Support" after-hours!

     

    Rob

     



    I interpreted his suggestion as implementing RAID style redundancy (i.e. using parity) so that you had more effective storage space.

    If that style of redundancy was made available, it could be done the same way that WHS manages it now, but simply change how the data is stored in the back-end.

    One feature I would never want to lose is the ability to take out a drive and have it be readable in any other system that can read NTFS disks.  I wouldn't want to see data striped across disks in WHS, but converting to a parity-based system rather than simply making 2 copies of the data.
    Friday, October 19, 2007 7:03 PM
  •  Robert L. Stinnett wrote:
    As an IT guy, I understand completely the benefits (and cost!) of RAID.  However, I think we are losing focus of who WHS is intended for --- home users.  When you start talking about RAID, striping, etc. you are going to lose 90% of the market because they want something they can plop down in the closet, plug in and forget about.
    Rob, I'm sure that this is the main reason Microsoft doesn't allow the use of RAID by OEMs and system builders, and says it's unsupported. It's too hard to configure or expand a RAID array for the likely average non-technical user of WHS, consumer-grade RAID solutions never deliver the performance they theoretically promise, and some of them just don't work well, period.
    Friday, October 19, 2007 8:05 PM
    Moderator
  • For anyone interested in seeing a "flexible, parity-based drive extender" option added to WHS, you can vote for the suggestion here:

    https://connect.microsoft.com/WindowsHomeServer/feedback/ViewFeedback.aspx?FeedbackID=306080
    Thursday, November 29, 2007 6:17 PM