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Can someone help me with a raid controller question? RRS feed

  • Question

  • I'm thinking about building a Windows Home Server box from my old XP machine.  I currently have a RAID controller in the system to increase my drive capacity.  The question is, will this RAID controller work with Home Server, and if so, can someone steer me to advice/articles/explanation of how to get Home Server to recognize the drives attached to the controller?

     

    Currently, under XP, each drive connected to the controller is under its own drive letter in XP.

     

    If someone could help before I purchase, that woudl be great.  Let me know if more information is needed.

    Wednesday, February 20, 2008 2:20 PM

All replies

  • Hello,

     

    While WHS is currently using SBS 2003 as a backend the drivers that work in XP will almost certainly work under WHS. I think I read somewhere there is a plan to change the back end server to 2008, which most likely would cause problems.... but I don't know much more about that.

     

    Unlike XP though under WHS it won't give each drive a letter, using Drive Extender it will add them to the D:\ (PDF on this here), all you would have to do is log in to your Home Server Console and Add the drives to the pool.

    Wednesday, February 20, 2008 2:44 PM
  • So you're saying that my controller will work?

     

    Basically, the setup I want to use is to have one DVD drive and three hard drives connected to the onboard IDE controllers.  Then, with the RAID controller, have 4 more hard drives connected internally.

     

    I'm assuming that in order to get the hard drives connected to the RAID controller working, all I have to do is connect them to the controller and not have any type of RAID set up, correct?  Would the PDF linked provide the details to do this?

     

    Right now, under XP, I have four drives showing up in XP that are connected to the RAID controller, each with its own drive letter.  Would it be safe to assume that if I use the same setup under WHS as I am under XP, that will work?

     

    Thanks again for all your help.

     

    Wednesday, February 20, 2008 2:53 PM
  • It should work yes, you might need to login to the server as Administrator  - which won't be a problem as you will be setting up the OS i assume anyway - and install the drivers but thats a simple enough task.

     

    So long as you are using the RAID card to simply attach additional drives (JBOD as opposed to RAID0 or RAID1) then it will be fine it will work.

     

    Whereas under XP you have 4 drives with drive letters on WHS you will only have 2 drives C:\ and D:\ (plus your DVD drive E:\) C:\ is your system drive, a 20GB partition of your first hard drive D:\ is the remainder of the primary drive dedicated to Data Storage. Your additional drives become "part" of D:\ under the control of the Drive Extender.

     

    D:\ is where your Shares will be, when you copy data to a share it wil initially reside on the D:\ partition of the primary hard disk, Drive Extender then kicks in and Balances the storage, moving all but the NTFS tombstones to your additional storage, freeing up the space on your primary drive.

     

    It's a bit complicated to get your head round the first time, but once it clicks it starts to make sense. Ultimately all it means it your primary drive should be as big as possible to allow for the transfer of larger amounts of data to the machine (for example my primary drive is 250GB, I have 209GB free on the D:\ (But I have 1.3TB of storage total) so I can only transfer a maximum of 209GB at a time, then I have to wait for Drive Extender to kick in and balance the storage before I can transfer any more)

     

    The technical side of how it works is alot better explained in the PDF I originally linked.

    Wednesday, February 20, 2008 3:07 PM
  • BigBrew....thank you so much!

     

    I read most of what you listed in the PDF (I also printed it out for my reference, thanks!), and just confirms my initial thoughts.  However, I was stuck on the whole RAID thing, until you explained it out.

     

    Yes, I only plan on using the RAID controller to add additional drives to my server.  If I remember correctly, I don't have an option in the RAID configuration utility of JBOD....should that be an option?  If it isn't, what settings should I use to maximize the performance and get the JBOD setting?  I'm at work right now, so I can't get to my computer, but I do remember not setting up any type of RAID system....I just connected my disks to the controller and configured it as such so that each disk would be its own "array" or group.....basically, none of the disks connected to the controller are grouped together as one disk.

     

    I just want to make sure I completely understand what's going to happen with the RAID controller before I purchase the OEM software.

     

    Wednesday, February 20, 2008 3:49 PM
  • Bear in mind that increasing the number of hard disks decreases proportionately the MTBF.  Desktop hard disks might only be designed to last 3 years of continuous use, so having 3 disks means that you would be more likely than not to suffer a disk failure ever year.  Six disks, every 6 months.

     

    Another thing is that most hard drives consume around 10 to 13W at idle.  Your server won't spin them down because there is generally always something going on - indexing, re-jigging, people accessing files and stuff, and your old PC probably has a power supply 65% efficient (or less).  Where this is all going is that each hard drive will cost you, directly, about £15 - £20 of electricity each year.

     

    So if you were planning to use 7 disks, this is potentially £140 of juice a year - so dropping in two brand-new 500GB drives could pay for themselves within a year .

     

    Hope that helps.

     

    Wednesday, February 20, 2008 4:06 PM
  •  jasonmcclain wrote:

    BigBrew....thank you so much!

     

    I read most of what you listed in the PDF (I also printed it out for my reference, thanks!), and just confirms my initial thoughts.  However, I was stuck on the whole RAID thing, until you explained it out.

     

    Yes, I only plan on using the RAID controller to add additional drives to my server.  If I remember correctly, I don't have an option in the RAID configuration utility of JBOD....should that be an option?  If it isn't, what settings should I use to maximize the performance and get the JBOD setting?  I'm at work right now, so I can't get to my computer, but I do remember not setting up any type of RAID system....I just connected my disks to the controller and configured it as such so that each disk would be its own "array" or group.....basically, none of the disks connected to the controller are grouped together as one disk.

     

    I just want to make sure I completely understand what's going to happen with the RAID controller before I purchase the OEM software.

     

     

    JBOD = Just a Bunch of Disks

     

    From what you have said I gather that your RAID card is actually a SATA controller that supports RAID, in that case just leaving your drives in your current configuation without touching the RAID bios is perfectly fine.

    Wednesday, February 20, 2008 4:23 PM
  •  Jimbo! wrote:

    Bear in mind that increasing the number of hard disks decreases proportionately the MTBF.  Desktop hard disks might only be designed to last 3 years of continuous use, so having 3 disks means that you would be more likely than not to suffer a disk failure ever year.  Six disks, every 6 months.

     

    Another thing is that most hard drives consume around 10 to 13W at idle.  Your server won't spin them down because there is generally always something going on - indexing, re-jigging, people accessing files and stuff, and your old PC probably has a power supply 65% efficient (or less).  Where this is all going is that each hard drive will cost you, directly, about £15 - £20 of electricity each year.

     

    So if you were planning to use 7 disks, this is potentially £140 of juice a year - so dropping in two brand-new 500GB drives could pay for themselves within a year .

     

    Hope that helps.

     

     

    Good advice there too Smile

     

    I have found it really hard to get MTBF rates from drive manufacturers these days.... I have found them for WD Raptor's (which are almost server class discs anyway) but not many others.....

    Wednesday, February 20, 2008 4:26 PM
  • Yes indeed - I'm using WD Caviar RE2 disks, 1.2m hrs MTBF @ 100% duty cycle.  Good on power too.  I know they're supposed to be used with hardware RAID - no problems so far though

    Wednesday, February 20, 2008 4:47 PM
  •  

    Pricey!! I guess worth it though, I am using alot cheaper Samsung Spinpoints they have half your MTBF!! But since WHS handles drive failure so neatly I don't forsee it being a major problem!!
    Wednesday, February 20, 2008 5:04 PM
  • the SpinPoints were second on my list actually - I only went for the RE2s because they were on special on DABS, about £15 extra each I think.

     

    Wednesday, February 20, 2008 5:10 PM
  •  BigBrew wrote:
     jasonmcclain wrote:

    BigBrew....thank you so much!

     

    I read most of what you listed in the PDF (I also printed it out for my reference, thanks!), and just confirms my initial thoughts.  However, I was stuck on the whole RAID thing, until you explained it out.

     

    Yes, I only plan on using the RAID controller to add additional drives to my server.  If I remember correctly, I don't have an option in the RAID configuration utility of JBOD....should that be an option?  If it isn't, what settings should I use to maximize the performance and get the JBOD setting?  I'm at work right now, so I can't get to my computer, but I do remember not setting up any type of RAID system....I just connected my disks to the controller and configured it as such so that each disk would be its own "array" or group.....basically, none of the disks connected to the controller are grouped together as one disk.

     

    I just want to make sure I completely understand what's going to happen with the RAID controller before I purchase the OEM software.

     

     

    JBOD = Just a Bunch of Disks

     

    From what you have said I gather that your RAID card is actually a SATA controller that supports RAID, in that case just leaving your drives in your current configuation without touching the RAID bios is perfectly fine.

     

    BigBrew...

     

    Well, its not a SATA controller, but instead just an ATA/IDE controller that supports RAID.  I believe that it shows up as a SCSI devise in Device Manager.  However, based on your answer, I'm going to assume that everything will be ok with Windows Home Server using this configuration.  Can you let me know if I'm know on the same page as you?

     

    Jimbo...I definitely agree.  However, I'm not too worried about electric usage now.  Right now I'm just trying to get it set up and use all the hard drives I have.....I figure once I get everything working, I'll start upgrading drives....then I'll have to find something to do with my old, smaller ones!

     

    If you guys have any other advice for a guy wanting to build a server from scratch, please post it.

     

    My machine should be ok....its a Pentium 4 with 1 GB of RAM......

     

    Thanks for all your help, guys.

    Wednesday, February 20, 2008 5:12 PM
  • Hi Jason, I've said the same on a couple of threads today, but seriously, ditch the P4 and just get an HP Proliant ML110, they're practically giving the things aways.  Fast and efficient and rock solid.

    Wednesday, February 20, 2008 5:22 PM
  • My Home Server build cost me a little over £500 total.

     

    Case: Antec  Atlas Black Server Case - With 550W Truepower 2 PSU - This is a good case but the fan is a bit noisy with it being a server case, it can be turned off though without any major increase in system temperature

     

    Motherboard: MSI P4M900M2-L Socket 775 P4M900 onboard VGA 8 channel audio mATX Motherboard (decent enough motherboard, has potential for expansion, gigabit nic and onboard VGA)

     

    Chip: Intel Pentium 4 631 3GHz, really cheap, its not likely to ever need multiple cores

     

    RAM: 2GB of Kingston RAM

     

    HD's: 2 x 250GB Samsung Spinpoints, 2 x 500GB samsung Spinpoints (added last month)

     

    Plus Startech 4 Port PCI Serial ATA (SATA) Storage controller leaving me with 2 spare SATA ports but I would probably replace the system drive and second 250 before (with 500GB drives) before adding any more

     

    This runs like a charm, I've so far had no problems with it but I don't make excessive use of it for anything other than backups and media storage

    Wednesday, February 20, 2008 5:26 PM
  •  Jimbo! wrote:

    Hi Jason, I've said the same on a couple of threads today, but seriously, ditch the P4 and just get an HP Proliant ML110, they're practically giving the things aways.  Fast and efficient and rock solid.

     

    Wow that is really cheap.... I never thought about that I think I was relishing the build too much... would have saved myself a packet too if I had bought one of those and just upgraded it... oh well Smile

    Wednesday, February 20, 2008 5:30 PM
  •  BigBrew wrote:
     Jimbo! wrote:

    Hi Jason, I've said the same on a couple of threads today, but seriously, ditch the P4 and just get an HP Proliant ML110, they're practically giving the things aways.  Fast and efficient and rock solid.

     

    Wow that is really cheap.... I never thought about that I think I was relishing the build too much... would have saved myself a packet too if I had bought one of those and just upgraded it... oh well

     

    I agree....it definitely is making me rethink my recycling idea.

     

    I had originally wanted to use my p4 so that I could buy a desktop....but I don't know if I could beat the price!

    Wednesday, February 20, 2008 5:50 PM