Drive array configuration

Ok, I am a new IT manager at my company, and the old IT manager (who moved
into a different position in the company) is still well-respected.  I
emailed that I want to take an 14 disk drive array of 18G drives that is not
being used and add it to our second Exchange 2003 server to be used as
storage space for Exchange.  Our current primary Exchange server is one of
our domain controllers (something the old IT manager setup).  I have not
gotten too far with the configuration yet, so he "offered" his advice and
said that setting up the array in a RAID-5 configuration is bad.  With that
many disks, he said I should be running it in RAID-10 and that we would see
a substantial performance gain over RAID-5.  The company has ~150 people on
that Exchange server, we should be around 250 by end of 2005, and we've
created ~40G of Exchange data in the less than 2 years the company has run
Exchange.  He also commented that my configuration, which would leave ~200G
of available Exchange storage, is overkill and that his RAID-10 config at
~100G should suffice through the end of 2005.  This email was sent to me, my
boss, and his boss, the network manager.

So, outside of the political stuff involved, how do I proceed?  I'm not a
guru of RAID configurations, and I've never seen an actual RAID-10 server
run, so I can't make comparisons.  That said, I personally think his
recommendation is nothing more than interesting.  Why would I consider
providing 100G of extra space when I can provide 200G at the same cost?
It's still protected with RAID-5, and if I drop it to 180G, I can make one
drive a hot spare.  His rationale is that RAID-10 is so much better at write
speeds that the performance for a heavy read-write app like Exchange will
perform better.  I think our Exchange server performs pretty well now, and
it's on a domain controller, so it's not even a dedicated machine.  So
should I really look into his suggestion further, or should I consider this
his attempt to stay in the spotlight by giving me recommendations on how to
do my job?


0
rkasten (2)
8/7/2004 11:06:36 AM
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Technically, the old manager is rigth.  RAID-5 is not as good as many ppl
think.  It waste less HDD space but the writing speed is much slower.  Each
write operation to a RAID 5 will change to 2 read accesses and 2 writes
accesses (update both the data and parity).  It also eats up CPU power
(especially software RAID).  When you have a failed disk in RAID 5 and you
need to re-gen data on a replacement while ppl continue accessing the data,
you will know why many ppl prefer RAID 0+1.

As you have 2 Exchange servers, you may consider distribute the MBX among
them.  If so, each Exchange might not need too much spare space.  If you
implement mailbox storage limits, auto archive and auto delete old mails
features in Exchange, the database size will be under control.   In some
company, over 80% of the old mails in over 80% of the user's mailbox are
just rubbish no one dare to delete.

I will suggest:
RAID 1 OS
RAID 0 Paging File and Temp Folders
RAID 0+1 MBX and PF Data files
RAID 1 Log Files

I think it's still an overkill in your situation...

I've heard story about buying an auto-tape loader drive for backup a
database with less than 1GB data.  Well, I will suggest use USB-IDE HDD
instead.  Sometimes, a Pentium III 512MB ram single IDE HDD is "overkill"
already.

-- 

S.Y.P. Lai
MCSE+Internet NT4
MCSE+Security Win2K
MCSE+Messaging Win2k3


"Rick Kasten" <rkasten@NOSPAM.charter.net>
news:10h9dttfkaqo778@corp.supernews.com
> Ok, I am a new IT manager at my company, and the old IT manager (who moved
> into a different position in the company) is still well-respected.  I
> emailed that I want to take an 14 disk drive array of 18G drives that is
not
> being used and add it to our second Exchange 2003 server to be used as
> storage space for Exchange.  Our current primary Exchange server is one of
> our domain controllers (something the old IT manager setup).  I have not
> gotten too far with the configuration yet, so he "offered" his advice and
> said that setting up the array in a RAID-5 configuration is bad.  With
that
> many disks, he said I should be running it in RAID-10 and that we would
see
> a substantial performance gain over RAID-5.  The company has ~150 people
on
> that Exchange server, we should be around 250 by end of 2005, and we've
> created ~40G of Exchange data in the less than 2 years the company has run
> Exchange.  He also commented that my configuration, which would leave
~200G
> of available Exchange storage, is overkill and that his RAID-10 config at
> ~100G should suffice through the end of 2005.  This email was sent to me,
my
> boss, and his boss, the network manager.
>
> So, outside of the political stuff involved, how do I proceed?  I'm not a
> guru of RAID configurations, and I've never seen an actual RAID-10 server
> run, so I can't make comparisons.  That said, I personally think his
> recommendation is nothing more than interesting.  Why would I consider
> providing 100G of extra space when I can provide 200G at the same cost?
> It's still protected with RAID-5, and if I drop it to 180G, I can make one
> drive a hot spare.  His rationale is that RAID-10 is so much better at
write
> speeds that the performance for a heavy read-write app like Exchange will
> perform better.  I think our Exchange server performs pretty well now, and
> it's on a domain controller, so it's not even a dedicated machine.  So
> should I really look into his suggestion further, or should I consider
this
> his attempt to stay in the spotlight by giving me recommendations on how
to
> do my job?
>
>

0
syplai (115)
8/7/2004 5:18:46 PM
"S.Y. Paul Lai" <syplai@hotmail.com> wrote in message
news:efUZlIKfEHA.644@tk2msftngp13.phx.gbl...
> Technically, the old manager is rigth.  RAID-5 is not as good as many ppl
> think.  It waste less HDD space but the writing speed is much slower.
Each
> write operation to a RAID 5 will change to 2 read accesses and 2 writes
> accesses (update both the data and parity).  It also eats up CPU power
> (especially software RAID).  When you have a failed disk in RAID 5 and you
> need to re-gen data on a replacement while ppl continue accessing the
data,
> you will know why many ppl prefer RAID 0+1.
>
> As you have 2 Exchange servers, you may consider distribute the MBX among
> them.  If so, each Exchange might not need too much spare space.  If you
> implement mailbox storage limits, auto archive and auto delete old mails
> features in Exchange, the database size will be under control.   In some
> company, over 80% of the old mails in over 80% of the user's mailbox are
> just rubbish no one dare to delete.
>
> I will suggest:
> RAID 1 OS
> RAID 0 Paging File and Temp Folders
> RAID 0+1 MBX and PF Data files
> RAID 1 Log Files
>
> I think it's still an overkill in your situation...
>
> I've heard story about buying an auto-tape loader drive for backup a
> database with less than 1GB data.  Well, I will suggest use USB-IDE HDD
> instead.  Sometimes, a Pentium III 512MB ram single IDE HDD is "overkill"
> already.
>
> -- 
>
> S.Y.P. Lai
> MCSE+Internet NT4
> MCSE+Security Win2K
> MCSE+Messaging Win2k3
>
>
> "Rick Kasten" <rkasten@NOSPAM.charter.net>
> news:10h9dttfkaqo778@corp.supernews.com
> > Ok, I am a new IT manager at my company, and the old IT manager (who
moved
> > into a different position in the company) is still well-respected.  I
> > emailed that I want to take an 14 disk drive array of 18G drives that is
> not
> > being used and add it to our second Exchange 2003 server to be used as
> > storage space for Exchange.  Our current primary Exchange server is one
of
> > our domain controllers (something the old IT manager setup).  I have not
> > gotten too far with the configuration yet, so he "offered" his advice
and
> > said that setting up the array in a RAID-5 configuration is bad.  With
> that
> > many disks, he said I should be running it in RAID-10 and that we would
> see
> > a substantial performance gain over RAID-5.  The company has ~150 people
> on
> > that Exchange server, we should be around 250 by end of 2005, and we've
> > created ~40G of Exchange data in the less than 2 years the company has
run
> > Exchange.  He also commented that my configuration, which would leave
> ~200G
> > of available Exchange storage, is overkill and that his RAID-10 config
at
> > ~100G should suffice through the end of 2005.  This email was sent to
me,
> my
> > boss, and his boss, the network manager.
> >
> > So, outside of the political stuff involved, how do I proceed?  I'm not
a
> > guru of RAID configurations, and I've never seen an actual RAID-10
server
> > run, so I can't make comparisons.  That said, I personally think his
> > recommendation is nothing more than interesting.  Why would I consider
> > providing 100G of extra space when I can provide 200G at the same cost?
> > It's still protected with RAID-5, and if I drop it to 180G, I can make
one
> > drive a hot spare.  His rationale is that RAID-10 is so much better at
> write
> > speeds that the performance for a heavy read-write app like Exchange
will
> > perform better.  I think our Exchange server performs pretty well now,
and
> > it's on a domain controller, so it's not even a dedicated machine.  So
> > should I really look into his suggestion further, or should I consider
> this
> > his attempt to stay in the spotlight by giving me recommendations on how
> to
> > do my job?
> >
> >
>

 I can second the hard drive backup instead of tape. Its faster, larger
storage, and more reliable.
Yes you cant store old backups for ages like tape, but who want more that
the last 2 or 3 backups anyway.
If your mail drives are RAID 1, 01 or 5 you have redundancy already, then if
the backup drive is also RAID 1 you can sit easy that you are unlikely to
loose data.

I tend to disagree with your RAID 5 statement. If you have a decent hardware
RAID card, and good 10k rpm SCSI drives, RAID 5 is faster than 1 or 0+1.

If on a budget you can get a 4 or 8 channel SATA RAID5 card for 75/160 quid
respectively  then you can use some decent SATA drives and get some serious
storage. Terabyte +.


0
plandregan (32)
8/8/2004 10:11:17 AM
Reply:

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