Noobie RAID Question
Here is a noobie raid question - sorry.
We have an RM server which is currently running Windows 2003. It was our old domain controller for CC3, but as we are no longer with RM it is being reformatted to run as a Thin Client Server.
My question is this - is the machine setup to automatically use the RAID 5 configuration in the BIOS or the RAID Bios. Meaning that when we re-install Windows 2003 it automatically detects the RAID 5 configuration and uses it accordingly. Once Windows 2003 is installed, do I then have to install Windows RAID drivers?
I've never had to do this before - so it is a gap in my knowledge that hopefully someone can help me with.
RAID is either hardware- or software-run. If it's hardware, you configure it in the controller and the hardware does the work, Windows doesn't care (in fact it probably doesn't even know). If however you just whack some disks in and configure Windows to use them as a RAID volume, you've got software raid and then it does know and care. Hardware raid is generally quicker, but may need to be offline for a rebuild if you haven't got hot-swap drives.
If I remember right, you can't software raid your system partition, so you may have to use hardware raid anyway.
As for drivers, that depends on your controller.
Depends if its hardware or software raid. Normally you could have a dedicated on board/plugged in hardware raid controller with its own BIOS to configure and setup discs in various arrays and configurations (like a Dell Perc). You would also have a dedicated driver CD to use when installing windows, via the usual hit F? to load a raid/scsi driver on setup message you get when first installing. As far as the OS is concerned, its then seen as a single disc, the controller does all the managment.
I tend to go for Raid 5 on data volumes with a single disc reserved for hot stand by. In the event of a failure the spare disc will automatically take up the load of the failed disc with maybe a hour or two of downtime to rebuild the data. You can then wander in the next day, view the warning message, purchase a new hot spare/take one from stock and replace.
For serious uptime, using a mirrored array will remove the rebuild time for Raid 5, but at the cost of more £'s per MB. (1/2 capacity of all discs opposed to 3/4 capacity in a 4 disc raid 5.)
F6 for Windows Server.
Originally Posted by Jay
If it is hardware RAID you will have to press F6 right at the very Start of the Win2k3 Server Install procedure. - the prompt doesnt stay up for long so be quick! You need to put the drivers for your exact RAID card on a floppy disk too as the F6 prompt takes drivers from floppy disks.
I would stick with RAID5 for the Terminal Server as alot of what a terminal server does is reads, with less writes. And reads are much faster on Raid 5 than on Raid 1.
If you want to be really fancy (or just more fault tolerant) and you have enough drives you could do the following.
Configure 2 drives in a RAID 1 (mirror) and use these for the o/s
then configure the other drives in a RAID 5 config and have these for the data partition.
This is what I do and I've found it works. Obvioulsy you have to make sure you've got enough disks as I like to have a hotspare as well on the RAID 5.