Adaptec 1220 or 2420

DougA

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Hello,
I've been researching RAID until my head hurts too much to continue. Days of reading is causing blurry vision. :pt1cable:

I've got a small business with 3 mission critical computers. We deal with thousands of raw and jpg files each week. Every time I have a mobo or boot drive failure, it takes way too long to get everything operational again.

I had a mobo raid with boot drives mirrored but the chip failed and it was nice to simply plug in one drive and we're up and running again. Neglected to buy a raid card to replace it, now the boot drive has failed -ouch. Nothing lost, just time.
Question is this: should I go for a cheapie raid card (1220) and just mirror the boot drives and have an extra card on hand? Or - spend more and put all 4 one or two TB drives onto one better raid card with one drive as a hot spare. The 2420 has so much more features that would be well worth it for me BUT, since I'm a bit anal, it means that I need to have a spare 2420 on hand in case of failure. I can't wait a few days for one to arrive. Now, we're talking $600. more (for 2 of each)than the 1220 solution but if I never have another day of downtime, it's well worth it for me.

Problems: I'd like to get a card that will handle SATA III (to future proof) but hard to find a reliable one.
I am not interested in NAS or any back-up plans. I have that for data but need a boot drive solution. SSDs are not much benefit to me since the system is left on all the time and they can fail also.
Thanks, Doug
 
Try this on for size, and see if I am missing the point.

My boot drive contains only software, no data. I don't care if I have to fall back to a two-week-old-backup of it. In fact, I do so regularly to reduce malware and bloat. Restore an old image, do Windows update, install any new software, and do malware scans. Then I save the image, and a month later I do the same thing.

So. If your systems are really organized so that all data is on the data drives, and all that's on the boot drive is software, make a couple of copies of the boot drive and put them in antistatic bags in cushioned boxes in a strong drawer. If a boot drive dies, take it out of the machine, swap in the ready image that was just waiting in that drawer, and reboot.

No RAID, no expensive adapters, and very short turnover time (it doesn't take me long to swap out a drive. I could mount a new boot drive out of a drawer in about 60 seconds if I put it in this: http://kingwin.com/products/cate/mobile/racks/kf_1000_bk.asp instead of insisting on being neat and taking out the dead drive and installing the spare internally.

If you are afraid that the image spare might not boot, than make the image after the end of business on Friday, shut down the system, remove the system drive and put it in the drawer as the spare, install the imaged drive, and boot and test. If everything works, your drawer has a spare that you know works, because you did your work on it this morning.

Would these simpler, cheaper solutions give you sufficient confidence?
 
Welcome to the Forums.

I read your post and you have already done your research most carefully. You are aware of they key point that if you lose a Raid controller you need another of the same controller on hand to re-use the Raid volume.

I think any discussion here will be one of opinion, since you have the facts. I wouldn't worry too much about SATA III unless you are going to use SSDs. Current generations of hard drives have far to go before they can saturate an SATA II link.

Adaptec is greatly reliable and greatly expensive. One interesting difference between the cards: Isn't the 2420 a PCI-X solution, which is different from the 1220's PCI-Express? The X version is rarer, mostly seen on server boards. Take a good look at this with your blurry vision, and make sure that you have a compatible motherboard slot.

The advantage of the four-port card is that you can also RAID1 your data drives and not be concerned about data loss, either.

Of the three mission-critical computers: Do they all have the exact same set of data, or do they share a central storage point, or does each one use different data?

In the middle case, you could consider a spare computer - if one fails, move to working on the spare. Heavy protection on the file server.

In the last case, each machine's continuity is critical. You would need four-drive raid cards in each.

Well, I can't give you a simple answer. Even if I knew all your parameters I couldn't. Have you considered the model 2405 at $55 less than the 2420? It's a PCI-Express device, so again your motherboards are crucial.

We are perfectly willing to discuss different options given more details. My main questions at this point are
o The one above about the roles of the three computers
o Types of available slots in the computers
o You have only mentioned boot drives; how many data drives do you have? Oh, that may not be relevant, you specified that you are only interested in the boot drives.
 

DougA

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Thanks so much for the intelligent response. ;)

I have a habit of being long winded so I was trying to keep to the basics. One of my problems is that I run a very specialized program on 2 of the workstations which uses a USB dongle. At $4K each, I'd love to have an extra back-up but it's not going to happen soon.

1st question about computer roles: There are 2 computers that carry the workload and both are almost identical in build and use. They work on independent images but one drive in each is dedicated to having the entire b/u of images from the other (that's actually b/u #3). When we're busy, both are sending images to the printers. I have a friend with a similar system who uses a NAS but that puts a huge load on the network with large files going back & forth constantly. Even with a giga network, a bottleneck is created. With my version, they're traveling in one direction to the printers.

2nd, you are correct, I wasn't paying attention to slots on the model and I am interested in pcie only.

3rd. My primary interest is in the boot drives. My main concern is the ability to quickly swap out a bad boot drive from the mirror and have it rebuilt on it's own. I'm hoping for as close to zero downtime as possible. If I felt it was worth the extra cost, then I would put all the drives on the raid and I would then want an 'E' option with an empty drive on the array that would be used if one drive failed. Right now, I can manage backups on the data drives (4 with 1TB each) but it would be nice not to. I have Acronis and could ghost the boot drive but I'd prefer to not to risk a problem. Probably I'm too afraid of mistakes that are very costly.

I have only begun looking at the management software on the better raid cards and I like the ability of Adaptec software to point out potential problems with drives. Am I being too optimistic that this works as stated?

Please let me know if there's anything else you need to help with a solution. Thanks, Doug

 
Try this on for size, and see if I am missing the point.

My boot drive contains only software, no data. I don't care if I have to fall back to a two-week-old-backup of it. In fact, I do so regularly to reduce malware and bloat. Restore an old image, do Windows update, install any new software, and do malware scans. Then I save the image, and a month later I do the same thing.

So. If your systems are really organized so that all data is on the data drives, and all that's on the boot drive is software, make a couple of copies of the boot drive and put them in antistatic bags in cushioned boxes in a strong drawer. If a boot drive dies, take it out of the machine, swap in the ready image that was just waiting in that drawer, and reboot.

No RAID, no expensive adapters, and very short turnover time (it doesn't take me long to swap out a drive. I could mount a new boot drive out of a drawer in about 60 seconds if I put it in this: http://kingwin.com/products/cate/mobile/racks/kf_1000_bk.asp instead of insisting on being neat and taking out the dead drive and installing the spare internally.

If you are afraid that the image spare might not boot, than make the image after the end of business on Friday, shut down the system, remove the system drive and put it in the drawer as the spare, install the imaged drive, and boot and test. If everything works, your drawer has a spare that you know works, because you did your work on it this morning.

Would these simpler, cheaper solutions give you sufficient confidence?
 

DougA

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Feb 11, 2011
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Thank again for the reply. I hadn't thought about such a low tech solution and I'll need to ponder it a bit more. My first thought is that I slightly mislead you that the boot drive MUST contain all the templates that are regularly created on the special software. They take a huge amount of room. But, I can always have a spare current copy of these on the data drives and just flip it over to the new boot drive.

You've given me something to chew on. :??:
 

sylmarils

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Hi There, I was reading your needs and i consider that a good raid card is in order and some enterprise HDD's. They eat more but last longer. Its all about he budget anyway. Isn't better to run OS and SW on a SSD (i.e. more reliable than mechanical) and save your templates elsewhere i.e. raid 6 and hdd's mounted on bays so they can be swapped without even rebooting the comp. BTW im hunting along time for a 1220 but im not sure if is for personal use.Anyway needs the battery and thats extra buks and its not funny when you need to go thru recovering a raid 6 because one of your fuzes went off. One of the servers lost power while in full write and had no batt backup. All RAID 6 went off synk.Data was recovered but takes longer than installin os :) BTW what size are the templates?? and how many(i.e. different transfer times over network)
 

DougA

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The templates must be on the boot drive, no other choice for the program. They can take 100G easily so really the best option is the low tech one suggested.

I was pretty well decided to buy a new Asus P8P67 board with a Sandybridge CPU and then I found that Asus has recalled them due to a chip problem. Won't be out for another 3-4 weeks. Guess I'll just wait. If I'm going to take the time to put all the software on the boot drive, might as well upgrade at the same time - besides, saved the money i was going to spend on the raid card. :lol:

Thanks for the help guys. :hello:
 
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