RAID Chipset Failure, salvagable?

October 21, 2010 at 07:36:42
Specs: Windows 7 Pro 64bit, AMD64 X2 2.6Ghz, 3Gb DDR2 800Mhz
Hey folks, general query on RAID Setups! One of the obvious features is data redundancy, but as I've experienced before, if you move a simple Mirror RAID from one Chipset to another, it's not a seamless process by any stretch.

So the question is, if you build a RAID of any kind, is the major weakness the Chipset overseeing it's operation? Once it goes, you've lost the Setup Data of the RAID it was controlling. I guess Mirrors would be still accessible viewing individual drives, but Stripes and other types are presumably lost? Or are the chipsets not as finicky in regards to migration as I believe?

I currently have a Stripe using an onboard chipset, and a Mirror using Windows Disk Management (I know, software driven isn't the best). I'm considering transitioning to an External RAID 0+1 setup, and I've just realised, "What happens if the RAID Enclosure storing the drives goes faulty?", is the RAID lost and all data unrecoverable? Yep, I'm "Mr Fear The Worst", heh.

Thanks for your time and wisdom!

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October 21, 2010 at 08:22:54
You should be able to recover data from a failed mirror array as there will always be at least two complete copies of the data on different hard disks,

However with a striped array there is no chance as data is split between two different disks. There is no redundancy whatsoever with a stripped array.

That is why you will never hear anyone recommended RAID 0 on these forums, it is just an accident waiting to happen.


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October 21, 2010 at 09:19:08
If the controller of a RAiD0 array fails it is usually possible to recover the data. But it requires advanced software and the process is not simple. If any disk fails all data is lost.

A StuartS said, RAID0 is not generally recommended for a desktop. It can improve performance significantly in some specific situations but general use of Windows, gaming, etc., does not qualify. The limited performance gains usually do not offset the greater chance of failure, difficulty of recovery, etc. If you do use RAID0 it is essential to always maintain regular backups.

RAID1 has few problems, but it does have one rather serious one. That is it requires two drives to provide the storage capacity of one. For a desktop the cost of this is often hard to justify.

Also be aware that with any form of RAID you still require regular backups. It offers no protection from data loss other than drive failure.

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October 21, 2010 at 10:19:24
LMiller7, you do address there is a possibility to recover RAID+0 Arrays if they fail, but it's expensive/difficult at the best of times? I guess that kinda answers my question, the RAID Chipset itself is the major weakness of the whole process (not including RAID+1 it seems). If the RAID itself can crumble due to hardware failure (however minute the chance), it becomes a real threat.

It's all I wanted to know, because I've read about comparisons of RAID arrays, always discussing the redundancy and safety of data. But it can all go to pot anyway if the controller fails, which I swear is never really addressed. I guess it's obvious, but seems unusual I've never seen it clearly mentioned.

So the answer is, perhaps go for the RAID0+1 array with 4 fresh drives, but disband my existing Mirror Array into seperate, standard drives again and use one as a second Backup. If the External Enclosure fails, I have my drive backup, and vice versa.

This probably seems extreme (It's certainly a large expense to buy the Drives and RAID Enclosure), but I use my PC a lot and losing data is just unacceptable.

Hardware is replaceable, Data is not.

Thank you both so much for your time and invaluable responses :)

On a side note, I have never had a single drive fail me, ever. Even an old 3Gb IDE from our first machine still works, but it's just a matter of time...

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