Raiding Seagate and Western Digital

December 10, 2009 at 07:34:37
Specs: Microsoft Windows XP Professional, 2.802 GHz / 3007 MB
I have two 500 GB Desktop Hard Drives which I am planning to RAID, but they are of different brands. One is a Western Digital and the other is a Seagate. They both have 32 MB cache and are both 7200 RPM.

Now, I am planning to put this on my server which is running 24/7 and is my data server as well. Right now, the data is running off one hard drive (The Western Digital One).

Now, will these two hard drives work in a RAID 1 array or will I have problems? How will performance be just for a file server?

Those are the only two hard drives I have right now and I don't want to waste extra on another hard drive, unless I can trade one in, which I have no idea how to do on the internet.

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December 10, 2009 at 12:49:18
Depends on the raid controller. Some soft raids don't care and they are really not as good as server grade raid.

Server raids tend to require two matched drives. See owners manual.

Playing to the angels
Les Paul (1915-2009)

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December 10, 2009 at 13:03:42
You should always match [type/rpms/bios rev/etc] drives when doing hardware raid. Doesn't matter if doing software raid with dynamic disks.

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December 10, 2009 at 15:59:51
I was talking about soft raid controllers.

A soft raid is a cheap raid adapter and they normally boast the fact they can run unmatched drives.

This goes back to the owners manual anyway.

Playing to the angels
Les Paul (1915-2009)

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December 10, 2009 at 18:05:32
You should always match [type/rpms/bios rev/etc] drives when doing hardware raid.

^ Well I can't becuase I only have 2 500 GB hard drives which are different, another website told me that it doesn't matter:

This is one drive:

and this is the other:

The controller card is this:

Intel 82801GR/GH SATA RAID Controller.

I am not sure weather that would support 2 different 500 GB hard drives, so do you think I shold get another western digital for about 40 dollars?

I am also looking for two identical IDE 120 GB hard drives because my one domain controller sits on a Single 320 GB Maxtor IDE Hard Drive on a RAID controller, waiting for another hard drive to RAID itself.

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December 10, 2009 at 18:13:28
Okay, here is an update.

I have another WD5000AAKS, but it looks different, like this:

My current Western Digital has a blue sticker. And plus, I have no garuntee that this will last since a friend gave it to me for backup and sometimes it works, but sometimes it doesn't.

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December 10, 2009 at 19:04:44
Never heard of a soft raid hardware controller. Got a link by chance?

I can tell you from experience mixing drives in hardware raid can and will be a problem. It might take a bit of time but you will have issues. Usual signs are drives going offline, corrupted data and performance issues.

As long as you are not concerned about these issues above or its non critical operations, non critical data, downtime ok then give it a try.

It would be interesting in a few months to see what your experience was with mismatched drives.

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December 10, 2009 at 19:44:17

Wiki terms them firmware or driver based. Linux users have used the phrase soft raid as in soft modems. Both need some program to get the chip to work and most linux people don't like that.

They are also called fake raids.

Playing to the angels
Les Paul (1915-2009)

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December 10, 2009 at 20:47:58
Ah ha. I see. software run and not hardware independant. seen them but not up to my standard :-)

thanks for the link and info jefro.

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December 13, 2009 at 10:42:36
wanderrer and jefro, thank you for your help. I am thinking that I will use my extra WD5000AAKS and see how that performs, I don't know weather that drive will last because sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't turn on and just heats up. Trying this on my server might be risky. As for my seagate (i am using it right now), if I use a special software to periodically backup my data as windows will see it as an 'extra' drive, that may be what I wanted, but then I will only get the speed of 1 hard drive, not the true RAID speed.

I think since I am using the seagate on my desktop right now, I Will give the broken hard drive a try, but please tell me what you consider.

Thanks for the comments and help. :)

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December 13, 2009 at 10:52:48

The purpose of using RAID 1 is to attempt some sort of data protection. To use mismatched or iffy drives seems to run counter to that end. To carry things a step further if you research on any of the manufacturers sites for hard drives you will find enterprise drives listed. These are intended for mission critical systems.

wanderer mentioned drives going offline. That is something that happens quite often when using consumer grade drives. The RAID controller may sense an anomaly in a drive and kick it off line. This may be nothing more than the drive performing a self check.

If you really need to have a server running 24/7 and you care if you have failures then you need to use better drives and more of them.

I we can ask, what is the mission of the server?

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