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Jon_AK

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Reply with quote  #1 
In the planning stage for a 2008R2 server replacement and migration of our AD / Office365 / Azure sync environment.  Machine selected is a HP Proliant ML150.  The Raid selection for the boot/system drive I am considering is a Hybrid choice - (2) 200g SSD for the system drive and (2) 2TB SAS drives on a Raid 1.  According to the Adaptec plan, the top 200g of the SAS drives will be part of the Raid 1 plan with a 2nd volume.  For data storage, there will be an additional Raid 10.  I understand that a reommended size of 120g is somewhat standard but due to updates / Winsxs / and other factors, I chose the 200g SSD for the system drive.  I have been looking at what Adaptec has for a controller which supports Hybrid Raid and one of their cards - 6805 - is touted to deliver 100% in both read and write operations.  They have an informational white paper detailing all this.  https://www.microsemi.com/document-portal/doc_download/135902-microsemi-adaptec-hybrid-raid-whitepaper

Does this look like I'm on the right track?
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wobble_wobble

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Reply with quote  #2 
OK, I'll ask the first of many questions....

Why you dropping potentially 50K disk IOPS for the OS?

If you build the OS and install the applications correctly you can put the OS onto 2X 7K disks and use the RAID Controller you found for higher Disk IOPS for SQL - I assume that's what you wants the Disk IOPS for.

How much is the Raid Controller?



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Jon_AK

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Reply with quote  #3 
I didn't realize I would be dropping any IOPS since in the white paper from Adaptec, I understood by placing the OS on the SSD as a Raid 1 configuration, that the server would boot faster and all subsequent read operations from the OS would perform faster while at the same time, write operations to the SAS drives would also be performed quickly without losing any IOPS.  I do realize that manufacturers have a tendency to inflate the expectations of their product but I only read positive reviews about the Adaptec product and my past experience with Adaptec SCSI controllers were all good.  The Adaptec Raid controller, depending on model and where it is purchased runs around $400 - $600.

Main reason for the higher IOPS is for the large files that have to be retrieved from and written to the server throughout the day.  Some of it is accounting data while a lot of the other are blueprint and specification files being opened by multiple people.  Most of the plan files average 40-50mb but the specifications top the 100mb.

My first go around with Raid on our server did not end well.  I utilized the Intel built in software Raid and when a drive failed, it refused over and over to recognize a drive that was the same size, from the same manufacturer with same HW version so... I'm willing to  go the dedicated hardware route.
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cj_berlin

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Reply with quote  #4 
Hi,

what I believe Joe is meaning is not that you would lose any IO by this design but rather why do you think you need so much IO for the system volume. I asked myself that as well after reading your post. I mean, after a server has booted up, the only Windows file that is getting any IO worth mentioning is the pagefile.

Seeing as the ML150 doesn't come with all that many disk slots, I would do a RAID1 of whatever disks for OS (by all means, stick two SSDs in for that, as long as they are different vendors and the controller explicitly supports SSD). But not any fancy hybrid modes, and not reusing any parts of my disks for anything else just because they happen to be bigger than other disks in the same array.

For the data drive, RAID10 of HDDs may or may not serve your needs, depending on the usage profile and the number of said HDDs. Since recoverability is what you're after, I will not suggest looking at Storage Spaces with an SSD layer (oops! didn't I just do that?). Maybe your Adaptec hybrid RAID has a kind of tiering as well?

Consider a hot spare disk for your data drive. HDDs do die, as do SSDs, and they all prefer to do it on Friday afternoon, 10 minutes after you've left for the weekend.


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Jon_AK

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Reply with quote  #5 
Thanks for the input Evgenij...  The applications I have installed on the boot drive is Vipre Endpoint and due to my repeated warnings to users about clicking on links in email messages just because it says there is a problem with something they purchased, our network was introduced with one of the crypto scurges.  I had up to date backups which saved everything except for the previous couple hours work.  As a result, I have Vipre scan and check every file and link that is opened and/or created which has been proven to be successful in keeping out the other variants of crypto.  As you can imagine, the result is a lot of disk I/O which seems to bog down the server with the many other duties it performs with file I/O.  The other application on the boot drive is an Access database frontend with the backend on a separate data drive.  The database has mostly read activity with periodic writes.

I did understand that the Adaptec controller could control more than one Raid array but haven't gotten a confirmation on that.  As for the remaining drives, I planned to have a Raid 10 for the data drives to fill the ML150 and also have an SAS expander to a set of external drives that will be used for the client side backups of the 20 clients.  This will replace the existing Sata 5 drive multiplier that is currently in play.

There is a lot to consider and I appreciate all the input from this forum....
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wobble_wobble

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Reply with quote  #6 
Jon

Yes as Evgenij said, I meant that 50K IOPS for the OS is a lot.
Few things
Yes hardware RAID is better that some of the software RAIDS.
Some Raid cards are way better than others - you do get what you pay for.
If you put a HPE Raid Controller in the server, your warranty can be end to end, i.e. all HPE equipment.

Viper like all AV is a nightmare, so open a ticket with their support and get a better scan regime from them, that's what they are there for. I had one, but its over 6 years old at this stage, so I'd appreciate a new scan profile  from them for reference.
If you build out a RAID 10 for the mass storage, and with a better Vipre Scan Profile you should be able to serve the business well.

Not sure about Viper, so ask, but Trend Micro put in Malware prevention where is examines file writes, does a VSS snap, examines written file. If there is a signature similar to Malware/ Ransomware/ Encryption, it stops the process, kills the process and reverts to the VSS copy and then sends alerts/ warnings.

BUT THIS ONLY WORKS IF PEOPLE ARE NOT ADMINISTRATORS. 
So spend you time and efforts killing unnecessary permissions.

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Jon_AK
I did understand that the Adaptec controller could control more than one Raid array but haven't gotten a confirmation on that.  As for the remaining drives, I planned to have a Raid 10 for the data drives to fill the ML150 and also have an SAS expander to a set of external drives that will be used for the client side backups of the 20 clients.  This will replace the existing Sata 5 drive multiplier that is currently in play.


Then go ahead with you plan, making sure you have enough power for all the disks (an ML150 is a fancy desktop)




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Jon_AK

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Reply with quote  #7 
Joe,
I don't deny that I have had my go-around with Vipre for the past 10 years or thereabout.  It has saved my backside when it counted but yes, a more efficient scan regime would certainly be most helpful.

I did read up some more about hybrid raid and its advantages and considering our earlier discussion, I chose to forego its implementation, considering the cost of the drives and the potential complexity of repairing a broken raid drive by someone who may be the lucky one to be elected to take care of it if I"m not here.

Appreciate you taking the time to keep me enlightened about these various things.  I do have an item of interest for you but I'll post that one in the Azure forum, unless there is already something there that answers my question.

Quote:
Viper like all AV is a nightmare, so open a ticket with their support and get a better scan regime from them, that's what they are there for. I had one, but its over 6 years old at this stage, so I'd appreciate a new scan profile  from them for reference.
If you build out a RAID 10 for the mass storage, and with a better Vipre Scan Profile you should be able to serve the business well.



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Wes

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Reply with quote  #8 
On the software side take away admin rights and deploy applocker, case closed and no AV outside built in from MS needed.

On the hardware side I differ a bit from my esteemed colleagues and have done quite a bit of ssd/server/raid work over the last few years. I find great value in having the OS on ssd (maintenance time alone is greatly reduced) and one of the oft-overlooked benefits of ssd is that does away with the deficiencies of raid5 and makes it usable. So depending on your data storage needs you could go with a few 1tb Samsungs in raid5 and simply partition out what you desire for the OS. Or more drives, or 2tb size again depending on your total size reqs

I have had great success with this approach
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dennis-360ict

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Reply with quote  #9 
Im not too familiar with small servers and their options, but aren't there tiered storage solutions? Mayby in hardware raid or software like storage spaces?

If so, you could use the ssd as accellarator and put everything on a large volume.

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wobble_wobble

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Reply with quote  #10 
Wes,

All  configurations and opinions are valid and my solution ain't more or less correct than any others.

Nice idea on the RAID 5 and SSD.
Few questions.
Have you had any catastrophic failures of the SSD's in RAD5?
Do you monitor for the Samsung disk failures?
Do you buy disks and check their batch numbers?

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cj_berlin

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Reply with quote  #11 
Wes,

how exactly does SSD do away with the deficiencies of RAID5? There is still sector mapping so you're as liable to experience a simultaneous sector failure on two disks using SSD as you are using HDD. Probably even more so since the probability of sector failure in SSD increases with every write to that sector whereas with HDD it does not or at least not to the same extent.

Now to the main drawback of any parity based RAID, the performance in a degraded state. True, it is all way faster since the disks are way faster but the real penalty happens due to having to read all disks and calculate the missing data, i.e. the penalty is still there. One could argue that even the degraded performance of an SSD based RAID5 is still better than that of non-degraded HDD based RAID whatever, but then again, in relative numbers the performance impact can be even higher than with HDD (because with SSD, the controller cannot calculate as fast as the disks potentially transfer data).

So what am I overlooking?


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Wes

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Reply with quote  #12 
It mainly comes down to UREs

https://community.spiceworks.com/topic/1985545-raid-5-on-large-enterprise-ssd-s

https://mangolassi.it/topic/5895/understanding-raid-5-with-ssd-solid-state-drives/18

There are many other threads over at spiceworks hashing it out in more detail but long story short is raid5 on SSD is a solid option and spicehead-approved.

That being said, if you have the budget to separate the OS and data arrays I still recommend that and do it myself.

My typical build these days is a poweredge r730xd with 2 or 3 240gb Intel 520 or 530 ssd in raid1 or raid5 for OS/local data... plus a raid5 array made up of Samsung EVO 850 ssds.  I have also used Sandisk x400 ssds but those are hard to find now.  Have had zero failures in 3 years.  Of course, when I rolled these out initially I made sure to do so across two separate servers so I had application-level redundancy just in case (local storage is for domain controllers and exchange servers - everything else is on clustered storage - powervault MD3200 arrays with 10k sas in raid10 and a Dell enterprise SSD raid1 for higher-performance needs (skype for business servers mostly))

Performance has been fantastic, patching and boot times are nice and fast, backups are *super* fast greatly reducing our backup windows.

We monitor using dell's openmanage toolset as well as PRTG.
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Jon_AK

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Reply with quote  #13 
Wes,
I did review that option once in the past but there are users who are directly related to the owners who I know will throw a fit if something touches their fancy can't be installed due to restrictions.  Makes my life difficult.

Quote:
On the software side take away admin rights and deploy applocker, case closed and no AV outside built in from MS needed.


I'm learning a bit more about the HP ML150/ML350 machine from their users guide (lots of reading).  HP manual states that only one type of drive can be installed per drive array and they have to be of the same size so that sort of rules out my first idea of mimicking the Adaptec example of their hybrid raid for the OS.  The hitch though...  I haven't found out if this only relates to using their controllers or if it pertains to all 3rd party controllers... Haven't been able to get an answer to this yet.  The whole purpose with the Adaptec example is the SSD would be used primarily for read operations with the majority of any OS write operations going to the SAS drive.

Quote:
On the hardware side I differ a bit from my esteemed colleagues and have done quite a bit of ssd/server/raid work over the last few years. I find great value in having the OS on ssd (maintenance time alone is greatly reduced) and one of the oft-overlooked benefits of ssd is that does away with the deficiencies of raid5 and makes it usable. So depending on your data storage needs you could go with a few 1tb Samsungs in raid5 and simply partition out what you desire for the OS. Or more drives, or 2tb size again depending on your total size reqs



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Jon_AK

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Reply with quote  #14 
Wes,
If using all SSD drives in a Raid[x] array, will the constant writing to them have an adverse effect on it?

Quote:
There are many other threads over at spiceworks hashing it out in more detail but long story short is raid5 on SSD is a solid option and spicehead-approved.

That being said, if you have the budget to separate the OS and data arrays I still recommend that and do it myself.


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Jon_AK

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Reply with quote  #15 
Dennis, I'm not familiar with the ability to have tiered storage in a Windows network server, sounds like something that would be found in some of the big iron machines from IBM.

Quote:
Im not too familiar with small servers and their options, but aren't there tiered storage solutions? Mayby in hardware raid or software like storage spaces?

If so, you could use the ssd as accellarator and put everything on a large volume.
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