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Old 06-20-2006, 11:44 AM   #1
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Lightbulb Software Raid Idea for desktops with 2 disks

I just thought of a raid configuration that might make a lot of sense for desktop PCs.

You have 2 similar hard drives, and you want your software to load fast, but your important data to be redundant. Why not split each drive into two partitions, and run raid 0 on the first partitions for /, and run raid 1 on the second partitions for /home. (actually we'd also have a swap partition on each drive as well allowing the kernel to do the striping, and maybe some other partitions for /boot, etc.)

The key advantage of this approach is giving redundancy to /home and extra speed to everything else with minimal hardware cost. With this goal in mind, is there a different approach that would be more effective?

Here are some obvious remarks:
Why not just add a 3rd disk and run raid-5?
If you want to spend more money for a 3rd disk that is nice, but I also hear more stories about problems with raid-5 and rebuilding arrays and performance issues, raid0 and raid1 are nice and simple.

Why not just get 4 disks and run raid0+1?
If cost is not an object that works great, but that is overkill for most desktop computers.

Why not just buy a WD Raptor or another high-reliability, high-speed drive? This is probably the most practical alternative, but too easy for linux geeks.

I've done a bit of searching, and can't find anybody talking about using a configuration like this. I'm not sure what the performance would be like with the heads having to go back and forth between the two partitions, but is there an obvious reason this is completely stupid? I do not have much experience with raid and would love to get some comments from raid experts on this topic. Which mailing list might be better to submit this question to? (linux-raid seems to be overcome with spam)
Old 06-20-2006, 12:05 PM   #2
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The reasons for using a specific RAID configuration depend on individual priorities.

If performance is a primary concern (e.g., an adequate backup infrastructure is in place), then RAID-0 would be preferable (even for /home).

If reliability/uptime is the primary concern, then RAID-1 (even for swap) would be the right decision.

Since no two individuals agree on what is fast enough or reliable enough, there is no one-size fits all. The configuration you've proposed is fine; if it meets your needs then that's all that matters.


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