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I am developing a web app where I will have to save lots of files and I am just trying to work out the directory structure and where things should be saved to. I have had a look at the dedicated server I want to buy and for storage it shows this:

2x 1TB SATA in RAID1

The space is enough but I am guessing this will not be on one hard drive? I will have to save files on one hard drive and when that fills up, I have to use the other?

For the Fedora distro - what is the path for the second drive? Is there a primary drive where I will be able to setup my webroot?

I am sorry, this is all new to me. It would be great to links and advice on how things actually work when it comes to additional hard drives etc.

Thanks all

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You may want to look at a different platform for your server. Fedora has a 12 month support cycle, meaning you won't get updates for any more than a year. at that point you will have to upgrade the OS to a newer version. Quite the pain. –  MDMarra Apr 25 '10 at 19:05
    
@MarkM thanks for that, I didn't know about that limitation. –  Abs Apr 25 '10 at 19:15
    
Go with debian stable (if it has the software you need) or Ubuntu LTS for servers. You can upgrade seemlessly to new versions by by simply downloading updates, without any outdated concepts like "CD releases". In other words, it'll easily handle the equivalent of upgrading XP to Windows 7, as if it was a routine windows update. Also, these distros have much more well maintained packages (26000 or so) available, so you get a lot more flexibility and the work of many other admins, for free. –  Lee B Apr 25 '10 at 23:57

2 Answers 2

up vote 3 down vote accepted

RAID 1 means that the drives are mirrored. This is transparent to you. It will appear to you as a single 1TB drive, but a drive failure will not bring down your website.

You may want to read this Wikipedia article on RAID.

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You might also want to take a look at this site ( acnc.com/04_01_00.html ) for an easy to understand introduction to RAID levels. –  Gomibushi Apr 25 '10 at 18:42
    
Ah I see, thank you both for the links. Just reading now. –  Abs Apr 25 '10 at 18:43
    
Interesting, so even though its 2x 1TB - I will have space of 1TB since the drives are mirrored for redundancy. This suits to be honest as I want my web app to write to just one drive. –  Abs Apr 25 '10 at 19:15

Yes, (hardware) RAID is for reliability and performance, and if it's setup already, you shouldn't notice it much except maybe for the performance. When it becomes useful is if a drive fails -- then you have options like replacing one drive and having the system automatically "repair" itself. You can also use it for backups, by "splittng the mirror".

Beginning sysadmins/webmasters often buy webservers with big memory and cpu, thinking this is all they need to have a high performance website. In fact, disk performance is hugely important too, and is just as limited (if not more) than RAM etc. on a basic desktop machine compared to what good servers need. So, RAID is commonly needed on servers, including webservers. RAID-1, RAID-10, and RAID-6 are the usual types in servers lately, and you basically take them in that order as you go up in performance needs/number of drives/budget. After that, you need to look at SANs.

Whatever you do, stay away from software RAID which is low-performance, and needs windows drivers to operate fully. Hardware RAID, as the name suggests, handles all that in hardware chips.

That said... you might want to give good consideration to a virtual private server such as a Xen instance provided by linode or slicehost. If you're not sure why you'd need RAID, your app might be small enough to run just fine on a VPS, and it'd be much cheaper (and less hassle).

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