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When configuring the storage for your SharePoint databases what RAID level do you use?

The scenario I'm looking for is for a medium to large farm. What I'm interested in is how the different workloads that you can do affect the choices that you make.

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3 Answers 3

up vote 5 down vote accepted

Excellent question... the official Microsoft White Paper on this topic is here: Planning and Monitoring SQL Server Storage for Office SharePoint Server: Performance Recommendations and Best Practices. It is written by Bill Baer, an Architect on the Microsoft Online Services, Hosted SharePoint team (who knows his stuff inside and out).

You happen to have VERY good timing, however, as Russ Houberg just updated his SharePoint Storage Architecture white paper today. Between the two, you will have everything you need to know about planning storage for SharePoint.

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Great papers.. This is the section that I was very interested in seeing as I keep seeing people insist on RAID 10 but disregard RAID 5 where some places it really does make sense. "Take into account whether a database would benefit from faster random read response time — for example, for static Web content, where RAID 5 and RAID 10 provide similar performance. On the other hand, a faster random write response time might be more important — for example, in a collaboration site with mixed read-write usage, where RAID 10 has the advantage." –  Aaron Weiker Jun 24 '09 at 4:33

It's generally considered poor form to host any database on RAID5, partly due to the large writing overheads that it incurs. Normally RAID 1 or RAID 10 for any database volumes should be considered wherever practical.

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For write-intensive databases (such as the search database, or in heavy collaboration scenarios), yes. For read-intensive scenarios, such as if SharePoint is used primarily for content management (think Internet or Intranet Portal scenarios), RAID 5 works fine for the content databases. –  Sean Earp Jun 24 '09 at 4:28
    
It's actually not poor form to host databases on RAID 5. Its very common and best practices for most people to host there databases on RAID 5. Most people's databases are mostly read, and the write impact on RAID 5 isn't a problem. Especially if the database has enough cache to keep the bulk of the database in cache. –  mrdenny Jun 24 '09 at 4:31

Databases which are mostly write should be placed on RAID 10 to avoid the write penalty of RAID 5.

However databases which are going to be mostly read such as archive databases, configuration databases, etc should be placed on RAID 5 to get the most for your money from the storage solution.

What sort of storage will you use using? SAN, DAS, etc? The more details the better.

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I don't have specifics as I am looking to get general practice experience around what people have found and are doing that works the best. Digging deeper though, using a SAN will help mask the negative impacts of RAID 5 more as you can front end it with a lot of cache. Does this also mean that you can get away with also putting more of the databases on the same drive instead of trying to spread it across more drives? –  Aaron Weiker Jun 24 '09 at 4:43
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Correct, using a SAN does help mask these problems as the SANs usually have GIGs of cache. Depending on the workload that you are putting on the systems the large amount of cache can allow you to put more systems on the same disks then you would normally. –  mrdenny Jun 24 '09 at 5:30

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