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I have to setup 2 servers with RAID 1 and the company cannot provide funds for the hardware needed until december, here is the hardware available:

Computer A

Computer B

I have 2 hardware cards Silicon Image SiI 3132 available that was laying around the stock, if that is any worth using.

Now the questions:

  • If I use software RAID is it possible to convert for hardware RAID later or how difficult would that be ?

  • Should I use the Silicon hardware of each Motherboard software raid instead ?

  • Heard that silicon is just a fake raid and even on the device name at the OS you can read SoftRaid, so would I gain any benefit from using it ?

  • If possible would love to hear some raid hardware recommendations on the range of USD80 avg if there is any worth using that is probably the funds they will hand us for each card.

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up vote 3 down vote accepted

Both of your "hardware" raid choices aren't real hardware RAID solutions. Your best bet is to use md. You'll never get anything better on your budget.

Since it's just mirroring, it should be very easy to convert to hardware RAID down the road. Just restore your backups of the system onto the new array.

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but aren't there any benefits for instance the Silicon hardware even being soft-driven wouldn't it lessen CPU usage at all ? md wouldn't be the same as using the mb software raid does it bring advantages compared to the mb software ? – Prix Oct 29 '11 at 16:48
RAID 1 has minimal overhead since there are no parity calculations involved. There's not going to be much load all on a modern CPU. There are multiple Qs on this site that compare md to cheapo solutions and almost everyone worth their salt recommends md when no real controller is present. – MDMarra Oct 29 '11 at 17:07
thanks a lot that puts me at easy, out of curiosity what would you recommend if the OS was a windows ? What if the RAID was supposed to be RAID 0 for performance gain would you recommend just not to use software solution at all and wait until december until I can get any good hardware parts ? Really appreciate your help, I will try to bump the financial sector for some more bucks to get at least 1 good hardware. The total they can spare right now is 160USD that was supposed to buy 2 but if that could get at least 1 worth raid hardware and you have any for recommendation I would appreciate. – Prix Oct 29 '11 at 18:13
I would recommend that you never ever use RAID 0 for performance and that you invest in more drives and do RAID 10. I doubt that you'll be able to get a decent controller for under $400ish to be honest. That being said, I don't keep much of an eye on the white-box market. Building your own server is usually more hassle than it's worth. – MDMarra Oct 29 '11 at 18:25
yeah that is true but some times we just don't have many options hehe, once again thanks a lot. – Prix Oct 29 '11 at 18:33

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