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I have a small development environment and would like to run a RAID 5 configuration on the database server. I am aware of the performance and storage implications. I would like to find a recommended RAID 5 card for a desktop environment from experience that you may have had.

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6 Answers 6

3Ware. Real hardware RAID with best support, and when it is 4 years old, best backward compatibility.

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+1 Anything 3Ware is awesome and they have the best compatibility as kmarsh says they are proper hardware raid. –  Mark Davidson Aug 7 '09 at 12:10
I own the 3Ware 9650SE it works great. I probably should have saved my money and used a software raid mirror, but it works and it gives me peace of mind because the rebuild stuff and 'status' indicators in the Java Management utility are nice. –  djangofan Nov 13 '09 at 19:46
also, i get about 100Mbs out of my raid mirror because the 9650 reads from both drives simultaneously. thats a benefit i wouldnt get from software raid. –  djangofan Nov 13 '09 at 19:48
but they are a little flaky on some motherboards. just be careful and be aware that they work on more motherboards that the compatibility list implies. –  djangofan Mar 24 '10 at 21:13

What OS is the target machine running?

You might find that software RAID will do the job. Obviously there will be a small CPU hit on writes as the checksum calculation is done in software (but that hit is minuscule these days).

Linux supports RAID5 out of the box, as does Windows if you are running a "server" variant (XP and Vista only support RAID0 and RAID1).

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+1, that's what I was thinking too considering that perf isn't too critical here. –  Darth Satan Aug 7 '09 at 12:41
There are times when hardware RAID wins out for various reasons (battery backed cache/buffer on expensive models for when resilience and high availability really count, and so on), but generally I prefer software RAID because (1) I'm cheap, (2) I've found it reliable, and (3) it avoids vendor/adaptor lock-in issues. –  David Spillett Aug 7 '09 at 14:22

We have found that Adaptec RAID controllers are good.

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Hmm, I've used a couple in the past, but I'm not too impressed with Adaptec controllers in general. Performance is lower than 3Ware, HighPoint or Promise, given the same price category. –  Thorarin Aug 7 '09 at 12:24

HighPoint RocketRAID 2320 is solid.

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that would be a smart move using EBay... –  djangofan Nov 13 '09 at 19:44

I'm using a Promise SuperTrak EX8650. So far, I'm quite satisfied with it.

The only thing that annoys me slightly, is that the web management interface uses Tomcat and uses like 150MB of memory all the time. You can install it on a different machine than the actual RAID controller however, or turn off autostart for the service.

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Sans Digital External Enclosures work fairly well as well. I have used their RAID 0/1 externals with great success, and I know that they have RAID 5 versions. I liked them since they were completely OS independent, they plugged strait into a single internal SATA port.

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