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I'm thinking of setting up my first RAID 10 server, built from commodity hardware + software RAID controller.

My main requirements for the server is FAST WRITE/READs + resilience in the face of a disk failure (probability of more than one disk failing simultaneously is too low to be of concern in my use case).

I am thinking of using a configuration of striping a mirror set (my preferred method due to resiliency), i.e., first creating two mirror sets and then creating a stripe set from the two mirrors (minimum four drives)

Now, I haven't actually used a RAID system before - and all the documentation seems to be talking about data storage, so (although it may seem a silly question), I'm wondering whether from a user's point of view, if there's something different I need to do - during my daily ops.

I mean, is the raid drive presented to me (at the console for instance), as a single mapped drive?

Question 1

Given a brand new server machine (built from commodity components)+ 4 SATA drives and an Ubuntu installation disk, what are the steps to turn this into a server with RAID 10 storage?

Question 2

Do I have to do anything differently (i.e. different to how I install on my desktop Ubuntu machine), to install programs such as python, django, postgresql etc on this new server machine?

  • 0. Buy a proper system don't build it yourself. 1. Tell the OS installer to make a raid1 device. 2. No. – user9517 supports GoFundMonica Feb 8 '17 at 17:58
  • @istheEnglishway My dear fellow ..., the difference of a few thousands (of pounds in my case) cannot be ignored ... ;). I don't really need an enterprise grade server - and can build a worker/server for a few hundreds, as opposed to at least a couple of thousands for an enterprise grade server. – Homunculus Reticulli Feb 8 '17 at 19:52
  • This is the obligatory reminder that RAID is fault tolerance, not backup and RAID does not in any way reduce the need to maintain reliable, tested backups of any and all critical data. – David Schwartz Feb 8 '17 at 23:53
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Setting up software RAID in Ubuntu is super simple.

Answer 1: Frankly, read the manual... I promise if you can navigate Ubuntu at all, you can setup a software RAID. https://wiki.ubuntu.com/Raid

Answer 2: Once the RAID is configured, it is mounted just as any physical drive would be. (as the manual will also show)

One thing I would recommend once you have a handle on the RAID configuration is looking into setting up an SSD for caching. SSD caching can add an additional boost to the performance of you array.

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There's two ways to RAID a system, either hardware or software. I have never heard of anybody using or recommending the software raid. For hardware raid, you set it up right after the POST, usually with some key combination. After you set it up, the OS is none the wiser about the RAID configuration, it just sees it as one volume. There's nothing that you have to do different with the OS.

  • From Redhat's site: Software RAID also works with cheaper IDE disks as well as SCSI disks. With today's fast CPUs, Software RAID performance can excel against Hardware RAID – Homunculus Reticulli Feb 8 '17 at 20:37
  • This answer may have been correct ten years ago, but today, software RAID is almost universally recommended for the vast majority of setups. (You can't even do hardware RAID with PCIe SSDs.) – David Schwartz Feb 8 '17 at 23:54

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