Question about cloning raid 5.

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Question about cloning raid 5.

Postby nosirrahx » Sat Nov 24, 2012 9:38 am

My new workstation uses 8 drives (7 + spare) in raid 5 via ARC-1882-ix-12 connected to ARC-4036 via dual 8088. I have 2 open 8088 ports on the workstation (via 8087 to 8088 adapter) and 2 open 8088 ports on the drive enclosure.

I need to make occasional clones of the primary array to a secondary array. I wont ever need to do 'hot' imaging and have no need for incremental images. I need to be able to do both clone and restore from bootable media. The secondary array will be powered down when not in use.

In the past I have used Acronis bootable media via USB 3.0 to clone my other hard drives and if possible I would like to stick with what I know (Acronis booting from USB 3.0 is blazing fast compared to CD).


Has anyone here cloned an Areca raid array from Acronis boot media before? Is it the same process as cloning a regular hard drive?
Am I better off attaching the secondary raid array to the drive enclosure or to the workstation?

Thanks in advance.
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Re: Question about cloning raid 5.

Postby Stupify » Sun Nov 25, 2012 6:41 am

just out of curiosity, how are big the drives (total storage space) and why raid 5?
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Re: Question about cloning raid 5.

Postby nosirrahx » Sun Nov 25, 2012 7:07 am

Not that big, 240 gig force GS SSDs. Raid 5 + spare was chosen for speed (went with the 4 gig upgrade as well) and for the ability to survive a dead drive or 2. I need to backup the workstation for reasons other than to survive drive failures.
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Re: Question about cloning raid 5.

Postby Stupify » Sun Nov 25, 2012 9:11 am

one more question - for who (using this) and for what?
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Re: Question about cloning raid 5.

Postby nosirrahx » Sun Nov 25, 2012 10:34 am

Ill give you a better breakdown of how I have this setup. I research malware and have to take certain steps to keep certain systems isolated from each other, just in case. I am stacking VM on top of restrictive polices on top of HIPS software on top of raid 5 + spare to cover just about all aspects of failure mitigation but that is still not quite enough to make me feel safe, I really want to be able to create a clean/stable image of my work environment that I can then power down and leave completely offline unless I need to restore the clean/stable image or update the clean/stable image.

The system itself runs on 5 monitors, each with its own isolated job. Top left is isolated browsing (a lot of what I need to look up is hostile). Top right is isolated Radmin linking me to various offsite PCs. Lower left is isolated company IRC (everyone I work with is remote). Lower right is isolated company email. The center is where most of the actual work happens.

In total there are 7 VMs each with multiple backups, these and the actual OS and installed software will not grow all that much over time. What will grow is a collection of local research samples but even then malware only stays relevant for a week to a month at best and the older irrelevant samples will be discarded so this wont grow that much either.

Later this week I am going to fire up The Acronis 2013 boot media to check what it sees looking at the array, with any luck it will be the full raid volume. If it is this should be easy enough to figure out, I just have never done anything like this before I was hoping to find someone that had, maybe avoid serious unforeseen issues.
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Re: Question about cloning raid 5.

Postby Stupify » Sun Nov 25, 2012 4:39 pm

recently i setup a "custom" nas server to mitigate a lot of data loss/theft/security concerns. it will also serve as Windows based htpc for the family. after careful considerations of a lot of options i went with.
Windows 7 pro host (320GB drive)
headless VM Ubuntu 12.04 Linux hosting the nas with samba read-only share + ssh for write share (OS on 320GB and nas data on 3TB drive)
The VM has physical access to the drive.

I have not had much time but i will setup another 3TB external (i already have) to on power ON automatically trigger the nas VM to shutdown, add the external to the VM, start the VM, copy the data, shutdown vm, unhook the drive from the VM and kick off the standard nas VM.

the idea behind use of Ubuntu guest is to ensure that no virus exposure as no internet use on it. the external backup to ensure power surge or something doesn't take out all drives. backup to ensure no data loss. no raid as i don't want stripping of data which on drive failures could lead to all data loss not just the data on those drives.

you can copy the entire VM files to another drive, don't necessarily need a raid 5 setup on the backup. you already have raid 5 to cover u on a drive failure on primary drives. but if you already have the backup in raid 5 no issues either. you only need acronis or any such backup software to backup just the host OS. for the VMs you just copy the VM files and restore from that. I have done that plenty of times, just no host backup as I can just reinstall the host if hell breaks lose on it. but for vms just copy their files and restore those. no need for the raid5 headache on the backup unless you want a full backup of everything and in that case, you would have to rely on things like acronis or what not.

personally i would keep the host os off of the raid and backup just that using some boot media. the vms i would have them on raid5 and copy their vm images to external drive (not necessarily on raid). this would simplify and quicken the backup strategy as well.
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Re: Question about cloning raid 5.

Postby nosirrahx » Sun Nov 25, 2012 8:24 pm

What you are talking about is micromanaging my backups and while I do plan to also do this (and have a lot of experience doing this) I also want to have a whole system backup in an isolated environment that can be both created and restored very rapidly (something I have never done before in a raid environment).

I have been reading a lot tonight and have come to the conclusion that I likely will be better off with either raid 10 or raid 6. This leads me to an obvious but expensive conclusion that ties all of this together. If I create a second 8 drive enclosure I can both experiment with different raid configurations and avoid starting from scratch all the wile testing backup and restore.

The main arguments against raid 5 + spare that I am reading involve the rebuilding process being so intensive that it can cause a second drive failure. Unless I have this wrong it sounds like raid 10 with no spare may be optimal as rebuilding is a quick and easy process.
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Re: Question about cloning raid 5.

Postby nosirrahx » Wed Nov 28, 2012 5:33 am

Quick update....

Last night I built an Acronis WinPE 3 boot USB 3.0 drive with integrated USB 3.0 and Areca drivers. Ill be trying this on the workstation once I have something to backup on, likely later this week. Ill let you know how it goes. I tested the drive on my laptop (has USB 3.0 ports) and it boots right up to Acronis so I think this is all setup correctly.
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Re: Question about cloning raid 5.

Postby Stupify » Wed Nov 28, 2012 7:21 am

i would agree with raid 10 as well given the number of drives you have. i gave up on most forms of raid simply due to stripping for many reasons:
1) power surge could potentially kill k+1 drives - more than the max the raid requires to rebuild - in this case no data recovery what so ever. straight drives at least leave u with data on the drives that are working
2) stripping is too time consuming, hardware and life ;)
3) raid1 didn't resolve my "versioning" concern - with 2 drives, I can have one act as the primary nas and the second as backup which I can do on demand/weekly and then unplug to avoid frying both during power surge. there is still the chance of power surge while the copy is being done but that's a chance i have to live with. raids just don't do "versioning" as it is a exact copy on all counts.
4) for me, the whole setup just felt a bit overkill for little gain.
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Re: Question about cloning raid 5.

Postby nosirrahx » Sat Dec 01, 2012 5:57 pm

Another update....

Booted to Acronis WinPE3 with integrated USB 3.0 and Areca drivers and it does indeed see the raid array as a single drive so this looks like it will be a complete success. Ill report back after the clone and test boot using the clone.
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Re: Question about cloning raid 5.

Postby nosirrahx » Sat Dec 01, 2012 9:54 pm

I ran into one very small issue, Acronis cant use a destination drive sharing a volume name so I had to edit it. After that the clone from array to array took all of 2 minutes.

Changing to raid 10 had resulted in crazy drive performance, check this out.

bench.jpg
bench.jpg (83.37 KiB) Viewed 1766 times
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Re: Question about cloning raid 5.

Postby Hammer_Time » Sat Dec 01, 2012 10:21 pm

7 SSD's in RAID 10 ( aka "1" + "0" , mirroring and striping ) performance is indeed impressive as your graph above proves!!

I guess you get what you pay for:

http://www.arecadirect.com/arc1882ix12.html

Nice, very nice!! 8)
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Re: Question about cloning raid 5.

Postby Sauron_Daz » Sun Dec 02, 2012 3:14 am

That's performance...
But I would hate to have to pay that money for a controller card..
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Re: Question about cloning raid 5.

Postby nosirrahx » Sun Dec 02, 2012 4:25 am

A lot of what I do for work is very disk IO intensive so for me it is totally worth it. One task in particular takes about 15 minutes on a typical system, about two minutes on a really good system but only about 15 seconds on this system. Over a year the time I will have freed up due to this is a lot more valuable to me than the price of this card (and its a tax write-off).
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Re: Question about cloning raid 5.

Postby Stupify » Sun Dec 02, 2012 4:52 am

i thought in RAID10 wouldn't the read be super fast and writes would still be constrained at 1 drive's performance as it has to write on all drives that are RAID "1"?
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Re: Question about cloning raid 5.

Postby nosirrahx » Sun Dec 02, 2012 5:06 am

On certain hardware raid (anything high end) you get a read boost from raid 1 because reads can be distributed across all mirrors and the write penalty is small as writing the same data to 1 drive or 100 (as long as the hardware can handle it) is the same. Adding drives just adds benefit as you only pay once for that raid 1 write.

At least that is how I understood it reading up on raid.
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Re: Question about cloning raid 5.

Postby lisjachij » Mon Jan 14, 2013 11:14 pm

there are still some controllers true image doesn't support, eg. Promise FastTrak controllers that have Vendor ID 0x105a (http://kb.acronis.com/content/1695) or HP Smart Array B110i SATA RAID (http://kb.acronis.com/content/6495) so read acronis kb first to be absolutely sure. also for beginners check some step by step guides
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Re: Question about cloning raid 5.

Postby lisjachij » Tue Jan 15, 2013 5:40 am

lisjachij wrote:there are still some controllers true image doesn't support, eg. Promise FastTrak controllers that have Vendor ID 0x105a (http://kb.acronis.com/content/1695) or HP Smart Array B110i SATA RAID (http://kb.acronis.com/content/6495) so read acronis kb first to be absolutely sure. also for beginners check some step by step guides


sorry here is url for step by step guides
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Re: Question about cloning raid 5.

Postby nosirrahx » Wed Jan 16, 2013 8:47 pm

there are still some controllers true image doesn't support


That is why I built the Acronis PE disk and slipstreamed my Areca drivers into it. This eliminates compatibility issues as instead of making Acronis do all the work, windows PE does the majority of the heavy lifting.
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