To RAID or not to RAID

I was setting up a server for one of my clients. This app is not mission critical, does not require high availability, is mostly non-critical analytics & reporting tool.

My client wanted me to keep costs low while building the server, hence, was against setting up RAID on this server solely due to higher cost.

I personally prefer to have a RAID on all app servers specially the ones with lots of read requirements. HDDs are the most frequently failing components in a server and I prefer to safeguard against this at any cost.

A typical RAID config will require
1) RAID controller
2) Two or more HDDs

Both of these can be very expensive depending upon the type and brand that is purchased. In this case since cost was a major factor, I selected Windows 2008 software RAID service instead of hardware controller. For the HDDs, I selected commodity 7500RPM SATA drives.

Finally choose RAID 1 with two drives to keep the no. of drives low. RAID 1 also gives 2x read performance – reads are more and writes are fewer in this app

If you faced this question yourself, I would like to hear about your experience, your choice and reasoning behind it. Do comment.

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