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Thread: RADI 1 in a Dell 7010 SFF

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    Senior Member Bonebreaker777's Avatar
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    RADI 1 in a Dell 7010 SFF

    So I've been tasked to come up with a solution for a workhorse utilising an old old Dell 7010 SFF.

    The machine itself doesn't offer any RAID options. So we have two options:

    Either use an Enermax EMK3203 (not sure if the solution allows a OS installation plus boot)
    or
    Buy a simple RAID card and just use that (that should allow RAID creation and booting just as any other solution)

    Any thoughts?

    Or would it be feasible to just install OS on one drive as normal (booting and everything) and once inside Windows just setup a backup solution? Or can a Windows boot disk mirror itself using the option in 'Disk Management'?

    Thanks!

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    Not a good person scaryjim's Avatar
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    Re: RADI 1 in a Dell 7010 SFF

    What's the computer going to be doing? What's the actual hardware spec of the 7010? Why is RAID1 seen as a must-have? How many internal drive bays does it have (given it's an SFF I assume not many...)?

    I can see so many potential issues with repurposing an off-the-shelf SFF desktop PC for any other purpose I can't help but think that it could easily end up as a false economy...

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    Senior Member Bonebreaker777's Avatar
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    Re: RADI 1 in a Dell 7010 SFF

    What's the computer going to be doing? - Workhorse for the internal HR and FOB system.

    What's the actual hardware spec of the 7010? - i3 with 4GB DDR3, and some (I think AMD) LP dedicated GPU. Well enough for the intended purposes

    Why is RAID1 seen as a must-have? - The management would rather have always a up to date copy of the log informations (even if at the end of the day all the daily information will be mailed to the central server).

    How many internal drive bays does it have - 1 x 3.5" or 2 x 2.5" officially, of course which can be expanded to 3 x 2.5".

    I can see so many potential issues with repurposing an off-the-shelf SFF desktop PC for any other purpose I can't help but think that it could easily end up as a false economy - I think is maybe just a test how well the newly established IT department can handle a task. Until now such things were always handled via an external firm which costed an arm and a leg.

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    Not a good person scaryjim's Avatar
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    Re: RADI 1 in a Dell 7010 SFF

    Quote Originally Posted by Bonebreaker777 View Post
    What's the computer going to be doing? - Workhorse for the internal HR and FOB system.
    When you say workhorse, do you mean actual desktop use (i.e. a user will sit at it and use it continuously through the day) or as a server (i.e. it will only be accessed for maintenance/logging/updates)? Are those systems online, offline, locally installed, server based?

    Quote Originally Posted by Bonebreaker777 View Post
    Why is RAID1 seen as a must-have? - The management would rather have always a up to date copy of the log informations (even if at the end of the day all the daily information will be mailed to the central server).
    OK, not entirely sure how RAID1 is meant to achieve that? All it does is provide a fault tolerance in case one of the drives fails. If this is a machine that requires high availability (close to 100% uptime) and RAID1 is being used to achieve that, don't do it in a SFF desktop: you won't be able to get any kind of hot swap facility in there so a failed drive will still mean taking that machine out of service for a significant period of time while you crack it open to replace the failed drive. If you need high availability you need a server chassis with hot swap drive bays so you can replace drives while the machine is running.

    If all you need is for the logs to be accessible ad hoc or regularly updated, why not just configure the logging to use a shared drive, NAS or some other storage system? RAID1 isn't going to make the logs any more available from that machine than just having a single drive....

    EDIT:

    Quote Originally Posted by Bonebreaker777 View Post
    I think is maybe just a test how well the newly established IT department can handle a task.
    Hate to say this, but if you're right the fact that your first thought was to hit up Hexus for suggestions suggests the IT department needs testing...

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    Re: RADI 1 in a Dell 7010 SFF

    There's not really enough info here as ScaryJim says. Using 'old old' kit for production use isn't usually a good idea.

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    Re: RADI 1 in a Dell 7010 SFF

    Quote Originally Posted by scaryjim View Post
    When you say workhorse, do you mean actual desktop use (i.e. a user will sit at it and use it continuously through the day) or as a server (i.e. it will only be accessed for maintenance/logging/updates)? Are those systems online, offline, locally installed, server based?
    - Probably as a server - should be only accessed for logging and updates.

    Quote Originally Posted by scaryjim View Post
    OK, not entirely sure how RAID1 is meant to achieve that? All it does is provide a fault tolerance in case one of the drives fails. If this is a machine that requires high availability (close to 100% uptime) and RAID1 is being used to achieve that, don't do it in a SFF desktop: you won't be able to get any kind of hot swap facility in there so a failed drive will still mean taking that machine out of service for a significant period of time while you crack it open to replace the failed drive. If you need high availability you need a server chassis with hot swap drive bays so you can replace drives while the machine is running.
    - I'm fully aware of that, this issue was communicated to the management but it's an acceptable risk, apparently.

    Quote Originally Posted by scaryjim View Post
    If all you need is for the logs to be accessible ad hoc or regularly updated, why not just configure the logging to use a shared drive, NAS or some other storage system? RAID1 isn't going to make the logs any more available from that machine than just having a single drive....
    - Said already, the issue of a reliable localised storage facility with backup functionality is one of the future tasks of the new IT department. My first suggestion was to replace the optical drive with a hot swap bay for a 2.5" HDD and just save/log all the date to the local server. Even mail it to a remote location, if it is necessary - for God's sake, they are only entry and exit data of who, when and where used a FOB (the log files won't be too big to be mailed).

    Quote Originally Posted by scaryjim View Post
    Hate to say this, but if you're right the fact that your first thought was to hit up Hexus for suggestions suggests the IT department needs testing...
    - Assisting where I can I'm not part of the IT department but I've been asked as I dabble with computers to provide a point of perspective.

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    Re: RADI 1 in a Dell 7010 SFF

    IMO given what you've said above, eBay the server and use the funds to buy a compact NAS capable of RAID-1.

    Part being in an IT function is saying, "What you're proposing is stupid. I am the expert and I propose we should do this."

    Of course at some point you may have to rollover and say, "I still think you're an idiot, but I will do what you have requested as you are the end customer." (in an email so there's no come back on you).

    * You may want to modify the language somewhat depending if the person is able to fire you

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    Senior Member Bonebreaker777's Avatar
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    Re: RADI 1 in a Dell 7010 SFF

    Quote Originally Posted by b0redom View Post
    IMO given what you've said above, eBay the server and use the funds to buy a compact NAS capable of RAID-1.

    Part being in an IT function is saying, "What you're proposing is stupid. I am the expert and I propose we should do this."

    Of course at some point you may have to rollover and say, "I still think you're an idiot, but I will do what you have requested as you are the end customer." (in an email so there's no come back on you).

    * You may want to modify the language somewhat depending if the person is able to fire you
    Will see how it will work. For now the 'IT department' is pleased with my assistance - the OptiPlex 7010 is running 2 x 1TB 2.5" WD Red in RAID 1 (via Windows) as 1 x PCIe is taken up by a GPU and the second PCIe will be taken up by a WiFi card for connection. I tried to explain that WiFi is not good for this kind of application but who am I to listen to. Imagine the machine in charge of the logins people leaving and people coming in then the WiFi cuts out and people can't come in or out using the system.

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    Re: RADI 1 in a Dell 7010 SFF

    If you look at failure rates for the best makes of SSD (Intel/Samsung seem to have the most consistently good records with most surveys I've seen), they're generally more than 10 times better than hard disks over 5 years. That coupled with the better performance means that I frequently just spec a good SSD instead of RAID these days.

    The advantage of the extra performance is that you can take a backup every few hours and in many applications (as long as you do it slowly enough) the performance impact of taking an incremental backups during the day is negligible.

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