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Linux Mint 17.3 on two WD RE4 HDD's in RAID....can it be done?


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#1 cat1092

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Posted 23 October 2016 - 06:44 PM

The topic header fairly sums up my question, I have two 500GiB WD RE4 HDD's, a bit too small to spend cash on for quality backup enclosures (aluminum or steel, not plastic). Yet I feel that these could be used for more than data storage, these has a 64MB cache, runs at 7,200 rpm, and intended for 24/7 non-stop data center use, though are really upscale WD Caviar Black HDD's with the same 5 year warranty, only the same gen (SATA-2) Caviar Black has a 32MB cache.

 

Rather than wasting the largest part of a SSD for a Linux Mint root partition, which I usually set at 40GiB, double that of a HDD because these requires more room, if on a HDD, would go 24GiB tops. What I figure or hope for, is a way to create two equal installs (or mirror the 2nd to equal the first install, however RAID works) that'll come close to being as fast as a SATA-3 SSD w/out having to waste the largest part of a 120-128GiB SSD for the 40GiB root & small 256MiB Swap partitions. 

 

Which is how I normally install, then install /home to a 500GiB HDD, or the first half of a 1TiB HDD, then leave the rest for other OS's data partitions. 

 

It would seem, that there would be a way to make this work, it's just that I've never done RAID in the past (turned down the chance to learn many times, to my regret now), and while I know that Intel has a way to make RAID possible, don't know if it would work with Linux & (2), if the same could be applied to an AMD build. Which is what I'd prefer, yet if an Intel install is more feasible, I'm willing to go either way, have just one AMD PC, and at the moment, two main Intel based PC's, until I get a replacement CPU for my XPS 8700, which did have a RAID option in the UEFI. Yet for now, that's out, because the CPU was too powerful for the MB, will be replacing with probably a 3.8GHz i3, so really won't be losing too much power, just half the number of cores & L3 cache. Which for that PC, will be fine. 

 

For now, I'll deal with what I have, either the AMD build I performed except one drive & the case last year, or the 2nd of the two Intel PC's that I built this year (shown in 2nd Speccy link in my sig). I have these spare workhorse HDD's & would like to explore options available. As noted above, I'm a total newbie to RAID, so the more simple the instructions, the better, links to helpful articles will also be a plus. Here's the Speccy link to the AMD build (have removed Linux Mint 18 because I want proprietary drivers). Yes, that's right, don't let Intel users tell you wrong, this PC has been running for hours (actually much of the day with several reboots), only a single Arctic 92mm exhaust that I installed a week or two back, passive intake & stock AMD cooler, the CPU is running at 11C :guitar: while not only 17 browser pages being open, am running a 10x wipe pass on the 3rd 500GiB WD RE4 that I've had since 2012 (my first) at the same time & to top all, has been running for 15+ hours. I'm a believer in NSA type wiping & secure erasure of SSD's yearly, just backup what's stored, perform the sanitation & restore the image. Or prior to erasure, will clone to another drive of the same size that has been sanitized. Yet AMD CPU's running hotter than Intel, that's myth & not fact in all except extreme cases, like the types that requires liquid cooling. It's about maintenance, keeping the computer clean as possible internally. The results below are proof of it, and in my opinion, the FX-6300 runs as good as many mainstream Intel i5's. The unlocked ones will pull away, though. 

 

http://speccy.piriform.com/results/0LZ8GWT4lgxjhvZDizYpPew

 

So for starters & please correct me if I've read wrong, having two drives in the right RAID setup will actually protect my data, if so, that's the version I want. Both drives, though advertised at 500GB, are actually 465.76GiB in size & both are fairly new, one shows below in my 2nd Speccy link in my sig mentioned above, booted for the first time. :)

 

The other, though have had a bit, hasn't really been used much, again why I'd like to put these to use for not only a backup (identical twin), also would come close to SATA-3 SSD speeds, at least the lower end versions, maybe 400MB/sec on both reads & writes or better. 

 

My original plan was to do it with two SSD's of the same type, while I do have two of the same size (256GiB) & model, the Crucial M550 (only one's a mSATA in a 2.5 adapter & the other a native 2.5"), one's in use in a notebook & I don't feel that it can be cloned down further. Then there's the issue of conversion back from GPT to MBR, and it's not as simple as the partition tools makes it to be. GParted will still see these as GPT, or will ask. One has to use cmd (on Windows) to make it truly MBR again, and I'm positive there's a similar Linux Terminal option to do the same. While the below tutorial is by a partition/backup software distributor, note that they're also offering two other options (Solution #3 is the best & made one of the RE4's usable again after conversion from GPT back to MBR). Prior to that, the PC wouldn't boot if it was connected by SATA or USB, though could use in a docking station once booted. So unless needed, there's zero advantage to converting small (1TiB & below) storage drives as GPT that has no OS installed. 

 

http://www.partition-tool.com/resource/GPT-disk-partition-manager/convert-gpt-disk-to-mbr-disk.htm

 

All opinions are greatly appreciated on this project & as long as it pertains to the same, a little 'chit-chatting' is OK. :)

 

Cat


Edited by cat1092, 24 October 2016 - 11:02 AM.

Performing full disc images weekly and keeping important data off of the 'C' drive as generated can be the best defence against Malware/Ransomware attacks, as well as a wide range of other issues. 


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#2 paul88ks

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Posted 23 October 2016 - 10:00 PM

Cat- I haven't set up a RAID configuration in nearly 15 years,when I was taking an A+ course.I was using SCSI "SCUZZY" drives back then and had to buy a RAID Controller(PCI)card to do it. It is a pretty straightforward process,but if I understand your post correctly,I have never heard of a situation where you could use a partition from two different drives to create a RAID 1 Configuration.(Mirroring) Anyway , here is an article that might be of some help--http://www.pcworld.com/article/2849289/supercharge-your-pcs-storage-with-a-raid-setup-everything-you-need-to-know.html?page=2



#3 NickAu

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Posted 23 October 2016 - 10:16 PM

Also read this.

How-To Create Software RAID 1 (mirror) on Debian Linux

https://scottlinux.com/2014/12/27/how-to-create-software-raid-1-mirror-on-debian-linux/



#4 cat1092

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Posted 24 October 2016 - 01:57 AM

Nick, looks like a neat article, all done by Terminal, hopefully I can at least get the ball rolling. :)

 

Paul, I realize as you've posted, it's been 15 years since you last used RAID, and it shows. That's a Windows based configuration that'll never work with Linux, though to your credit, you did include an article that included a RAID card, some also creates 1st gen SATA ports (SATA-1.50) on IDE based PC's. I'm looking right now at an old 'Rosewill RC-212 SATA + Ultra ATA RAID Controller' box with the card still in. The only purpose it served for me was to add SATA-1 to first, a Dell Dimension 2400, then a couple of others, never used the RAID part of the card. 

 

I believe if I have a chance of pulling this off with either W7 or W10 installed, will have to do it the Terminal way that Nick shown, and hope the option shows at boot to load Linux Mint 17.3 if on the AMD based PC, Mint 18 on the Intel based one, because NVIDIA supports proprietary drivers on most all of their cards on Linux. :thumbsup:

 

So far, my only issue with Linux support for NVIDIA cards is with the GTX 1070, why I left that PC off the table, the OS is looking for what's not there, a 4K UHD monitor! :P  Which will be my next major upgrade, pricing is dropping, and variety is emerging, even for 24" monitors (most popular for desktop use on workstation desk). $30/month from now until Black Friday, I'll have one easily, hopefully with some leftover change. :)

 

I'll be sure to remove or unplug the Windows 7 SSD before messing with this, and also check the UEFI to see if there's a RAID option offered, am hoping this will work on the AMD PC. Would try now, only my drive is still wiping at 44%, my PC was cutting off random & now I know why, the power cord was only half way in. :P

 

Can you believe it, this thing is still at 11C after 15 hours? if it drops much lower, we'll be able to use for a beer cooler. because unlike the PSU output, the exhaust is blowing cool air. With passive cooling, small (mATX) case, MSI branded AMD Radeon 7770 GHz edition, two HDD's & two SSD's, that's a lot for a single fan. The purchased one has a PWM port to add another, there's just no place for it. May try & add one via the side intake, there's a place for a fan where instead, a plastic vent is going downwards towards the CPU by design. 

 

http://speccy.piriform.com/results/0LZ8GWT4lgxjhvZDizYpPew

 

I also believe there's a place for a front fan, though would have to remove drives to access the area, would be worth the effort in the case, which was from an era of PC's of at least a dozen years back, a Systemax branded one. Most were Win 98 through very early XP years, I suspect that the 'price war' that Dell started & others jumped on the wagon during those times, displaced many up & coming OEM's. 

 

Will try on the AMD PC first, if no go, then the Intel one, where I feel the best shot is. though both has ASRock brand MB's. Will have to see the 'extras' each offers.

 

Thanks to both of you for your input, means a lot to me. :)

 

Cat


Edited by cat1092, 24 October 2016 - 11:04 AM.

Performing full disc images weekly and keeping important data off of the 'C' drive as generated can be the best defence against Malware/Ransomware attacks, as well as a wide range of other issues. 


#5 cat1092

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Posted 24 October 2016 - 02:22 AM

Looks like the ASRock Rapid SATA Switch will be useless, since it's a Windows based utility. Would be great if in the UEFI Firmware. :)

 

8yLBJMu.png

 

On a side note, being this is the same AMD machine running W7, I could hardly believe it, Windows Defender caught an interception deep in the backfield in realtime, passed through all main lines of protection. Shows how 'bulletproof' ESET NOD32 & MBAM Premium is, both are set to catch PUP's. :P

 

0UJxZA7.png

 

Hopefully neither prevents me from creating a RAID setup, I don't believe with Linux, it will. 

 

On Windows 7, as well as Vista/XP, it's reduced to a spyware app, not like that of W8 & newer as main protection, yet it doesn't slow my PC at all. However, it's been years (back in my XP days) since I seen Windows Defender catch anything. Lucky me on that day, looks to have been a piggybacked app bundled with legit software, I simply allowed WD to clean it before any damage was done. :)

 

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#6 paul88ks

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Posted 24 October 2016 - 03:59 PM

Cat- which AMD processor are you using?



#7 Gary R

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Posted 25 October 2016 - 12:42 AM

No personal experience of Raid, but this looks like an informative article ....

 

http://www.dedoimedo.com/computers/linux-raid.html

 

.... it's a bit old, but I don't expect the fundamentals have changed much since it was written.


Edited by Gary R, 25 October 2016 - 12:44 AM.


#8 cat1092

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Posted 25 October 2016 - 04:21 AM

GaryR, thanks for the tutorial link! :)

 

Dated yes, though many of the same principles applies today as then, one notable change of course, it ext4 over ext3, which I began with when running Linux. Reason why, if I had to reinstall XP (usually for others), it would take two or more attempts just for the full, destructive format. So ext3 was better with those machines & IDE drives. Today, I'd use a partition tool to format to NTFS a couple of times first, my Linux experience wasn't great then, though got by OK. 

 

Paul, if it matters, the AMD CPU I'm running is the FX-6300, while not a powerhouse, still much more than adequate for daily use, have an active AV, AM, as well as a spyware app in Windows Defender running actively at all times. I had Linux Mint 18 on the PC, though will be reverting to 17.3 to have proprietary drivers. It's still a decent OS & supported until 2019, by which time the PC will likely be retired, if not before. Finding quality CPU's is no issue.....motherboards are. Many are shabbily built, and this ASRock 970M Pro3 that was supposed to be the 'only' MB one needs for mATX, is already showing signs of wear, especially the SATA ports, these are getting wobbly & I'm frightened to pull a cable out, that the port will come out with the cable. :P

 

The case though, is tough as nails, was an old Systemax PC from the late 90's or early XP days, kind of surprising that it'll hold a full sized ATX MB, which I would had purchased, had I known one would fit. The holes for the standoffs are there, though I'll be the first to admit, would be a tight fit & didn't see until after purchase. Still, there were more choices in the full sized ATX MB's, and something else I should had considered, wasn't originally planning an upgrade from my Athlon II x4 630 quad core (a true quad) & was running it on this MB, purchased only to have AHCI for my SSD's & no other reason. I found it quite odd that the Gigabyte MB installed (a 2011 model) didn't have this feature, though on the Webpage, boasted about being modern, dual BIOS, the latest & best sound, yet two years after the fact, no native support for SSD's. I did keep it for 'just in case' this one gave troubles, it has RAID, just no AHCI (or modern SATA ports). There's a chance that I could also reinstall the Gigabyte MB & let it be a purebred Linux PC, running in RAID with the two HDD's only and ask ASRock for an RMA for this MB to be fixed/replaced (maybe they didn't use enough glue, solder or whatever to make the SATA ports solid). With a 3 year warranty, why not & save for when needed? 

 

Though the person who gave it to me was very generous, I've learned a lot in the rebuilding of the PC, the first out of three MB's installed this year, though the other two are totally new Intel builds from a couple of months back. :)

 

If I were to go back to the Gigabyte MB, maybe someone I know will need a replacement & I can get the price paid back, though most of the work I do for others are on Intel based computers, some components, like PCIe wireless adapters with external antennas & a Intel wireless card, won't work with this PC. By chance, here's the specs, looks as though one feature of the FX-6300 will be reduced, the HT Bus (under the Specifications tab). Doesn't look to be a promising downgrade, while there's a PCIe x16 slot for graphics (looks to be Gen 1), the x1 slot will be covered, I recall that in my old install (2nd link by Speccy). Would have to downgrade back to the 8GB of RAM that was in there, from the now installed 12GB, though as shown, RAID is a native feature of the MB. Just one potentially major concern. 

 

 

 

If you install AMD AM3 CPU on this motherboard, the system bus speed will downgrade from HT3.0 (5200MT/s) to HT1.0 (2000 MT/s) spec; however, the frequency of AM3 CPU will not be impacted. Please refer "CPU Support List" for more information.

 

http://www.gigabyte.com/products/product-page.aspx?pid=3497&dl=#ov

 

http://speccy.piriform.com/results/2GQSl04zGqYjdeIjwCnuH7G

 

As to my RAID question, do I need a PCIe card that supports SATA-2 on my existing MB (would have to be slim), and will any type of Linux RAID work with dual booting Windows? If needed, I can always convert the existing install to a virtual one with the VMware tool, so that's no problem whatsoever. Nor would reinstalling the Gigabyte MB if needed, since it has a RAID function & solid SATA ports, and hopefully could avoid a RAID card, though am concerned about any takeaways from the CPU's performance. Yes, the frequency will remain the same, though the HT Bus would drop, and hopefully that doesn't impact the L3 cache, because that will eat into performance. There were high end single & dual core chips a dozen years back that ran at 3.5-3.8Ghz, it was the 0.5MB L2 cache that killed performance more than anything, the CPU needs that memory to retain performance, in my case, 8MB L3 & 6MB L2. 

 

By chance, here's the specs for the installed MB, any RAID card would most certainly have to be slim, as it would go in the slot just to the edge of the MB, if needed, I can install another single slot card for more room (Dell OEM AMD Radeon 7570, 1GB GDDR5), has been in here before. Nothing is stated in regards to RAID, unless there's options in the UEFI Firmware, am on the PC now, makes it hard to check. :)

 

http://www.asrock.com/mb/AMD/970M%20Pro3/

 

QUICK EDIT: There is support in the UEFI Firmware for  ASRock Easy RAID Installer shown under Specifications, being a SATA-3 MB, the speed of the combined drives would be faster. As noted above, could remove the two SSD's & the 1TiB HDD (can use another backup drive) & be in business with a less cluttered PC. :thumbup2:

 

What do you all think is the best course of action? :)

 

Cat


Edited by cat1092, 25 October 2016 - 05:04 AM.

Performing full disc images weekly and keeping important data off of the 'C' drive as generated can be the best defence against Malware/Ransomware attacks, as well as a wide range of other issues. 


#9 DeimosChaos

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Posted 25 October 2016 - 08:51 AM

I've been running a RAID 1 on my Ubuntu server for over a year now I think (2 1TB drives).  It was fairly easy to setup, which I did during the install of Ubuntu Server. Its working well so far!


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#10 cat1092

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Posted 27 October 2016 - 04:07 AM

So RAID 1 is likely the way I want to go with two HDD's? :)

 

I've noticed in the UEFI Firmware settings that there's an 'Easy RAID Installer', need to check it out. Have been doing some work for others, so will perform the job when am not busy, as I want to get the whole deal setup in a single session. Though I have wiped the drives with better than a NSA pass (10 wipe pass using EaseUS partition tool) for preparation, and after running a deep scan with Recuva, could recover nothing on either drive. Then to ensure both were clean (20+ files are unretrievable on each), ran both the drive wipe provided with cmd on Windows (diskpart > list disk >select disk # >clean) & another zeroing out with the tool offered in WD Lifeguard Diagnostic for Windows. 

 

So both drives has been slicked for the job. :P

 

After careful thought & research, don't want to do backwards in reusing the Gigabyte MB on the PC, unless the ASRock one fails. I feel that somehow, I'd be losing, though may upgrade the MB to a more solid Full ATX model, will be a tight fit, or may spurge for a case like the Fractal Design Core 3300 if offered for $50 again, though that will be only if & when the MB fails, at the same time also have to consider the choices for AM3+ users is getting thinner. The thing is, I don't want to purchase another MB again with a rebate, only to discover something is wrong after submitting it, I recently lost $113 over a ASRock Extreme6 because the rebate had been submitted, even though I provided a legible, scannable copy in the box with it. PayPal also denied my claim, and ASRock charges for bent pin repair. Newegg will look for any excuse to blame the customer over bent pins (research & it'll be seen), my rebate submission was the easy way for them out. :angry:

 

And one thing for sure, won't be purchasing any more ASRock MB's for AMD installs, a one year warranty doesn't cut it, when they offer three years for many of the Intel models. Nor will be purchasing any more MB's from Newegg, like I stated, they have a track record for denying claims, even if everything is there, they'll blame the customer 99.999% of the time. Amazon has just as good as a selection, and more reviews to make an informed decision. 

 

At any rate, enough for MB's for now, as soon as I get this next job done, will give the RAID a shot on the PC. I just wished there were room for a card & there's not, one cannot slip their finger through the GPU & the PCIe 2.0 x16 slot on the edge to install a card, and at this time, don't want to downgrade graphics. Any card would have to be ultra slim to work, and would be very warm with the AMD Radeon 7770 GHz edition blowing hot air on it constantly. See how close the two PCIe 2.0 x16 slots are?

 

http://www.asrock.com/mb/AMD/970M%20Pro3/

 

This could be fixed with a full sized ATX MB & $50 (on promo) case, there would likely be three PCIe x16 slots, even if 2nd gen, it's not really holding back performance. More room is needed in case, and if lucky, may find a PCIe 3.0 x16 MB, if I search enough. Could work with a budget of $150-175, hopefully less, everything else is there & will be inheriting a GTX 960 that likely wouldn't fit in this case, as I'm upgrading the PC with that card to a EVGA GTX 1060 6GB FTW edition. Hopefully that card will have Linux support, I know that the 960 does. 

 

I'm keeping an eye out on this Topic, as it really interests me to give RAID a shot with two drives that's really at their size, perfect for the job & will meet my needs. Speed should beat out my first SSD, a 128GiB Crucial m4, where reads are barely at 400 MB/sec & writes are around 204 MB/sec, I have SATA-2 notebooks that has better write speeds than that & where it's likely headed back to. :)

 

Thanks for the advise to date! :)

 

Cat


Performing full disc images weekly and keeping important data off of the 'C' drive as generated can be the best defence against Malware/Ransomware attacks, as well as a wide range of other issues. 


#11 DeimosChaos

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Posted 27 October 2016 - 08:48 AM

So RAID 1 is likely the way I want to go with two HDD's? :)

Yes, if you want mirroring capabilities. In RAID 1 array, data is copied from the first drive and then gets the same copy on the second. So if either fail you are covered.


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#12 cat1092

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Posted 28 October 2016 - 04:05 AM

Thanks DC for your response! :)

 

Now I need to figure out a plan of action (purchase a RAID card for my 2nd Intel build & add that to the bootable list, or work with this AMD PC. I believe that by reducing to two HDD's only, would reduce wire clutter & free up a pair of SSD's, plus a 1TiB & 320GiB HDD, and move the 500GB WD RE4 to another PC, while using the wto with less hours (nearly new in that regard) for a RAID 1 setup or array. 

 

Am hopeful that this will work on a AMD based PC. w.out having to add a RAID card. :)

 

Cat


Performing full disc images weekly and keeping important data off of the 'C' drive as generated can be the best defence against Malware/Ransomware attacks, as well as a wide range of other issues. 





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