Mac Mini Server - UP. Recommendations on RAID?

Discussion in 'Mac mini' started by GrassHoppa10, Nov 2, 2011.

  1. GrassHoppa10 macrumors member

    May 8, 2009
    So new MAC Mini Server is up/running. The i7 Quad Core really kicks, runs great on performance. Have ordered the 8GB memory.

    Recommendations for RAID setup. Raid 0 or Raid 1?

    From what I can tell, it ships with NO RAID setup, meaning both drives are independent. Also - Any guidance on how to setup Raid? I am going to look for the Lion server admin guide and see if it offers any help in this area.

    BTW - The fan(s) are on constantly but barely audible - meaning a light hum that is not bothersome at all. Temp - when stable runs at 106 degrees using iStat menus, and fans run at 2300 RPM idle.
  2. Andrew*Debbie, Nov 2, 2011
    Last edited: Nov 2, 2011

    Andrew*Debbie macrumors member

    Nov 6, 2010
    North Wales, United Kingdom
    What are you planning to use the server for?

    Raid 0 might be faster but if either drive fails, you loose everything. The chance of either drive in a RAID pair failing are higher than a single drive failing.

    Raid level 0 is NOT recommended for the boot partition. With a Mac mini server, the boot drive is usually one of internal drives. Don't use RAID 0.

    RAID 1? It depends on your configuration and what you plan to use the server for. RAID 1 is disk mirroring. If either drive fails, you can open up the mini and swap in a new drive without loosing any data. RAID 1 is not a substitute for backup.

    If you want backup of user account data, you are probably better off setting up TimeMachine on the 2nd internal drive.
  3. DustinT macrumors 68000


    Feb 26, 2011
    Yup... Raid 0 should not be an option for you. Raid 1 is nice if you need uptime, but on a Mini I'm not sure how much sense that makes since you have to disassemble it to get to the hard drive anyway.

    Personally, I'd leave them as two seperate drives and use one as a Time Machine drive as was suggested. Then I'd buy a decent NAS or Thunderbolt array with Raid and use that if I needed more capacity or disk performance than the Mini offers.
  4. GrassHoppa10 thread starter macrumors member

    May 8, 2009
    Took your advice

    Have made 2nd drive as Time Machine backup disk.

    I have a external 4TB Raid-1 that connects via FW800. That is what I use for my photo/video/movies library. And I have a WD Raid1 - 1TB that use for day to day docs/projects/temp stuff.
  5. powerbook911 macrumors 68040


    Mar 15, 2005
    I use RAID 0.

    I keep two Time Machine Backups, so I have no worry there.

    I don't see any reason not, for me at least, to get the benefit of speed in RAID 0.

    The ability to put it in RAID 0, was one of the major reasons I decided on the Mac Mini Server. It lets me put off buying high priced SSDs a bit longer.
  6. donklaus macrumors member

    Mar 6, 2011
    Does RAID 0 slow boot time?

    I have been setting up my new mini server over the past few days, including setting up RAID 0 before ever booting up from the boot drive for the first time (Carbon Copy cloned it before I even started).

    Pretty disappointed. The boot time from a cold start is excruciatingly slow, far slower than the Santa Rosa C2D (2.4 ghz) MBP it replaces as my desktop machine. I installed 8 gigs of RAM before even powering it up.

    What's the deal?
  7. KScottMyers macrumors regular

    Jul 17, 2009
    Orlando, FL
    I'm running two SATA II SSDs in RAID 0, and all I can say is - Wow. The speed is incredible. I'm seeing 450MB/s read and write speeds.
  8. GrassHoppa10 thread starter macrumors member

    May 8, 2009
    I went with just the stock 500GB 7200RPM drives - and all in all, they are quite fast. I am not sure I need SSD on this machine.

    I am very familiar with performance of SSDs as I have a 2011 i5 MB Air already.

    The MM server runs plenty fast - I am often doing 4-6 tasks/apps at once, with heavy data transfers and the system keeps up just fine.

    The boot time is about 6-7 seconds, though did not time it.
  9. powerbook911 macrumors 68040


    Mar 15, 2005
    The RAID 0 startup sure isn't like an SSD. Seems to be no benefit to startup.

    However, how often are you booting it up? A desktop, especially a server, probably isn't going to be turned off much. Sleep is the only thing mine will see and only at night.

    I did not time a comparison between RAID 0 startup and normal startup, but I might tonight as I have replacement mini server arriving.

    However, in RAID 0 it is about half the time of my 2.4 iMac (I believe is Santa Rosa). The iMac takes 60-70 seconds (I do have boot camp installed though), whereas Mini Server takes about 30 seconds. Once running though, it's quite quick.

    While not a fair comparison, my mini server in RAID 0, I compared to 2.53 C2D MacBook Pro with SSD both 8GB RAM. Apps and whatnot open quicker on the Mini Server. Obviously, while we often put it all down to disk speed, the processor does still make some difference in our normal use of the machine, opening apps, etc.
  10. indg macrumors 6502

    Feb 7, 2007
    raid0 runs fine for me. been running it since i bought in july. fast enough for me. use with fcpx, parallels, xcode, even some games... not a single hiccup. i use my server more as a workstation.
  11. SideStepSociety macrumors 6502


    Feb 12, 2011
    Vancouver, BC
    I've been reading about RAIDs and I'm still kind of torn. Definitely liking the performance benefits of RAID 0, but I'm left with one question.

    Everybody talks about how RAID 0 will result in all data loss should one drive fail.

    Does RAID 0 in itself also promote drive failure/increase stress on the drives themselves?

    Is it a matter of both drives spinning more frequently, as opposed to just the one, which increases heat and likelihood of failure in the drive/board?
  12. Snips macrumors regular

    Jan 9, 2008
    Suffolk, UK
    Wirelessly posted (Mozilla/5.0 (iPhone; CPU iPhone OS 5_0_1 like Mac OS X) AppleWebKit/534.46 (KHTML, like Gecko) Version/5.1 Mobile/9A405 Safari/7534.48.3)

    I run a 2011 Mac mini Server in RAID 1 config so that I can at least schedule any downtime at my own convenience, and arrange a failover machine.

    Set up was a bit of a pain, but I posted my experiences, and 'the magic recipe' (based on pioneering efforts of others) over in the Apple support forums. I think Apple may have made some changes to Lion in this area, but the good news is that it was to better support RAID, not stamp it out, as it almost seemed they were trying... :-/

    The mini runs pretty warm, and a touch noisily (by pin drop standards) but not unreasonably considering the horse power and two-drives kept busy.
  13. KScottMyers macrumors regular

    Jul 17, 2009
    Orlando, FL
    Basically in RAID 0 your data is shared across two drives that acts as one. If one drive fails, you're out of luck. Since you have two drives, you have twice the chance of a drive failure.

    Unlike RAID 1 that mirrors your data on both drives. If a drive fails, all the data is safe on the remaining drive.
  14. paulrbeers macrumors 68040

    Dec 17, 2009
    It has been proven in Real World tests that RAID 0 offers little to no speed benefit in Mechanical drives. The only place they show any real benefit is in sequential reads, but most work (i.e. start up, application launch, etc.) are very non-sequential tasks which will show little benefit. Further, you have effectively at least doubled your failure rate compared to a single hard drive, so what was the point? Further, while there are more real life benefits in RAID 0 for SSD's since they have near instantaneous seek times, the amount of controller failures on SSD's would concern me to risk all my data like that. I fully believe in SSD's, but I am also very careful about backing my data up. Further more, a Solid SATA III (i.e. Sandforce 2200 series) can virtually saturate SATA III. How much more data throughput do you really need? Do you really need to risk your data using RAID 0?

    These are just my reasoning why RAID 0 SHOULD NEVER BE USED.
  15. SideStepSociety macrumors 6502


    Feb 12, 2011
    Vancouver, BC
    But that's not to say, a single drive in a RAID set is more prone to failure than a single drive on its own, correct?

    RAID doesn't put more strain on the drive itself, am I right?
  16. philipma1957 macrumors 603


    Apr 13, 2010
    Howell, New Jersey
    raid0 has more double the failure rate of a single drive because 2 drives must run perfectly for it to work. All things being equal the intel gen 2 had a failure rate of 3 drives in a thousand. or .997 good in a years use. so raid0 should be .997 squared or .994009.

    of course you are not taking into account the controller that creates the failure rate. some external units are bad with a 10 percent rate of failure! some have a 1 or 2 percent failure rate.

    also a ssd with high failure rate like sand force gen 1 ocz were about 25 bad in 1000 or .975 good so that is .950625 good

    so a .85 to .90 raid0 success rate over 1 years is possible on a poorly setup system. more likely .97 to .98 on a good system.

    all this data is from 2010 and the numbers are better for the newer ssds.

    I will tell you this I would not want to run an important setup that has a 15 percent rate of failure. In 2010 this was happening with ocz raid0 ssds. the newer sand force appears to be better but no info on failures has appeared.

    these rates came from a large european sellers rma rates of ssds for 2010

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