[SATLUG] Filesystem/RAID advice

John Pappas j at jvpappas.net
Wed Oct 13 09:54:29 CDT 2010

On Tue, Oct 12, 2010 at 22:10, Nate <pixelnate at gmail.com> wrote:

> Wow. I didn't mean to start the Great RAID Debate (tm), but I have to admit
> that while the debate on 32-bit vs. 64-bit VMs rages on I am not all that
> much closer to answer to the original question. So I'll submit it again,
> this time with a bit more information to start.
> The workstation I am building will either be based on the ASUS KGPE-D16
> dual G34 motherboard:
> http://www.asus.com/product.aspx?P_ID=4AUqWniKqYByIAxw
> or the SuperMicro H8QG6-F quad G34 motherboard:
> http://www.supermicro.com/Aplus/motherboard/Opteron6100/SR56x0/H8QG6-F.cfm
> Both boards have the ability to run RAID 0, 1, and 10 (The ASUS through one
> of their PIKE boards). The reason that I want to make use of this is because
> video editing and compositing requires fast hard drives, and I cannot afford
> to go fully with SSDs. I care about redundancy, but not at the expense of
> speed. And I must be able to access this RAID from both Ubuntu 64-bit and
> Win7 64-bit. Both operating systems will be 64-bit because the machine will
> be rockin' no less than 8GB of RAM.

As mentioned, there are 2 layers of complexity here: the RAID and the
Filesystem.  AFAIK, only Hardware RAID will work under both windows and
linux (Windows dynamics are not supported under linux and mdadm is not
supported under windows.

> The preceding information is the context for these questions:
> 1) Is it possible to build a RAID that can be accessed by Windows and by
> Linux when each are used as the boot system?

Yes.  Presuming the hardware is supported by both:

/dev/RAIDDISK_Part1 = 128M-256MB Linux /boot
/dev/RAIDDISK_Part2 = Windows NTFS OS Native Partition
/dev/RAIDDISK_Part3 = Linux LVM or Native /
/dev/RAIDDISK_Part4 = Extended
/dev/RAIDDISK_Part5-9 = Shared Filesystem TBD

2) Which file system should the drives be formatted with?

On the file system side, NTFS-3g works OK (not a screamer, nor wholly
data-stable), and there is an ext2/3 driver for windows, but again, not a
screamer/production ready.  AFAIK there is no native filesystem that would
fit the dual boot requirement.  There are clustered file systems (AFS,
Polyserve, maybe Lustre, OCFS)  that can be shared across systems in a
shared storage (SAN/ iSCSI) scenario, but not sure how they work in a dual
boot application.

This is where I would perform cost benefit.  You are going to incur a
slowdown in your workflow, regardless of the solution, given the
requirements.  Whether that is spent up-front with the complex config, or
while you wait for the dual-boot to reboot; or from the slight overhead of a
VM, or from transfer of data over the network.  You have to choose where the
cost is most manageable.

In a case like this, I have found that if you want native performance for
both OSs you will need native hardware for both.  You can then use a sync
methodology during off hours to get the data where you need it (Windows for
processing and Linux for protection).

GigE makes this solution for my music library reasonably fast (less than
200G) but it is still noticable.

I do not think that there is a perfect solution here, so I look forward to
ideas and futher discussion.


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