RAID on a laptop

Discussion in 'Hardware' started by Bolimomo, Apr 16, 2011.

  1. I am not too familiar with RAID and would appreciate some input on my basic questions:

    To set up RAID, does it need a special RAID controller? Can it be added on or must it be built-in and supported on a motherboard?

    Say I have a HP laptop, which obviously doesn't come with RAID. If I buy 2 identical SSD and want to do a mirror (RAID 1), how do I go about getting a RAID controller for a laptop? Are there software-based RAID?

    Is it possible to do a third-party, aftermarket RAID set up on a laptop?
  2. It's in my OS on Win7 ultimate x64.

    Go to Google and type in "RAID (name of your OS)" and see what you find.
  3. Server 2008 has it too although I doubt you're running that on a laptop (but it's an awesome OS on any machine).
  4. Thanks mgookin. I do have Win7 Ultimate x64. I am currently using Win7 Home Premium that comes with the HP laptop. I can install Ultimate on it instead.

    Let me see what I can come up with.
  5. Before I retired to trade full time I was a Data Base Administrator. RAID was introduced by IBM to allow pairs of disk in arrays to place the same data one more than one disk. Hence the term RAID - this means Redundant Array of Independent Disks. IBM programmed these disks to do things like stripe the data for speed or duplicate the data disk for disk.

    This concept is simple enough PC makers have added it to small business machines. That is the one I am on now- a Dell Dimension 9150 with an Intel 82801SATA RAID controller. I run RAID 1 which controls 2 disks with the Intel controller.

    In my opinion there are better ways to do RAID than internal on a Laptop. FOr example you can add a LaCie d2 Quadra Hard Disk 2 TB eSATA/FireWire800/FireWire400/USB 2.0 Desktop External Hard Drive for a around $250 (Amazon carries this. Read the reviews). RAID 1 or disk mirroring is fault tolerant and gives 1 TB of duplicated disk data. I use it for all my backups and off line storage. I believe it makes much more sense that trying to squeeze RAID in a laptop.
  6. Currently I use a USB external drive for backups. I do it religiously once a day. But it did happen to me a couple of times my laptop crashed for some unknown reasons. Fortunately so far I haven't lost any data. But the possibility is very real. If it crashes and won't boot, I would be SOL in recovering that day's data, plus having to spend half a day in re-installing Win OS and all my apps, redoing all my customizations, and restoring all my data. Really a bit of hassle. Not to mention not being able to trade on my laptop for that day.

    I am hoping to have a mirror drive to safe me time in the event of disasters. If not RAID, I am thinking maybe using something like Norton Ghost to save my OS/app/registries every so often during the day.
  7. I have been through 1000s of disk recoveries on Main Frames and 8 times on PC’s. There are some ways to get around some of the problems. The primary problem is we on PC’s don’t have the advanced scheduling systems that large computers have available.

    I use Acronis True Image Version 9 for backups. True Image or your backup tool may have some of the same features. For example you can with True Image:
    - Arrange you data in partitions and only back up the individual partitions that have changed data.
    - Back up files and folders only
    - Back up the entire disk once a week and run an increment back up each day that archives only changed data.

    These are method used in IT shops to speed up the back up process. I would explore these back up options before trying to use Ghosting software. Ghost software works but is prone to problems if the computer on either side of ghost has problems.
  8. Thanks for your tips Rabbitone. You have given me something to look into.

    I need something more than backing up the data. For data, I can live with a multi-times-a-day incremental backup arrangement. But I still need something to help me save the "state" of the Windows OS. This includes all the added-on apps, registery settings, etc.. Ideally, if/when my OS drive goes south, I can just snap something on relatively quickly without having to re-install Windows from scratch, along with all the apps and to restore data files. I believe the RAID 1 (mirror drive) is for that purpose. I am wondering if I can set up RAID 1 eventhough my laptop does not come supporting it in hardware.
  9. Believe me I have the same concerns you do. Having restored a number of P.C. Hard Drive failures, I understand the PC Operating systems weaknesses.

    This winter I ran across an interesting website, but was not able to continue with their ideas. I have it on my to do list to check it out more this summer. I don’t recommend the site or not recommend the site. Please Let me know what you think of it:

  10. Gepard



    I am using RAID 0 (even on SSDs, for performance purposes) and RAID 1 and 5 (for safety) on a lot of the computers I manage, but for trading envinronments I got the right advice many years ago just here on ET.

    From there, it saved me big troubles without any problem, and I prefer this solution rather than many other I tested.

    Give a try to Casper, .

    It allows you to build on the fly, while working, a full image of your main hard disk onto another physical device, and IT REALLY WORKS!

    Should you have troubles, just switch disk, and in one minute you are again working exactly like on the previous one. If you have two disks online, and one fails, the system automatically recognize the backup disk, and boots from it.
    #10     Apr 17, 2011