cloning a drive to use on raid?

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david179057
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i have a 120gb ssd and i would like pair it with another in raid 0. How would i go about doing this and would it be reliable and safe with regular back ups? Also what features off a ssd would i lose?

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Razear
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Use a cloning utility to mirror the data onto an external drive. Install the second SSD and create a new RAID volume. Perform a clean install of the OS. Transfer the data onto the new array.

As long as you are doing routine backups, RAID0 is safe. You'll lose TRIM support by running the SSDs in RAID.

eire1274
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The major issue is that SSD operation often doesn't like to have a complete image loaded onto it, due to "alignment" issues (which makes me laugh, because there is no track to align to on solid state memory). For the time being, Razear has it down.

There are a few applications out there that can do it without an OS reinstall, including Windows Vista/7/8's own drive manager, but the catch is that you have to clone from the SSD as a live volume, onto a new volume, in your case onto two additional SSDs in RAID. The best you could do with only one additional drive would be to convert the original and the new to dynamic profiles, and stripe the volume across both, which would give you the combined volume, support TRIM management, yet unfortunately not increase the speed as Windows RAID-like feature doesn't interleave the data between the drives, as it is much more like a JBOD volume.

TRIM is something you really want to pay attention to, as not having TRIM enabled removes the OS feature to spread write work across the volume evenly. No TRIM equals greater risk of SSD failure.

Nick McDermott

Vitalius
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Is there any possible way to have both the speed boost of RAID and keep TRIM at the same time?

Asking as I will be putting 2 SSD's in RAID 0 if I can. I'll be recording HD video while gaming, if you are curious as to why I'd need that. Not to mention, I want it. :P

david179057
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so clone my ssd to another drive then boot in to windows with the cloned drive and the ssd wipped with raid set up and clone it back?

eire1274
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Yes. It takes three drives. One to hold the cloned image (and boot off of for the process), and the two SSDs set up for RAID.

No, at this point there is no way to support TRIM on your motherboard series. Intel does have TRIM on RAID-0 support on the 7 series chipsets, but this still isn't as reliable as true stand-alone SSD operation.

Nick McDermott

david179057
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would this be suitable for everyday use?

eire1274
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I wouldn't do it myself. I think a single high-speed SSD is at the time being good enough to pretty well dominate even a powerful desktop. SSD RAID really isn't needed at that level given how fast the flash storage operation has gotten; you can cap out a SATA-II port, and we're getting close on SATA-III if you are willing to spend the cash for the high end equipment.

Remember that RAID on your generation is likely to run into SSD failure far quicker as you would have no TRIM command to protect the memory from being overwritten. One drive failing means EVERYTHING is lost.

Nick McDermott

Vitalius
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Well, the reason I was doing RAID 0 was not only for whatever speed increase there might be, but also for the ability to combine two SSD's volumes into one. So having two 120 GB's make a 240 GB volume basically. I guess I'll just leave them separate since it will take away TRIM then.

eire1274
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For space, just convert the drives to dynamic and extend the C: partition to the second disk. TRIM would still work that way.

This article will explain quite a bit. It is from XP, but the tools are very similar in Windows 7.

Nick McDermott

Vitalius
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Not seeing an article. Thanks though. That helps. :)

david179057
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can you explain this with a bit more detail?

eire1274
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Sorry, bad tag, my fault as I didn't proofread my tag syntax. Click "article" in the post above.

David, which part do you want info on?

Nick McDermott

david179057
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the dynamic volumes

eire1274
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I'd recommend reading the documentation on the Micro$oft site for detailed info, but essentially a dynamic volume opens up a lot for software RAID-like behaviour, such as striping, mirror backups on multiple discs (or even two partitions on one disc mirroring each other). Dynamic volumes need more processor time and memory for operation, but with modern machines packing huge memory banks and multi-core processors, this really presents to issue.

In most cases, basic volumes can be converted to dynamic easily, but moving backwards can sometimes be tricky.

Nick McDermott

david179057
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so would this be a better option to RAID? Also the same speed and performance?

david179057
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so basically this adds the new drive to the old one?

and if one drive dies do i still have the data on the other drive?

david179057
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I've been reading up on this. so its like raid 0 with trim?

Vitalius
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Intel enables TRIM functionality for RAID 0 on 7 series Motherboards (08/16/2012)

I found this article when googling "Does Dynamic Volume work like RAID 0?"

I will have a Z77 Motherboard, so I may have lucked out. This is awesome.

eire1274
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Sorry for the absence, lots of me driving my kids to Christmas activities!

Okay, for david179057:

"so would this be a better option to RAID? Also the same speed and performance?"

Not exactly, but on two good SSDs you'd be capping the port speeds, so they only way to get faster SSD operation would be with an enterprise-grade RAID controller. This will compete with on-board RAID.

"so basically this adds the new drive to the old one? and if one drive dies do i still have the data on the other drive?"

Yes, you add the drives together, like JBOD (Just a Bunch Of Disks, a "dumb RAID" term). As far as files go, the partition is split across the two drives, so recovering can be messy, but there are tools that can recover (under most situations) any file that was written entirely to one surviving disk. However, it isn't a plug-and-recover situation, there is work involved.

And for Vitalius:

Yep, 7 series will support TRIM over RAID, first for Intel. AMD will, too, on the 900 series, but only after proper driver setup (on the newest version) within Windows, so it can be a little trickier to get it set up there.

Nick McDermott

Vitalius
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Thanks Eire, then I am good. I will be able to use RAID and TRIM. Perfect.

david179057
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one more thing.. will i have to wipe my drives to do this?

eire1274
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To convert Windows basic volumes to dynamic, no, in most cases you can do it on a "live" volume. The system will need to reboot and make the conversion with the partition dismounted, but after that it will boot as dynamic, and you can do the extension easily.

I DO recommend a backup before, though, for safety. Sometimes even something simple can crash. (If anyone says "buy a Mac" or "run Linux", well, let me stop you, because I can site plenty of "OMG WHAT JUST HAPPENED?" situations there, too. Nothing is perfect, or we'd stop writing new software.)

Nick McDermott