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[K12OSN] Software RAID

A tiny bit of background before I ask my question to the group:

I have 2 file servers, both just midrange PIII Dell workstations (due to
budget) that run netatalk.  I realize this isn't the netatalk list, but
LTSP has the same type of serverload that my mac clients put on our
servers.  Tons of tiny preference files are constantly updated, copied,
etc.  (In fact, I've never had anything hammer on a file server like
Macintosh Manager's preference system, but that's another story...)

While the network card is only 100Mbit, I think the bottleneck in my
systems are the hard drives (just IDE drives, no cash for SCSI here!)  If
I use software RAID (striped, I forget if that's 0 or 1) might it increase
my server's ability enough to tackle the chore?  (And make it worth my
while to work over the weekend to make it happen. :)

Does anyone have any experience with linux and software RAID?  I make
nightly backups, so short of HORRIBLE un-reliability, I'm not overly
concerned about doubling my chances of a hard drive failure.  Is the
difference in speed noticable?  Does it put a big load on the CPU?  Does
striping help more with large files, or small files?  Both?

I hope the questions aren't too mac-centric for this list -- I'm really
more concerned with file sharing in general, not netatalk specific.

Thank you again. *THIS* is one of the best parts about OS software, and
the OS community in general.

-Shawn Powers

Shawn Powers
Technology Director
Inland Lakes Schools
PHN: 231-238-6868 ext 9174
FAX: 509-356-7024
spowers inland k12 mi us

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