Does intel matrix raid 1 setup require raid enabled hard drives

dasko asked:

Hi I have a failed drive on a server running intel matrix raid array RAID1, I can’t get the same model drive anymore to replace the missing one as it is 5 years old. Can I use a regular type workstation drive that is readily available or should I really only use some raid enabled hard drive like the RE4 series from western digital? Thanks.

The reason I am asking is that there is a longer order lead time on the raid enabled drive that I would be looking to use. In this case if I did use a regular workstation hard drive it would be a mixed pair since the old drive that is currently working is indeed a raid enabled enterprise drive.

My answer:

Where’s the spare drive that should have been bought 5 years ago? 🙂

To answer your question, the only difference between the WD Caviar Black and the otherwise identical RE4 drives is that the latter has Time-Limited Error Recovery, which reports back to the RAID controller in a shorter amount of time if the drive had to go and repair a bad sector. This lets the RAID controller determine that the drive may be beginning to fail more easily and grab the data from the other drive without having to wait many seconds or minutes for the drive to complete its repair (or fail).

There’s an extended discussion of this at Super User that you may wish to read.

If it were my server, I would replace BOTH drives with RE4s. Actually I’d go get a hardware RAID controller and a couple of Seagate Constellation drives…

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