A potential customer for IBM Lotus Foundations Start (LFS) server recently inquired whether the server appliance is able to support a RAID configuration. At first, I thought that a RAID configuration was not supported. However, after some research this is what I found out.
First of all, you may already know that the LFS server appliance advertises its inclusion of Intelligent Disk Backup (IDB) for true disaster recovery by taking incremental backups, as often as every 15 minutes, of all data and operating system and software settings. However, if the very unlikely event that the main hard drive fails for whatever reason, the server is only available in minimal operational mode until a full restore is possible. Of course, a full restore can occur in minutes with a push of a button, but this can still be an inconvenience for a business in the middle of a business day.
If the LFS server appliance could also support a RAID configuration, then downtime could be drastically minimized with a hard drive failure. After looking over the LFS administration manual, I was able to verify that a RAID configuration is possible. In fact, with only a few clicks, LFS can put a RAID configuration into place quickly and easily. RAID 1 is supported if you 2 main drives of the same type, and RAID 5 is supported if you have 3 or more. So, from the software standpoint, RAID is obviously supported.
If you look at the server appliance hardware specifications neither the Entry Level or Advanced Level servers from IBM make any mention of RAID. Both server types come with one 250Gb main drive and a 500Gb (Entry) or 1Tb (Advanced) hard drive for IDB backups. This is not a supported RAID hardware configuration. So I inquired further. What I found out was that you can add additional 250Gb hard drives to the standard server configuration to achieve RAID through the software configuration process. You just need to specifically request the extra hard drives be added.
So, it appears, that RAID is an “unadvertised” feature of the LFS server appliance that will make this an even more appealing all-in-one-it-solution for SMBs!