need advice on RAID-5 server system/appliance

xXaNaXx

Gawd
Joined
May 15, 2003
Messages
935
ok, i want to set up a monstrously-massive (in terms of home use, anyway) RAID-5 file/video/media server, and need some recommendations.

the requirements:

1) it must be incrementally-expandable, as i won't have the money to buy all the hard drives that i want all at once....yet, once the new space is added, it must still appear on the network as a single directory (i.e., i can start with 3 - 5 drives in RAID-5, then later add another 3 - 5 drives, creating two seperate RAID-5 arrays....then logically combine the two into a single, larger directory).

2) the enclosure must be able to store at least 12 hard drives, but more = better.

3) it must be reasonably-priced....say, no more than $1200-ish (not including HD's, obviously)

4) the RAID management utility must work on multiple platforms (Windows, Mac, Linux)

5) the RAID controller must be hardware-based, preferably with expandable memory

6) have GigE LAN connection


this will be used to store all my CD's & DVD's in ISO form to be accessed via my HTPC & other systems & for storing temporary backups of my other systems.....oh yeah, and lots & lots of pr0n!! :D

so give me your suggestions on what you think would work for this application.....thanks
 

Faldaani

Limp Gawd
Joined
Mar 25, 2007
Messages
195
1)
A decent hardware raid-5 controller (For example an areca) with 4-8 ports is probably going to run you $350-$500, depending on the number of ports. If you want 12 ports it'll be even more expensive. (Has online capacity expansion of course, and it actually works too)

Not sure the idea of logically combining two raid-5 arrays to a single "directory" is a good idea at all, I'd just keep the two arrays separate.

2)
Not the most inexpensive version, but I like the Lian Li PC-201, has room for 12 drives at the bottom of the case, together with two PSU's. If you convert to 5.25" bays to 3.5" you can fit another 8-10 drives there, for a total of 20-22. Cooling is great too (No HD is over 42C, with 27C ambient temperature and all HD's spinning)

3)
Well...
Case $250
Mobo (Something with 8 sata ports, I use a gigabyte 965P-DS4) $150
CPU (C2D) $150
RAM (2gb?) $150
Raid controller $500
Decent PSU $300 (Might need two if you plan on going crazy with 20 drives)

Total = $1500

4)
Yup.

5)
Yup.

6)
Yup.

EDIT: The reason for me wanting 8 SATA ports on the mobo is that I can run a software raid-5 array off that for stuff I don't access very often, and have two disks software-mirrored too.
 

Farva

Extremely [H]
Joined
Feb 3, 2004
Messages
36,672
EDIT: The reason for me wanting 8 SATA ports on the mobo is that I can run a software raid-5 array off that for stuff I don't access very often, and have two disks software-mirrored too.
Well, if you are suggesting using software RAID, you are defeating the purpose of having a hardware based RAID card like the Areca. I know you said "such as," but then why not mention others that would be much cheaper? You might as well go with a Highpoint for this.
 

Faldaani

Limp Gawd
Joined
Mar 25, 2007
Messages
195
I'm not suggesting using software raid-5.

Just saying that the 8 sata ports on the mobo comes in handy sometimes.

As for the cheaper controller cards, well, I like Areca =)
I wouldn't use one of the highpoint "semi-hardware" controllers for this.

EDIT: I remember seeing a really cheap LSI controller on newegg a few months ago, maybe its still there?
 

Farva

Extremely [H]
Joined
Feb 3, 2004
Messages
36,672
I'm not suggesting using software raid-5.

Just saying that the 8 sata ports on the mobo comes in handy sometimes.

As for the cheaper controller cards, well, I like Areca =)
I wouldn't use one of the highpoint "semi-hardware" controllers for this.

EDIT: I remember seeing a really cheap LSI controller on newegg a few months ago, maybe its still there?
I know you didn't specifically say to use software or hardware, but just wanted to point that out so Faldaani doesn't come back complaining how he isn't getting good response time with his expensive controller while using a software based solution. I know that 8 port cards are nice, I have a Highpoint 2320. ;)
 

xXaNaXx

Gawd
Joined
May 15, 2003
Messages
935
i'm looking more for something that i don't have to build the system using standard PC parts, but more like a pre-built "appliance", for lack of a better word, that contains the RAID controller, ethernet port(s), CPU, Memory, PSU, etc., and all i have to do is install the hard drives, plug it in, set up the network connection, build the array(s) and be up & running. kinda more like something you'd see in a corporate server room, vs. a desktop-type system....and i forgot to add it in my initial list, but preferably with hot-swap bays for the HD's, so if one fails, all i have to do is pull it out, swap HD's, then re-insert and recover the data. i don't want to have to power the whole thing down and take off side panels just to swap out a HD.

/edit: something similar to THIS, that i don't need to worry about installing an OS onto.....just basically plug it up, configure it, and go.
 

thebeephaha

2[H]4U
Joined
May 27, 2007
Messages
2,054
Just FYI, software based RAID 5 is INCREDIBLY slow at writing data, reading is pretty close to RAID 0 though.
 

xXaNaXx

Gawd
Joined
May 15, 2003
Messages
935
yep.......see #5 in my first post ;)

but anyway, back on topic.....anyone know of any stand-alone, "all-inclusive" (except for the hard drives) RAID system like what i'm looking for?
 

Cyrilix

2[H]4U
Joined
Jan 21, 2005
Messages
2,188
An all-inclusive system would be a NAS... and NAS are all slow. Well, my Thecus is running around 20-30 MB/s in RAID 5. To be honest, that's fast enough for me to stream whatever I want, so it doesn't matter. I don't think you'll find one in your price range as any NAS that can do more than 5 hard drives, is likely bigger than a 1U solution which already costs at least $1000.
 

xXaNaXx

Gawd
Joined
May 15, 2003
Messages
935
ok, then forget about the $1200 limit....let's go up to about $2k-ish....and i'm not worried about it being larger than 1U-sized.
 

Faldaani

Limp Gawd
Joined
Mar 25, 2007
Messages
195
I don't think you're going to find a 12+ disk NAS for $2K USD, but if you do, please post it here, I'd be very interested.
 

xXaNaXx

Gawd
Joined
May 15, 2003
Messages
935
I don't think you're going to find a 12+ disk NAS for $2K USD, but if you do, please post it here, I'd be very interested.
even without the hard drives? i'm talking about that price before including the cost of the drives.

if they're gonna be that expensive or more without the drives, then it seems i'll likely be better off building a full-blown server, and be able to get even more functionality out of it at the same time.....
 

Trepidati0n

[H]F Junkie
Joined
Oct 26, 2004
Messages
9,042
Have you considered NOT using hardware raid 1 or 5 and do something like WHS with mirrored data on another drive? I've had pretty good performance on writes (seems like WHS writes the mirrored data "later" and not instantly). The performance could be better..but it works out pretty good.
 

unhappy_mage

[H]ard|DCer of the Month - October 2005
Joined
Jun 29, 2004
Messages
11,455
I haven't seen any NAS equipment in that price range with that many drives.

However, I have seen this. For $844, you get 16 hot-swap bays, an 800-watt redundant power supply, and a sturdy case. Add whatever board you feel like (although PCI-X slots for two of these would be a big plus, cause they're cheap!) and for $844+(112*2)+(board, memory, cpu) you could have a heck of a box for 2 grand.

Then there's the question of OS. Windows Home Server would be nice, but apparently they're not selling it separate of hardware; if you've got a copy around, though, it would be a good option. Solaris x86 is rather nice, and ZFS would make the "adding disks" part a cinch. Or you could run the Linux flavor of your choice.

In any case, that's my recommendation. That case *is* fairly loud, though, so don't fail to take that into account.
 

xXaNaXx

Gawd
Joined
May 15, 2003
Messages
935
yeah, i was kinda eyeing one of these Supermicro CSE-932T-R760B or CSE-933T-R760 3U cases, even though it only has a 760w PSU (but not really all that much difference from the 800w).

then i noticed that one of the guys that wrote a review on it said that he had to do some hacking on it to get his board to work in it, and i dunno if i could bring myself to hack away on a case that costs that much..... :eek: :eek:

so unless i can find something else that doesn't require me to build a server computer, i'll probably just get a COOLER MASTER Stacker 810 RC-810-SSN1 and some BYTECC BT-135E-BK Hot-swap Bays for about 1/2 the price, and still be sure that the board i get will fit it with no problems. sure, it won't have the redundant PSU, but it's not going to be used for anything that absolutely requires 100% uptime anyway....
 
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