So... I am out of space again... what should I do (file server, externals, other?)

compslckr

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Thanks for all the help. I ordered the parts tonight (7/7/2008 7:00)

Final Build: 3.5tb of advertised space!
Abit IP35 Pro
Celeron 430 Conroe-L
2gb A-Data DDR2 800
HIS Radeon x1550
4x Western Digital 640gb AAKS
2x LaCie 500gb USB 2.0 Drives
1x Western Digital 200gb
1x Lite-On DVD/rw
EarthWatt 420 ew-420 Power supply
Windows Home Server

I Will post a little worklog when the parts come in from New Egg
Thanks again for all the help and suggestions.



Alright, currently I have
macbook w/ 160gb
2x external 500gb
2x external 200gb

All the drives are full, and none of the drives are backed up (Yikes! I know)

So, I have come up with 3 options, and I want to figure out what will be most cost effective and useful for my needs.

I have been doing some browsing here and over at 2cpu forums (some crazzzzy stuff over there), and it looks like my options are
1) More externals (meh, not really interested)
2) NAS box that supports 4+ drives and Raid-5 (yikes expensive)
3) Full blown file server with 1.5tb+ raid-5 storage (expensive too, but upgradeable later)

External Drives: Kind of over these little suckers, they work, but my desk is littered with them, and I want one big disk (JBOD seems kind of silly)

NAS: Did some looking around at these and the prices and limited upgradeability kind of scared me away.

File Server: FreeNAS or Windows Home Server look nice, but for hardware I am not really sure what I need.


What I want:
1.5tb+ of Raid-5 storage
Under $900ish
Set it and forget it, I don't want to tinker with it all the time, I want to turn it on in my network closet and just leave it running with minimal intervention

What I am thinking about buying
4x WD 640gb AAKS drives (about 1.8tb in raid-5)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16822136218

1x Corsair 640hx 640 watt psu
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16817139002

1x Abit IP35 Pro (supports Raid-5 and has 6 sata connectors, +2 e-sata that support raid 0, 1 and JBOD)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813127030R

1x A-Data 2gb memory kit
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820211066

What I already have
Huge coolermaster case (ATC-710sx2)
200gb system drive
2x 500gb drives I will toss in e-sata enclosures and run in Raid-1
cheapo pci-e video card
lite-on dvd/rw


TOTAL COST: 688.93

So what do you guys think, Will this system work out well for me? Will the motherboard's RAID Controller be good enough? (If the motherboard dies, can I just replace it and not loose the array?). If a dead mobo results in total data loss it looks like I would be looking for another solution like the Perc 5/i or something similar...

Thanks for any input you might have, I am a RAID noobie, and I am getting sick of all these "small" external drives floating around....
 

iBP_James

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From the looks on your specs, it seems like you're thinking about doing hardware-assisted software RAID with onboard motherboard slots. You'll be tied down to whichever OS you decide to use, and if it's Windows Server, there won't be any expandability options if you set up a RAID5 array. Also, are you intending to run this server without a processor, because I don't see any listing for a processor in your to-buy or already-have list. :p
 

compslckr

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I have an E4600 allendale, but I am not sure if it is still working, a friend gave it to me with a few bridged pins that I have since straightened out (removed the crappy conductive inking job). I will test it out, if it still works I will use that, otherwise I will go with a cheap celron or something for now since it will just be a file server for my apartment.

If I can't upgrade with WHS, I might look into a few other alternatives. freeNAS looks very light weight, but I am not sure it will have enough features (although all i really need is samba, ftp, and some sort of monitoring tool.

server 2003 seems like way to much for my needs, so I might even just go with ubuntu server. I have quite a bit of experience in linux so that should be no problem.
 

nitrobass24

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I ran into this problem a while back...I ended up with WHS and I love it, Instead of RAID5 you can use a "duplicaiton" feature and it prevents against a single drive failure just as RAID5 would. Plus you can use any combo of drives you would like. I have 80gb raptor, 250gb samsung, 400gb WD, 400Gb Seagate. Im adding two 640gb drives tomorrow.
 

iBP_James

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I have an E4600 allendale, but I am not sure if it is still working, a friend gave it to me with a few bent pins that I have since straightened out. I will test it out, if it still works I will use that, otherwise I will go with a cheap celron or something for now since it will just be a file server for my apartment.
How does one have bent pins in a pinless processor design? :eek:

If I can't upgrade with WHS, I might look into a few other alternatives. freeNAS looks very light weight, but I am not sure it will have enough features (although all i really need is samba, ftp, and some sort of monitoring tool.

server 2003 seems like way to much for my needs, so I might even just go with ubuntu server. I have quite a bit of experience in linux so that should be no problem.
I've heard of some expandability options and relatively stable software RAID solutions via Linux, so if that seems to be the best low-cost solution for you, feel free to do so. ;)
 

compslckr

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well not really bent, more like destroyed. I think he tried pin modding it like people do with the pentium-d's (even though every guide i have ever seen says not to do it on c2d cpus) or something and got a little sloppy, I was able to remove the silver paint, but I will probably end up buying the cheapest celeron on newegg ($39ish?) for now since i don't feel like frying a $120 motherboard. I dont need alot of power here so the celeron should be alright.

It looks like I need to do a lot more research on the software side of things. I liked the idea of WHS, there seem to be some good Linux solutions out there including dozens of freeNAS type options and ranging all the way up to full blown GUI desktop solutions.

If you had your choice what would you do here? WHS with duplication on 4x 640gb drives and the 2 esata drives? or some linux solution (recommendations?)
 

nitrobass24

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I went with the WHS route and have no reason to change.
Something to keep in mind with FreeNAS/linux is that samba limits your throughput...most ive ever gotten out of it is about 15mb/s, Im getting throughputs around the 70mb/s on my WHS. I switched my ubuntu server 6 to WHS and i find it to be much better, and it does autobackup for all my windows boxes in the house every night without extra software like acronis or the likes.

If you really wanted to do a real RAID5 though you can always make the array and add it to the storage pool on WHS and not use duplication. If you go this route i would probably put the OS on a seperate drive from the array because it would slow down your transfers a lot if you didnt.
 

jmroberts70

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Just don't forget that your next issue is going to be "offsite" storage. Having a RAID5 disk array is fine for preventing data loss due to disk failure but if there's a fire or if someone breaks in and steals all your stuff, your data redundancy will be for nothing. I actually forgo the data redundancy for a simple JBOD fileserver. I then run an external 2TB eSATA box that I keep offsite for backup. I bring it home every weekend for a file sync (too lazy to do it over the web) and then keep it in my trunk until I drive back to my office on Monday. Much simpler storage systems. I'm mainly keeping up with my videos and music files anyways so even if I lost a week's worth of data, it isn't that tragic. The only thing I'm still working on is backing up my digital pics (probably going to go with Carbonite or something soon). Here's the box I built for external storage. I'm currently running a stripe array of 4x500 drives for a 2TB box but I can always upgrade all of the drives to 750's in the future for a 3TB setup. We'll see. I already have 2 750's so you never know... Good luck!
 

compslckr

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None of the data is super important so I don't think i really ned to worry about off site backup just yet. I just want to have a enough protection to ensure I don't loose my data if one drive happens to die. I do like your idea of just keeping important stuff on an external drive and storing it somewhere (my office would be a good place for it even). Maybe that's what I will do with the old 500gb external I have once I get this all setup.

I really like the mod with the larger cooling fan on that external enclosure. hard drives sure do make alot of heat.


As far as speed goes I am not too concerned. I pretty much just need a file dump where I can copy all my files to the server then access them wherever I need to around my house. I will be streaming dvd-rips to my xbox media center, but that's about the most throughput I will need from the system.

I have been doing some reading up on WHS and OpenFiler.

I just signed up for the 120 day free trial of WHS, so I am going to give that a try with a few 80gb hard drives for data and a 40gb system drive I have laying around to see how i like the interface and options.

This is getting pretty exciting, and I will have so much more desk space without the externals :-D
 

nitrobass24

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I have been doing some reading up on WHS and OpenFiler.

I just signed up for the 120 day free trial of WHS, so I am going to give that a try with a few 80gb hard drives for data and a 40gb system drive I have laying around to see how i like the interface and options.

This is getting pretty exciting, and I will have so much more desk space without the externals :-D

First off if you want WHS just sign up for the beta on connect.microsoft.com it lets you get the new PowerPack1 its like a SP plus adds new features, and you DL it immediately...if you dont do underlying raid i would use one of the 80gb drives as the system drive...The way it works it you have your system drive and whs makes a 20gb partition for the OS and the rest goes to the data partition, when you add a new drive it adds that space to the data partition using windows drive extender. I say this because when you copy something over the network to your WHS it will be put on the physical system drive and then distributed and duplicated across the rest of the storage pool.
Well if you use the 40gb and 20gb of it is for the OS you will have 15Gb left on the data partition of that drive. When you go to copy a Bluray disc or more than 1 DVD to the WHS you will get an error about halfway through saying that there is no more space, even though your storage pool has the space. The WHS just has not had time to move it to the rest of the Storage Pool.
 

compslckr

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I think I might just end up going with WHS. It sounds like an easy way to get everything working, and I like how it offers the duplication option. Thanks for the heads up on the connect.microsoft.com, I was looking around for a way to just download an iso and burn it my self so I didn't have to wait for shipping.

Also, thanks for filling me in on the fact that I need a pretty large system drive, I thought the data was just sent straight to the data pool, I didn't know it went to the system drive first. I am still thinking of doing the same hardware setup I have posted above with the 4x 640gb drives and abit motherboard with 6 sata connectors + the 2 e-sata connectors.
 

nitrobass24

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Yea it doesnt have to be real big but i started with an 40gb sata system drive and had that problem....I now use an 80gb raptor for the system drive and havent had problems

Also with the new PowerPack it added a feature to backup the server to certain drives. So if you didnt want to do duplication you could use your two external drives and set them up to backup the data on the server. I havent tried this myself but I am looking into it.
 

compslckr

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I am pulling the trigger on the following tonight

4x WD 640 AAKS
Earthwatts EA-430
Conroe-L Celeron 430
Abit IP35
2gb A-data ram
HIS Hightech radeon x1550

Subtotal: $650.91
Rebates: -$40
Subtotal2: $610.91
Shipping: $9.62

Grand Total: $620.53 AR

I decided to go with Windows Home Server and I will use the duplication instead of a RAID array.

My only last question is if I can add random USB 2.0 and other E-SATA drives to the storage pool as I need them. They can be mixed capacity as well correct, and if any one drive fails no data will be lost?

Thanks for all the replies, its really helping me out!
 

[LYL]Homer

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My only last question is if I can add random USB 2.0 and other E-SATA drives to the storage pool as I need them. They can be mixed capacity as well correct, and if any one drive fails no data will be lost?

Yes, that is correct - as long as you turn duplication on for whatever data you want duplicated. It duplicates folders, or shares, not physical hard drives.

I turn duplication on for my Backup and Photo shares, the rest is open to drive failure and a PITA to recover, mostly recorded TV shows as a store for my PVR.

In my WHS box I have PATA Seagate 250gb, Hitachi 300gb; SATA Seagate 4x320gb, WD 750gb, 2xWD GP 750gb, and 500gb Maxtor. I'll be adding a WD GP 1tb drive this week too. I currently have an E6600, but used an old AMD A64/3200+ during my test period with WHS and both systems seem to perform about the same. It doesn't need much horsepower to run.
 

CedarScott

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[LYL]Homer, wow, nice input on this thread. Now I am looking at getting a WHS soon. The duplication options are very powerful. Very worth the cost to any business with crucial files.

Edit: Hmmm, my old system I am dumping can be reused as a media server. Hardware is old AMD 2800+ with 1GB RAM. All I need to do is get a new mobo or add a HDD controller and 4 HDDs. Interesting!
 

compslckr

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I am getting excited, newegg billed my card and most of the parts (except the motherboard and video card) are shipping from New Jersey which means I will get them on Wednesday.

Can't wait!
 

CedarScott

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Hey compslckr, what computer tower are you planning to use?

Any recommendations on a small tower?
 

SmokeRngs

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Something to keep in mind with FreeNAS/linux is that samba limits your throughput...most ive ever gotten out of it is about 15mb/s, Im getting throughputs around the 70mb/s on my WHS.

That's very interesting. First of all, I'm assuming you mean 15 and 70 megabytes and not megabits. Secondly, I get crap for transfer speeds between Windows boxen but Linux/Linux or Windows/Linux I get my best speeds, and that's using Samba.

Normally, I don't see anything better than 25MB/sec with Windows/Windows whereas I'll easily hit 50-60MB/sec steady throughput on Windows/Linux and Linux/Linux transfers.

 

compslckr

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I was planning on using a coolermaster atc-710 I had laying around from an old build, but while I was digging around for it I found an APEVIA X-Alien that was in better shape, so i am using that.

Also the x-alien has more space behind the mobo tray and I like the side facing hard drive bays.
 

[LYL]Homer

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[LYL]Homer, wow, nice input on this thread. Now I am looking at getting a WHS soon. The duplication options are very powerful. Very worth the cost to any business with crucial files.

Edit: Hmmm, my old system I am dumping can be reused as a media server. Hardware is old AMD 2800+ with 1GB RAM. All I need to do is get a new mobo or add a HDD controller and 4 HDDs. Interesting!

I'm using a 4xSATA PCI card and a 2xSATA PCIe card to add the hard drives.

If this is for business you may want to do a little more research. WHS lacks some of the domain components that Server 2008 has that you may need.

Also, this thread has a bunch of WHS info including some screenshots I took.

Official forums: http://forums.microsoft.com/windowshomeserver/default.aspx?siteid=50
 

nitrobass24

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[LYL]Homer;1032722431 said:
If this is for business you may want to do a little more research. WHS lacks some of the domain components that Server 2008 has that you may need.

Thats not entirely true, you can still join it to a domain and set it up as a domain controller...dcpromo.exe
Still has TS, DHCP, IIS come to think of it I cant think of anything that is missing that would be a showstopper.
 

CedarScott

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Hmm, why didn't I think of that..... I think I'll just reuse my tower then and put 4 640GB WD SATA HDDs and an PCI SATA card.

[LYL]Homer thanks for the threads. I've been waiting for the search system to restore so I could search WHS on here and find more info. You just saved some waiting.

My graphics card will not play 3D games anymore so I'll just use the 2D and be on my way. I think I'll wait until the Powerpack 1 (or whatever it is called) to be released final (non-RC) since I'm going to be using Vista x64.
 

compslckr

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Got my hard drives, cpu, ram, psu & SATA cables today, here are the hard drives and psu mounted in the case. I think the wire management is going to be excellent for this setup

IMG_3319.jpg
 

compslckr

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Got my hard drives, cpu, ram, psu & SATA cables today, here are the hard drives and psu mounted in the case. I think the wire management is going to be excellent for this setup

IMG_3319.jpg
 

CedarScott

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Double post after 30 minutes? How'd you pull that off? Anyway, the setup looks good, begs for a MoBo and guts. Heh.
 
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