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Home built Storage Server advice

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July 22, 2014 5:23:08 AM

Hi there.
I'm trying to put together a storage solution. It needs to be able to deal with about 25 graphics designers doing their thing. Most are just 2D Photoshoppers but there are 3 video/animators there too so it's got to be able to keep up with their needs to (no direct editing for the video guys thank goodness, just huge transfers when they're done). However, due to the nature of the business, there will be considerably more data transfers than a typical Office running just Word n Excel, etc.

So far none of the QNAP's we've tried (up to TS-569 Pro) manage to keep up and the security/backups are too clunky so I'm thinking of either buying a fileserver or making one myself. I've made fileservers before using FreeNAS but this one is a little different.

First off it either needs to be iSCSI or Windows based as Active Directory is an important consideration and it will tie in nicely with our current security backup regime (I don't like having to routines when one can be done) and QNAPs built in AD and backup is not good enough for what we need (ie archiving).. Secondly, I'd like some sort of data-deduplication to make the best use of space.

So I'm thinking of an 8x hotwap case (so long as there's space for two internal HDDs), whacking two mirrored internal drives for the OS, 8x hardware RAID card (using 4x 4TB drives in RAID 5) to start with, with Windows 2012 server running the show (on 2x mirrored internal SSDs)

We've only got a Netgear GS748T switch so networking is going to be the bottleneck so I don't want to overspecify the RAID card/drives. I was thinking 2x ports link aggregated would be all the switch could really cope with.

Anyway, with all of that, here's my questions. To buy a fully specced Dell like this is going to cost £5000+ I don't want to spend on ridiculous performance if something down the line is going to slow things down so...


a) am I barking up the wrong tree here? Would an iSCSI NAS (eg QNAP TS-1079 Pro) be better? We've got a modest AD server (dell t110 ii) running Windows 2012. We would need to share the iSCSI though it so I'm worried about network bandwidth here. (more questions on this setup on another thread)
b) Any recommendations on an 8x HW RAID card that isn't so overspecified that 2x 1GB link aggregated Network cards won't keep up.
c) a tower case that has 2x internal, 8x hotswap bays but is no more than 26" deep (we have space limitations)
d) Is there any point getting SAS with such a weedy network connection? Will our networking be able to take the performance gain of SAS? Again, I don't want to overspecify if the networking is going to be the bottleneck.

Many thanks.
July 22, 2014 6:02:39 AM

From everything I har the Synology NAS servers are nicer and better than QNAP. Especially in the software dept.

THe DS2413+ (the + signifies you can expand it), the 24 is the maximum number of drives (after expansion) and the 13 is the model year. Is a good price at $1682 on Newegg Business: http://www.neweggbusiness.com/product/product.aspx?item... (diskless, of course). Plays nice in Windows as well and all the software listed in the specifications are free.
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July 24, 2014 12:25:32 PM

Karsten75 said:
From everything I har the Synology NAS servers are nicer and better than QNAP. Especially in the software dept.

THe DS2413+ (the + signifies you can expand it), the 24 is the maximum number of drives (after expansion) and the 13 is the model year. Is a good price at $1682 on Newegg Business: http://www.neweggbusiness.com/product/product.aspx?item... (diskless, of course).


Yeah that one was in my sights. It's a beast. Got my eye on this monster (Dell PowerEdge VRTX) too but I doubt the bean counters are going to go for it.

Karsten75 said:


Plays nice in Windows as well and all the software listed in the specifications are free.


NAS's are too inflexible for our quite complex Active Directory group policy system. *nix security is too different to Windows to ever be a perfect match so I'd rather not tempt fate there. Also, we've already got a great Windows based backup/versioning/archiving system and would far rather use that than a bunch of NAS plugins. It's going to have to be an iSCSI SAN or a proper fileserver. (eg Dell PowerEdge T420).

The performance to cost ratio is the key thing here. If it's going to cost twice as much for a fileserver just for an extra 5% data transfer rate, we'll go the SAN route. Also if all that extra performance is way over what the rest of the system can cope with then why bother with a fileserver?
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