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Yet another "need RAID5 NAS guidance" thread...

Tags:
  • NAS / RAID
  • Storage
  • Product
Last response: in Storage
January 8, 2007 8:34:03 AM

Hello there, long time lurker, first time poster. (because I actually have something to post about . :D  ) I’ve searched the forum and have seen similar systems, but everyone seems to have a different setup. I made the mistake of buying one of those crappy Netgear SC101 NAS boxes, and found out the hard way how terrible they are. (proprietary software, formatting & drivers that like to crash XP) I have finally sold the wife on the idea of a homebuilt NAS. All I (we) really want is a server I can stick in a corner, plug into the router and forget about. I have built several machines, and am no stranger to hardware or Windows. I absolutely know nothing about Linux OS’s however. I have compiled a list of hardware to make my own NAS. Could you please look over it and offer any pointers or suggestions on improving things? (stability, cost, speed, etc.) First off, here is a list of the existing hardware I have (old machine) to use as a base:

Motherboard- Intel 845GRG: http://www.intel.com/design/motherbd/rg/
RAM- 1GB (512 x 2) PC3200 DDR Samsung
CPU- Intel Pentium 4 2.4Ghz
5.25” CD-ROM drive
Floppy drive
20Gb Seagate IDE HDD (for OS)
300W generic power supply

Next, to build the NAS, I am thinking of adding 1TB of storage with 4 Seagate 400GB SATA2 drives like this: http://www.seagate.com/ww/v/index.jsp?locale=en-US&name...

Controlled by a Highpoint Rocketraid 1740 SATA2 Controller in RAID 5 array.

And installed in a case like this: http://www.malabs.com/product.asp?product_sku=63261&ite...

According to my calculations, I should be able to realize about 1.02TB of useable storage space.

Using this RAID 5 setup, will I be able to install another card (using the HP link cable) and another 4 hard drives to increase my capacity later down the road without corrupting my existing RAID array? Using a total of 5 drives (4 for the array, 1 for the OS) and the CD-ROM, etc be too much for my power supply? (all the on-line power calculators give varying results) What OS would be the best to use in this application (remember, I don’t know zip about anything Linux) and does this seem like the best way to go?

More about : raid5 nas guidance thread

January 8, 2007 9:51:34 AM

Quote:
Using this RAID 5 setup, will I be able to install another card (using the HP link cable) and another 4 hard drives to increase my capacity later down the road without corrupting my existing RAID array? Using a total of 5 drives (4 for the array, 1 for the OS) and the CD-ROM, etc be too much for my power supply? (all the on-line power calculators give varying results) What OS would be the best to use in this application (remember, I don’t know zip about anything Linux) and does this seem like the best way to go?


Each drive needs 2.8 A to start, according to Seagate. Thus you need (including the OS drive) 14 amps to start the drives. After running, it appears they can pull as much as 12.6 watts each (63 watts total), so in amps that equates to roughly 5 amps. So you need to make sure the power supply you choose supplies at least 14 amps on the 12 volt line (maximum of the two above). If it were me, I'd go ahead and bump up to a 400W supply, just in case you need the power for future internal drive replacements. Again, the amps supplied are most important. I saw a 500 watt generic supply at Microcenter the other day for $60, which supplied 28 amps.

As for the HP link cable, I saw no reference of that in the user guide on Highpoint's site, so I'm not sure what you're referencing. You can always add another RAID card, and connect 4 more drives.

If you even consider more drives, double the amps required above, and add some room to your PSU. The only additional thing you could do to reduce the PSU requirement is to find a controller that will spin up the drives sequentially, so as to not overload it on startup.

As for the OS, if you are comfortable with Windows and it fills your need, go with Windows. There's no sense in using another OS if you are not comfortable with it. While some may say to go with Linux/BSD/whatever for stability, which OS would you rather be running if trouble comes?
January 8, 2007 10:03:31 AM

The information about the link cable I found on a review by Tweaktown.com here: http://www.tweaktown.com/reviews/969/1
on page 2 of the review at the bottom it says:
"Lastly there is the HP link cable that allows you to connect two cards together to expand the RAID array across a couple of controllers. "
I think it allows you to slave the cards to each other kind of like Nvidia SLI cards. I think that's great as it allows for a future increase of the storage space. Regarding the OS, do you know if Windows Server 2000 has a 2TB cap like XP has? And would it be stable enough so I can just set it up, disconnect the monitor and keyboard from it and let it run without worrying about it crashing? (I know Linux is more popular for servers because supposedly it is more stable)
Thanks for your input.
EDIT: I looked at the label on the PS, and it says:
DELTA ELECTRONICS
Output:
+12v----15A
-12v-----0.8A
+5v-----30A
+5VSB---2.0A
+3.3V----26A
-5V----0.5A
Max Power 300W
+3.3V & +5V total output power can't exceed 220W
+3.3V, +5V & +12V total output power can't exceed 290W
-5V & -12V combined current can't exceed 0.8A
Model DPS-300KB-1A

I guess it'll be close. (I'm spending enough $ on parts that i'd rather not have to buy a new PS unless I have to. This project is dependent on having a high WAF. (WAF= Wife Acceptance Factor) :) 
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January 8, 2007 10:46:39 AM

Well, I couldn't find any reference to that cable in the Highpoint docs, but in either case, you can still add another controller. You'll just have two controller BIOS come up during POST.

If your PSU is cutting that close, I'd be concerned. Consider this: you know you'll need 14A on startup just for the drives. Now you have 1A left over for the rest of the system. You can try it, but I would be fearful of something burning up. I'd shop around, and I'm sure you can find a PSU that will fit the bill.

According to TechNet, Windows 2000 basic disks, and simple volumes on a dynamic disk, have a 2TB limit. Since the drive will appear as one disk to the OS, you'll be restricted to a simple volume, so your limit will be 2TB. However, if you add another array later, you can span the disks and go up to 64TB.

For the crashing part, I think you'll be fine. Just make sure to turn off any error logging for missing keyboard and mouse, if possible, otherwise, if you remotely reboot it, it may not come back (it will be sitting there telling you that no keyboard/mouse exists).
February 20, 2007 5:09:55 AM

I just recieved most all of the parts I need for my NAS. I bought the same tower here: https://www.ewiz.com/detail.php?name=CA-ST901BS
and also bought a new power supply: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E1681... , as I didn't want to encounter power problems later on down the road.

I bought the same Seagate drives, and am still going to be using all the same equipment from my first post. However, I am really thinking of going with FreeNAS as the OS. I have a few questions about setup:
1- To setup the RAID-5 array, I just install the driver using the Highpoint CD before FreeNAS has been setup correct?
2- Once FreeNAS has been setup, it should see the RAID array as one 1TB hard drive. Correct?
3- Does anyone know if I have to setup drivers through FreeNAS, as I dont see the Marvell 88SX6042 controller chip as being supported by FreeBSD.
4- If so, how do I do it? I know nothing about Unix/Linux/FreeBSD.
March 31, 2007 1:56:05 AM

I have been told by my wife that the server restarts a couple times a day. I looked in the system logs, but see no errors that would cause this. I am using the 500W power supply I bought from Newegg, Since I am using that power supply, I don't think that would be a problem. I am using Windows Server 2003 as my OS. I am at a loos as to why it's doing this. Does anyone have any ideas? Any help would be appreciated.