Sign in with
Sign up | Sign in
Your question

What to use for External Raid

Last response: in Storage
Share
a c 300 G Storage
May 15, 2007 2:43:10 PM

Okay, this is a kind of blue-sky question. What would you recommend for an external raid unit, given my parameters? Or is it impossible?

I want to have a quiet, fast, and reliable system (don't laugh at me yet, please). My current system meets the first two requirements, and I do backups on an about-weekly basis. I would like to find out if it is possible to use an external Raid device that will
Do Raid 10 or 5 with a spare drive
Provide a separate Raid controller inside the cabinet, to eliminate load on my CPU.
Connect to my main machine with a long connection, so that I can put the noise source in another room
Use a connection with the full bandwidth of the Raid array (which seems to eliminate USB and Ethernet)

So far, I have thought of using an old machine of mine and adding more disks. Let it eat up the CPU with Raid processing; it will only be used as a storage server. No idea what I would use as a high-speed, 6-meter interconnect. Maybe fiber controllers? What would that cost?
There's this product: http://www.sansdigital.com/MR5S1.htm. 5 drives, onboard Raid, use Ultra-320 SCSI as my interconnect. Only $1,800 plus disks.

So. Your thoughts. What's the best 5-meter or longer medium that can keep up with Raid 10 throughput? Hardware Raid controller or use an old PC? Or am I just crazy, and I should do backups more often?

Thanks in advance.

More about : external raid

May 15, 2007 3:53:42 PM

umm server on a gigabit network?
May 15, 2007 4:08:16 PM

yes fiber is a good solution to get full RAID bandwidth over 5 meters and more. Of course it will cost you premium price. Cable, adapter and the fiber server. $$$!

eSATA or even SATA with a bit of modding can be used within 6 feets of the computer. This is what we use here, with a Highpoint 8 channel controler and a home built external 8 HD case.

Gigabit LAN will bottleneck the performance, but work fine for single disk performance and 2 HD RAID 1 configuration.
Related resources
a c 300 G Storage
May 15, 2007 4:59:20 PM

Yakyb: Thanks for helping. That was my first-shot idea. However, I looked at transfer rates. I have clocked single disks on my machine at about 87 MB/s. I have read about Gigabit Ethernet that, in practice, it gives 30-50 MB/s. So the transfer medium would be slower than a single disk. Inexpensive, reliable, but not fast. Even if it ran at 100%, 100 MB/s doesn't give much headroom above a single disk.
Is my math or my background info wrong? Could be, I'm a newbie at attached storage.
a c 300 G Storage
May 15, 2007 5:05:06 PM

Quote:
yes fiber is a good solution to get full RAID bandwidth over 5 meters and more. Of course it will cost you premium price. Cable, adapter and the fiber server. $$$!
quote]

What would you suggest as cost-effective over about 5 meters for point-to-point transfer, assuming I just turn an old machine into a disk array server?
May 15, 2007 5:49:21 PM

What transfer rate are you aiming for? How much disk? How much machine will be part of this (now and future)?

Of course, fiber channel adapter aren't THAT expensive, but the only one I know are either PCI-e or PCI-X, so to turn an old machine into a high end server, you'll need a fairly recent motherboard or server/workstation one.

Do you really need this? For what kind of use?
May 15, 2007 6:51:19 PM

You are going to have to give up something in this equation. Either you want no bottleneck to the storage, or you want it external and away from your computer for noise issues.

I use 4 Seagate 750's hooked up to an Adaptec SATA-II RAID board and have really no noise issues to complain about inside my case.

Another idea you might want to consider is keeping the RAID inside the box, and using KVM over IP to connect to the PC. Mouse/Keyboard/Monitor is a pretty small/quiet profile, and the machine could be moved quite a distance away. This would fulfill both of your stated requirements.
a c 300 G Storage
May 17, 2007 5:39:58 PM

Quote:


Do you really need this? For what kind of use?


Do I really need it? Nah, it's a hobby. Some tweak car engines, some crossbreed roses, some build computers. I picked up the "quiet" obsession a few years ago and I'm trying to see how far I can push it on a modest budget.

A few years before that, my hobby-horse was how to do backups that were both fast and cost-effective in terms of the drive and media. While DVDs promised to be excellent for smaller amounts of data, I had this theory that for larger amounts you could use a hard drive and then take it out of the case. I played with that until removable drive cartridges became common, then I needed another subject to obsess about.

Thanks.
a c 300 G Storage
May 17, 2007 5:43:23 PM

Quote:
Another idea you might want to consider is keeping the RAID inside the box, and using KVM over IP to connect to the PC. Mouse/Keyboard/Monitor is a pretty small/quiet profile, and the machine could be moved quite a distance away. This would fulfill both of your stated requirements.


I've thought of that in the past, but I didn't pursue the idea. Cost, plus I didn't want to have to go into the other room to put in CDs (that long ago, yes) or floppy disks (really long ago). Now, with USB, I can put the removable drives on my desk and the computer in the basement. Maybe I'll get one of those Lantronix Spiders that Tom's reviewed recently. But gaming kind of argues against any kind of lag.

Maybe I can get a 12-foot video cable, cut a hole in my ceiling, and put the computer in the attic? ;) 
!