Need Cheap RAID Solution

I have an HP XW6600 for my work. I use it for running dozens of different Virtual Machines. Anyway, my problem is hard drives. It only came with 1 500GB SATA spindle in it. I opened and found that it only has 1 available HD storage bay and 1 available CDROM bay that I can convert to HD. So, the most I can fit in this case is 3 HD's. It has onboard SATA/RAID with 6 ports.

Now here is what I need:

- Performance - I need more spindles because my system is fast but it struggles because of 1 HD. I want good performance for running multiple VM's. I dont have an exact number, but I think a minimum of 3-4 spindles will be needed. The more the better for this performance.

- Redundancy - Mirror or Stripe is fine.

- Storage - I need more space. I need at least 1TB, including OS and all data. I would prefer at least 2TB< but 1TB is minimum. I have a 750GB external USB that I use as a data dump. I would like solution that I can use for a lot of growth and storage of backups as well. 1TB will not get me all of that, but the performance may be worth it.

- Cheap - This is out of pocket expense for me, so I need it to be as cheap as possible.

I am open to using the onboard RAID, RAID card, internal storage, external storage, building external enclosure, or buying external enclosure. I have looked at newegg and many others but have found nothing that fits my bill for a decent budget.

I need the performance and the space.

6 answers Last reply
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  1. HI djtech2k,

    I would suggest a HW Raid Controller with an external SAS/SATA port and attach it to a JBOD. This way you can expand capacity as you need.
    LSI offers several SAS/SATA with external ports. SAS drives are more reliable, but may bust your budget.

  2. That does sound good, but pricey. Any ideas on a price for that solution? I don't have an exact limit, but I don't want to spend $600 or anything like that.
  3. Any more ideas?
  4. By far the cheapest and easiest would be to grab 2 more drives put them in RAID-0 and dump the VM's on the RAID-0 and change swap and temp location to the RAID-0 also. This would mean the majority of IO on the primary drive would be for the host OS, then the faster RAID-0 array would be able to handle the greater load of the VM's and swap. It maybe the cheapest and easiest but its not the fastest. I would then use your current external drive for backups (ie the VM's). If your budget is low you could do this and if it doesn't increase speed enough you can use the new hard drives with a better solution so nothing lost.

    What is your budget for the upgrade?

    Mirror is not going to help you speed wise and doesnt serve as a backup.
  5. Yeh I know RAID 0 would be the best performance, but I worry about drive failure. I would like some redundancy. As for backups, I may be able to do some backup, but my external has some data on it that I dont use daily, so I am not sure I will have the whole thing.

    Anyway, I do not have a set amount, but I would very happy if I could get a solution for under a few hundred. I know its going to be hard, but spending $500+ on a solution is something I would rather not do, but I dont want a garbage solution either so I may not have a choice. Since HW is quite cheap and I know deals are out there, I figured I would see what I could squeeze in.

    I am going to try and reach HP to see what RAID solutions are available with the onboard chipset. I dont know if its capable of RAID 5 or not.
  6. Hi! You can look to accusys, they have a large ofert for 2 bay's (2hdd 1,5Tb each one, RAID 0/1), included some solutions for 1 bay but with 2 hdd's (up to 320 Gb each one) - don't forget you are end user, so the prices are somewhere arownd 200$ or more. Good luck!(
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