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iSCSI / NAS storage server using PM and Multilane Controller

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July 15, 2008 5:29:22 PM

Hi all,
I'm trying to build a storage system using Openfiler or FreeNAS. I need to connect to a storage rack, http://www.addonics.com/products/raid_system/rack_overv..., using only one cable. I've found PCI and PCI-X controller cards which support both Port Multiplier and Multilane, http://www.addonics.com/products/multilane/ad4saml.asp but can't seem to find any PCI Express cards.

The reason for using PCI Express is because Mini-ITX boards typically do not have PCI-X slots and as Mini-ITX only have one or two slots, I need one card to controll all 12 disks. Speed is not an issue for me, only capacity.

Anyone got any suggestions for a PCI Express card supporting both PM and Multilane for a minimum of 12 disks?


Regards,
John Jore
July 15, 2008 9:09:02 PM


Have you looked into doing this DAS with SAS expansion? If you had a x8 (or even x4) PCIe slot you could use, then SAS expansion is a possibility.

I like Adaptec or LSI controllers and Supermicro expansion boxes.

Here is the 16 bay 3U supermicro.

http://www.supermicro.com/products/chassis/3U/836/SC836...

Internal cable to connect to the Expander backplane

http://www.supermicro.com/a_images/products/Accessories...

External cable from the host card to the JBOD

http://www.supermicro.com/a_images/products/Accessories...

Power control card to turn the JBOD on and off

http://www.supermicro.com/products/accessories/index.cf... (at the bottom)
July 15, 2008 9:38:18 PM

Thanks for the reply rozar, and you make a good point.

The reason for using the addonics storage rack was because HDD watercooling blocks from Aqua would fit nicely http://www.aqua-computer-systeme.de/shopsystem/popup_im... (4x HDs per HDD block)

I'm struggeling to find a different storage rack to the Addonics which can do water cooling and i need this because I do not have good enough cooling where the kit is stored on a day-to-day basis, not for the noise the HDDs create.

JJ
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July 15, 2008 10:02:22 PM

Chenbro makes an expander that can be used with any JBOD box. So use whatever SAS card you like with at least 1 external port and then install this in your addonics box. See if it would work for you.

http://usa.chenbro.com/corporatesite/products_accessory...


Edit
I just noticed that the Addonics case does not have any expansion card slots. There are other rack mount cases that have the 9 - 5.25 bay slots though if that is the requirement.
July 16, 2008 4:08:26 PM

Aha... Forgive me for the lack of technical knowledge about SAS, but

a SAS PCIe card in the mini-itx PC, such as http://www.adaptec.com/en-US/products/sas_cards/entry/S...

a single cable of the correct type would connect to a card in the storage case, SFF-8088 Mini SAS, on each side.

and the Chenbro card, or similar, in a storage case, with the appropriate break-out cables should then connect to the 12 SATA disks? 3x cables such as SFF-8087 to (4x) SATA 7-Pin should do the trick?


JJ
July 16, 2008 5:17:11 PM

Where you say "a single cable of the correct type would connect to a card in the storage case, SFF-8088 Mini SAS, on each side."

Its not really a card, it more of a cable that (normally) mounts in an expansion slot and accepts the external cable you listed and routs that to the expander. But you yes have the general idea. The expander can be part of the backplane as in the Supermicro solution or an independant device that would connect to a discrete solution as you are looking for and you listed the correct cables.

It is also possible to expand to other JBOD boxes from the first expander with most expansion solutions. This makes it possible to create some really large volumes. I just quoted a customer a 60TB solution for example.


Do you have the drives yet? If not I would encourage you to go with SAS drives for this solution. Not the expensive 10k or 15k ones but the Seagate es.2 series of SAS drives that are 7200 RPM and are priced inline with the SATA ES.2 drives. They come in 750GB and 1TB sizes and there may be others. If you need to use SATA drives that is OK, you just may be limited in the future with cascading if that were ever a need.

One other thing, the card you list as an example only does hostraid 0,1,10 so if you need RAID 5, 6 or 50, 60 you may want to look for another controller. Plus as much as I like Adaptec because the new 5 series and 2 series controllers are extrememly fast they do tend to run hot and I would not use them in a mini itx solution. You might want to look into this card (the 9690SA-4I4E version)

http://www.3ware.com/products/sas-9690sa.asp

Hope this helps

July 17, 2008 9:35:34 PM

Thanks rozar, your help on this has been much appreciated.

I've abandoned the SATA PM / Multilane route and will go SAS instead.

Now I need to find a different case as I need to fit 3x of the http://www.aqua-computer-systeme.de/shopsystem/popup_im... water cooling elements with a SAS expansion card.

And yes, I already have 12x 750GB disks in use which will be moved to the new solution. (Existing SX6000 controllers, IDE->SATA will be used to move to SATA interfaces)

And yes, I've already had a look at the 3ware controller, I'm not sure I want to do HW RAID. I've been up the creek with no paddle on my SX6000 controllers on several occasions in the past.


JJ
!