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Need affordable SATA RAID supporting 2 TB drives

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May 5, 2010 7:03:44 PM

I'm looking for any SATA RAID card (doesn't matter how old) for my home NAS server that has the following features:

[1] at least 4 internal SATA II ports
[2] supports at least RAID 0/1/5
[3] is 64-bit PCI or PCI-e (preferably PCI-e, NOT PCI-X)
[4] support for at least 2 TB physical drives and at least 8 TB arrays
[5] is NOT fakeraid/host based RAID/software RAID?
[6] affordable

Any ideas?

TIA
May 5, 2010 10:28:15 PM

digityzed said:
I'm looking for any SATA RAID card (doesn't matter how old) for my home NAS server that has the following features:

[1] at least 4 internal SATA II ports
[2] supports at least RAID 0/1/5
[3] is 64-bit PCI or PCI-e (preferably PCI-e, NOT PCI-X)
[4] support for at least 2 TB physical drives and at least 8 TB arrays
[5] is NOT fakeraid/host based RAID/software RAID?
[6] affordable

Any ideas?

TIA



You will need to spend at least $1200 for the hardware you have described, $1500 would be better. Only you can say if this is "affordable", or not.

The New Number Two
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May 11, 2010 5:25:44 AM

I would love to snag that Netgear ReadyNAS NVX Pioneer Edition, but I don't want to spend that much ($750). I've been eyeing the Synology DS410 for a while and even that's more than I want to spend. That NAS plus 4 x 2 TB drives puts me at around $1100 (NAS = $500, drives = $600).

I did pick up a really good RAID card for really cheap (Adaptec RAID 3405 for $150), but after playing with FreeNAS and Openfiler in preliminary testing (they're cumbersome) I'm starting to like dedicated NAS server solutions (Netgear and Synology). :(  now I'm going back and forth

Anywho, I found my affordable SATA RAID supporting 2 TB drives so I guess my question has been answered
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May 15, 2010 4:04:23 PM

If you shop around, you can snag a Netgear ReadyNAS NVX Pioneer Edition for $599 after rebate (available through June from participating retailers). And if you don't mind an open box, you can snag one for $529.
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May 18, 2010 4:45:44 PM

digityzed said:
I would love to snag that Netgear ReadyNAS NVX Pioneer Edition, but I don't want to spend that much ($750). I've been eyeing the Synology DS410 for a while and even that's more than I want to spend. That NAS plus 4 x 2 TB drives puts me at around $1100 (NAS = $500, drives = $600).

I did pick up a really good RAID card for really cheap (Adaptec RAID 3405 for $150), but after playing with FreeNAS and Openfiler in preliminary testing (they're cumbersome) I'm starting to like dedicated NAS server solutions (Netgear and Synology). :(  now I'm going back and forth

Anywho, I found my affordable SATA RAID supporting 2 TB drives so I guess my question has been answered


Good to hear it. I recently picked up an Areca 1680ix-8 and some 2TB WD RE4 drives to go with it. I haven't been motivated to hook it up yet, but I'll soon have an 8 TB RAID6 setup. An LTO drive to back it all up is the next step. I'm spending a lot more $$$ than I want to, but I have 10+ years of downloads to preserve.

The New Number Two
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May 25, 2010 8:12:24 AM

HA! That's why I'm in this pickle! I lost 10 years of downloads migrating my RAID system from Linux to Windows a couple of months ago. During the last step, restoring the data to the new RAID, one of the temporary hard drives failed. A lifetime of dodging failing hard drives finally caught up to me, it was time to invest in data protection.

heh, that's a hell of a card (Areca 1680ix-8) and a hell of a price (~$700)! I caved and got the Synology DS410. The small footprint became the dealbreaker for me (I prefer to put this small DS410 box in the closet than an actual mini-ITX or micro-ATX box). I just ordered 4 x 2 TB drives for it after testing it out and making sure its comparable to the FreeNAS box I previously built also for testing (Transmission + RSS is my main concern).

...this is the second time I read RAID 6 over RAID 5... why? How much usable space will I get out of 4 x 2 TB with RAID 6?
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a c 415 G Storage
May 25, 2010 8:38:33 AM

I want to warn you that if your problem loosing data was due to chipset-based RAID and you think that a hardware RAID card will solve the issue, then think again. These kinds of issues aren't really hardware vs. software RAID, they're more about the kinds of drives you buy and the RAID organization you use.

If you want a reliable RAID system, the first thing to do is to buy RAID-ready drives that support TLER. A lot of drive "failures" are really due to the drive timing out when trying to recover data from a dodgy sector. This is true of hardware or software RAID.

The next thing to do is to avoid RAID-5 for very large arrays. With the unrecoverable read error rates being what they are, the chances of not being able to recover your data after a RAID-5 drive failure are fairly high. This is why people are recommending RAID-6, it's able to recover data even if you have bad sectors on the non-failed drives. The overhead for RAID-6 is two drives - in other words if you have 4 x 2TB in RAID-6 you'll have 4TB of usable space.

Lastly, remember that RAID is not a backup. When the thieves break into your house and steal your computer or a short in your power supply fries your disks, your data isn't going to be saved just because it's on RAID. If the files are important then you need to back them up to external media that's stored separately from your computer, preferably offsite. I realize this is difficult if you have a lot of data, but if it's important stuff then that really is what you need to do. Better to back up a few files you can't be without than to ignore the problem because you can't back all of it up.

If you had a backup of your data when you did your RAID migration then you wouldn't have lost it.
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May 25, 2010 6:00:50 PM

Wow, extremely insightful! Thanks!

Though it was a Adaptec 2410SA EXT3 formatted RAID set on a Ubuntu server to NTFS formatted RAID set (same RAID card) on a Windows 7 home workstation migration. None of the RAID drives itself failed during the migration, just the temporary swing hard drive holding the bulk of my downloads.

I already back up my important data to Amazon S3 (I hate doing the external backup drive rotation dance). It was actually refreshing when I lost 10 years of my digital media library - I purged a lot of media I didn't give two hoots about and essentially upgraded to strictly HD content after re-downloading media I really enjoy. Heh, I just may do RAID 0 now that I think about it.
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May 26, 2010 6:58:23 PM

I've got my OS up and running on the Areca in a 2TB RAID 1 partition. The remaining six slots are for a RAID 6 data partition, which will be 8TB of storage.

Sminlal's reply is right on target and explains my choices quite accurately. The 2TB WD RE4-GP drives that I'm using are TLER- enabled, and RAID 6 was chosen for the same reason that he mentioned.

After I recover from the shock of spending $2700 on HDD's and the Areca, I plan on picking up an LTO-4 drive to back it all up. It will probably set me back another $3K, or so, but my data collection is irreplaceable.

The New Number Two (eagerly looking forward to holographic storage!)
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May 26, 2010 8:35:13 PM

My gawd! I'm pissed I just dropped $1100 on my set up and here you are dropping $6000! I can't get my clients to spend even $500 to protect their oh so important business data!

So what are you storing that's requires 8 TB and is so irreplaceable?
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a c 415 G Storage
May 26, 2010 8:49:57 PM

digityzed said:
I can't get my clients to spend even $500 to protect their oh so important business data!

I hope you've explained to them the scenarios that could occur in which they would loose their data with no hope of recovery, or which scenarios would require them wait for recovery and then have to re-key transactions entered since the last backup. It's really important that they understand this (I'd go so far as to get a signature) so that (a) they can make an intelligent decision on backup costs vs. business risk, and (b) they don't come after you for damages after some sort of failure.
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May 28, 2010 12:28:05 AM

digityzed said:
...So what are you storing that's requires 8 TB and is so irreplaceable?


My multimedia collection of classic movies and T.V. series, a considerable software library, and many family photos. Most of it is theoretically replaceable, but it would be a daunting and time- consuming task to reconstruct it in the event of data loss. It's only about 2.5 TB in size right now, but I expect it to double in the next couple of years. I also want to have immediate access to any title, or else I would just go with the LTO drive and forget about the RAID.

I admit that I aimed a bit high with the capacity of my new gear, but I don't want to have to upgrade again anytime soon. This new hardware should fulfill my storage needs for at least three years.

The New Number Two
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May 29, 2010 3:16:59 AM

My drives have come in (4 x 2 TB Hitachi HD32000) and I'm installing them in the caddy and now I'm re-thinking my RAID set up since there are high failure rates with high capacity drives these days (and I've had more drives fail on clients lately) and since RAID array builds and/or re-builds and re-copying 6 to 8 TB of data take FOREVER. Even installing the drives into the caddies is taking too long.

Anywho... I'm storing mainly downloaded tv shows and movies, some software... all in all I don't care too much about losing everything, but I dread the recovery and restore process and time... RAID 6 or RAID 0 + 1 ??
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May 29, 2010 11:32:46 PM

digityzed said:
... RAID 6 or RAID 0 + 1 ??


The RAID 6 can recover if any two of the drives fail. The 0+1 can handle two failures only if both drives are on the same stripe. For a four drive setup, RAID 6 is the winner.

The New Number Two




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a c 415 G Storage
May 29, 2010 11:53:12 PM

thenewnumber2 said:
The RAID 6 can recover if any two of the drives fail. The 0+1 can handle two failures only if both drives are on the same stripe. For a four drive setup, RAID 6 is the winner.

It's the winner for reliability, but not for performance. RAID 6 has much worse write performance than RAID 0+1. Just something to be aware of...
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May 30, 2010 6:38:32 AM

Sminlal is right, as usual. I should have asked you this: is your RAID setup going to be for data storage only, or do you intend on running your OS from it as well? If "yes", the RAID 0+1 may be the better choice.

If you feel energetic, install your OS on the RAID 6 and run some benchmarks- then tear it all down, set up a 0+1 and do the same. Lot's of work and not very entertaining, but I don't know how else to answer the question.

The New Number Two

EDIT: I need to stop posting in the middle of the night :sleep:  I suppose your NAS server won't be running an OS at all.

TNN2
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June 1, 2010 5:20:56 AM

So I took the noob way out and choose the default RAID 5 :/  I initially went with RAID 1+0/10 but canceled that build because I couldn't stomach the fact I shelled out $560 and only have half that purchase usable (measly 3.6 TB with RAID 10 or 6 vs. somewhat acceptable 5.4 TB with RAID 5). Hopefully this won't come back to bite me, though it probably will :( 
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June 1, 2010 6:15:53 AM

Unless hardware raid is a deal breaker, you should look into Solaris's ZFS file system and backup your data using RaidZ. If your files are important enough to warrant $6000, I guarantee you will want the features ZFS has to offer. I wish I new about ZFS two months ago when I set up my media server. Now I have to find an efficient way of migrating all my data.

Do yourself a favour google it.
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June 1, 2010 6:33:18 AM

Oh BTW, for extra speed, you can add an SSD as a cache drive. It will act just like the 64MB of cache does on normal drives, but you can get a 32GB hard drive for less than $100. I believe a single cache drive can be used for the entire storage pool, so multiple file systems can benefit from the same cache drive.
http://www.markround.com/archives/35-ZFS-and-caching-fo...
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June 1, 2010 5:38:14 PM

zfsnoobman said:
Unless hardware raid is a deal breaker, you should look into Solaris's ZFS file system and backup your data using RaidZ. If your files are important enough to warrant $6000, I guarantee you will want the features ZFS has to offer. I wish I new about ZFS two months ago when I set up my media server. Now I have to find an efficient way of migrating all my data.

Do yourself a favour google it.


Looks interesting, but I still want a tape backup for long- term archiving.

The New Number Two
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a c 415 G Storage
June 1, 2010 6:40:34 PM

zfsnoobman said:
...you should look into Solaris's ZFS file system and backup your data using RaidZ...


TN No. 2's right - no RAID system is a backup. The purpose of redundant RAID is to reduce downtime due drive failure, but it can't protect against many other risks to your data such as accidental deletion, corruption, equipment theft, power hits, disasters, etc. etc.

If your data is really important to you then it needs to be backed up to OFFLINE media, and ideally at least one copy of the backup should be stored OFFSITE.
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June 2, 2010 2:46:57 AM

sminlal said:
TN No. 2's right - no RAID system is a backup. The purpose of redundant RAID is to reduce downtime due drive failure, but it can't protect against many other risks to your data such as accidental deletion, corruption, equipment theft, power hits, disasters, etc. etc.

If your data is really important to you then it needs to be backed up to OFFLINE media, and ideally at least one copy of the backup should be stored OFFSITE.



Agreed for enterprise data, you always need offsite backup. But its worth noting that ZFS can take snapshots and roll back changes very efficiently and quickly. To go through your list:

accidental deletion: snap shots, deletes can be rolled back. Takes minimal extra space.
corruption: silent data corruption over time is impossible with zfs (google it)
equipment theft: a file system can't help here
power hits: transactional filesystem so this is not a problem. Normally you would loose anything in the HD's cache or if you have raid5 you could corrupt the array by writing to one HD but not the parrity, but with ZFS you will never loose information stored in the cache and you cannot corrupt the parity.
disasters: file system can't protect against physical disasters.
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a c 415 G Storage
June 2, 2010 4:37:24 AM

> accidental deletion: snap shots, deletes can be rolled back. Takes minimal extra space.
This is fine if you want to restore the entire volume to a previous point. But if you discover you accidentally deleted a file a month ago then you're in a bit of a quandary.

> corruption: silent data corruption over time is impossible with zfs (google it)
You're talking about the disk corrupting data, I'm talking about the computer itself. If a program screws up while writing data, or if you have a memory error that corrupts data before it's written to the RAID subsystem (more common than it should be since most desktops have no protection for memory), ZFS can't do anything to help you other than rolling back to a previous, uncorrupted version. But see above.

power hits: transactional filesystem so this is not a problem.
> You're talking about power FAILURES, I'm talking about power SURGES that physically destroy equipment.

ZFS is certainly an improvement over conventional RAID systems, but there's only so much it can do - there are certain things it simply can't protect against. Therefore, if your data is really important to you, then you need external backup.

You don't need to be an "Enterprise" to have data that you really, really don't want to loose.
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June 2, 2010 6:08:39 AM

sminlal said:
This is fine if you want to restore the entire volume to a previous point. But if you discover you accidentally deleted a file a month ago then you're in a bit of a quandary.

Good Point


sminlal said:
You're talking about the disk corrupting data, I'm talking about the computer itself. If a program screws up while writing data, or if you have a memory error that corrupts data before it's written to the RAID subsystem (more common than it should be since most desktops have no protection for memory), ZFS can't do anything to help you other than rolling back to a previous, uncorrupted version. But see above.

Agreed, but how would any other kind of backup be better than snapshots? The best you can do is roll back to the last version that was not corrupted.



sminlal said:
You're talking about power FAILURES, I'm talking about power SURGES that physically destroy equipment

I don't really know much about huge installations, but with proper surge equipment I'm not sure how this can happen. Of course there are many possible physical disasters that can happen, electrical being only one of them.


I'm not arguing against offsite backup, I'm just saying that the new filesystem can protect against many of the most common problems. Simply changing to a ZFS filesystem can make a system much more safe.


Actually you got me thinking, from what I understand, snapshots work by remembering all the changes made to the file system after the snap shot was made. That way the total size required for the snap shot depends on the amount of data that has changed since it was made. Furthermore, it only restores the parts of the drive that changed, it does not reimage the entire drive or anything like that, so the total time required to restore from a snapshot is about equal to the amount of data to be rolled back divided by the write speed to the drive . From a technical standpoint, it should be possible to roll back just a single file. It may even be possible to browse the snapshots to see what the drive looked like when the snapshot was made; a bit like an SVN repository. I don't know enough to be sure, but I would be very interested in finding out.

As far as I can tell, there are no downsides to using ZFS, especially now that you can get it in Linux using FUSE. I'm wondering why I don't hear about it more often. It seems like it should be very popular.
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a c 415 G Storage
June 2, 2010 8:00:55 AM

> but with proper surge equipment I'm not sure how this can happen.

As an example, lightning strikes have been known to blast right through the kind of simple UPS / isolation units that a typical desktop user might employ. Sure, the UPS company's guarantee may pay to replace your hardware, but they can't replace your data.


> From a technical standpoint, it should be possible to roll back just a single file.

I was a bit skeptical of this, but after reading Sun's "ZFS How-to Guide" it appears you're right. That's pretty cool!
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June 3, 2010 6:32:59 PM

sminlal said:
> but with proper surge equipment I'm not sure how this can happen.

As an example, lightning strikes have been known to blast right through the kind of simple UPS / isolation units that a typical desktop user might employ. Sure, the UPS company's guarantee may pay to replace your hardware, but they can't replace your data.


> From a technical standpoint, it should be possible to roll back just a single file.

I was a bit skeptical of this, but after reading Sun's "ZFS How-to Guide" it appears you're right. That's pretty cool!


I've been waiting for a good reason to get involved with Linux: the ZFS technology just might be the catalyst. I guess I have two or three years to think about it!

Thanks to both of you (Sminlal and Zfsnoob) for your knowledgeable feedback, and also to Digityzed for launching the topic.

The New Number Two
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June 11, 2010 7:19:03 PM

sminlal said:
It's the winner for reliability, but not for performance. RAID 6 has much worse write performance than RAID 0+1. Just something to be aware of...


Wow! In this one thread, you've just answered most of my questions about a WHS RAID I'm wanting to set-up! How do you follow someones threads on Toms?
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