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Controller questions

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July 9, 2010 11:47:44 AM

Hi All,

Looking to build a file server for backup and NAS, looking for a very low power solution. I'm probably going to go for quite a few 2.5" SATA disks (probably 4 initially with scope for up to 8, perhaps?) in hot-swap caddies, software RAID (5 or 6, probably) using ZFS. Haven't decided on motherboard/CPU yet, but probably mini-ITX or micro-ATX.

Given that, talk to me about controllers. PCIe? 2 x 4 disk controllers (cheaper) or 1 x 8disk (or something else)? Or should I be considering something else entirely (SSDs, perhaps)?

Cheers - Adam...

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a c 113 G Storage
July 9, 2010 5:12:38 PM

adam-the-kiwi said:
Hi All,

Looking to build a file server for backup and NAS, looking for a very low power solution. I'm probably going to go for quite a few 2.5" SATA disks (probably 4 initially with scope for up to 8, perhaps?) in hot-swap caddies, software RAID (5 or 6, probably) using ZFS. Haven't decided on motherboard/CPU yet, but probably mini-ITX or micro-ATX.

Given that, talk to me about controllers. PCIe? 2 x 4 disk controllers (cheaper) or 1 x 8disk (or something else)? Or should I be considering something else entirely (SSDs, perhaps)?

Cheers - Adam...


If you have the money to use SSDs in this situation, I would not use software raid, get a card. SSDs will be the lowest power solution for you, but you did not say anything about your budget or space needs. SSD = smaller space, less cooling needed also, less fans needed, less power.
July 10, 2010 8:59:50 PM

Thanks for the response, hang-the-9.

Having now had a dig around, I'm not sure my budget will extend to SSDs for the amount of storage I'm looking at (around 4TB) - I realise they'll be the quietest, lowest power and fastest possible, but it looks like around a 20-fold increase in cost...

What I'm really after information about is controllers. Given that I'm looking for enough redundancy that I'll potentially want 8 drives - what is the best (and lowest power) in terms of controllers? What are the implications (performance, power) of having several controllers on PCIe bus, versus having one controller looking after all the drives?

Thanks - Adam...
a c 113 G Storage
July 12, 2010 2:15:00 PM

adam-the-kiwi said:
Thanks for the response, hang-the-9.

Having now had a dig around, I'm not sure my budget will extend to SSDs for the amount of storage I'm looking at (around 4TB) - I realise they'll be the quietest, lowest power and fastest possible, but it looks like around a 20-fold increase in cost...

What I'm really after information about is controllers. Given that I'm looking for enough redundancy that I'll potentially want 8 drives - what is the best (and lowest power) in terms of controllers? What are the implications (performance, power) of having several controllers on PCIe bus, versus having one controller looking after all the drives?

Thanks - Adam...


one vs many controllers, you should not see much of a difference in performance, maybe if you run a benchmark it would be withing a few % points. I'd get whatever is cheaper, 2 - 4 port RAID or 1 - 8 port raids. I have not looked at RAID cards since before SATA, so can't really recommend any specific models.
!