I have a photography business that requires alot of storage, and access to it at all times by multiple users. at current standing we are using a DROBO PRO, but this is quite slow and seems to fail quite a bit, we need 3 partitions with a minimum of 3gb in each.
i was thinking of building a server pc with 6 x 3gb drives using raid1 3 times and having the data incrementally backup to the drobo on weekends.
is this possible? or if there is a better idea i really want to hear it. i need to do this asap.
For a cost effective and expandable build, I'd put the dedicated server together, like you said. Here's what I've put together about a week ago: home server: Fractal Design R3 (or XL), a Z77 chipset (Asrock Professional), Enermax PS 750w, 10SATA ports, 6ea 1TB WD Green (RAID 5), a 3TB external USB3.0, a 2tb external eSata. Great read speeds with RAID5, not great write speeds. RAID 5 cause it would be seemless to replace a failed drive, plus you get good read speeds, still need to back up though.
My understanding is that all the HDD must be the same size. Kind of makes sense if you intent to have a "hot standby", you can carry just one popular size like a 1tb or a 2tb. The cool thing with the Z77 chipset is you can also buy a 60GB SSD and accelerate your RAID array, just use (enhanced) not (maximum) option for better security of your files. Also, I guess this goes without saying, buy a good UPS, and setup the software to do a proper shutdown in the event of a power failure.
I also have a RAID 5 Buffalo. I really love the Buffalo TeraStation but it's kinda slow compared to building badass multiuse computer (gaming, work, and file servering all in one).
In using different sized drives in a RAID 5 configuration, your finished drive would only be as big as your smallest drive. Example - you have 2 -1TB drives, 2 - 750GB drive and 1 - 500GB drive. Your RAID 5 would only configure as 500GB. The Drobo is configured in such a way as to be able to use different sized drives completely.
I am currently using a FreeNAS setup and would highly recommend it.
Currently running 5x1.5TB HDDs in a RAID-Z configuration so a total of 6TB of storage.
The snapshot features are great for keeping incremental backups and the bandwidth and access times have been great for multiple computers connected to it.
ok so the main issue for me moving forward is that when 4tb drives come out, i am going to want to use them, as by then it may be hard to find 3tb or 2tb drives.. and if one fails i dont want to be stuck looking for the same hdd.
I don't think you'll have any problem finding 2tb drives 5 years from now. Heck, I can find 500mb IDE drives fairly easily if I needed them. At some point your going to upgrade the whole thing anyways. If you want a suggestion to get some HDD space for cheap, go to COSTCO and pickup the 3tb externals for 119.00. Then remove the bare drive and use as an internal. Only caveat is use lose the ability to warranty them, but it's about half the cost of a bare drive, worth the risk in my opinion.
RAID-Z is a proprietary, software implemented raid solution similar to RAID 5. The software is ZFS and it is open sources so there are some very good implementations of it on some free server OS. RAID-Z was created to combat a lot of the downsides to RAID 5; specifically the write hole and the slower write times in general.
Ok so I have come up with a solution that I have implemented.
1. 2x (2 x 3tb) WD green drives running in raid1 (mirrored) allowing for 2 actual partitions with mirroring
2. Using drobo pro as backup so if a set of drives fail at the same time, we are covered.