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New storage array

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September 27, 2012 4:32:31 PM

Hello all! I am currently in a pickle. I have never used RAID before and I do not know much about it. I have been looking online and reading a bit about it, but I do not understand fully. Let me give you my specs first:

X6DH8-G2 motherboard
1x 150GB WD Raptor 10krpm (boot)
3Ware AMCC 9550sx-8lp Sata Raid Card with battery backup
3Ware 9550SX-12SI Sata Raid Card
16x 1TB 2.5" drives
4x ICY DOCK MB994SP-4SB-1(storage array)

I am using a full tower case, which is why I am going with the 1TB drives in 2.5".
Now what I was originally planning to do, is make this into a SAN with a fibre channel connection to another computer that sees it as DAS. I think I am straying away from that at the moment and just going to make it into a NAS with the SAN possibility in the future. I am trying to find what RAID I should do. I was thinking about RAID 5 since RAID 6 isnt supported by my controllers I will be getting. I guess I could check with the manufacturer and see if there is a firmware update that lets it do RAID6, but I dont know if that is a possibility or if its hardware limited. I want to get the most storage space possible from this array. This will be a media server for streaming 1080p and 3D content to multiple televisions simultaneously. I was thinking about maybe RAID5 or RAID50. I cant seem to find out if RAID50 would decrease the storage space as opposed to regular RAID5? I know RAID isnt a substitute for backing up but backing up that much data would be horrendous. I thought about doing tape backup but the amount of tapes needed would probably make it cheaper to buy the amount of drives needed for mirroring. Sure the data is not critical, but who wants to have to replace 14tb of data lol. Also, would having a drive like a 2TB WD green drive not in the array for the streaming be a good idea? That way it would decrease the writes needed to the array? I really appreciate everyone's feedback!

*EDIT*

Also, is having an SSD for a cache drive good? How would one approach this with a RAID array? Can I use a cheaper SSD (64GB one from microcenter, microcenter brand)? Oh and I am thinking about using this on WHS 2011. That is currently what I am using on my server. I might be more open to other suggestions but I have zero experience with linux but I do like the command line. I have to use a CLI for work and I enjoy typing commands, so I might be able to enjoy linux. Currently I just use the WHS for ease of use.

More about : storage array

September 28, 2012 1:44:06 AM

What is your goal for all of this?
September 28, 2012 2:03:41 AM

Sorry I thought I put that in the original post. I want a media streaming server that can stream multiple 1080p content to different htpcs I have as well be a massive storage bank for any files I need to store. I will probably be running different things on the server also like checking out share point or other applications. Almost like a development server as well.
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September 28, 2012 6:33:01 AM

So you have a boot drive, connected directly to the motherboard. The rest of the drives in the Icy Docks should be connected to the RAID cards. Now the question is how you want to handle RAID, do you want software RAID or hardware RAID? The problem with hardware RAID is that your vendor locked to the RAID card (possibly to the exact same model), but software RAID requires that you run an OS from which you can do RAID.

Also realise that your raid cards are PCI-X and that using it in a PCI-X slot means that your capping yourself at 533MB/s total for all PCI cards. This means your 16 1TB drives will have a max speed of 533MB/s TOTAL, which comes out to a little over 4Gbps. This is fine for a NAS box, since you only have 2 Gigabit NICs on that motherboard. However, if you plan to test anything intensive on here because the Pentium 4-era Nocona core Xeon's are quite underpowered by today's standards (a dual core Atom has about the same processing power). The other issue is the amount of RAM you are planning to use, the more intensive the use, the more power you need.

Do you have an operating system in mind?
September 28, 2012 4:10:13 PM

Well I wanted to use WHS 2011. I am open to other things also. Honestly, I did not know that a DC Atom processor had about the same processing power. I as just looking for something on a budget. I guess I should have researched that part more since I just bought that hardware ^. Well I will have 4GB ram starting and eventually will go up higher. The reason I went with PCI-X is because raid cards are stupid inexpensive for those slots at the moment, when the new PCI-e cards are hundreds of dollars. Yea this will just be a NAS box that I can stream HD content, the boot drive will be the one handling the development stuff. It shouldnt be 533MB/s total should it? It has 2 different PCI buses. Ill be using hardware raid on the 3ware cards,
September 28, 2012 8:29:06 PM

If your going to be using it for development, you would be better off running full Server 2008R2 since you can at least use Hyper-V for visualization of the testing environment.

Understandable, I made that mistake myself by buying an HP ProLiant of the same processor series.

4GB is a good start, if you virtualize your going to want more depending on the number of VM's.

Makes sense since PCI-X cards of all kinds are incredibly cheap right now (including quad port NICs). It has two different PCI buses, but the question is how are they arranged given that you have three PCI-X slots. The Nocona core CPU's can handle between 25 and 35 Gbps of data each, but how the slots are mapped to each CPU and the ICH I don't know as the board may use a PCI-X to PCI-e conversion chip, or it may host it natively, which makes a bit of a difference.

You can use hardware RAID, just make sure that you have a battery backup on your write cache or an very good UPS, otherwise should the power quit, you RAID array may corrupt and require a rebuild.
September 28, 2012 8:32:25 PM

Well it seems like we are getting off topic here. I will be doing website development wont need anything huge. As far as the PCI-X buses I sent an email to supermicro and they gave me an actual diagram for the motherboard, the PCI-X 133MHz is on one bus then the 2x 100MHz are on their own bus.


EDIT

Wth, maybe I should just scrap this as it seems I'm in way over my head.
September 28, 2012 8:37:00 PM

Just arrange your controllers accordingly then.

For most non-technical users it's easier to buy a NAS appliance for this reason. As to your current project, I suggest running WHS and using software RAID if your cards don't have a battery backup.
September 28, 2012 9:37:09 PM

Well I just don't know about raid. That's why I don't know if software is faster or hardware is faster I just don't know. I don't know which one is better if I should go with raid 5 or raid 50 with what size etc.
September 29, 2012 12:25:34 AM

Software RAID has more CPU overhead, and hardware RAID has the hardware lock issue, beyond that it's personal preference. Software RAID is easier to recover should something happen, but less reliable.

I would suggest ZFS and RAID-Z if you were running Linux, but a better option for you would be RAID 10 for redundancy/performance with the least amount of disks, or RAID6 if downtime due to disk failure is not an option. Also remember that RAID is not a backup solution, so you should have important files backed up separately.
a b G Storage
October 2, 2012 10:39:49 PM

krillik said:
Sorry I thought I put that in the original post. I want a media streaming server that can stream multiple 1080p content to different htpcs I have as well be a massive storage bank for any files I need to store. I will probably be running different things on the server also like checking out share point or other applications. Almost like a development server as well.


To stream media content even with BD.iSO, it's not that difficult.
Each BD.ISO has maximum data transfer rate of 54 Mbit/s, therefore to srteam multiples places, your network must be Gb and cable must be CAT5e or better.

Let say you are streaming four BD.ISO at once: Living room, bed room, entertainment room and your desktop.
The critical transfer rate you need to know is RANDOM read - if you NAS has a RANDOM read of 30MB/s then there should be no problem...

Most of the hardware raid even with a less then $100.00 controller that I used SPM393/SPM394 easily transfer at 50~60MB/sec in random mode. I would not trust the software raid and never will :-)

In you case, you have 2x options:

Add a hardware raid to the existing system (windows) and share/streams VIA SAMBA
or Add NAS to your network, and I'm very happy with this http://www.amazon.com/Five-Home-Server-RAID5-iSCSI/dp/B...
October 12, 2012 10:03:44 PM

FireWire2 said:
To stream media content even with BD.iSO, it's not that difficult.
Each BD.ISO has maximum data transfer rate of 54 Mbit/s, therefore to srteam multiples places, your network must be Gb and cable must be CAT5e or better.

Let say you are streaming four BD.ISO at once: Living room, bed room, entertainment room and your desktop.
The critical transfer rate you need to know is RANDOM read - if you NAS has a RANDOM read of 30MB/s then there should be no problem...

Most of the hardware raid even with a less then $100.00 controller that I used SPM393/SPM394 easily transfer at 50~60MB/sec in random mode. I would not trust the software raid and never will :-)

In you case, you have 2x options:

Add a hardware raid to the existing system (windows) and share/streams VIA SAMBA
or Add NAS to your network, and I'm very happy with this http://www.amazon.com/Five-Home-Server-RAID5-iSCSI/dp/B...



Firewire2, I saw your configuration. Did you leave some info off of the model of your motherboard? I cannot locate the exact model number you put anywhere. And under 100$? I haven't found that controller for under 170$. Link please? :D  And I do not want to buy a NAS system. I just bought a whole bunch of hardware, (the info I posted above) but I am going to scrap that whole project. Now I just have a bunch of crap lying around. Probably going to do something like your setup but not as many hard drives.
!