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Need large storage solution advice

I'm currently running 8x3-TB Seagate Barracuda's in a RAID 50 (2x4) configuration on Mediasonic's 8-bay RAID enclosure.

It seems stable, though transfer rates are incredibly slow and there is a 2-3 second pause after each file when copying medium (300 MB+) sized files.

For both this reason and the need for more capacity, I am looking to build a second RAID array.

I've looked into several options and haven't been able to determine an optimal route.

-I would like 8 drives minimum but would definitely be interested in more. 12, 16, etc.

If I buy a RAID controller card like this one: http://www.ebay.com/itm/3ware-9550SX-12-12-Port-SATA-RAID-Controller-PCI-X-/110604718431?pt=COMP_EN_Servers&hash=item19c08e115f, then I will also need a place to store the drives.

I see lots of NAS/JBOD/RAID enclosures for thousands of dollars. (Of course the Mediasonics are still for sale but endless calls to both Seagate and Mediasonic's customer support never resolved the transfer hiccup issues, so I'd like to avoid going down the same route again.) And I was wondering, why don't people just buy tall ATX towers to store the drives, and run the cables out of the cases into their main case housing the RAID controller card?

I mean once you have the RAID card, don't you essentially just need a place for the drives to sit where they won't rattle around and be exposed?

So my main question is, would a good RAID solution be to buy the controller linked above, 12 drives, and some random 12x3.5" bay case to house the drives?

Or are there better solutions out there that don't run into the ridiculous numbers price wise?
12 answers Last reply Best Answer
More about need large storage solution advice
  1. Have you already considered ZFS? You should be aware that the route of conventional RAID often implies you use controllers not suitable to ZFS or software RAID in general.

    If you desire a high level of reliability, I would choose nothing else than ZFS, which also has performance features that allow you to reach your performance target.

    ZFS is an entirely different beast and doesn't run on Windows. Creating dedicated storage and storage huge amounts of data with ZFS is certainly an attractive choice because of the protection you grant your data and nullifying the bad sector problem of high-capacity harddrives.
  2. I would need my solution to run on Windows.
  3. In that case, forget about RAID altogether because that is supported only barely under Windows, hardware RAID has its shortcomings as well. Storage spaces may be what you need if you require Windows to handle the storage.

    Personally, I would advise a ZFS solution where you build a box dedicated to storage alone, and access it from your Windows workstations. This is what many people do because ZFS is able to offer real protection to your files, while RAID offers very limited protection against disk failure but virtually no protection against bad sectors.

    If you go the Windows route, I would focus on backups instead of redundancy, because redundancy will provide you only with a false sense of protection that is unwarranted. Backups are what protect your data under Windows platform.
  4. sharpnova said:

    So my main question is, would a good RAID solution be to buy the controller linked above, 12 drives, and some random 12x3.5" bay case to house the drives?


    Let's expand on that idea. Why not add a cheap mother and a low power cpu and build a dedicated NAS? If you need direct access to the disk from your current box, then the Mediasonic is not the ideal solution either since you are going through a single eSATA or USB port. My recommended solution is to add a small number of disk to your existing box for immediate storage and get a NAS for backup and archival storage.
  5. Best answer
    sharpnova said:


    If I buy a RAID controller card like this one: http://www.ebay.com/itm/3ware-9550SX-12-12-Port-SATA-RAID-Controller-PCI-X-/110604718431?pt=COMP_EN_Servers&hash=item19c08e115f, then I will also need a place to store the drives...


    This card is PCIX card. Why you want such thing. LOL

    I assume you are using the storage for your media content and stream it across the network. In this case you transfer rate need is not more than Gb/s (your NIC) or roughly 100MB/s, SO speed it not a big good

    Do like what I would do. get a tower like this.
    1x http://www.amazon.com/Linkworld-Electronic-Duplicator-5020-01-C2222 - but replace the PSU, their PSU is suck
    3x http://www.amazon.com/NORCO-SS-500-SATA-Swap-Module/dp/B001QAP6G6
    3x http://www.amazon.com/eSATA-hardware-RAID0-CLONE-Controller/dp/B005G5L98G

    If you use 4TB HDD, then you have 16TB per RAID, so 4 of them you would have 48TB

    Tips: you can get an USB3 4TB less than $180.00, use it HDD instead :-)

    Each of your SATA port will see a RAID5 as a single drive w/o drivers or software to control. therefore later you can move it to Win7, FreeNAS, OpenFiler, MAC, Hackintosh.... what ever OS you may want to use it will work.
    The Best thing of these RAID is you can scale up your storage space.

    EACH SATA PORT can have up to FIVE drives RAID5

    Since I discover this controller, all of home server that I built are base on this...

    Or you want a high speed ( over 1500MB/s) than use this:
    1x http://www.amazon.com/ATTO-ExpressSAS-8-Port-External-Adapter/dp/B0044CL5JU
    1x http://www.amazon.com/Intel-Corp-RES2CV240-port-expander/dp/B007ILDJW0

    Of course you need the chassis for this
  6. sub mesa said:
    In that case, forget about RAID altogether because that is supported only barely under Windows, hardware RAID has its shortcomings as well. Storage spaces may be what you need if you require Windows to handle the storage.

    Personally, I would advise a ZFS solution where you build a box dedicated to storage alone, and access it from your Windows workstations. This is what many people do because ZFS is able to offer real protection to your files, while RAID offers very limited protection against disk failure but virtually no protection against bad sectors.

    If you go the Windows route, I would focus on backups instead of redundancy, because redundancy will provide you only with a false sense of protection that is unwarranted. Backups are what protect your data under Windows platform.


    I'm really not interested in the ZFS route. I definitely want to use RAID. I don't just want raw redundancy (which is RAID 1 btw) I want parity-level fault tolerance. "Which" RAID configuration I go with is not really something I need to discuss here. I have lots of experience with that and will probably end up with a RAID 50 configuration. (Or 6 or 60 if the controller allows it)
  7. Why is the fact that it's a PCIX card mean it's not a viable solution?

    I was thinking of going with a NORCO 24-bay and putting in a couple of these 12-port cards and going with 2x RAID 50 drives. (presenting as two logical drives)

    Or finding a 24-port card and having it present as one logical drive (would be more suitable for my purposes than presenting as two)

    I don't see any advantages of your suggestion over doing it this way. Please explain if you can.

    FireWire2 said:
    This card is PCIX card. Why you want such thing. LOL

    I assume you are using the storage for your media content and stream it across the network. In this case you transfer rate need is not more than Gb/s (your NIC) or roughly 100MB/s, SO speed it not a big good

    Do like what I would do. get a tower like this.
    1x http://www.amazon.com/Linkworld-Electronic-Duplicator-5020-01-C2222 - but replace the PSU, their PSU is suck
    3x http://www.amazon.com/NORCO-SS-500-SATA-Swap-Module/dp/B001QAP6G6
    3x http://www.amazon.com/eSATA-hardware-RAID0-CLONE-Controller/dp/B005G5L98G

    If you use 4TB HDD, then you have 16TB per RAID, so 4 of them you would have 48TB

    Tips: you can get an USB3 4TB less than $180.00, use it HDD instead :-)

    Each of your SATA port will see a RAID5 as a single drive w/o drivers or software to control. therefore later you can move it to Win7, FreeNAS, OpenFiler, MAC, Hackintosh.... what ever OS you may want to use it will work.
    The Best thing of these RAID is you can scale up your storage space.

    EACH SATA PORT can have up to FIVE drives RAID5

    Since I discover this controller, all of home server that I built are base on this...

    Or you want a high speed ( over 1500MB/s) than use this:
    1x http://www.amazon.com/ATTO-ExpressSAS-8-Port-External-Adapter/dp/B0044CL5JU
    1x http://www.amazon.com/Intel-Corp-RES2CV240-port-expander/dp/B007ILDJW0

    Of course you need the chassis for this
  8. sharpnova said:
    Why is the fact that it's a PCIX card mean it's not a viable solution?

    PCIX are running @ 133MHz, 100MHz and 66MHz and 64bit they are often not compatible with PCI, which runs @ 33MHz.

    This mean you have to have an OLD server board which has PCIX slots. Do you want to get an old server board?

    BTW These cards WONT work in PCI slots
  9. My solution - I assume you have a rather recent MB with SATA ports and PCI express slots.

    Get NORCO 20bays chassis the you can have 4x RAID5 @ five drive each
    and Each RAID need a eSATA port

    This means your system is expandable - As long as there is SATA/eSATA port you can add more space.

    If you run out of SATA port add a cheap SATA card 2/4 or 8 port then you can add more raid to it
  10. Ok so, combining your advice with some more research I've done, this is what I'm currently looking at. Please let me know what you think:

    24-bay Server Chassis:
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=11-219-038&SortField=0&SummaryType=0&Pagesize=10&PurchaseMark=&SelectedRating=-1&VideoOnlyMark=False&VendorMark=&IsFeedbackTab=true&Keywords=boot#scrollFullInfo

    28-port RAID Card:
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16816151110

    Then buying 24x 3 TB drives. Putting them in a RAID 50 or RAID 60 config. And additionally buying a small SSD for the boot drive.
  11. Yeah! That is right...

    Note: Now you can ONLINE expand you RAID and scale-able up to 128x HDD

    If you data is critical use RAID6 and 1 HS not RAID50 since you are not over 32 drives
  12. Best answer selected by sharpnova.
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