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Need advice on storage server

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November 30, 2013 2:20:57 PM

I was looking for a good server I can keep at home to store my work in (photography/video editing/etc)

I need something with high capacity (20TB+), high performance, and RAID and I don't think I can get all of those things in a NAS.

The best one I've seen so far is the CU1200 one at http://www.advatronix.com/store/servers/

If you guys could share your thoughts on that or what else they might recommend I'd greatly appreciate it! Thanks!

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a b G Storage
November 30, 2013 2:52:34 PM

somethingobvious said:
I was looking for a good server I can keep at home to store my work in (photography/video editing/etc)

I need something with high capacity (20TB+), high performance, and RAID and I don't think I can get all of those things in a NAS.

The best one I've seen so far is the CU1200 one at http://www.advatronix.com/store/servers/

If you guys could share your thoughts on that or what else they might recommend I'd greatly appreciate it! Thanks!


Here is a better one you can build for half the cost with 28 TB of storage -
PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant / Benchmarks

CPU: AMD FX-6300 3.5GHz 6-Core Processor ($119.99 @ Newegg)
CPU Cooler: Cooler Master Hyper TX3 54.8 CFM Sleeve Bearing CPU Cooler ($21.99 @ Newegg)
Motherboard: Gigabyte GA-990FXA-UD5 ATX AM3+ Motherboard ($154.49 @ Newegg)
Memory: G.Skill Ripjaws X Series 16GB (2 x 8GB) DDR3-1600 Memory ($109.99 @ Newegg)
Storage: Western Digital WD Black 4TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive ($199.99 @ Newegg)
Storage: Western Digital WD Black 4TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive ($199.99 @ Newegg)
Storage: Western Digital WD Black 4TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive ($199.99 @ Newegg)
Storage: Western Digital WD Black 4TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive ($199.99 @ Newegg)
Storage: Western Digital WD Black 4TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive ($199.99 @ Newegg)
Storage: Western Digital WD Black 4TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive ($199.99 @ Newegg)
Storage: Western Digital WD Black 4TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive ($199.99 @ Newegg)
Video Card: PowerColor Radeon HD 5450 1GB Video Card ($9.99 @ Newegg)
Case: Rosewill THRONE ATX Full Tower Case ($109.99 @ Newegg)
Power Supply: Corsair Builder 500W 80+ Bronze Certified ATX Power Supply ($21.99 @ Newegg)
Optical Drive: Lite-On iHAS124-04 DVD/CD Writer ($14.99 @ Newegg)
Operating System: Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium SP1 (OEM) (64-bit) ($79.99 @ Newegg)
Total: $2023.34
(Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available.)
(Generated by PCPartPicker 2013-11-30 17:53 EST-0500)
December 2, 2013 11:48:03 AM

DComander1x said:
somethingobvious said:
I was looking for a good server I can keep at home to store my work in (photography/video editing/etc)

I need something with high capacity (20TB+), high performance, and RAID and I don't think I can get all of those things in a NAS.

The best one I've seen so far is the CU1200 one at http://www.advatronix.com/store/servers/

If you guys could share your thoughts on that or what else they might recommend I'd greatly appreciate it! Thanks!


Here is a better one you can build for half the cost with 28 TB of storage -
PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant / Benchmarks

CPU: AMD FX-6300 3.5GHz 6-Core Processor ($119.99 @ Newegg)
CPU Cooler: Cooler Master Hyper TX3 54.8 CFM Sleeve Bearing CPU Cooler ($21.99 @ Newegg)
Motherboard: Gigabyte GA-990FXA-UD5 ATX AM3+ Motherboard ($154.49 @ Newegg)
Memory: G.Skill Ripjaws X Series 16GB (2 x 8GB) DDR3-1600 Memory ($109.99 @ Newegg)
Storage: Western Digital WD Black 4TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive ($199.99 @ Newegg)
Storage: Western Digital WD Black 4TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive ($199.99 @ Newegg)
Storage: Western Digital WD Black 4TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive ($199.99 @ Newegg)
Storage: Western Digital WD Black 4TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive ($199.99 @ Newegg)
Storage: Western Digital WD Black 4TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive ($199.99 @ Newegg)
Storage: Western Digital WD Black 4TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive ($199.99 @ Newegg)
Storage: Western Digital WD Black 4TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive ($199.99 @ Newegg)
Video Card: PowerColor Radeon HD 5450 1GB Video Card ($9.99 @ Newegg)
Case: Rosewill THRONE ATX Full Tower Case ($109.99 @ Newegg)
Power Supply: Corsair Builder 500W 80+ Bronze Certified ATX Power Supply ($21.99 @ Newegg)
Optical Drive: Lite-On iHAS124-04 DVD/CD Writer ($14.99 @ Newegg)
Operating System: Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium SP1 (OEM) (64-bit) ($79.99 @ Newegg)
Total: $2023.34
(Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available.)
(Generated by PCPartPicker 2013-11-30 17:53 EST-0500)


Hey thanks for the reply but I was really looking for a server itself.

I like the features that come with the new Windows Server Essentials 2012 R2 (could load my pictures up from the server onto my own when I'm with a client) and it'd probably be on nearly 24/7

One of the things I really liked about the one I listed was that it had an actual server processor and ECC memory and all that good stuff so it should be able to be on pretty constantly without having it crash or anything.

Do you think the processor you suggested would have an issue being up all the time?

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a b G Storage
December 2, 2013 11:58:38 AM

somethingobvious said:

Hey thanks for the reply but I was really looking for a server itself.

I like the features that come with the new Windows Server Essentials 2012 R2 (could load my pictures up from the server onto my own when I'm with a client) and it'd probably be on nearly 24/7

One of the things I really liked about the one I listed was that it had an actual server processor and ECC memory and all that good stuff so it should be able to be on pretty constantly without having it crash or anything.

Do you think the processor you suggested would have an issue being up all the time?



Ah, alright, and the FX 6300 has a direct server equivalent, the Opteron 4340, so its made to the same tolerances as the Opteron, so it shouldn't have any issues.
a b G Storage
December 2, 2013 5:23:50 PM

Going with a single server solution to host a 20+ TB storage array is going to be costly. Mainly because I wouldn't recommend cutting corners because you're going to greatly sacrifice reliability if you do so.

You can run a large storage pool using Windows Server 2012 R2 Essentials, which I really do like. You will have a difficult time finding a pedistal-type server system that can house that many hard drives, though. So I'd recommend looking into a rackmount system because there will be a lot more options. The down side here is often rackmount servers will cost slightly more than equivalent pedistal servers. For example, the HP ProLiant ML350p G8 vs. the ProLiant DL380p G8.

So, let's say that we can assume you will utilize a rackmount configuration for your storage, I would say you need to look into purchasing a 1U or 2U server with at least a dual-core processor (HIGHLY recommend a quad-core processor at least) and at least 8 GB of RAM. It's also recommended that you install your operating system on a separate set of hard drives in RAID 1 for fault tollerance and ease of configuration. Depending upon your budget, options, and space requirements you can even utilize some SSDs for this.

Now, you will need to invest in a RAID controller. Server will come with some form of integrated RAID controller, some of these are just basic onboard software RAID, but others do have a dedicated hardware RAID controller with onboard cache and even with battery or flash backups. I highly recommend utilizing a hardware RAID controller for the sort of storage that you are talking about! Much more reliable, greater compatibility, and overall better stability and performance. Your server will probably support the number of hard drive slots that are included with the server, but for the storage capacity that you are talking about, you should probably look into purchasing a DAS (direct attached storage.) This is also known as a drive shelf, and is basically just a drive enclosure for multiple hard drives that is connected through an external miniSAS connection (or several other types of high-throughput storage connection) back to a host server or controller card.

So, for example, let's say you purchase a 1U server which supports up to four large form factor (LFF) hard drives internally on a hardware RAID controller with 512 MB of cache. Put in two low to mid capacity SAS drives either 10k or 15k if you wish for high speed, or even some SSDs, and install your operating system. Then you'll use an additional PCI-Express RAID controller with at least one external miniSAS connector, and connect that to a DAS drive chassis. These come in many different sizes and support lots of different features, but for example you can purchase a single chassis which supports up to 24 LFF hard drives. Now you can fill up as many hard drives as you want in the DAS and configure the drives into your RAID array and control the storage all from your single server as if all of the hard drives were just directly plugged into that main server.

As always, there's other things to take into consideration. For example, your network topology and equipment, as well as ensuring that you have a good battery backup unit for all of this to help protect you from sudden power loss, power surges or brown outs, etc. which can not only cause damage to computer hardware but can also cause data loss or corruption.
a c 920 G Storage
December 2, 2013 7:08:04 PM

It doesn't sound like you need performance. You cant transfer data over Ethernet any faster with an 24 core opteron than you can with an intel atom.

If you're only looking for storage space - an expandible nas would do you just fine.
Something like this filled with the proper drives;
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Manufacturers site: http://www.synology.com/en-us/products/spec/DS2413+
They do have a support drives listing on there and the exansion cabinet is the ds1211 should you ever need it.

Of course it might not save you any money after slapping in 7 or so near-line drives.
for price comparison, 10 ea. 2tb WD red drives are 970.oo for a total of 2670.oo usd. (reds are not nearline drives btw)

edit - i see they quoted 10ea 7200 desktop drives. 2tb Seagates are $70 for another $270 in savings. I'm not saying you should use them as I don't believe they are raid certified like the Reds are.
a b G Storage
December 4, 2013 1:56:01 PM

If your livelihood depends on this server, and kind of sounds like it does, you need to be budgeting for a complete backup of everything. Off site backup is always best, but at 20TB no online backup service is really gonna do that. You almost need 2 systems, maybe one in the basement and another in the garage, networked together, just get them physically as far away from each other as possible.

But enough on that. I vote also for home brew. You need serious storage but don't need enterprise performance. Keep in kind that rackmount brings noise and heat, things that don't sit well in a home for most people. As was mentioned before, you don't need an Opteron to serve up photos to your laptop while your kids stream Monsters Inc. to the TV upstairs.

You can get ECC support if you go with an Asus AMD AM3+ motherboard that costs like $50. You probably don't even need a 6300 for the CPU since a 4300 will do what you need. Put them in a case like a Fractal Design Define XL R2 or even a Coolermaster Stacker if you can find one. Load it up with 5 in 2 RAID, hot swappable enclosures and an add-on SATA card and fill it with WD Red HDD that are engineered for 24/7 server use. Bang you've got a server that is hugely flexible and very capable for half of what you'd pay for a commercial solution.

The Windows Server 2012 is great if you need a lot of capability but don't have the skill level for something like a ZFS setup. If all you need is a simple server for storage and some Web sharing, just set it up with Windows Home Server 2011 and set up a RAID 6 with something like FlexRAID or SnapRAID+Stablebit DrivePool.
a b G Storage
December 4, 2013 4:44:13 PM

The main reason that I suggested a true business server solution over a home-built solution is support. If you're building it yourself, it falls completely on your shoulders to know what you are doing to put everything together and ensure 100% compatibility with all the components, plus 100% uptime and stability. You may not be in a position where you feel comfortable with that, which is why businesses utilize business servers which are backed by a company who specializes in supporting their products. An actual business-class server is going to cost you more than a standard desktop computer, but really you're getting the support with that.

Again, I'd highly recommend a nice quality SAS RAID controller with onboard cache because, especially with the large number of drives and capacity that you are talking about, it's important you have something that can handle it reliably, and a simple software SATA controller probably isn't going to give you the best of reliability or expandability.

Popatim points out another solution which might work for your needs, which is a NAS device. Often not quite as flexibile as a full server solution (both hardware and software wise) but these pre-built and pre-configured units are much easier to get set up and going for a small business or home user.
!