I want to build a 2.8TB storage array


Y

Yeechang Lee

BACKGROUND:
Inspired by <URL:http://www.finnie.org/terabyte/>, a few months
ago I started a thread
(<URL:http://groups-beta.google.com/group/comp.sys.ibm.pc.hardware.storage/msg/3dfb362bbf8e94d2>)
to discuss the idea of building my own 1.5TB storage array using
software RAID50 to hold video files.

The main hitch keeping me from going ahead was that I had trouble
finding eight 250GB drives at the price I wanted. Clearly, I wasn't
thinking big enough; just before Christmas, I lucked out and bought
nine Seagate *400GB* drives at $230 each (plus a $30 rebate on the
first one) from CompUSA. I now have 3.6TB of raw storage sitting in a
shipping carton in my apartment. Even with RAID 5 and keeping a drive
as a spare, I'll have 400GB*8-400GB=2.8TB of space.

PURPOSE:
Video files (episodes of TV shows I already watch and enjoy,
plus rips of TV shows on DVD sets I own). I'd like to build a MythTV
system too, but the storage array comes first. No games.

PRIORITIES, in order:
* Stability. I'm very much in favor of build-right-and-leave-it-be as
opposed to constant hardware tinkering.
* Minize heat/noise. I have a studio apartment.
* Price. I've already spent a fortune on the drives; I don't want to
spend more on the rest than I need to.
* Performance. Not that I'm against a fast machine, but I know that a
storage server doesn't need the latest-and-greatest in terms of
horsepower.

PARTS:
Advice is always appreciated. All prices are from ZipZoomFly.com
unless otherwise specified.

* Case: Antec SX1040BII, $92. I almost went with an Antec
PlusView1000AMG ($72), but decided that a) the SX1040BII's 430W
power supply might be enough for my purposes and b) if it isn't, a
quality Antec supply for $20 that I can use someplace else is hard
to pass up.
* Motherboard: Gigabyte GA-7N400 Pro2 Rev 2, $98. I'm building a
system with *massive* amounts of PCI traffic, and I'm hoping a
Nvidia-chipset board will prove more stable than the hordes of
Via-based models out there.
* CPU: AMD Mobile Athlon XP 2400+, $89 at Newegg. The 2200+ is $10
cheaper but they're both rated at 35W. If there's a sub-35W
processor that supports a 266-MHz FSB I'd like to hear about it.
* CPU heat sink: I'm lost here. I've had a good experience with a
Thermalright SLK-800 I installed three years ago, but current
Thermalright heat sinks all seem to specify Athlon 2500+ and
up. What gives?
* CPU fan: A leftover Vantec 80mm fan. Loud but effective.
* Memory: One 512MB DDR PC3200 DIMM. $80 at Crucial. My leftover 256MB
PC133 168-pin DIMMs aren't going to work with the motherboard,
right?
* Power supply: Thermaltake PurePower 560W, $102. In case the Antec
430W supply mentioned above proves insufficient.
* Drives: Eight Seagate Barracuda 7200.8 400GB ATA drives plus one
cold spare, $230 each at CompUSA without rebate; currently $230 each
after $70 rebate. Lite-On DVD+-RW drive, $60-100. Leftover Maxtor
13GB ATA drive for booting.
* ATA controller: Two Highpoint RocketRAID 454, $87 each at
Newegg. Unlike Ryan Finnie I am *not* planning on doing hardware
RAID features; rather, I'm simply looking for high-quality ATA
controller cards. If anyone can recommend high-quality non-RAID
controller cards with four channels (or more) on each, I'd like to
hear about it. For that matter, if four two-channel ATA controller
cards are doable with my motherboard setup, I'd like to hear about
that too.

So, what do y'all think?
 
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A

Al Dykes

BACKGROUND:
Inspired by <URL:http://www.finnie.org/terabyte/>, a few months
ago I started a thread
(<URL:http://groups-beta.google.com/group/comp.sys.ibm.pc.hardware.storage/msg/3dfb362bbf8e94d2>)
to discuss the idea of building my own 1.5TB storage array using
software RAID50 to hold video files.

The main hitch keeping me from going ahead was that I had trouble
finding eight 250GB drives at the price I wanted. Clearly, I wasn't
thinking big enough; just before Christmas, I lucked out and bought
nine Seagate *400GB* drives at $230 each (plus a $30 rebate on the
first one) from CompUSA. I now have 3.6TB of raw storage sitting in a
shipping carton in my apartment. Even with RAID 5 and keeping a drive
as a spare, I'll have 400GB*8-400GB=2.8TB of space.

PURPOSE:
Video files (episodes of TV shows I already watch and enjoy,
plus rips of TV shows on DVD sets I own). I'd like to build a MythTV
system too, but the storage array comes first. No games.

PRIORITIES, in order:
* Stability. I'm very much in favor of build-right-and-leave-it-be as
opposed to constant hardware tinkering.
* Minize heat/noise. I have a studio apartment.
* Price. I've already spent a fortune on the drives; I don't want to
spend more on the rest than I need to.
* Performance. Not that I'm against a fast machine, but I know that a
storage server doesn't need the latest-and-greatest in terms of
horsepower.

PARTS:
Advice is always appreciated. All prices are from ZipZoomFly.com
unless otherwise specified.

* Case: Antec SX1040BII, $92. I almost went with an Antec
PlusView1000AMG ($72), but decided that a) the SX1040BII's 430W
power supply might be enough for my purposes and b) if it isn't, a
quality Antec supply for $20 that I can use someplace else is hard
to pass up.
* Motherboard: Gigabyte GA-7N400 Pro2 Rev 2, $98. I'm building a
system with *massive* amounts of PCI traffic, and I'm hoping a
Nvidia-chipset board will prove more stable than the hordes of
Via-based models out there.
* CPU: AMD Mobile Athlon XP 2400+, $89 at Newegg. The 2200+ is $10
cheaper but they're both rated at 35W. If there's a sub-35W
processor that supports a 266-MHz FSB I'd like to hear about it.
* CPU heat sink: I'm lost here. I've had a good experience with a
Thermalright SLK-800 I installed three years ago, but current
Thermalright heat sinks all seem to specify Athlon 2500+ and
up. What gives?
* CPU fan: A leftover Vantec 80mm fan. Loud but effective.
* Memory: One 512MB DDR PC3200 DIMM. $80 at Crucial. My leftover 256MB
PC133 168-pin DIMMs aren't going to work with the motherboard,
right?
* Power supply: Thermaltake PurePower 560W, $102. In case the Antec
430W supply mentioned above proves insufficient.
* Drives: Eight Seagate Barracuda 7200.8 400GB ATA drives plus one
cold spare, $230 each at CompUSA without rebate; currently $230 each
after $70 rebate. Lite-On DVD+-RW drive, $60-100. Leftover Maxtor
13GB ATA drive for booting.
* ATA controller: Two Highpoint RocketRAID 454, $87 each at
Newegg. Unlike Ryan Finnie I am *not* planning on doing hardware
RAID features; rather, I'm simply looking for high-quality ATA
controller cards. If anyone can recommend high-quality non-RAID
controller cards with four channels (or more) on each, I'd like to
hear about it. For that matter, if four two-channel ATA controller
cards are doable with my motherboard setup, I'd like to hear about
that too.

So, what do y'all think?
--
Read my Deep Thoughts @ <URL:http://www.ylee.org/blog/> PERTH ----> *
Cpu(s): 48.2% us, 2.2% sy, 49.0% ni, 0.0% id, 0.0% wa, 0.3% hi, 0.2% si
Mem: 515800k total, 500204k used, 15596k free, 11996k buffers
Swap: 2101032k total, 493512k used, 1607520k free, 37164k cached



How ya' gonna back it up ? :)
 
W

Will Dormann

Sounds like a neat project.

I had replied to your original post a while back with comments about my
setup. I'm quite happy with it. (Though I'm feeling the need for
more storage!)

Have you given any thought into what OS you'll be using?
 
W

Will Dormann

So, what do y'all think?

You may want to consider Gigabit ethernet for the thing.
My MythTV recordings average between 1 and 3GB, and moving them around
can get sluggish at 100Mb.
 
J

J. Clarke

Yeechang said:
BACKGROUND:
Inspired by <URL:http://www.finnie.org/terabyte/>, a few months
ago I started a thread
( said:
to discuss the idea of building my own 1.5TB storage array using
software RAID50 to hold video files.

The main hitch keeping me from going ahead was that I had trouble
finding eight 250GB drives at the price I wanted. Clearly, I wasn't
thinking big enough; just before Christmas, I lucked out and bought
nine Seagate *400GB* drives at $230 each (plus a $30 rebate on the
first one) from CompUSA. I now have 3.6TB of raw storage sitting in a
shipping carton in my apartment. Even with RAID 5 and keeping a drive
as a spare, I'll have 400GB*8-400GB=2.8TB of space.

PURPOSE:
Video files (episodes of TV shows I already watch and enjoy,
plus rips of TV shows on DVD sets I own). I'd like to build a MythTV
system too, but the storage array comes first. No games.

PRIORITIES, in order:
* Stability. I'm very much in favor of build-right-and-leave-it-be as
opposed to constant hardware tinkering.
* Minize heat/noise. I have a studio apartment.
* Price. I've already spent a fortune on the drives; I don't want to
spend more on the rest than I need to.
* Performance. Not that I'm against a fast machine, but I know that a
storage server doesn't need the latest-and-greatest in terms of
horsepower.

PARTS:
Advice is always appreciated. All prices are from ZipZoomFly.com
unless otherwise specified.

* Case: Antec SX1040BII, $92. I almost went with an Antec
PlusView1000AMG ($72), but decided that a) the SX1040BII's 430W
power supply might be enough for my purposes and b) if it isn't, a
quality Antec supply for $20 that I can use someplace else is hard
to pass up.
* Motherboard: Gigabyte GA-7N400 Pro2 Rev 2, $98. I'm building a
system with *massive* amounts of PCI traffic, and I'm hoping a
Nvidia-chipset board will prove more stable than the hordes of
Via-based models out there.
* CPU: AMD Mobile Athlon XP 2400+, $89 at Newegg. The 2200+ is $10
cheaper but they're both rated at 35W. If there's a sub-35W
processor that supports a 266-MHz FSB I'd like to hear about it.
* CPU heat sink: I'm lost here. I've had a good experience with a
Thermalright SLK-800 I installed three years ago, but current
Thermalright heat sinks all seem to specify Athlon 2500+ and
up. What gives?
* CPU fan: A leftover Vantec 80mm fan. Loud but effective.
* Memory: One 512MB DDR PC3200 DIMM. $80 at Crucial. My leftover 256MB
PC133 168-pin DIMMs aren't going to work with the motherboard,
right?
* Power supply: Thermaltake PurePower 560W, $102. In case the Antec
430W supply mentioned above proves insufficient.
* Drives: Eight Seagate Barracuda 7200.8 400GB ATA drives plus one
cold spare, $230 each at CompUSA without rebate; currently $230 each
after $70 rebate. Lite-On DVD+-RW drive, $60-100. Leftover Maxtor
13GB ATA drive for booting.
* ATA controller: Two Highpoint RocketRAID 454, $87 each at
Newegg. Unlike Ryan Finnie I am *not* planning on doing hardware
RAID features; rather, I'm simply looking for high-quality ATA
controller cards. If anyone can recommend high-quality non-RAID
controller cards with four channels (or more) on each, I'd like to
hear about it. For that matter, if four two-channel ATA controller
cards are doable with my motherboard setup, I'd like to hear about
that too.

So, what do y'all think?

This is not the way I'd have done it but I'd have compromised on the
capacity to get reliability if I had to. I'd want to see ECC RAM on any
storage server--got bitten by that once and never again. That means a
server board and they aren't cheap. While hot-swap isn't essential, it's
nice to have and SATA on a real RAID controller will give you that, PATA
won't.

I'd be interested in knowing how the soft RAID on a PCI bus works out for
you--in principle this array can internally generate about 4 times as much
traffic as the PCI bus can handle and when you add in traffic to the
network interface more than that. If it just bottlenecks that might be
acceptable, but I suspect that it's going to be unstable--he was getting
DMA timeouts with slower drives than yours.
 
A

Al Dykes

BACKGROUND:
Inspired by <URL:http://www.finnie.org/terabyte/>, a few months
ago I started a thread
(<URL:http://groups-beta.google.com/group/comp.sys.ibm.pc.hardware.storage/msg/3dfb362bbf8e94d2>)
to discuss the idea of building my own 1.5TB storage array using
software RAID50 to hold video files.

The main hitch keeping me from going ahead was that I had trouble
finding eight 250GB drives at the price I wanted. Clearly, I wasn't
thinking big enough; just before Christmas, I lucked out and bought
nine Seagate *400GB* drives at $230 each (plus a $30 rebate on the
first one) from CompUSA. I now have 3.6TB of raw storage sitting in a
shipping carton in my apartment. Even with RAID 5 and keeping a drive
as a spare, I'll have 400GB*8-400GB=2.8TB of space.

PURPOSE:
Video files (episodes of TV shows I already watch and enjoy,
plus rips of TV shows on DVD sets I own). I'd like to build a MythTV
system too, but the storage array comes first. No games.

PRIORITIES, in order:
* Stability. I'm very much in favor of build-right-and-leave-it-be as
opposed to constant hardware tinkering.
* Minize heat/noise. I have a studio apartment.
* Price. I've already spent a fortune on the drives; I don't want to
spend more on the rest than I need to.
* Performance. Not that I'm against a fast machine, but I know that a
storage server doesn't need the latest-and-greatest in terms of
horsepower.

PARTS:
Advice is always appreciated. All prices are from ZipZoomFly.com
unless otherwise specified.

* Case: Antec SX1040BII, $92. I almost went with an Antec
PlusView1000AMG ($72), but decided that a) the SX1040BII's 430W
power supply might be enough for my purposes and b) if it isn't, a
quality Antec supply for $20 that I can use someplace else is hard
to pass up.
* Motherboard: Gigabyte GA-7N400 Pro2 Rev 2, $98. I'm building a
system with *massive* amounts of PCI traffic, and I'm hoping a
Nvidia-chipset board will prove more stable than the hordes of
Via-based models out there.
* CPU: AMD Mobile Athlon XP 2400+, $89 at Newegg. The 2200+ is $10
cheaper but they're both rated at 35W. If there's a sub-35W
processor that supports a 266-MHz FSB I'd like to hear about it.
* CPU heat sink: I'm lost here. I've had a good experience with a
Thermalright SLK-800 I installed three years ago, but current
Thermalright heat sinks all seem to specify Athlon 2500+ and
up. What gives?
* CPU fan: A leftover Vantec 80mm fan. Loud but effective.
* Memory: One 512MB DDR PC3200 DIMM. $80 at Crucial. My leftover 256MB
PC133 168-pin DIMMs aren't going to work with the motherboard,
right?
* Power supply: Thermaltake PurePower 560W, $102. In case the Antec
430W supply mentioned above proves insufficient.
* Drives: Eight Seagate Barracuda 7200.8 400GB ATA drives plus one
cold spare, $230 each at CompUSA without rebate; currently $230 each
after $70 rebate. Lite-On DVD+-RW drive, $60-100. Leftover Maxtor
13GB ATA drive for booting.
* ATA controller: Two Highpoint RocketRAID 454, $87 each at
Newegg. Unlike Ryan Finnie I am *not* planning on doing hardware
RAID features; rather, I'm simply looking for high-quality ATA
controller cards. If anyone can recommend high-quality non-RAID
controller cards with four channels (or more) on each, I'd like to
hear about it. For that matter, if four two-channel ATA controller
cards are doable with my motherboard setup, I'd like to hear about
that too.

So, what do y'all think?
--


It needs a dedicated UPS, IMO.


What operating system ?

As a blue-sky discusion, I'd run Linux with VMWare, and W2k as a virtual
machine. Best of both worlds.
 
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Y

Yeechang Lee

J. Clarke said:
While hot-swap isn't essential, it's nice to have and SATA on a real
RAID controller will give you that, PATA won't.

Hot swap simply isn't essential for me. Besides, if I really wanted
it, I could just put the ninth drive in place of the DVD drive.
I'd be interested in knowing how the soft RAID on a PCI bus works
out for you--in principle this array can internally generate about 4
times as much traffic as the PCI bus can handle and when you add in
traffic to the network interface more than that.

Is this something that a faster FSB would help? Doesn't sound like it
though. I presume switching to PCI Express would help.
If it just bottlenecks that might be acceptable, but I suspect that
it's going to be unstable--he was getting DMA timeouts with slower
drives than yours.

This is the key issue; elsewhere I've read that the likely cause of
Finnie's issues with all-software RAID was his initial choice of a
cheap Tyan motherboard followed by an even cheaper PC Chips board. I'm
willing to deal with suboptimal performance as long as the array can
pump out the video files (including HDTV) fast enough, and it sounds
like it can, but stability is certainly important.

In answer to others' questions:

* Backup: No plans. I'm storing video files for personal use; if the
array gets hit by a meteor I'd be saddened, but I'd get over it. I
expect the RAID 5 and a backup drive on hand will let me deal with
the typical failure scenarios.

* OS: As I stated in the referenced Usenet post, I'm planning on Linux
software RAID 50.
 
J

J. Clarke

Al said:
It needs a dedicated UPS, IMO.


What operating system ?

As a blue-sky discusion, I'd run Linux with VMWare, and W2k as a virtual
machine. Best of both worlds.

Personally I'd put Netware on any file server that contained data that I
cared about. But the license is paid for and if I had to buy it again I
might reconsider.
 
A

Arno Wagner

In comp.sys.ibm.pc.hardware.storage Al Dykes said:
BACKGROUND:
Inspired by <URL:http://www.finnie.org/terabyte/>, a few months
ago I started a thread
(<URL:http://groups-beta.google.com/group/comp.sys.ibm.pc.hardware.storage/msg/3dfb362bbf8e94d2>)
to discuss the idea of building my own 1.5TB storage array using
software RAID50 to hold video files.

The main hitch keeping me from going ahead was that I had trouble
finding eight 250GB drives at the price I wanted. Clearly, I wasn't
thinking big enough; just before Christmas, I lucked out and bought
nine Seagate *400GB* drives at $230 each (plus a $30 rebate on the
first one) from CompUSA. I now have 3.6TB of raw storage sitting in a
shipping carton in my apartment. Even with RAID 5 and keeping a drive
as a spare, I'll have 400GB*8-400GB=2.8TB of space.

PURPOSE:
Video files (episodes of TV shows I already watch and enjoy,
plus rips of TV shows on DVD sets I own). I'd like to build a MythTV
system too, but the storage array comes first. No games.
[...]


How ya' gonna back it up ? :)

Re-download the movies in case it fails? Might be a bit slow on
restore... ;-)

Arno
 
B

Ben Landau

Yeechang said:
* Minize heat/noise.

Unless you intend to run your server 24/7 and stream the contents to
users other than yourself, I'd suggest looking at disk drawer/caddy
systems. This will certainly help meet this objective. They are cheap,
too (abut $20 for the drawer, $10 for each caddy).

I'm speaking from experience -- I have a 2.3TB collection of TV shows
and family videos on a number of IDE drives of different sizes ranging
from 160GB to 400GB. The drives are all installed in StarTech caddies.
When I need to make some videos on-line, I simply shutdown the PC,
insert the appropriate drive and power up the PC. I think there are hot
swappable caddy systems out there but I have no experience with them.

- bl
 
D

Dorothy Bradbury

You can achieve RAID-50 in h/w on PATA or SATA if you use
a 3ware controller card. The older 8-port (or 12-port) are commonly
available on Ebay - however note that there is a cable length
limitation on PATA and 8/12 is "wiring fun" if only re case
design re keeping all drives within cable length.

So case considerations have pushed people to SATA RAID,
although the connectors aren't that great - 3ware do a good job.

Cheaper RAID cards are not h/w RAID, not auto-rebuild.

RAID is about availability - not a backup device.
o ECC with that amount of data is an idea, but this is video data
o Frankly re TB & data-set I'd use a Journalling file system under Linux

Cooling requirements are mainly a matter of case design.

Frankly since it is a custom project, I would custom mount it:
o Pick up a small flight case on Ebay
---- alloy perimeter, tough ABS/laminated ply
o Dense material acts to minimise noise
---- absorbs noise & prevents case/substrate case excitation
o Fit 1-2 large fans recessed from the panels
---- 120mm would be fine, low rpm, high c/sectional area

Easy to use an old PC carcass as a frame inside. Makes it a
bit easy to 1) fit so many drives in cheaply and 2) allow a lot
more drives to be added in future. Migrate to higher capacity
drives over time - altho realise the limits on that re RAID.

Gets you a semi-rugged solution - soundproof if needed with
rubber carpet underlay. Treating cause of noise is more effective
than the effect - so soundproofing is somewhat secondary.

Easy to custom-case-it for less than a off-the-shelf-case, and
achieve something a bit more aesthetic & sound dampened.

That said - consider a used RAID 4U case on Ebay:
o Nice size re hi-fi separates
o Allows removeable drive bay caddy's for the drives
o Good cooling re several 120mm fans

The removeable caddy's will be the cost point - although they
are not so bad (options to 12 & 16 drives re future expansion).
 
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D

dg

Sounds like fun. The conservative side in me keeps thinking that I would
consider breaking down that 2.8TB into a few smaller arrays. Why put all
your eggs in one basket. It just makes me nervous to think of that much
data hinging on whether or not your warranty replacement drive arrives
faster than your spare. That's a ton of space.

--Dan
 
M

Mike Tomlinson

Yeechang Lee said:
Is this something that a faster FSB would help? Doesn't sound like it
though.
No.

I presume switching to PCI Express would help.

It might or might not. You may just be moving the bottleneck from the
PCI bus into the northbridge.

How about splitting up your eight drives into two arrays of four, in
separate boxes? That way, you:

* reduce load on the PCI bus
* still have one machine working if one goes down
* reduce strain on the PSU
* can still RAID-5 your two sets of 4 disks

Downsides:

* more expense (though you can probably use lesser, cheaper motherboards
than the one you were considering, for example nForce2, and cheaper
cases/PSUs.)
* more noise (this is debatable. Two machines with minimal cooling may
be quieter than one with loads of fans going.)
 
S

Spajky

Y

Yeechang Lee

Mike said:
How about splitting up your eight drives into two arrays of four, in
separate boxes?

Not a bad idea at all. That said:
* still have one machine working if one goes down

Wouldn't do me much good; as I'm planning to LVM the eight drives
together, one machine out is as good as everything out. I'd merely be
doubling my vulnerability to a non-disk failure rather than increasing
the redundancy.
* can still RAID-5 your two sets of 4 disks

Yes, but I'd be giving up another 400GB. Instead of 2.8GB (one drive
for parity) I'd have 2.4GB (two drives for parity) from the eight
400GB drives together. (I know, woe is me.)
* more expense (though you can probably use lesser, cheaper motherboards
than the one you were considering, for example nForce2, and cheaper
cases/PSUs.)

It'd unquestionably be easier; instead of worrying about buying a case
that can fit ten drives, a giant power supply, enough additional ATA
channels, cooling, etc., etc., I could call Dell or any other vendor
today and order suitable midtower machines with everything I need
other than the drives themselves. Quite tempting. The noise argument
makes sense too.

A friend proposes an alternative: Getting two four-drive external
enclosures and connect them to my existing desktop with Firewire. Does
this make sense?
 
J

J. Clarke

Yeechang said:
Hot swap simply isn't essential for me. Besides, if I really wanted
it, I could just put the ninth drive in place of the DVD drive.

You can put 9 or 9000 drives in the machine and if the underlying hardware
does not support hot-swap you won't have it. Parallel ATA is not designed
to support hot swap, serial is.
Is this something that a faster FSB would help? Doesn't sound like it
though. I presume switching to PCI Express would help.

If you can find a machine with enough PCI Express x2 or better slots and
host adapters to match.
This is the key issue; elsewhere I've read that the likely cause of
Finnie's issues with all-software RAID was his initial choice of a
cheap Tyan motherboard followed by an even cheaper PC Chips board. I'm
willing to deal with suboptimal performance as long as the array can
pump out the video files (including HDTV) fast enough, and it sounds
like it can, but stability is certainly important.

In answer to others' questions:

* Backup: No plans. I'm storing video files for personal use; if the
array gets hit by a meteor I'd be saddened, but I'd get over it. I
expect the RAID 5 and a backup drive on hand will let me deal with
the typical failure scenarios.

* OS: As I stated in the referenced Usenet post, I'm planning on Linux
software RAID 50.

If you're going to run RAID 50 you're not going to gain much by the "0"
part. RAID 5 is about as fast as RAID-0 on reads and the bottleneck on
writes is the parity calculation, not access time for the drives.
 
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J

J. Clarke

Arno said:
In comp.sys.ibm.pc.hardware.storage Al Dykes said:
BACKGROUND:
Inspired by <URL:http://www.finnie.org/terabyte/>, a few months
ago I started a thread
(<URL:http://groups-beta.google.com/group/comp.sys.ibm.pc.hardware.storage/msg/3dfb362bbf8e94d2>)
to discuss the idea of building my own 1.5TB storage array using
software RAID50 to hold video files.

The main hitch keeping me from going ahead was that I had trouble
finding eight 250GB drives at the price I wanted. Clearly, I wasn't
thinking big enough; just before Christmas, I lucked out and bought
nine Seagate *400GB* drives at $230 each (plus a $30 rebate on the
first one) from CompUSA. I now have 3.6TB of raw storage sitting in a
shipping carton in my apartment. Even with RAID 5 and keeping a drive
as a spare, I'll have 400GB*8-400GB=2.8TB of space.

PURPOSE:
Video files (episodes of TV shows I already watch and enjoy,
plus rips of TV shows on DVD sets I own). I'd like to build a MythTV
system too, but the storage array comes first. No games.
[...]


How ya' gonna back it up ? :)

Re-download the movies in case it fails? Might be a bit slow on
restore... ;-)

I think running the thing on a dedicated box with a server OS and setting
the security right might take care of the more common causes of failure
needing restoration from backup--just don't expose it on the Internet and
make sure the system areas are not writeable by the normal user and the
malware problem pretty much goes away. On the other hand, if one of the
host adapters dies and takes the array with it then it's toast.
 
Y

Yeechang Lee

J. Clarke said:
You can put 9 or 9000 drives in the machine and if the underlying hardware
does not support hot-swap you won't have it. Parallel ATA is not designed
to support hot swap, serial is.

What I meant was to put nine, not eight, 400GB drives in the box. As I
understand it Linux RAID can be set up to automatically use the ninth,
normally unused, drive in case of a single-drive failure.
 
Y

Yeechang Lee

Dorothy said:
That said - consider a used RAID 4U case on Ebay:

I hadn't even considered this option, thinknig any rack case was
unsuitable for a studio apartment. But this
(http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&category=71516&item=5742671427&rd=1&ssPageName=WDVW),
for example (although it'll have expired by the time anyone reads
this), is really just an extra-large tower case on its side and plenty
of drive space. I'd still of course have to get ATA controller cards,
and likely a bigger power supply, but there's certainly plenty of room
for anything I'd want to do.
 
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P

Peter

* can still RAID-5 your two sets of 4 disks
Yes, but I'd be giving up another 400GB. Instead of 2.8GB (one drive
for parity) I'd have 2.4GB (two drives for parity) from the eight
400GB drives together. (I know, woe is me.)

Last time I have checked, RAID-50 capacity is at best N-2. So you would lose
2 drives anyway. Isn't RAID-50 a striped collection of RAID-5 sets? That way
you will end up still with 2.4GB (not 2.8GB).
 

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