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Data Storage Hardware

Terabyte Storage Solutions? 574

Posted by Cliff
from the large-arrays-of-fat-disks dept.
DeMechman asks: "As many on Slashdot may know, storage is one thing which you can never have enough of. Given the current situation with CD/DVD rot (Personally I can attest to a 10% attrition rate) hard drives in a RAID configuration seem to be a better and more economical solution. If you own more than fifty CD/DVDs, it can be a daunting task to find a file. I am wondering if anyone has found a hardware solution that can inexpensively be set up to handle 10 or more 250GB HDDs in a RAID configuration. Primarily, has any case manufacturer tackled this niche market yet?"
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Terabyte Storage Solutions?

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  • by daveschroeder (516195) * on Thursday July 29, 2004 @05:47PM (#9837322)
    I'd say that $2.82/GB, for a well-built, well-designed 14-drive 3U RAID (0, 1, 3, 5, 0+1, 10, 30, 50) hardware cabinet with dual-2Gb/s fibre channel connectivity, dual-100mbit ethernet and serial for monitoring and management, excellent Java setup, management, and montoring software, redundant hot-swappable power supplies and fans, and that works and is qualified for use with Windows, Linux, and Mac OS X, qualifies as "inexpensively". But that's just me.

    http://www.apple.com/xserve/raid/ [apple.com]

    Academic prices for:

    1.00TB - $5399
    1.75TB - $6749
    3.50TB - $9899
    • by rjstanford (69735) on Thursday July 29, 2004 @05:51PM (#9837382) Homepage Journal
      It gets even cheaper if you want more than one (or other Apple equipment). If you're a development shop, sign up for ADC. The first fully loaded RAID array is discounted about the same amount as the ADC membership fee. The second through nth are considerably cheaper.
    • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday July 29, 2004 @05:52PM (#9837388)
      What a rip off!!!

      Go buy a Lian Li case, 8 x 200gb maxtor harddrives and a 3ware raid controller.

      Controller $500
      Drives $150 each
      Case $150

      Total for 1.4TB = $1850

      With 400gb drives maybe $3000 for 2.8TB
    • by lukewarmfusion (726141) on Thursday July 29, 2004 @05:55PM (#9837439) Homepage Journal
      He doesn't want his 50 CDs to "rot." For giggles, let's do some math:

      50 CDs * 700 MB = 35 GB
      50 DVDs * 4.7 GB = 235 GB

      It would take 250 DVDs (all FULL!) to get you to that terabyte. But you want to put ten 250GB drives together... so you want 4 drives (for the space) and six drives for redundancy.

      Expect to put down $5,000+. Or buy a 250GB drive and just store them on there. Buy two, and use the second one as a backup of the first. Total cost? $400.

      If you're a home user - don't go overboard. If you're a corporate user that's just trying to cut corners (and therefore cost) then don't shortchange yourself (or your company).
      • iv got well over a hundred cds on the desk next to me, bout 6 or 7 hundred filed away, and we havent even begun to discuss DVDs. i think i could max out a TB pretty quick. but anyway, my cas can hold 10 drives, actually it can hold 11, and thats only if your not creative enough to find new was to mount them. just pick up a full tower, had mine for years, its a real 'babe magnet' as well! (unfortunatly it seems to have the same polarit as women)
      • by Anonymous Coward
        "If you own more than fifty CD/DVDs, it can be a daunting task to find a file."

        What's wrong with this statement that it invites derisive (if informative) giggles? I don't think the author has just 50, it's just that over 50 and finding files becomes more of a task. I'm sure some good file management databases are in order, but anyway optical disc media sure seems to fail a lot more than makes it safe for easy backup.

        I have 1.5 Terabytes of personally collected data and I don't understand what's wrong w
    • FWIW, I'm aware of several customer installations where they have bank of seven XServe RAID arrays, one for each day of the week, each with an XServe to drive it.

      So, it's online storage for the last seven days, and tapes for anything a week old or older. The RAID chassis don't typically start out fully populated. The customers add drives in pairs as demand increases.

      -jcr
    • by Psyrg (730923) on Thursday July 29, 2004 @06:34PM (#9837838)
      Some people have had a surprising level of success uing the software raid potential of Linux to do this for some time, getting prices as low as $0.60US per GB.

      Some slashdot articles on some previous attempts:
      Bulk Data Storage For The Common Man? [slashdot.org]
      Home-brewing a 1.2TB IDE to Firewire Monster [slashdot.org]

      Books on it:
      Managing RAID on Linux [slashdot.org]

      Even applicable controller hardware:
      LSI Megariad 150-6 [lsilogic.com]
      3Ware 9000 series [3ware.com]

      And soon to be applicable storage hardware:
      Hitachi Announces 400GB Hard Drive [slashdot.org]
    • SATA Setups (Score:4, Interesting)

      by Alan Cox (27532) on Thursday July 29, 2004 @06:45PM (#9837973) Homepage
      The cheapest way I know is still a large PC tower case, a 3ware SATA raid controller a big PSU and a couple of large fans withs attitude. On the PCI side you don't need much unless you want to do gigabit (or of course just shove your server in the same case and dont do the I/O networked)

  • by oostevo (736441) on Thursday July 29, 2004 @05:47PM (#9837324) Homepage
    It's not RAID, but you could buy a 1-terabyte drive [lacie.com] from LaCie.
    • You could always grab two of them and do software RAID-1, unless I'm mistaken. Even two of those LaCie things are still cheaper than an Apple solution, so if you want the absolute cheapest, maybe this is an option?
      • They are cheaper than XServe, and from what I hear, they're a good product. What the XServe/XServe RAID will get you is much higher bandwidth to the disks, which can be important if you have a lot of people sharing the storage.

        -jcr
    • Only comes with a 1 year warranty? I'm sorry, but if I'm gonna be spending over $1,000 for a storage solution, it better come with a 3 or 5 year warranty at the least. Heck all of the new Seagate drives come with 5 years warranty!
    • by Epistax (544591) <epistax@gmail.LIONcom minus cat> on Thursday July 29, 2004 @06:44PM (#9837960) Journal
      Ah this is when their terminology really starts hurting us.

      1 terabyte = 1,000,000,000,000 bytes

      Try 1024^4 = 1,099,511,627,776.. wait, where'd my 100 gigs go?

      Due to the exponential nature this little white lie hurts a bit more for every increment, here sacrificing just about 10% of the storage. I'm surprised they don't say 1000 gigs just to dodge the 10% mark.

      For those who insist that tera means one trillon for bytes, I reference
      Here [techtarget.com], here [sharpened.net], here [ic.ac.uk], here [thefreedictionary.com], here [wikipedia.org], and how about here [reference.com]. Now I'll admit the wikipedia entry has the trillion byte definition, but they basically said it is used in storage advertising.
  • Many have (Score:3, Informative)

    by Guspaz (556486) on Thursday July 29, 2004 @05:48PM (#9837335) Homepage
    Apple is one of the cheapest, at 6000$ (with drives)

    See page here. [apple.com]
    • Re:Many have (Score:4, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward on Thursday July 29, 2004 @06:01PM (#9837516)
      Cheapest?!?!?

      Lets see, 5 200 MB drives at $120 = $600 + another $600 for the case, MB proc etc... $1200 for a terrabyte server.

      I haven't looked (you can do that) but I bet there are plenty of stand alone raid units of that size for maybe twice the DIY price and that is still HALF the price of Apple.

      Now THIS is informative!
      • Re:Many have (Score:3, Insightful)

        by jonbrewer (11894) *
        I think the Apple is the cheapest any sane person or organization would go. They have engineered a solution, as opposed to assembling a solution as you propose. All sorts of things can go wrong with such an assembled solution, such as heat, vibrations, power fluctuations, drive failure, data corruption, etc. The Apple solution takes all these in to account, and does so at a reasonable price. Better yet it can be replaced or repaired at any time, as opposed to an assembled solution, which needs the original
  • .. but might be useful: Linksys' NUSL2 box lets you hang two USB hard drives off a little network box, I use it to back up my systems at home.
  • by liquidpele (663430) on Thursday July 29, 2004 @05:50PM (#9837364) Journal
    Build a case from Leggos, throw in a bunch of SCSI drives and a power supply, hook it up to an external SCSI card from your computer, presto!

    Or you could buy something, but you wouldn't get to play with Leggos.
    • by Mad Bad Rabbit (539142) on Thursday July 29, 2004 @09:13PM (#9839178)

      Or, if you want really durable read-only storage (i.e. lasting a few hundred years without maintenance), you could use the little 1x1 LEGO blocks as bits.

      • You could pack a single byte into two 1x1 blocks, using void plus seven colors (red/green/blue/white/black/grey/yellow); and also use double-sided format, so a 1KB LEGO-ROM would fit neatly on two 32x32 green baseplates glued back-to-back. (about 26 cm on a side)
      • A 16KB LEGO-ROM would then be roughly 1 meter on a side. If these were stacked on roll-out shelves, say 3cm apart, you could fit 1MB of LEGO storage in a 1m x 1m x 2m cage.
      • A typical office building should easily have space on a floor for 1024 such cages, or 1 GB of LEGO storage; and the building itself would act as a 16 gigabyte LEGO-ROM.

      Therefore, a mere eight-by-eight city block area could store a full 1 terabyte of LEGO-ROM, with no worrying about DVD rot or head crashes (although access speeds would leave something to be desired).

  • Intel SC5200 5U (Score:2, Informative)

    by mtwalkup (745000)
    http://www.intel.com/support/motherboards/server/c hassis/sc5200/index.htm Just bought one myself. You can get em at: http://www.bellcomputer.com Let em know G Force Hosting sent ya!
  • Easy these days. (Score:5, Informative)

    by ron_ivi (607351) <sdotno@@@cheapcomplexdevices...com> on Thursday July 29, 2004 @05:51PM (#9837370)
    With 250GB Hard drives for $179 [frys-electronics-ads.com] these days, a terrabyte is easily put between two computers.

    I have a TB here, and rather than raid, I decided to do a nightly "rsync" mirror to a "yesterday" partition.

    The two advantages of the nightly rsync over RAID are

    1. It protects against user-error too. If I make a bad edit, I can always 'diff' against /yesterday/home/me/...'
    2. It makes upgrades of both hardware and software easy. Since my live backups are excactly that (live, and tested every day), one machine can be fully upgraded while the other acts as the primary one for a while.
    Important data also gets backed up to another large HD in my car and DVDs in a safe occasionally, to protect against a fire or burglars.
    • Re:Easy these days. (Score:5, Informative)

      by hoggoth (414195) on Thursday July 29, 2004 @06:28PM (#9837778) Journal
      > do a nightly "rsync" mirror to a "yesterday" partition
      > advantages of the nightly rsync over RAID are

      Instead of only keeping a "yesterday" partition, use rsync to keep EVERY daily backup.

      Rsync has lots of great options to make copies as hard links if they haven't changed and only copy changed files. That allows you to make daily full backups that only use the space of daily incrementals. Do that to a backup partition, then RAID-1 the whole drive over to a mirror.
      That gets you full protection from hardware failure on a drive and user failure on your files.

      Google for more details [google.com]

  • by compwizrd (166184) on Thursday July 29, 2004 @05:51PM (#9837373) Homepage
    you can "cheaply" buy 3U rack mount cases that hold 15 drives in hotswappable SATA or SCSI cages up front. Combined with a 3ware 9500-12, and leave 3 cages empty(or spare drives just not cabled up), this will give you 2.75 TB in each unit of raid5 storage. If you were really hard up for space, you could use a pair of 9500-8's and this would give you 3.25 TB per unit. Some 4U units hold 16 drives, which gives you the full 3.5TB in 2 x raid5 arrays.
    • One thing, SCSI drives are expensive compared to ATA, but it is more expandable than ATA (i.e., you can put 15 devices per channel). So, if you want the convenience/expandibility/hot-swapability of SCSI without the expense, get a few acard scsi-ide bridges -- these little buggers are about $80 a peace, and they turn an ide drive into a scsi drive. They even have dual-channel ones, where you can use one bridge for two ide drives.
      Performance is about on par with having the ide drive directly attached to the
    • try cases from www.bowsystem.com, where you will find wide range of solutions. RAID cards from 3ware, Highpoint, or Adaptec (they have a new SATA RAID card with 16 ports).

      Inexpensive, not cheap.
  • If you just use external USB2 drives you don't have to worry about case size or power supply capacity. (Assuming speed is not an issue)
  • Has anyone had any success backing up a terrabyte solution on a nightly basis? Thats a whole lotta data.
  • Terabyte Storage (Score:5, Informative)

    by Steffan (126616) on Thursday July 29, 2004 @05:51PM (#9837380)
    I have 8 x 160GB Maxtor drives in a RAID5 array. It's fast, relatively inexpensive [Fry's Electronics recently was selling the 160s for $69/ea]

    The 160GB drives used to come with a Maxtor [Promise] ATA-133 card. Two of those will support eight drives. Not the most optimal arrangement because of the bus having two drives on each channel, but it doesn't seem to affect performance too much since it is striping the data across all of the drives. I'm assuming it stripes in order, so you'd want to stagger the drives such that 1 & 2, 3 & 4 are not on the same controller.

    Output of df -h: /dev/md2 1.0T 521G 522G 50% /ext

    The cost to assemble something like this?

    ~ $600.00

    8 x $70 for the 160GB drives
    2 x $20 ATA-133 controllers

    The biggest issue is that there is no easy way to back up the array. You could use RAID 6 and have two drives worth of parity info, but it still leaves you vulnerable to a catastrophic hardware (or building) failure.

    Anyone have any ideas on how to back up 1TB in a home environment? i.e., not $3000 tape drives & $200 tapes

    • One thing to add - Just substitute 250GB drives for the 160s and add a third (or fourth) controller.

      Also, 3Ware & RaidCore (now Broadcom) have 8 channel & 12 Channel SATA cards for relatively low prices. That would be a better albeit more expensive route to go.
    • We use Linux LVM to take snapshots and then do a hot backup of that data to an archive box. That archive box contains removable hard drives (tape drives are just crap), and we then take the pysical drives to an off-site location to provide security and all the goodness that comes with off-site storage. We also use rsync to synchronize our production NAS devices with a parallel NAS device, to which we can hot-cut and have a current copy of all our data to a 15 minute window. Because rsync (with ext3 ACL s
    • by Achmed (25277) <alex&mccubbin,info> on Thursday July 29, 2004 @06:00PM (#9837506) Homepage
      > Anyone have any ideas on how to back up 1TB in a home environment? i.e., not $3000 tape drives & $200 tapes

      Ummm, yeah, it'll cost you ~$600. make another one and make a copy occasionally...

      Sorry, couldn't resist...
    • Re:Terabyte Storage (Score:2, Interesting)

      by codeguy007 (179016)

      Not the most optimal arrangement because of the bus having two drives on each channel, but it doesn't seem to affect performance too much since it is striping the data across all of the drives. I'm assuming it stripes in order, so you'd want to stagger the drives such that 1 & 2, 3 & 4 are not on the same controller.


      Have you worked with a 3ware card? Believe me when I say that this solutions' performance will suck compared to using a real raid solution such as a Escalade 3ware 9500s. Even on sof
    • Re:Terabyte Storage (Score:5, Informative)

      by drasfr (219085) <revedemoi@@@gmail...com> on Thursday July 29, 2004 @06:22PM (#9837716)
      A way of doing it (Which I did)

      8 Firewire drive enclosure: (i have the 4 drives version).
      $600. http://www.cooldrives.com/fi80013oc5fi.html
      $1360 = 8* $170 250GB ATA drives.
      $700 = Hardware for a Linux machine as correct file server
      = $2930 for 2TB of raw space, 1.5TB Of raid 5 with an hot spare, or 1.75TB of raid five with no hot spare.

      You got yourself a nice fileserver for home usage... install that with mythtv and you're up for hours of video....
    • by lawpoop (604919)
      With 6 HDDs and all the other devices, what wattage power supply do you have?

      Can anyone give me a rough formula of wattage/# of devices?

      • Re:Terabyte Storage (Score:4, Informative)

        by RandomCoil (88441) on Thursday July 29, 2004 @06:57PM (#9838080)
        With 6 HDDs and all the other devices, what wattage power supply do you have?


        Can anyone give me a rough formula of wattage/# of devices?

        According to Western Digital's site, a 250GB SATA drive pulls 12.8 watts when reading/writing and 9.5 watts on standby. I figure for 6 drives that's about 100 watts of a _good_ power supply's rating.
  • Good IDE hardware RAID controllers with Open Source drivers. Appears as a single SCSI drive to Linux. We swear by them.
  • by genkael (102983)
    Could you imagine a beuwolf cluster of these things?!

    Sorry, I couldn't help myself...

  • by william_lorenz (703263) on Thursday July 29, 2004 @05:52PM (#9837400) Homepage
    We just added a couple of these at the office. We used a SATA RAID card from LSI Logic (formerly AMI MegaRAID) [lsilogic.com] and on top of the 6-port device added six 200GB Western Digital drives [pricewatch.com]. From that page, a 200GB Maxtor can be had for around $85.00. Add in a 2U case, which is probably the most expensive part at around $300.00, and you have yourself the most expensive components of what you need, subtract the motherboard, processor, and all that jazz (which can be had for another $300.00 or so). Running Linux LVM with Samba-3 and Winbind for full Active Directory integration and authentication on top of an ACL-enabled ext3 filesystem, of course! ;)
  • If the solution lets you choose the drives, you're probably going to pick desktop IDE drives. If you do that you really want to look at Seagate [slashdot.org] who will give you a five year warranty. You'll need to check warranty terms if you're buying OEM drives though. When other manufacturers are only willing to offer a 12 month warranty and you're looking at 10 drives... well I'll do the maths, you could be replacing a drive every five weeks! And if the drives wait a year until they start failing you could be looking a
  • What I did... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by dewpac (31645) <matt.sappfamily@org> on Thursday July 29, 2004 @05:53PM (#9837410)
    I bought a case from http://www.servercase.com/ [servercase.com], a 3Ware RAID Controller [3ware.com] and 8 200GB IDE drives. I've got 1400GB of usable space in RAID5. It runs Linux with Samba and NFS. I also use it for a MythTV Backend.

    Unfortunatly, once you have all this space, you WILL find a way to use it all and need more. I put this system together about 10 months ago, and it's at 85% capacity now. I'm preparing to build a new server with 12 250GB drives, to have just over 4TB between the 2 systems.
  • Hmm, is even DVD's from established brands like Verbatim, TDK, and so on suffering from the dreaded "DVD rot"?

    I'm a bit concerned by this phenomenon and think surprisingly little is said about it, when you consider how common these media area. Has studies been made with comparisons from different brands? I'm not sure a study of unknown brands are very helpful since there could be great differences between different manufacturers, or?

    I would never buy a DVD from, say, Princo or other budget brands, and rea
    • Check your own CDRs for rot. You can use the DriveSpeed utility that comes with Nero. In one of the menus there's a 'ScanDisk' option which can show you what percent of the disk is damaged (these are not critical errors but degrading spots). Fresh discs I burn have 0 to 5% damage, and several year old discs I scan show 10% to 50% damage! I have not yet encountered a disc that is unreadable due to errors, luckily.
  • who makes big raid arrays, except maybe Apple, HP, IBM, Sun, and all the usuall server and storage folks.
  • I have two AtaBoy raid systems w/ 3.5 T each. Works very nicely. Comes in Ultra160 LVD/SE and FC flavors. I use one of each.

    www.nexsan.com
  • www.raidweb.com Bought one of these at my previous employer and we really liked it.
  • Lian-Li PC V1000 handles 6x3.5 + 5x5.25 so by converting 4 of the 5.25's you'd get your 10x disk storage. The 6 are stored in a seperate area as well which is pretty sweet and will hopefully help the heat situation. I had problems with the PSU for this case tho and had to dremel out a section to make it fit.
  • by tjasond (680156) on Thursday July 29, 2004 @05:57PM (#9837464)
    I use a Hard Drive Enclosure [newegg.com] for backing up files. With IDE HDD's getting less and less expensive, picking one of these versatile enclosures up for less than $50 is a good value. I own a DVD burner but rarely use it for data storage since the enclosure is way more convenient. Now as far as 10 250GB drives in a Raid configuration, how redundant redundant do you need you data to be? Or is it that you're just overly cautious after having your backup DVD's fail? Just curious.
  • Just built one... (Score:5, Informative)

    by SlashChick (544252) <erica@erica.BOHRbiz minus physicist> on Thursday July 29, 2004 @05:59PM (#9837489) Homepage Journal
    I can answer your question, as I've just built one as a giant backup solution for our hosting company. [simpli.biz]

    I went with Serial ATA for a couple reasons:
    1) It's cheaper and has more capacity than SCSI;
    2) Cabling is not a mess as it is with regular IDE (if you've never seen serial ATA cables, the first thing you will notice is that they are small!);
    3) It can hotswap, unlike regular IDE;
    4) It's not that much more expensive than regular IDE.

    I custom-built a 3U server from InterProMicro. [interpromicro.com] They are a small (local if you are in the Bay Area) SuperMicro reseller that does great work. (If you need something, call and ask for Andy. Tell him Erica from Simpli sent you!)

    The machine I specced out was as follows:
    * 3U case with 8 hot-swap SATA drive bays;
    * 8-port 3Ware 8506-8 SATA RAID controller;
    * 5x250GB SATA drives in a RAID-5 array;
    * Dual Xeon processors.

    The 5 drives give you 1TB of storage, and expanding up to 8 gives you 1.75TB. I would also recommend a separate mirrored SATA 10KRPM array for the OS if you want really fast speeds. :)

    This whole solution (Xeons; 5 drives; 3U case) cost just over $3000... which is pretty reasonable for 1TB of network-accessible storage. Interpro has solutions that go up to 24 SATA drives [interpromicro.com], which at 250GB each gives you an ungodly amount of space (5.75TB, if my calculations are correct.)

    My suggestion is to go with a niche server builder like InterproMicro over Dell or Compaq or any of those guys. You can get the same high quality from a custom manufacturer without paying the steep brand name price from a larger manufacturer. As for the drives, any time the goal is "as much space as possible", SATA should be your first choice.

    Good luck!
  • Probably your best bet is to get a full tower case and add some drive bay capacity to it with sheet metal. You'll need to add several new fans, and you will want probably a good 500W of power supply capacity if not more. If you can get drives with a spinup delay which you can specify, then you can probably get away with less. Two or more cheap power supplies should do the job, I bought a couple of 250W power supplies for $7 each a while back, should be easy enough to do that still.

    Adding drive capacity

  • For what it's worth, there was a similar inquiry [slashdot.org] not too long ago.
  • LVM [learninglinux.com] is easier to set up then RAID (although it doesn't have the same redundnacy/recovery features as RAID). Think of it as chaining together several disks, throwing out the conventional notion of partioning. It makes it convenient for dealing with large disks, and several of them! And EIDE storage is cheap...
  • 3Ware Escalade -- http://www.3ware.com/ [3ware.com]

    The Escalade 8506-12 has 12 x SATA ports onboard. Full hardware implementation; appears as a SCSI host adapter to the OS. Drivers and management utilities for MS-Windows, Linux, and FreeBSD. It will even email you if you have a disk failure.

    3Ware was one of the first ATA RAID vendors to put a driver in the Linux kernel, and it was a fully-supported, GPL driver from day one. Rock solid stuff. Good tech support, too.

    Highly recommended.
  • I have two servers with 6 each of 200Gb SATA drives. There are 2 drives per Adaptec, RAID capable SATA controller, so three Adaptec controllers total. One server has a RAID 5 of all 6 drives which yields just under 1TB of storage. The other is setup as JBOD and yields just under 1.2Tb of total storage.

    More recently I've purchased 500Mb and 1TB LaCie Big Disk and Bigger Disk storage devices. They work extremely well and have almost no latency for their size. I use them for testing things and have been quite
  • by evilviper (135110) on Thursday July 29, 2004 @06:02PM (#9837527) Journal
    It's almost funny... Once you start talking about RAID with more than 2 drives, IDE is at a disadvantage.

    I'm not referring to performance, reliability, etc. (although those are serious issues), but about price.

    If you have a master & a slave, then you reduce performance... That can be a very serious if you have a RAID configuration. So, if you want to put 7200RPM hard drives together, you start to need a 6 or more channel RAID card (whereas a single channel SCSI RAID card would work fine). And guess what? Decent quality 6+ channel RAID cards are very expensive, perhaps even negating the savings from using IDE drives rather than SCSI in the first place.

    Remember, that's based on price-only... I haven't even begun talking about how much worse the performance would be, or reliability issues with using inexpensive IDE drives.

    • "In RAID, IDE has the disadvantage..."

      IDE RAID hit mainstream over five years ago, when Adaptec released an IDE RAID card. This card happened to have four separate IDE controllers chips on it, and four cable connectors. I installed a solution using this card with four 73GB IDE drives from IBM (as big as they came in 1999, I think) in an 0+1 configuration. Mirrored striped sets, total usable capacity of 130GB, I think. (Not bad considering I had replaced mirrored 9GB SCSI drives.)

      Wouldn't you know it, but
  • There are many manufacturers that make raid cases and rack mounts to hold many hard drives. They are usually meant for companies that want a complete supported solution, though, and not available barebones to hobbyists. They contain everything, including the drives, management software, etc.

    You can find RAID cards that will support up to 8 drives, but few that will support more, and often those that support multiple drives cost more than the drives themselves.

    Your best bet, I suspect, is to make a d
    • Also keep in mind that a cheap 'hot-swap' alternative is an external firewire drive. Plug it in while the system is active and make some commands to find it and replicate to it. Then you don't have to shut down as much. Perhaps even consider putting in several firewire cards and having a completely external raid array - hotswap problem solved.

      -Adam
  • I thought this article was cool. What I would personally rather have here than just a simple RAID in one location(for something like my entire data collection) is the ability to distribute replicas accross a variety of locations--that way I wouldn't loose my collection even if my house burned down or whatever.

  • by Zergwyn (514693) on Thursday July 29, 2004 @06:04PM (#9837547)
    I have just been grappling with this very issue. What kind of solution can find depends on a couple of factors:

    -What RAID level you want (5 usually requires better hardware)
    -Whether you want hardware RAID (I strongly recommend this) or soft RAID
    -How much redundancy you need (Battery backup cache? Redundant controllers? Hardware environmental controls?)

    If you are looking for good pci cards, I would strongly suggest a card from 3ware [3ware.com], and a card from a place such a Seagate [seagate.com]. Getting a super-duper cheap card when terabytes of data are on the line is just fundamentally stupid. You can save some bucks now, but be ready with your next Ask Slashdot: "How do I recover data from my dead RAID?" Seagate now has a nice 5 year warranty, which match well with good quality and reasonably cheap drives. Look at some of the SATA drives like the Barracuda. However, any decent quality drive maker can work. If you have even more money, you can look at some of the things offered by places like StorCase [storcase.com]. A larger initial investment can become cheaper as you scale up the cheap harddrive count, and it can be a good thing in the long run. Obviously, the more time you are willing to invest doing things yourself, the cheaper you can get to some extent vs premade items. However, no support as well.


    Do read up on some of the fundamentals of RAID: Everything you need to know (and lots you don't) is probably at least mentioned in the PC Guide [pcguide.com] on RAID. Look through that. Things like hot swap and hot spares are important to understand. Finally, you should remember to check compatability. Unfortunately, I for instance have not been able to find much of anything in the way of controller cards that is compatable with OS X (except the obvious, the XServe RAID). So I have something set up on a BSD box in my server closet that I then link to, more like a storage appliance. Happily, the 3ware cards and many others are now compatable with a wide variety of *nix and BSD flavors along Windows, but do check to make sure.


    Last but not least, remember this!: RAID is *not* a backup solution, but an highly redundant onsite storage system. Have another form of backups, even if it is just a RAID 1 off site, or DVD-Rs, or something. If a disaster happens (thieves, fire, nuclear destruction, John Ashcroft) on site storage won't save you.

  • by egarland (120202) on Thursday July 29, 2004 @06:05PM (#9837554)
    Promise has a nice off-the-shelf solution [promise.com] and you can get it [hypermicro.com] for arround $3600.

    If I were going to do it I'd build it my own by combining a nice case [rackmountpro.com] and a 12 port 3Ware controller [rackmountpro.com] with whatever server configuration and SATA drives I wanted to get.
  • Seriously. If you need some good space (I think the new models are 3 terribyte), its only a couple thousand. The older 1 and 2 terribyte arrays can be had for even cheaper. I personally can't say enough about them. Hardware supported RAID 0, 1, 5, 0+1, which means no overhead to actual software/cpu for using the different raid levels. I know its not quite what you were asking about, (i.e. not a DIY case), but you will be hard pressed to find something this cheap with these features even if you build it your
  • Both EMC and NetApp offer rack-mount type systems with 1 to 16 IDE or SATA drives and they all support 160GB to 250Gb drives (but neither haver certified the 300's yet). Its not a server case... more of a SAN/NAS type case and run the individual providers software, but they're all I know of. I haven't yet found a case that can handle 10 or more drives. I've managed to put 6 SATAs into a huge case with a 600watt power supply, but even if you could fit 10 drives in a case, the power supply would be your main

  • Only $150 at CableMart, Inc, with free shipping. [cmicomputer.com]

    We've built two 2-TB NASs with this Skyhawk case and are working on a third right now. The case is a 5u, 10 bay, industrial strength one that's damn sturdy.

    Throw in a decent power supply, a 3ware 8506 8 or 12 port SATA RAID card (or the equiv. for standard IDE), 8 data and 2 system drives (7200 rpm SATA or IDE), some Kingwin BK-81 [newegg.com] drive bays, an inexpensive motherboard and chip (Biostar M7VIZ w/ an Athlon XP 2800), and a gig or two of value RAM [ms4me.com] (make sure
  • I have a 3x300GB array made of just off the shelf 3.5" Aluminum enclosures from CompUSA. They're hooked up via USB2 and quick enough for my needs since they primarily store contraband that I don't access all that often.

    It's running at RAID 5 via Mac OS X and software called RAID Toolkit from FWB Software. Great stuff, never failed and was fairly cheap..

    Enclosures = 3x$40
    Hard Drives = 3x$250
    Software = $99

    $3.00 per raw GB... but RAID 5 I only realize about 550GB so that's about $5.30ish I guess.
  • by linuxbaby (124641) * on Thursday July 29, 2004 @06:21PM (#9837713)
    For CD Baby [cdbaby.com] we have about 50 TB of audio stored here, and we built the boxes ourselves, damn cheap. Goes like this:
    • Find any tall beige-box case. ($150)
    • Find 9 good 250g Serial ATA drives. ($100 each = $900)
    • Get an 8-port serial ATA hardware RAID controller like these [3ware.com] ($300)
    • Get a good 400-500W power supply ($200)
    • Any motherboard and CPU will do ($200)
    • Spend a few extra bucks on gigabit ethernet ($50)
    Put 8 of the hard drives into a RAID-5 array. (1 for your O.S/system use). That makes about 1.4 TB for only $1800 total. The 3Ware IDE raid thing works great with FreeBSD [freebsd.org], which is what we use for everything.

    Rip all your CDs as FLAC [sourceforge.net] so that (1) you never have to rip them again (it's lossless), but (2) it's half the size of saving WAV files

    At least that's what we've done with our 68,000 [cdbaby.com] CDs we have here.

    • So for that 50 TiB total, you need 50/1.4 = 36 systems. 36 systems * 8 drives = 288 SATA drives spinning. How often do you have to replace one? I'm just wondering as I have had 4 x 200 GB drives in RAID 5 in my personal system for just under a year now and I've already had to replace one. Didn't lose anything, and it was under warranty, but in a month, I'll be out of WD's crappy one-year warranty and I'll have to start buying drives as they fail to keep my data.
    • Could you tell me where do you find good 250g SATA drives for $100 each, please?
  • by RabidPuppetHunter (620593) on Thursday July 29, 2004 @06:31PM (#9837807)
    I have two systems, with about 1.3 and 2.5 TB respectively for archiving DVD quality video and MP3s. I looked at RAID but found it was not necessary. I prefer to manage the disks (some are removable) and do not need high performance even when streaming the video over my in home LAN.

    I use DVArchive with DVD or satellite to ReplayTV for video capture and play back, DVA is great for managing multiple volumes and dynamically discovers vidoes if I want to move them to another drive. It also supports copy/move between the two systems (I use a 1Gb switch between systems). CPU performance is not key for play back though it is critical for transcoding (I use a dual processor system for transcoding and it smokes my single CPU system).

    I have a LARGE MP3 collection (forgive me for not publically admitting to its size) and I find the same systems/drives are ample for supporitng a digital audio library. I switched to iTunes for managing music (MusicMatch melts down when the number of files gets large) and stream it with SlimServer to squeezebox devices for high quality playback on home theater and other receivers.

    My recommendation is to go with generic disk drives - brand names, 7200 RPM with 1-3 year warranties --I get them locally on sale for under $150, sometimes $130/250GB, thats 52 cents per GB, a little more per GB than a DVD-R disk but more reliable and infinitely more flexible. I can recreate a DVD off of the disk image if needed.

    I am more concerned with heat and power consumption (it adds up) than disk performance, someone will need to explain to me why I'd need to mess with RAID for this...
  • by melted (227442) on Thursday July 29, 2004 @07:03PM (#9838133) Homepage
    I don't understand why people automatically assume that DVD+-R/RWs are prone to the same problem. The recordable layer in these disks is buried in plastic. It's NOT on the surface. There's no oxygen coming to it, so in theory DVD+-R/RWs should be a heck of a lot less prone to "rot".
  • My usual solution... (Score:3, Informative)

    by cayce (189143) on Thursday July 29, 2004 @07:05PM (#9838156)
    And i've installed quite a bit of these:
    * SuperMicro motherboard (any of the newer ones, depend on your choice of architecture). Be sure to get one with PCI 133/64 and gigabit onboard.
    * 3Ware RAID board(s).
    * Chembro rackmount cases (they have a very nice one with 16 SATA hotplug slots with backplane and all)
    * Don't go cheap on the power supply. You'll need at least 600W. I always go for redundant ones.
    * 16 SATA disks of your choice (250, 120 or 80GB)
    * Linux!!! (Be careful with fedora core2, it doesnt support nativelly the 3Ware cards - you'll need to compile your own)

    Of course you could save about $1000 by using a cheap motherboard, chassis and PS. But it really pays off using the good brands on those.

    By the way, you should always get an extra hard drive (or two). They will fail (sooner or later) and you don't want to be left hanging.
  • by still cynical (17020) on Thursday July 29, 2004 @07:48PM (#9838531) Homepage
    If you want to spend the extra money and have a warranty and fancier case, look at Nexsan [nexsan.com], or EMC's AX100 [emc.com]. Scary that EMC is selling something cheaper than the competition, but they are. Sorta disturbs the natural order of the universe. Still, either will set you back several thousand. The AX100 looks pretty impressive on paper. Options for dual controllers, and up to 3 TB in a 2U space. Haven't tried one myself yet.

    Disclaimer: I work for a storage integrator, both are brands we sell.
  • Hardware RAID (Score:3, Interesting)

    by GreenKiwi (221281) on Thursday July 29, 2004 @09:28PM (#9839301)
    This solution looks very interesting to me.
    http://www.areca.us/IDERAID.htm [areca.us]

    It takes up 3 external 5.25" bays and allows you to connect 5 3.5" drives. It provides expandable RAID 5, all internally with it's hardware and simply looks like an ATA or SATA device to the computer.

    Has anyone here actually used one?

    kiwi

    --

    System Architecture

    Toshiba TMPR4927ATB 200MHz 64-bit RISC processor
    64MB on-board cache memory with ECC protection
    Areca 5 channels IDE controller (ARC600-66) with enhanced H/W XOR engine
    NVRAM for RAID configuration & transaction log
    Write-through or write-back cache support
    Firmware in Flash ROM for easy upgrades

    RAID Features
    RAID level 0, 1 (0+1), 3, 5 and JBOD
    Multiple RAID selection
    Array roaming
    Online RAID level/ stripe size migration
    Online RAID capacity expansion and RAID level migration simultaneously
    Automatically and transparently rebuilds hot spare drives
    Hot swap new drives without taking the system down
    Instant availability and background initialization
    Automatic drive insertion / removal detection and rebuilding

    Disk Bus Interface
    Ultra ATA/133 compatible
    5 channels, operating in parallel
    5 hot-swap drive trays
    48-bit LBA support allows disk exceeding 137GB
    Staggering the Spin-Up of Individual Disk to Solve the Power-on Surge

    Host Bus Interface
    ARC-5010
    Dual ATA interface-Ultra ATA/133 & Serial ATA 1.0
    Ultra ATA/133 compatible Transfer rate up to 133MB/sec
    Serial ATA 1.0 - 1.5Gbps(150 MB/sec)

    ARC-6010
    Ultra 160-Wide LVD SCSI; Transfer rate up to 160MB/sec
    Tagged Command Queuing
    Concurrent I/O commands
  • by bencvt (686040) on Thursday July 29, 2004 @09:29PM (#9839309)
    If you own more than fifty CD/DVDs, it can be a daunting task to find a file.

    Um... ever consider the mind-bogglingly simple solution of:

    ls -R> ~/dvd.index/<disc_label> for each dvd

    grep "<whatever_youre_looking_for>" ~/dvd.index/*

  • by slaker (53818) on Friday July 30, 2004 @12:36AM (#9840593)
    Instead of looking at a semi-commodity 1TB solution - which is a PITA for needing an industrial strength case, power supply, drive controller card and HVAC, you need to look at the other end:

    Two or three fairly normal PCs with STANDARD drive controllers, PSUs and HVAC.

    Look, we're talking file servers here. 128MB RAM is gobs if you aren't running any other service on 'em. Pick and OS, any OS: 2000 gets you dfs, *nix gives you NFS. Both give you a homogenous networked file system.

    So...
    Standard case/PSU/cheapo CPU (Athlon mobile or Via or P3, for lower power consumption)/RAM - That's $250, maybe. Add another $20 for a gigabit NIC or two per machine.
    4x 200GB drives @ $110 apiece (pricewatch shows $96 as the low price, but I'll go $110 for a little wiggle room)

    So... something around $700 gets you .8TB.
    Buy three machines. $2100 gets you tons of storage and scads of redundancy no matter how you look at it.

    This is the philosophy I use in setting up my file servers (now serving 6.5TB!). Over time I've added 3ware cards, upgraded PSUs and added gobs of RAM, but my basic starting point is a very modestly-appointed system.

"It's curtains for you, Mighty Mouse! This gun is so futuristic that even *I* don't know how it works!" -- from Ralph Bakshi's Mighty Mouse

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