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Inherited a RAID

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Brian Katsis
Inherited a RAID
on Aug 2, 2011 at 8:43:29 pm

Hello Creative Cow!

I work for a small video production company, we primarily work on videos for local non-profits, promotional videos, and the occasional larger budget documentary. So for the most part 90% of our projects are rather small file sizes.

For background information, like many others on this forum, being a small production company the external hard drives started to pile up. So long story short, my predecessor purchased and set up a RAID system solely for archival and backup purposes.

It's a hot swappable 15 bay enclosure, currently with the minimum required three drives which happen to be 2TB WD caviler blacks. Set at i believe RAID5. It is controlled by a HighPoint card on a Power Mac G5.

We have no need or desire to work off the RAID but only wish to use it for archiving old projects and periodic backups of current projects. So all and all depending on the flow of clients I may only access the RAID once or twice a month, to either back up a current project or pull something out of the archive, while working on current existing projects off of 2-4 external drives.


The issue I am having is adding, or expanding if you will, to the RAID.
I have purchased a 4th 2TB WD caviler black drive only to have the RAID rebuild and alas, show no increase in size.
I contacted HighPoint and got this as a response:

"For Mac it doesn't support to expand the RAID capacity by adding more drive.for it cannot support OCE function in WebGUI."

I read that as… because i'm using a mac I cannot expand the RAID unless I wipe it and format with the 4 drives.
(I replied back with a similar response but have not heard anything yet)


So my question is… has anyone else had this problem? If so, what did you do?
Is their a different RAID card I could get that would allow me to expand when needed?
Should we just go ahead and buy 11 drives and fill it up?
Cost is not entirely an issue, however to buy 11 more 2TB drives in one shot would cost a bit and something to consider but not out of the question.

I believe the original intention was to expand when needed, but having to move everything off each time we needed to add space would be rather outrageous in my opinion, if that is indeed the case.

Perhaps RAID was not even the correct choice for Archiving and backing up purposes. As none of our clients pay us to store old projects. However we liked the loss protection RAID 5 or 6 can offer, and in the past archived hard drives would just sit in a closet taking up space… which may have been the right thing to do.


Now, unfortunately I don't know much about RAID at all and I think perhaps my predecessor did not do enough research and go with the best option. If i was to start over I would probably get one of the smaller 8bay enclosures, max out the drive space, and then purchase another one when I needed to, as i am just about running out of space with the current 6TB of space that I have. But, hopefully I can make do what what we have currently.

As I mentioned I am not to familiar with RAID and those of you that would like to offer some incite may want to know some specs, or information I haven't mentioned, and I will do my best to find that out if anyone wants to know.

I should also mention that we have purchased a much newer MacPro this past January, and if it makes scenes to hook up the RAID to that machine thats something we would probably do as the G5 is rather old and not an optimal editing machine.
But, really only if it would help in the future to circumvent potential problems.

Thanks for any help or incite!


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Alex Gerulaitis
Re: Inherited a RAID
on Aug 2, 2011 at 11:43:42 pm

[Brian Katsis] "Is their a different RAID card I could get that would allow me to expand when needed?
Should we just go ahead and buy 11 drives and fill it up?
Cost is not entirely an issue, however to buy 11 more 2TB drives in one shot would cost a bit and something to consider but not out of the question. "


Not sure what the deal with HighPoint is - I thought OCE was an OS- and platform-independent function.

Is this a box with a single MiniSAS input connector and one or two output ones? How many cables are running from the controller to the box?

If it is a MiniSAS expander box (I suspect it is), I'd recommend getting an ATTO R680 HBA, a minimum of 5-6 RAID-qualified drives (not Caviars) and set them in RAID6. That would ensure optimum performance, failure resiliency, and future online expansion with additional drives.

Alex (DV411)


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Brian Katsis
Re: Inherited a RAID
on Aug 3, 2011 at 2:56:16 pm

Hi Alex,
thanks for responding.

[Alex Gerulaitis] "is this a box with a single MiniSAS input connector and one or two output ones? How many cables are running from the controller to the box?"

If i understand correctly, the card and box are connected by 3 esata cables. The card has a 4th esata slot, but its unused at the moment, sometime we use it for an external hard drive.


[Alex Gerulaitis] "If it is a MiniSAS expander box (I suspect it is), I'd recommend getting an ATTO R680 HBA, a minimum of 5-6 RAID-qualified drives (not Caviars) and set them in RAID6. That would ensure optimum performance, failure resiliency, and future online expansion with additional drives."

My bad it's not caviars that we have it's Western Digital 2 TB RE4-GP SATA 3 Gb/s Intellipower 64 MB Cache Bulk/OEM Enterprise Hard Drive. I think when my predecessor originally set it up he used caviars but they failed often so he did research and got these.


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Kyle Lodge
Re: Inherited a RAID
on Aug 3, 2011 at 9:10:41 pm

If it's eSATA you're kind of stuck. But I agree with Alex. Get an R680 card as it is backwards compatible with 3Gb/s and 6Gb/s drives and has a tool built in the ATTO Configuration Tool to migrate more drives into your already created RAID set! You are going to need to get a MiniSAS Expander Chassis to achieve this though, but you will get tremendous speed and be supported by one of the best RAID controller card manufacturers around!

Let me know if I can be of any more help.

Cheers and good luck with all of your projects!

Kyle Lodge


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Alex Gerulaitis
Re: Inherited a RAID
on Aug 3, 2011 at 10:04:48 pm

[Kyle Lodge] "If it's eSATA you're kind of stuck"

Alas, I agree with Kyle on that - I haven't heard of a port-replicated eSATA HBA (yes, the HighPoint controller you have is one of those) that isn't basically a POS.

Since you plan to use the box for archiving and not for editing, and probably can't justify a $2K budget for a MiniSAS HBA and a box, then just use it to set up RAID5 volume in chunks of 4-5 drives.

Alex (DV411)


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Brian Katsis
Re: Inherited a RAID
on Aug 4, 2011 at 3:49:51 pm

HighPoint got back to me again and said this,

"It's MacOS X issue that cannot supprot OCE,it's not related to the card."


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Alex Gerulaitis
Re: Inherited a RAID
on Aug 4, 2011 at 9:08:27 pm

[Brian Katsis] ""It's MacOS X issue that cannot supprot OCE,it's not related to the card.""

They advertise OCE for Max OSX all over the place, and nowhere can I find any hint that it's a Mac OSX issue.

Am I missing something? I always thought OCE was a feature of the RAID brain - making it completely OS-independent on hardware RAID controllers. (The OS still needs to be able to see the larger capacity and either create a new volume on it, or to expand an existing one - which Max OSX 10.x does.)

Alex (DV411)


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Fred Jodry
Re: Inherited a RAID
on Aug 7, 2011 at 4:11:14 pm

Brian, maybe this: (This is a guess).
Populate most of the drive bay in matched sets of 4 drives.
Make the whole group Raid 10.
This is the experimental part, You can try when the box is completely unpowered to see if you can pull high numbered sets of 4 drives out an inch in the bay for later expansion. This would be to save mostly electricity.
-or,-
If you don`t need premium speed then put drives in in pairs and use the array as RAID 1. One advantage is that each lineup of drives of the 2 can be pulled (or exchanged to the other side) and used j.b.o.d. although in a string in a rescue if the RAID box has a catastrophe.


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Brian Katsis
Re: Inherited a RAID
on Aug 8, 2011 at 8:48:16 pm

[Alex Gerulaitis] "[Brian Katsis] ""It's MacOS X issue that cannot supprot OCE,it's not related to the card.""

They advertise OCE for Max OSX all over the place, and nowhere can I find any hint that it's a Mac OSX issue."


I have been doing a bit of research. Found out this is the RAID card that I have: RocketRAID 2314.
On that products page you gave me, it does say that it is capable of OCE and works with OSX. So I sent all that info to HighPoint help to see what they say.


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Brian Katsis
Re: Inherited a RAID
on Aug 18, 2011 at 5:50:37 pm

An update.

In response to HighPoint saying,

"It's MacOS X issue that cannot supprot OCE,it's not related to the card."

I sent this,

"I did some research and I am a little confused because you say that:

"It's MacOS X issue that cannot supprot OCE,it's not related to the card."

...but on the highpoint products page, listed here:

http://www.highpoint-tech.cn/USA/rr2314.htm

It says it supports Mac OS X and it also says under controller specifications:

"Online Capacity Expansion (OCE) and Online RAID Level Migration (ORLM)"

They responded with,

"We are confirmed that for Mac it doesn't support OCE/ORLM.In some cards driver readme file,it has been stated while some are not.But it indeed cannot support OCE function."



Well I am pretty much just confused and a little frustrated with HighPoint, so with the recommendations I got from you guys, I talked it over with the Boss and got the Green light to purchase the ATTO R680 Card. So i'm about to start talking with them and see what they say and hopefully soon get this resolved. I'll keep you up to date.


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