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What To Buy For Raid 5 Quad Interface?

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Paul Blinn
What To Buy For Raid 5 Quad Interface?
on Aug 27, 2011 at 7:28:45 pm

Hi Friends, I need some feedback on some e-sata Raid5 product. Any suggestions for me?

What I need:
- 4 bay enclosures only (if possible). I have dozens of 2TB hard drives in great condition.
- Raid 5 on the box. The devices need to be portable. Mini SAS not an option.
- e-sata and FW 800

What I'm doing:
- Running AVID MC4 and 5 with a Nitris DX
- Mac OSX not the most current (Leopard and Snow Leopard)
- 8 core Nehalem
- Sonnett E4P Host Adaptor
- Highpoint 2314 available, or I'll buy whatever works solidly

What I've already tried unsuccessfully:
-Promise DS4300 (with Sonnett E4P, Highpoint and Firmtek cards)
-Raidon GR5630 (with the Highpoint card)

My experience:
- Both Raidon and Promise are not ready for prime time with e-sata on the Mac.
- E-sata on the Mac is problematic in general
- Raidon worked well in terms of performance but has an intermittent bug with the thermostat causing the unit to occasionally and unpredictably overheat
- Promise supposedly works great on the PC with e-sata, but chokes on the Mac.

I've been going around and around with this stuff. I could use some feedback. I know e-sata is not ideal - but Mini SAS or thunderbolt are not viable options. I need 25 - 30 TB of storage and backup overall---all that doesn't need to be online simultaneously---but I'm not interested in 8 bay solutions (there aren't any I know of with FW anyway).

Any suggestions?

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Bob Zelin
Re: What To Buy For Raid 5 Quad Interface?
on Aug 28, 2011 at 4:43:49 pm

If you have dozens of 2TB drives, and you want RAID 5 that is reliable, then DO NOT TELL ME that miniSAS is not an option. It is not only an option - it is your only option. The E4P won't do RAID 5 and the only eSATA card that claims to have RAID5 from a "semi decent" manufacturer is Highpoint. Now Highpoint, ATTO, Areca and others make plenty of wonderful miniSAS cards that will do the job, adn there are lots of good companies that make empty chassis for your "dozens of 2TB drives". You need miniSAS for reliablity, eSATA won't cut it. If you don't listen to me, and look at a piece of crap like this -

well, you are just a child.

Bob Zelin

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Paul Blinn
Re: What To Buy For Raid 5 Quad Interface?
on Aug 28, 2011 at 8:36:07 pm

Thanks Bob, I say that MiniSAS is not an option for our workflow, because these devices need to be portable. My assistant often works off site-- he preps the files and the projects at another location. I know that MiniSAS is far more reliable and better performance than e-sata, which is a flawed system (especially on the mac). So the link you sent is a good example of what i'm unfortunately going to have to try to to deal with.

Does anyone here have any experience using that OWC device on the Mac?

As I mentioned I have had two such enclosures. The first was made my Raidon and the performance was excellent, except for the intermittent heat issue. That system benched around 200mb routinely and that was enough performance for me. The second was the Promise DS4300--those seem to hang repeatedly.

I'm looking at the Sonnett D4QR5 4 bay enclosure. Not sure Sonnett will sell me the enclosures only--I have 4 Promise 8TB units I need to migrate. I definitely don't want to consolidate all these eggs (data) into one basket.

I'm open for suggestions and feedback, if anyone has been using a successful combo of a 4 bay external sata raid 5 along with a specific host adaptor card.

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Ron Amborn
Re: What To Buy For Raid 5 Quad Interface?
on Sep 1, 2011 at 3:34:42 am

Hey Paul
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Petros Kolyvas
Re: What To Buy For Raid 5 Quad Interface?
on Sep 1, 2011 at 3:07:57 pm

HI Paul,
(You may be surprised.)

I'm pretty sure it's available diskless if that's what you're looking for. (I don't sell storage solutions - just trying to help.) The iStoragePro site has a long list of places you can purchase such a thing.

Good luck!

There is no intuitive interface, not even the nipple. It's all learned. - Bruce Ediger

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Paul Blinn
Re: What To Buy For Raid 5 Quad Interface?
on Sep 25, 2011 at 9:59:52 pm

Thanks for your feedback, friends. I'm terribly sorry for the long delay with my response--I go thrown right into another behind schedule job.

I ended up with two Sonnet Technology FUS-D4QR5-8TBs. I got some good feedback from resellers about that device. The over-riding factor for me was that Sonnet also makes the E4P PCI-e host adaptor--so there's some accountability there with communication between CPU and storage device. The E4P card is also very common on rental CPUs with the vendors I use.

The iT4 did not have good recommendations. The device is well liked, but the card is not.

I've learned that E-sata on Mac can generally be considered a flawed system. When it works, its great. But I only buy Quad interface devices because a) the e-sata is problematic when moving the devices to CPU's with different host adaptor cards and b)snow leopard has ignored many necessary considerations for e-sata to work, and c)in general e-sata is so problematic--I need FW as a backup. My PC friends say that e-sata is plug n play without the slightest issue on the PC. But my experience on Mac has been that the Silicon Image and Marvell chipsets on the various host adaptor cards are a recipe for conflicts and confusion.

I only bought two Sonnett enclosures. I'm looking forward to a Thunderbolt solution. However its unlikely that there will be a quad interface Thunderbolt device and that's going to make it harder to move my drives around from place to place (which I require in my workflow). Once Thunderbolt is available on Mac Pro, it will be necessary for all our machines in the food chain to have that interface. Sounds expensive and impractical--too many unknowns about Thunderbolt right now in terms of adapting to PCs, Firewire or e-sata machines.

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Atul Talati
Re: What To Buy For Raid 5 Quad Interface?
on Oct 25, 2011 at 8:58:29 pm

Hi Paul,

Here is the product that would be perfect for your need.
Seagra Technology, Inc manufacturer and design of Fibre Channel product.

Use one STF400PE, dual port 4Gbps Fibre Channel HBA : $ 499.00
Two 5Bay Fibre Channel RAID V Storage STSRFC4-X: $2499.00
20 TB which is 10x2TB: $1000.00
Total Cost would be : $3998.00
This solution would run about 700MB/Sec.

Atul Talati
Seagra Technology, Inc
14252 Culver Drive #A129
Irvine, Ca 92604

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