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Eric Brown
which drives / RAID level should I use with the Areca ARC-5040 8 drive RAID (eSATA)
on May 19, 2014 at 5:56:51 pm

I am in need of some more storage, and I think I have settled on the ARC-5040 ( http://www.areca.us/products/esatafirewire800iscsiaoeusb.htm ) 8 drive external RAID. Primary use will be multicam editing of the live concerts we play (8, 10, sometimes 12 cameras) in Premiere, and the color correction in Resolve, or whatever tool I'm trying in a given week.

I have two of the 4 drive eSATA CineRAID units ( http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16816856039 ) at home, which I am extremely happy with. These use Areca controllers, which I understand are highly regarded.

First of all, does anyone have any suggestions of superior 8 bay RAID enclosures? Must be eSATA / USB 3 as I work in Windows.

I am wondering what drives I should populate these with. My two CineRAID's are filled with the standard 2TB Seagate models, the regular old desktop barracuda 7200rpm.

These have worked fine, however I have since learned of the higher quality "enterprise" level drives that are more appropriate for my intended use.

My first question is- which drives? Seems like the WD Red drives are not 7200rpm, this would obviously hamper performance, correct? I can't seem to figure out what Seagate calls its drives to be used in a RAID array. What about the HGST line? Is there any functional difference between the Deskstar and the Ultrastar line? Ultrastar is advertising 2 million hours MTBF while the Deskstar is 1 million. I am leaning towards either of these as they are 7200 RPM, as long as they are highly regarded. Ultrastar are quite a bit more expensive, but I am not going to skimp here.

2nd question. Any performance difference with regards t o size? all other things being equal would 2TB drives in an 8 disk array have faster read speeds than an array with 3 or 4TB drives?

3rd question - I need a minimum of somewhat around 15TB of space per unit (I'll likely be getting 2 of these probably)
I can't decide between a RAID5 array with 8X2TB drives (=14TB usable space) vs a RAID10 array with 8x4TB drives (16TB usable space)

would a RAID5 array with 8x4TB drives be dangerous? thats a lot of platters.
everything I have read says RAID10 is somewhat faster and somewhat more reliable, and array rebuilds are quite a bit less painful than RAID5 (and especially RAID6) arrays, but with a 50% space penalty. and so I am leaning towards the RAID10 w/ 4TB option, as long as the 4TB drives can keep up with my multicam editing requirements in this configuration.

Maybe I should split the difference with 3TB drives and go with RAID5 via 8x3TB = approx 21TB.

obviously I could use a little direction.


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Frank Gothmann
Re: which drives / RAID level should I use with the Areca ARC-5040 8 drive RAID (eSATA)
on May 22, 2014 at 9:38:08 pm

[Eric Brown] "First of all, does anyone have any suggestions of superior 8 bay RAID enclosures? Must be eSATA / USB 3 as I work in Windows. "

No, Areca makes great products.
Why does it have to be eSata or USB3. Are you working with a laptop? SAS will be much, much, much faster.

[Eric Brown] "My first question is- which drives? Seems like the WD Red drives are not 7200rpm, this would obviously hamper performance, correct? I can't seem to figure out what Seagate calls its drives to be used in a RAID array. What about the HGST line? Is there any functional difference between the Deskstar and the Ultrastar line? Ultrastar is advertising 2 million hours MTBF while the Deskstar is 1 million. I am leaning towards either of these as they are 7200 RPM, as long as they are highly regarded. Ultrastar are quite a bit more expensive, but I am not going to skimp here. "

You can download a list of certified drives directly from Areca. If I remember correctly, the Red drives are ok. Performance wise, your bottleneck will be USB3/eSata, not the drives. So even non-7200rpm drives will saturate your connection.
I recommend HGST (ex HItachi) enterprise drives. With their previous generation drives, non-enterprise was ok and reliable, with their new drives I'd go with enterprise as the failure rate of the regular desktop models is too high with raid.

[Eric Brown] "2nd question. Any performance difference with regards t o size? all other things being equal would 2TB drives in an 8 disk array have faster read speeds than an array with 3 or 4TB drives? "

More likely the other way round, faster with 3 or 4 TB drives.

[Eric Brown] "would a RAID5 array with 8x4TB drives be dangerous? thats a lot of platters."

Why not go Raid 6? For an 8-drive raid Raid 6 makes perfect sense.

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Eric Brown
Re: which drives / RAID level should I use with the Areca ARC-5040 8 drive RAID (eSATA)
on May 23, 2014 at 2:02:01 am

thanks for the response.

not on a laptop. only reason I mentioned eSATA is because it is what I know. Most of what I do is big 8 - 10 - sometimes even 12 and beyond multicam edits of live concert performances. the CineRAID units actually work well for me, despite being fairly under-powered.

Just spent the last few hours learning about SAS. My one concern is that I am not certain I will have the pci slots, as I run 2 big GPUs.

But say I did have a slot available - I am having a tough time making sense of all this. Sticking with Areca, could you show me a SAS card and external 8 bay enclosure that would work together and work well for me? Areca seems to make a lot of cards.

thanks so much for responding.


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Frank Gothmann
Re: which drives / RAID level should I use with the Areca ARC-5040 8 drive RAID (eSATA)
on May 23, 2014 at 8:15:29 am

If you want to stick with Areca, here are two options:

Enclosure Arc-8040 for eight drives. That one has a raid controller build in so all you need is an PCIe SAS host card (eg. ARC-1320-8X)
or
Enlosure ARC-4036ML for eight drives. That one doesn't have a raid controller so you need a PCIe SAS RAID card in your computer (eg. ARC-1223-8x)

In the first case, the actual RAID controller is in the enclosure and the host card just connects to the enclosure, in the second case the RAID card is in your computer and the enclosure is just a "bunch of disks" with an interface that allows you to connects it to your raid controller in your computer.

Functionality and performance of both are pretty much the same. With 3TB SATA3 drives in RAID6 you will see speed around 1000 MB, much, much more than with eSata or USB3. Also, you can expand those units with more enclosures if you ever need more storage and don't want to just go with higher capacity drives. The Raid controllers will handle the expansion or creation of a second raid volume in the additional enclosure(s).

12 x Multicam with USB3 or eSata... I'd be surprised if you can work hassle free. With SAS you'd be more than ok bandwith wise.
What motherboard/systema re you using?

Hope this helps.

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Eric Brown
Re: which drives / RAID level should I use with the Areca ARC-5040 8 drive RAID (eSATA)
on May 23, 2014 at 7:15:36 pm

system-

Asus Sabertooth Z77
ivy bridge i7 3770K, w/ mild overclock to 4.2Ghz
32GB RAM
GTX 780ti x2

I am able to edit 8 cameras with just one cineRAID RAID5.

here is an example -





to get realtime multicam performance I did have to transcode the gopro footage to DNxHD 36 for the edit, and then relink to the camera originals for grading / finishing. pain in the ass.

I don't have any finished video to show of a 12 camera multicam shoot yet, but here is a screen shot of it in PP - https://fbcdn-sphotos-f-a.akamaihd.net/hphotos-ak-prn2/t31.0-8/10380250_101...

to get to work, I had to transcode EVERYTHING to DNxHD and then spread everything equally across two of the CineRAID units. ghetto, but hey, REAL TIME 12 camera multicam editing! and with a fairly modest machine.

I have done a ton of reading since my last post, and am actually now strongly considering an Atto R680 + STARDOM SOHOTANK 8 bay combo. I read that the atto cards have better read performance while the areca have better write performance.


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Frank Gothmann
Re: which drives / RAID level should I use with the Areca ARC-5040 8 drive RAID (eSATA)
on May 23, 2014 at 7:31:39 pm

You have very beefy GPUs in your system but it looks as if you're starved with PCIe slots. Maybe an upgrade would be useful here to make the most of all your gear and a future raid card. I don't have any experience with the Stardom products. The Atto is a very nice card, too.
I nevertheless prefer Areca. We have eight of their cards in use and they have never given me a single issue in all those years.

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Eric Brown
Re: which drives / RAID level should I use with the Areca ARC-5040 8 drive RAID (eSATA)
on May 23, 2014 at 7:36:35 pm

I think I'd be able to BARELY fit the Atto card in --

http://i.imgur.com/ZG8mlTy.jpg

as you can see, there is an open spot at the bottom...but it would be a very tight fit. and it would be getting blasted with heat from the GPU above it and the PSU below it.


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Eric Brown
Re: which drives / RAID level should I use with the Areca ARC-5040 8 drive RAID (eSATA)
on May 23, 2014 at 7:43:47 pm

but yes, I concur. I think I'd be much better served with something like an Extended ATX mobo, like this - http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813128595


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Frank Gothmann
Re: which drives / RAID level should I use with the Areca ARC-5040 8 drive RAID (eSATA)
on May 23, 2014 at 9:22:34 pm

Problem is that this slot seems to share bandwith with your other slots. One of your GPUs is already running at only half speed at x8. Not a problem since it's for processing only, not gaming etc, but a modern raid card is x8 so it all get's a bit much.
For a multi-GPU system I'd go with something like:
http://www.asus.com/Motherboards/P9X79E_WS/
http://www.supermicro.com/products/motherboard/Xeon/C600/X9DRG-QF.cfm
http://www.supermicro.com/products/motherboard/Xeon/C600/X9DAi.cfm

Of course, those are all socket 2011 boards and I doubt you want to upgrade everything.
So the Gigabyte board you listed will also be fine.

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Eric Brown
Re: which drives / RAID level should I use with the Areca ARC-5040 8 drive RAID (eSATA)
on May 23, 2014 at 11:00:16 pm

actually, I think my final slot would be running at 4x, according to the newegg product page?

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813131821R&cm_re=z77_...

Expansion Slots
PCI Express 3.0 x16 = 2 (x16/0 or x8/x8)
PCI Express 2.0 x16 =1 @x4

which would make the atto card not usable? or would it just run far below its potential?

my plan now is to basically build a whole new machine, based on the Haswell-Extreme. Which will probably ship in Sept. Will be very similar to the Asus board you posted, basically, except with the updated x99 chipset. and freaking DDR4 ram.

I don't want to get into the supermicro dual processor server boards, as I have used a couple, and the i7's seem to work about the same or better, at a tiny fraction of the cost.


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Frank Gothmann
Re: which drives / RAID level should I use with the Areca ARC-5040 8 drive RAID (eSATA)
on May 23, 2014 at 11:23:33 pm

It would be perfectly usable at x4 with a bit of a performance hit. However, check your mb manual how those slots are actually shared among each other, especially since they all will be populated. Just to be sure.
i7 is a good choice, especially the extreme edition because it can provide enough pci bandwith for 5+ slots.

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"You also agree that you will not use these products for... the development, design, manufacture or production of nuclear, missiles, or chemical or biological weapons."
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Eric Brown
Re: which drives / RAID level should I use with the Areca ARC-5040 8 drive RAID (eSATA)
on May 23, 2014 at 11:25:09 pm

cool. thanks so much for your help!


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