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PC Raid 5 box with expansion space

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Tylor Larson
PC Raid 5 box with expansion space
on Mar 18, 2011 at 5:37:20 pm

Hey cows,
I'm doing research on building my first raid. I need to build one that has expansion space for more drive.. i need to start small and expand later with more drives. i want a starting drive size of 2T. also i need to have some snappy transfer speeds because i do a lot of After effect and Maya work. So the connection should be eSATA or better. I also want it is be raid 5 unless there is something better. i have a new Boxx 4860 system coming and was planning on installing a hardware raid card if i can afford it. i cant stress enough that this raid needs to be rock solid and expandable. Can some one please point me in the right direction for my dream raid.


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Bob Zelin
Re: PC Raid 5 box with expansion space
on Mar 18, 2011 at 8:51:04 pm

Every box you see advertised right here on Creative Cow will do exactly what you want. If you want to "build it yourself" from a tin can, then I can't advise you. Creative Cow advertisers are the best products on the market - you have a lot to choose from right here. there is not a single tin can from Other World Computing that can compare to any of the products you see right here, right in your face on this very forum's banner ads.

Bob Zelin



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Alex Geroulaitis
Re: PC Raid 5 box with expansion space
on Mar 18, 2011 at 10:37:40 pm

[Tylor Larson] "I'm doing research on building my first raid. I need to build one that has expansion space for more drive.. i need to start small and expand later with more drives"

How many drives do you want to start with, how many - to expand later to, and what is the initial budget?

eSATA tin cans (as Bob Zelin put it) - 4-drive boxes - from $150 to $500. Max speed you will get out of them in RAID5 - around 250MB/s - more likely it'll be around 200MB/s when empty, down to 100MB/s when full.

Cineraid has a super-cool looking 4-bay box with multiple RAID levels (incl 5) and USB 3.0 and eSATA ports for only $230 SRP. They say it's for "Data backup, Home/small office Photo/Audio libraries, Light photo, SD or compressed HD editing" - which I take means - don't use it for anything heavy duty. I'd love to test it out though to see how it performs in RAID0 over USB 3.0. It might do 400MB/s!

What you probably really want is an 8-bay 6G SAS/SATA box and the right RAID HBA for it.

Decent quality 8-bay boxes like Stardom ST8-U5 SOHOTANK, iStoragePro (Ci Design) iT8SAE6G, Cineraid EditPRO are $600-1500 without drives. A good 6G SAS/SATA RAID controller - $700-950 (I vouch for Areca and ATTO). Add drives and you are all set.

The more expensive "expander type" of these boxes like iT8SAE6G (about $1500) will allow you to hook up additional enclosures and thus add more drives to the same controller. Can't do that with non-expander boxes like ST8-U5. Speeds - 700MB/s in RAID5/6, possibly more.

Alex (DV411)


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Tylor Larson
Re: PC Raid 5 box with expansion space
on Mar 21, 2011 at 2:40:11 pm

Alex, thanks for your replay. I had no idead there was a max speed issue when the drive was full. i figured there would be a bottle neck at some point but not a 100mb, that is really slow... would i gain any speed if i changed to a raid 6 or raid 10? BTW. seems like the starting price for a larger raid box like that is around 600-1000 bucks. i did check out your links. i really like the Stardom storage ST8. do you feel like there is much of a speed gain going with mini sas? Also this might be a really stupid newbie question but if i get a 8 bay system and build it with only 4 drives... and then two years downthe road I add 2 more drives ... do I need to nuke the whole raid and start over? or can it add the space without transfering the data to another drive? Thanks again.
Ty


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Alex Geroulaitis
Re: PC Raid 5 box with expansion space
on Mar 21, 2011 at 7:55:14 pm

If you start with an 8-bay system, populate it with 4 drives and need to add 2 or 4 more drives down the road - you do not need to re-format it when you use a decent controller (like the ATTO and Areca ones I mentioned) that supports online volume expansion.

FYI, any single spinning drive drops to about 50% of its performance when full or heavily fragmented.

RAID10 is generally faster than RAID5 or 6. RAID6 is one of the safest RAID levels - but only makes sense on 5+ drives.

It all depending on drives, controller, desired performance and features.

MiniSAS is the fastest DAS (Direct Attached Storage) technology for the moment - and it's relatively cheap. A single 3G MiniSAS connection has a theoretical throughput of 12Gbit/s, 6G - 24Gbit/s. It's way fast.

Alex (DV411)


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Ricardo Reyes
Re: PC Raid 5 box with expansion space
on Mar 25, 2011 at 4:11:30 am

[Alex Geroulaitis] "I'd love to test it out though to see how it performs in RAID0 over USB 3.0. It might do 400MB/s!"

Which USB 3.0 card do you recommend? I could never turn away a challenge. =)

Ricardo Reyes
Areca Technologies - US Channel
CineRAID Systems

***** RAID, no matter how redundant, is not a substitute for proper and regular backups *****



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Alex Geroulaitis
Re: PC Raid 5 box with expansion space
on Mar 25, 2011 at 5:31:52 am

[Ricardo Reyes] "Which USB 3.0 card do you recommend? I could never turn away a challenge. =)"

Way to go! :)

That's a great question. I could never properly test the cards I had (like HP USB 3.0 SuperSpeed PCIe x1 Card (BM867AA)) because I never had a USB 3.0 device that's fast enough. Nor could I find any reviews that properly benchmarked any USB 3.0 cards.

So I don't have a recommendation other than using a PCIe adapter with more than one lane. There is Asus U3S6, that I haven't tried yet. It's a PCIe 2.0 4x combo of 6G eSATA and USB 3.0 and should get close to 400MB/s in DMA transfers. I have it if you are in the area and would like to borrow it.

Alex (DV411)


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