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Doug Weiner
Re: Update old CPUs before buying server? And Storinator from 45Drives
on Apr 27, 2018 at 1:44:44 pm

I have 2 Storinators 30 sitting right next to me in my office. They work great but they are also not exactly plug and play. I picked the 30 Drive units as they were quiet.

PROS
1) Quiet. 60 drives on right now and by far quietest set up possible. Not silent, but very reasonable.
2) Most affordable 30 slot server out there.
3) Affordably Expandable. I added an additional two port external LSI mini sas card in the server and another Storinator 30 with an Intel Expander card and got another 30 drive unit. I also have another 4 drive slots off the other external mini-sas port.
4) The Storinators 30's are a small footprint.
5) Customizable (this is a Pro and Con.) If you are DIY or hacker type, its great.
6) You can pick and choose with 10gig card you want in the server.
7) Has been very reliable.
8) RaidZ2 with 10 drives over direct attach 10 Gig gets me ~500 MBs
9) I have done some crazy custom Zpool stuff with this set-up and NAS4Free. (I have Zpool shuttles. Meaning I have one small server at one office location recording to a Raid-Z1 (4 drives - 6TB avail) and when it fills up in about 3 weeks, I pull the bare drives, transport them to another office and then pop them into the main NAS4free setup and copy the files to the 60 drive set-up.) (If you are doing the math, yes, it fills up, so then I archive all the 4K material to LTO every month and leave the HD material behind. But I digress.)

CONS
1) You got to do it yourself. Have to know FreeNAS or NAS4free.
2) Trouble shooting drives is a completely manual process. On the Storinator 30's, there are no indicator lights for drives. You got to make ZFS pools, record serial numbers and and kind of know what slots are where.
3) Rocket 750 cards require a specialize firmware from Storinator. People say it works but it scares me, so I opted for two LSI 9201 cards instead.
4) No real tech support or even a forum to help. I had a great FreeNAS guy help trouble shoot and help set me up.
5) Direct cabling in the machines are excellent for speed but a weak spot for repairability. I personally built my first unit and now one mini-sas port on one fan out cable (there are 6 in there?) is not working. (I am sure I didn't install the cables so sweetly way back.) However, now I have to disassemble most of the server to repair.

UNKNOWN by me
1) I have not really set this up with multiple editing clients over a network, so I have direct data how that is handled. However, my guru friends has run FreeNAS in an editing environment, so I know it has been done. However maybe there are tweaks I don't know.


OTHER THOUGHTS
1) 3 years ago, a 60 slot server with 10 gig and without drives was at least $20,000. I put mine together for about.... $4000. And its relatively very quiet. However, prices have come down a lot so I would compare more closely now.

2) I ghettoed the network. The server is a Supermicro and has built in two 1g Intel ports and I added a 2 port 10 Gig SFP+ (Myricom bought off eBay). I direct connected two SFP+ cables to two client computers and a third was connected via 1g although I have a little router on the 1g connection.) I never really hit the server hard with simultaneous connections, however it did seem to work the few times I did. I mostly now use the 1g connection for editing and only use the 10 Gig connection for LTO or other copying.

3) I have digressed a lot to my network in this post, and I am not sure its entirely relevant in comparing Storinator to Qnap and the like. But it is relevant in real world use so I have added it here.

4) When things go a little sideways with a drive, I really do miss the indicator lights on the front of the machine because trying to identify a failing drive without that on a NAS4Free/FreeNAS system is tricky and time consuming. You have to run iops terminal commands and watch for the drive to pop off line to find which one is slowing down. Then you have to trace which slot that is which is not a trivial matter. I have had only 1 or two drives go down in 4 years, so its not a common occurrence. Now that the Rocket 750 cards have proven themselves, I would go with them and the indicator lights they provide.


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