Istoragepro enclosure

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by wa5655, May 16, 2011.

  1. wa5655 macrumors member

    Jun 12, 2010
  2. Garamond macrumors regular

    Oct 17, 2004
  3. Applesauce00 macrumors newbie

    May 19, 2011
  4. wa5655 thread starter macrumors member

    Jun 12, 2010
    Video+Photo. I read that review. The review mentioned using 2x8088 connections on the expander, however, from the email I have gotten from istoragepro, it stated that one is enough. I am wondering if one connection will be able to handle the throughput from 8 drives.
  5. TheAnalogue macrumors member


    May 12, 2011
    Clearwater, Fl
    no, you can only put 4 drives per mini-SAS cable
  6. wa5655 thread starter macrumors member

    Jun 12, 2010
    The enclosure I was inquiring about is the SAS expander model. Below is the response:

    This unit come with SAS Expander Controller, you only need 1 x 8088
    cable connect to host computer, Daisy 1 x cable between expansion box.
    It have 1 x input and 2 x output expand ports for daisy chain multiple
  7. nanofrog macrumors G4

    May 6, 2008
    Which model are you looking at, and what exactly are you trying to do?

    I ask, as if you're after a 1:1 (disk per port ratio), then you don't need a SAS expander based enclosure. SAS Expanders are for adding more disks than there are ports on the RAID card, and you pay a performance penalty for doing this.

    If you're doing video editing/animation, then you'd be better off with a non SAS expander unit, and it's cheaper too. There's also other companies you could take a look at, such as Sans Digital's TR8X.

    As per cards, you can go with ATTO, or take a look at Areca (better price/performance ratio, but ATTO is located in the US, so tech support is a bit easier to understand - both companies know what they're doing, and can actually support what they sell, as they actually design their own products, not use ODM's like Highpoint does).
  8. wa5655 thread starter macrumors member

    Jun 12, 2010

    I will be doing video editing. I have been looking at the below units,

    1. Mini-SAS JBOD units,

    with claimed performance

    Write 650 MB/s
    Reads 690 MB/s
    See Image Slideshow for actual benchmarks

    2. SAS Expander units,

    with claimed performance:

    The SAE6G Enclosure connects to your computer installed 6Gb⁄s SAS Controller with 1 Mini-SAS 8088 cable allowing up to 861 MB⁄s Reads and 940 MB⁄s Writes while configured as a RAID 5.

    That is where my confusions come in, I thought you have pointed out, the JBOD unit with one to one mapping should give a better performance.:confused:
  9. nanofrog macrumors G4

    May 6, 2008
    It comes down to the RAID card used and the number of disks in the set. That's what created their numbers, and I doubt they tested both enclosures on the same card (i.e. SAS unit tested with a 3.0Gb/s controller, and 6.0Gb/s controller with the SAS Expander unit), nor with the same number of disks.

    RAID controllers aren't all the same either, as they'll use slower processors and/or a single core rather than a dual core based processor on models with fewer ports. But if you're using the same card in a 1:1 port/disk ratio, the same disks, same member count (n disks in the set), and the same level (including stripe size if that's relevant), then the 1:1 configuration will out-perform the SAS Expander (not 1:1; there's additional latency introduced by the switching, as well as using less bandwidth to get the data to the card due to fewer lanes than disks, presumably with enough disks that each port used is saturated in terms of bandwidth).

    Simply put, unless you need more than 24 disks, you don't need to use a SAS Expander based enclosure, as you can get cards with 24 ports. It also tends to be the more cost effective way to go as well.

    BTW, I do this for a living, and have a card from 2006 that generates 1.39GB/s reads on 8 disks in RAID 5 (1TB Western Digital RE disks = enterprise grade). You need to use enterprise grade with a RAID card due to the different recovery timings in the disk firmware, or the array won't be stable, if you can even get it to initialize. So whatever you decide to do, don't use consumer grade disks with a RAID card (simple controller isn't the same, as there's no RAID processor = system still controls the recovery timings, and consumer disks will work here, such as an eSATA card + enclosures, including Port Multiplier based enclosures).
  10. JesterJJZ macrumors 68020


    Jul 21, 2004
    I see they have 10 meter mini-SAS cables available. Anything against using lengths that long? Ultimately I'll be moving my whole tower to a separate room with just monitor, firewire, USB and sound cables going to my desk, but in the short term it would be great to at least get my array out of the room.
  11. wa5655 thread starter macrumors member

    Jun 12, 2010
    Thanks for your answers. If I use a 6G raid card (i.e. Areca 1880), will I be benefiting from using 6G SATA drive, or 3G SATA drive will be just fine? I am looking at Hitachi 3TB drives, do you think the Ultrastar's premium is worth it over the Deskstar model? Or the enterprise vs. consumer drives are more relevant for WD drives?

    Thanks again!
  12. nanofrog macrumors G4

    May 6, 2008
    It depends on the disk technology used (SAS cards can run SATA disks).

    SATA needs to be kept to 1.0 meters, as the signal voltages are much lower than SAS (400mV for SATA, 20V for SAS). It's only with SAS disks that you can go over 1.0 meters (up to 10 meters) as a result of the much higher signal voltages. Also, stay away from adapters, as those are problematic with SATA drives (i.e. unstable) as well, due to contact resistance.

    No mechanical drive saturates 3.0Gb/s, let alone 6.0Gb/s, so they're not an absolute necessity. What the 6.0Gb/s disks can offer you, is larger cache and denser platters, which does improve performance. But as far as the interface bandwidth, SSD's are what really benefits from 6.0Gb/s.

    As per the brand of disks, Hitachi, ..., you need to use the enterprise versions for stability reasons on a hardware RAID card. Using consumer grade disks is just too much headache/aggravation. In the case of Hitachi, that means the Ultrastar line. But I've had better luck with Western Digitals for SATA disks lately.

    Another thing to note, is pay attention to the HDD Compatibility List from Areca (or any other card maker if they offer one, as selecting a drive that's listed <passed>, can save you hours of aggravation if the disk, even enterprise, isn't compatible/stable).

    Please pay attention to the cable length information above as well.
  13. JesterJJZ macrumors 68020


    Jul 21, 2004
    #13 if running a SATA array I would need a box with internal RAID with SAS interface. Then run the longer SAS cable to my Mac?

    Otherwise I guess it would be better till I can move everything to the other room, then the array would be right next to the tower.
  14. nanofrog, May 20, 2011
    Last edited: May 20, 2011

    nanofrog macrumors G4

    May 6, 2008
    I get the basics of what you're thinking of, but what are you planning to install in the MP in order to connect it to the SAS enclosure with an internal RAID processor?

    Ultimately, you'll still need an interface that can exceed a couple of meters (eSATA is good to 2.0 meters, but I'll presume ATM it won't offer the throughput requirements you need) to get from the machine to the enclosure, and this is a bit harder than you think (Fibre Channel would certainly work, but that's not cheap either, and the enclosure would need an FC interface for it to work). But FC would allow you to run SATA disks in the enclosure, set it in another room (or some distance from the system in the same room), and get it attached to the MP.

    There are solutions however, and the best way to go (cost/performance), would require further information to determine if SAS disks or an FC solution (10G Ethernet could be examined as well). Things like budget, performance requirements, disk capacity (initial), and expected growth (say 3 - 5 years) would be needed to figure it all out. Oh, the actual cable length needed between the MP and where ever the enclosure will be placed, and whether or not you can live with rack mount drive enclosures or not (there are stand alone enclosures, but more is available in rack mount cases which may be easier on the wallet).
  15. wa5655 thread starter macrumors member

    Jun 12, 2010
    What about SAS vs SATA?


    Vs. WD RE4 2TB.

    What are some of the pros and cons other than cost.

    Many thanks!
  16. nanofrog macrumors G4

    May 6, 2008
    They're fairly similar in most circumstances (essentially the same mechanicals - we're talking about 2 different disk makers), but SAS has some advantages.
    • Higher IOPS than SATA (= better for database systems). Not an issue for a DAS system that's used for a single user, and is usually more of a result of faster spindles, such as 10k or 15k rpm drives.
    • SAS interface will allow for the higher signal voltages - this is really only important if you absolutely need to place the enclosure further away than 1.0 meter cables will allow.
    • SCSI protocols, which allows for better management in RAID, though as mentioned, SATA is fine for a single user DAS (Direct Attached Storage).
    Of these, the only one that you really need to consider is the distance requirement, given the direction you're interested in (all indications = single user DAS at this point).

    So if you don't need to go past 1.0 meters, the additional $85 USD per disk won't be worth it (i.e. 8 member set = extra $680 vs. 2TB WD RAID Edition). If you do need the additional distance, then you'll at least need to consider it (but other things could be considered as well, such as Fibre Channel).

    BTW, I used for the WD pricing. You may be able to find drives at better prices elsewhere, but pc-pitstop is a decent company to deal with in my experience (as is,, and for RAID gear).
  17. wa5655 thread starter macrumors member

    Jun 12, 2010

    Thanks for your insight!! Do you have any experience with this enclosure?
  18. nanofrog macrumors G4

    May 6, 2008
    They're on the expensive side ($600 here) vs. Sans Digital (TR8X).

    What you need to understand, is there's not much to them. Enclosure, PSU, disk trays, LED indicator board, and some cables internally to hook the drives up to the external connectors on the back. That's it. Super simple, and there's not much difference between them functionally speaking (leaves cosmetics, and both are clear anodized aluminum, and look pretty decent).

    Some details come down to better cooling, but either of these will work just fine. So I tend to go for the lower cost unit, as $200 isn't considered pocket change when the user is paying for it themselves ($200 can be used elsewhere, such as put towards a card or a disk). :eek: :p

    BTW, it's the enterprise grade disks that can consume the biggest part of the storage system budget (depends on the number of members, and disk model selected). 8 disks would be such a case (based on 2TB WD enterprise models).
  19. JesterJJZ macrumors 68020


    Jul 21, 2004
    I'm kinda hoping to see what kind of systems Thunderbolt can bring. That might be just what I'm looking for. The 3 meters might be all I need if I can set things up so that I just need to go from my desk and through the wall into the next room.
  20. nanofrog macrumors G4

    May 6, 2008
    From what little's been announced so far, the Promise Pegasus R4 or R6 would be what you're after (built-in RAID card). Shipping is vague (Q2, and is looking like it may not make it until H2), and not seen anything on pricing yet (expect it to be expensive - more than a SAS enclosure + RAID card, and not just the difference the TB chip in the enclosure adds to the mix).

    Just keep in mind 2 things (generally speaking in terms of TB):
    1. unknown availability of a PCIe TB card
    2. TB has a throughput limit of 800MB/s (not sure what you're after, but the sort of equipment you've been looking at/is linked can exceed this - substantially so under the right configuration).
    All rather "iffy" ATM (particularly over the availability of a PCIe TB card IMO in terms of actually having this option available to desktops that don't use embedded GPU's <separate part or IGP> due to the intent of having both data + video over the wire). :rolleyes: :(
  21. JesterJJZ macrumors 68020


    Jul 21, 2004
    Hmm...well I'm looking at getting the Sandybridge MacPro. Right now I mainly edit in Prores in FCP and After Effects and have a couple G-Raids. I have 6TB of drive space on those and while it's enough for most projects, I tend to like to keep my projects online for a few months. Lately I've been needed to shuffle things around a lot more then I'd like to.

    Also getting a RED camera so I need to prepare my system for that. Definitely need to do some more research on the post side of things in RED. Probably looking for a system with a good 8-12TB, or more.

    Then there's backup, which I've been looking into LTO-5 in combination with a Drobopro for online backup. Tape for security, the drobo for quick access to everything.
  22. nanofrog macrumors G4

    May 6, 2008
    Get the capacity and growth rates figured out, and we can go from there. ;)

    eSATA card + Port Multiplier enclosures work well for an on-site backup location. Effective and cheap (you can use consumer grade Green drives). As per a second backup, you'd be better off going with an online backup service for an off-site backup location if possible (takes a good while to make the initial backup - compression is good here). But as it's off-site, you're covered in a total disaster, such as floods, fire, ... that destroys the entire system and all data on it (why you really should try to do this if at all possible). On-site tape can't do this for you.

    Now if you own the tape system, that's a different story (might as well try to use it if you already have a sufficient supply of tapes). But you'd still be better off getting an off-site backup system in place if at all possible.
  23. JesterJJZ macrumors 68020


    Jul 21, 2004
    I would be most likely keep my tapes offsite and buying my own drive. I kinda like the drobo for my onsite backup/archive for the easy expandability. They have a 12 drive unit coming out. Online backup seems silly for video. With an average project being between 300-1000GB, I can't see myself uploading that, or even being possible by my ISP. LTO-5 seems perfect as I could probably get between 1-3 projects on a tape.

    I currently use sets of bare drives for my backups/archival, at least two of everything, 3 for the critical stuff. I would still probably keep one set of data on bare drives.

    So data in 3 places. On tape offsite, on bare sata drive onsite, on storage array onsite. Sound good/safe?
  24. olindacat macrumors regular


    Apr 15, 2011

    Supposedly they did test according to Katie. They stared with a 3G model and discontinued to a 6G and advise using the Areca NOT Atto card.
  25. nanofrog macrumors G4

    May 6, 2008
    I wasn't sure of the details (available ISP bandwidth, file sizes, ....). But I'm not sure by what you really plan to do with the tape either.
    • Do you mean to do it all yourself (i.e. keep a set of tapes stored at home, and the system in the office sort of situation)?
    • Or do you plan on using a proper tape storage company (i.e. use couriers to ship your tapes to say a mountain storage facility)?
    I ask, as keeping the tapes locally can protect you somewhat, but not from everything (i.e. your data would be safe if the office burnt down, but not if there was a flood that takes out both the house and office). Hopefully you get where I'm going with this...

    As per Drobo, I'm not much of a fan (bad support), and most of their products are software based, not hardware in terms of RAID (meaning pay attention if you want to use a parity based array - software based parity arrays are a disaster waiting to happen as it cannot deal with the write hole issue associated with parity arrays). So be careful if you go this route.

    For things like this, I prefer to build and use a ZFS filesystem (use Z-RAID1 or Z-RAID2). Cheap, and doesn't have the write hole issue as traditional parity based arrays do. There are actually some companies that will build this for you, but it's cheaper to do it yourself (not that hard either IMO, as there's plenty of guides on the web these days).

    Just a thought anyway.
    I wasn't saying they didn't test, but the specifics of the testing weren't revealed. So there's a good chance they've manipulated it a bit/marketing twisted things to make the products look better (neither is uncommon these days...).

    But if you run the same equipment, save the enclosure (SAS vs. SAS Expander), you'll run slower on the SAS Expanders as there's latency involved with switching disks, and you're potentially running less bandwidth between each disk (specific configuration, particularly the member count, matters).

    As per Areca and ATTO, both make really good cards. Areca has a better price/performance ratio however, and I gravitate towards their products for that reason (they include internal fan out cables; no one else does). But this is also based on a low need to rely on Support (Areca is good at support, but English isn't their native language, so it can be harder to understand/interpret what they're trying to explain for those of us that don't speak Mandarin).

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