Just Inherited an Xserve Raid with 750GB Hard Drives, Now What Do I Do with It?

Discussion in 'Mac OS X Server, Xserve, and Networking' started by Omek, Oct 20, 2011.

  1. Omek, Oct 20, 2011
    Last edited: Dec 5, 2011

    Omek macrumors regular

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    #1
    Hello. I'm just about to inherit an Xserve Raid with 750GB drives. I know a lot about Macs but absolutely nothing about servers. What exactly can you do with an Xserve RAID? Does it have to be connected to another Mac to work? Is it just used as a large storage unit? Does it run OS X server software? I realize that, unlike an Xserve, it does not have a processor or graphics card. I'm guessing it's just for storing mass amounts of data.

    Or should I just sell it? Anyone know how much the entire rig would be worth? I'm a graphic designer and Web designer and developer, but this just seems so way beyond me. I don't have it in my possession yet, but any advice would be really helpful.

    I'm not sure of the model. It had to be purchased in the past few years though, so I'm sure it's likely the latest updated version before Apple discontinued it.
     
  2. Mattie Num Nums macrumors 68030

    Mattie Num Nums

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    #2
    I would sell it. If you have no use for it make a few bucks off of it.
     
  3. MisterMe macrumors G4

    MisterMe

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    #3
    RAID is an acronym for Redundant Array of Inexpensive Disks. By duplicating data across multiple disks, data integrity is greatly enhanced against the possibility of the failure of any single disk drive. Any drive in the array may fail, be removed, and replaced with no data loss because the other drives in the array have the exact same data. The Xserve RAID is intended to be connected to an Xserve server. In and of itself, it is not a server.

    There were three generations of the Xserve RAID:
    1. February 2003-January 2004 Xserve RAID
    2. January 2004-October 2004 Xserve RAID (SFP)
    3. October 2004-February 2008 Xserve RAID (SFP Late 2004)
    They all support RS-232 (DB-9), 2-10/100Base-T Ethernet, and Dual 2 Gb Fibre Channel. The first generation supported HSSDC2; the latter two, SFP. It appears that you have the 3rd generation model.

    I have no experience with this peripheral. However, I am hard pressed to see what you will do with it without an Xserve.
     
  4. Omek thread starter macrumors regular

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    #4
    Ah, I see. Thank you for all the information. So, it's pretty much useless without an Xserve? Do you have any idea how much it would be worth? I found one on Ebay, but the seller says it's beat up, and this one isn't at all. He was selling for $949.00, but his Xserve RAID is a floor model. Do know how much these originally went for?
     
  5. ratsg macrumors 6502

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    #5
    I could not disagree more.

    During the time when these were actively being produced, I have archived several articles where XRaid systems were attached to Sun/Oracle Solaris systems. These RAID boxes were low cost systems that were attached to both Apple, and non-Apple servers.

    If the OP has no use for a SAN device, then I would agree with Mattie Num Nums that you should probably just sell it, but I strongly disagree that the device has no value without an accompanying Xserve.

     
  6. Omek thread starter macrumors regular

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    #6
    I agree, it can probably be hooked up to several different sever models, but I think his point was that it has to be hooked up to some kind of a server device like an Xserve to be useful.
     
  7. mBox macrumors 68020

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    #7
    Im pretty sure you can hook this thing up to anything with out the XServe. We have one and had it going without it attached to any of our XServes a few times.
     
  8. MacDann macrumors 6502a

    MacDann

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    #8
    All you require to connect an Xserve RAID to a computer is a Fiber Channel adapter.

    If you have a Mac Pro the cards are readily available on eBay for as little as $20 or so. I see no reason why you couldn't do the same with a PC as long as you have a PCI slot for the FC card.

    As an owner (and user) of a 5TB Xserve RAID, they are far from useless or of minimal value. Mine is connected to an Xserve, but it could just as easily be connected to other hardware with minimal effort and expense.

    Resale prices on these have plummetted since Apple discontinuted them, but there is a market out there - depending on the condition you might get $400-$700 for it if you're living right.

    FWIW, pull down a copy of the Xserve RAID Admin software from Apple's support site. With this and an ethernet cable you can access the RAID and see what's going on with it, configure, etc.

    I love mine and it works tirelessly, providing me with lots of storage and redundancy for both my Macs and the PCs that live in the house. It also serves as the iTunes library as well.

    MacDann
     
  9. Omek thread starter macrumors regular

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    #9
    I finally have it in my possession, so I can get a better look at it. I do see the ethernet port in the back. So, can I hook that up to my Airport Extreme or one of my Macs and see if there's still info left on the drives? There is a little bit of cosmetic scratches on the top front, but other than that, it's in fairly good shape. I saw my model on ebay going for about $950 and that was a floor model that was in really bad cosmetic shape.
     
  10. MacDann macrumors 6502a

    MacDann

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    #10
    Based on what I have seen on eBay, you're not going to get $950 for it. Search for completed auctions and you'll have a far more realistic idea of what these are worth. I was looking for one for a friend last summer, and very few of the high priced ones ever sold -they were being sold by IT "recyclers" and were grossly overpriced and just got relisted time and time again.

    The ethernet ports you see are the management ports on the controller cards. You cannot access the RAID arrays via these ports - they are for management of the device only.

    That being said, you can plug either one of the ports on the cards into your network and be able to access the management software once you have it installed on a local Mac. Again, as stated previously, you'll need to download a copy of the Xserve RAID Admin software from the Apple support site.

    You can only access the arrays through the fiber channel ports on the controller cards. Again, if you get a FC card for a PC or Mac and the supporting FC cables (about $20/each on eBay) you will be able to access the arrays. There are also FC adapters for network switches that would allow the arrays to show up on your network as well, I believe.

    Xserve RAIDs have two arrays of seven drives each in their base configuration. The arrays can be split to form smaller volumes if the user wants, this is done through the admin utility.

    Once you have a FC connection to one of the controllers (you don't have to access both at the same time) you'll be able to mount the volume for the corresponding RAID array on your computer. Top controller = left side array, bottom controller = right side array.

    If you try doing this with a PC it may not work, as it might not recognize the volumes since they will probably be HTFS. You would have to mount them with a Mac to see and possibly reformat them, if necessary, before they would be visible to a Windows based machine.

    I haven't looked, but there may be FC adapters for other formats, such as PCMCIA cards or other interfaces that would allow you to access the RAID without needing a desktop machine with a PCI slot.

    Consider this:

    If you have the ability to access this thing, you just inherited a 10TB storage device. Go out and see what 10TB of RAID would cost you today, and you will probably reconsider selling it.

    For that matter, once you can connect to it, the RAID volumes will mount like any other volume on your Mac, and can be manipulated in the same manner.

    Makes for a heck of a lot of redundant storage..... AND it's an enterprise grade piece of equipment - it's designed to run forever.

    MacDann
     
  11. Omek thread starter macrumors regular

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    #11
    Well, that's definitely not going to be possible, because I don't have a Mac Pro or any Mac with a PCI slot. So, I'm probably just going to sell it. Not to mention...how does one person even lift this thing?

    It also came with an APC Smart-UPS SU3000RM3U Rackmount Battery Backup. So I bet with the two together I could get somewhere around $1K hopefully.

    Anyway, thanks for all the info! And I'm glad you found a use for your Xserve RAID.
     
  12. MacDann macrumors 6502a

    MacDann

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    #12
    Good luck selling that puppy! Whoever buys it is going to pay a boatload of $$ in shipping costs - you have the heaviest configuration available!!

    :eek:

    Look at it this way - if you got it gratis, it's all profit. If it were me I would keep the UPS. It's quite nice and will support a lot of hardware, or a little bit of hardware for a very long time. Used UPS' don't seem to bring a lot of money, since they usually need a set of batteries.

    MacDann
     
  13. Omek, Oct 25, 2011
    Last edited: Oct 25, 2011

    Omek thread starter macrumors regular

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    #13
    Well, not necessarily. There's a lot of server peoples around here that might like it or maybe a university or something.

    I know...that sucker is heavy has hell. It took me and another strong dude to muscle it into the car. I don't think it's really been used that much at all. The guy was just using it as a backup in case his power went out. He was very anal about all his equipment, so he kept it in really good shape.
     
  14. DustinT macrumors 68000

    DustinT

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    #14
    Honestly, I'd just sell all that if I was you. The raid system is wonderfully made and very powerful. But, for home use it consumes a ton of power, makes a lot of noise and requires expensive drives to keep it running.

    The should be sold locally to avoid shipping costs, if possible. If not, use it or recycle it. If you are an electrician and own your own place, you could easily wire that up to power your computer, printer and your home theater. It's cheap insurance against a lightning strike.
     
  15. Omek thread starter macrumors regular

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    #15
    Thanks, Dustin. Yes, those are my exact thoughts. The prior owner had a styrofoam casing wrapped in black duck tape and velcro, and I'm thinking that was to keep the noise down. Not to mention both of these units are heavy as hell. I will definitely try to sell these locally or at a university somewhere around here.
     
  16. Omek thread starter macrumors regular

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    #16
    BTW, the drives are 750GB not 720GB. I finally did find someone who's going to buy both and pay for shipping so I'm fairly happy.
     
  17. ratsg macrumors 6502

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    Dec 6, 2010
    #17
    I think that you are possibly correct in his thinking.

    And my point was that if he thought that his equipment could only be connected to an Xserver, then that thought was incorrect.
     

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