RAID Options

Discussion in 'Mac Accessories' started by freejazz-man, Mar 5, 2013.

  1. freejazz-man macrumors regular

    May 12, 2010
    so the office I'm working in is looking to replace our front end storage. We are a digital photo studio, so no video editing, but we still need shared storage.

    Currently due to our workflow this storage space is 3TB. I'm working on seeing what we can do to minimize this requirement because I'd really like to deploy some SSDs to speed it up.

    Right now we are running off of a pegasus r6 thunderbolt setup with a mac mini. It's shared over a gigabit network and we get some moderate speeds off of it. It's not the throughput that's an issue as much as the delay while browsing the filesystem tree (loading thumbnails, subdirs, etc).

    So my theory is that we can utilize some SSDs in order to minimize this delay. Objectively we aren't going to get any other benefit from a SSD on a gigabit network.

    I'm just wondering if anyone has any advice - maybe I've missed something? I've been thinking about this for quite a while and it can get quite tricky at times.

    So should I look at software raid0'ing some PCI (or regular) SSDs? Is there a product out there that does most of this headache?

    Otherwise we are probably just going to deal with the delay for now and continue with a pegasus r4. It's pretty cheap!
  2. flynz4 macrumors 68040

    Aug 9, 2009
    Portland, OR
    If I understand correctly... you are serving the files from your Mac Mini to some number of client computers. I suspect that the lions share of your latency is in the network stack. Do you know if you are using regular TCP/IP access? You might be able to speed things up by using iSCSI or some other faster ethernet protocol. I am not an expert in this area.

    I would be extremely surprised if you see a significant improvement over the R6. When I access my photo library (Aperture) stored on my R4... it is pretty fast. Hence... I think the latency issue is probably your network.

  3. freejazz-man thread starter macrumors regular

    May 12, 2010
    yeah, it's regular tcp/ip

    I don't think it's a network latency issue, we have real gigabit with an enterprise cisco switch

    I believe the delay is in the HDD accessing the data itself, this isn't instantaneous locally either, obviously.

    I'm not sure how much of an improvement iscsi would be, it's more like a replacement for FC and we aren't running 10Gb. might see some slight improvements overall, but it can't make the HDD access the data much faster than it already does. it's not really an option here as it's a lot of added complexity for what seems like little benefit.

    whereas an SSD appliance would be easier to handle for most of the folk here
  4. flynz4 macrumors 68040

    Aug 9, 2009
    Portland, OR
    If you are getting similar performance locally on the Mac Mini... then you are probably correct that it is not the network.

  5. waw74 macrumors 68030

    May 27, 2008
    --what kind of drives are in the RAID?
    5200rpm?, 7200rpm?

    --what flavor of RAID are you running (0,1,5,etc)?
    in your case, you're probably better off with RAID 10, so disks 1,2,3 are 1 big volume, and 4,5,6 are a mirror of that.
    if you're running raid 5, there is some overhead involved in creating the parity disk.

    --how many concurrent active users?
    if everyone is using the RAID for their "live" files, and constantly saving updates, you will see slow downs, but if they pull the file to their local machine, and save updates there, then move back to the RAID when they're finished, or update the RAID once an hour you will be better off

    get the black magic disk speed test, what kind of speeds are you getting locally/remote?

    you're probably better off with a hardware RAID solution, software can be a bit picky.

    **and I'll throw in the obligatory RAID is not backup comment, hopefully you've got another set (hopefully multiple sets that you rotate through) of disks and not fully depending on the RAID to keep you covered.**
  6. freejazz-man thread starter macrumors regular

    May 12, 2010
    I'm going to pretend I'm not offended by your questions

    I'm not asking how to get more speed out of what I already have. I'm asking if anyone here has used certain products or solutions that they can recommend in this scenario.

    the drives use 7200 RPM disks, it's raid5 (i'm aware of the penalty), and our workflow isn't at issue in regards to disk I/O. no duh, hardware raid would be better, but I've seen mixed results for hardware raids with SSDs, and I was wondering if anyone here had experience with that. a software raid would be acceptable, even if finnicky, because we keep a hot spare system with regular backups. meaning that if the software raid went down, we could easily transition and continue to work. now I avoid software raids for that reason, but maybe it would be worth it if I could have a nice and fast front end.

    maybe something like adaptec's hybrid raid would be good, but it doesn't seem to be OSX compatible.
  7. drsox macrumors 65816


    Apr 29, 2011
    What's in your Mac Mini ? You might be better getting an SSD for that. I have had SSDs for the OS in all my computers for 6 years - best computer change I ever made !

Share This Page