Reliable Raid Boxes?

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by Macinposh, Sep 15, 2009.

  1. Macinposh macrumors 6502a

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    Jun 7, 2006
    Location:
    Kreplakistan
    #1
    Have been browsing for a 4-6 disk raid0,1,5 boxes now for a while.
    It would be used as a media archive for photos and video.


    My present archive system ,well,lacks finesse: I have dvds and about ten 1TB disks full of pics ,5disks of materiel with the rest 5 as their backup,kept in a different location.
    Redundant? Hell yeah! P.I.T.A? Well,yep.
    I dont need that much access but once a while client would need some older stuff or I need to access some pics/video.


    So optimal solution would be one big box wich I could point out as my lightroom library,shove all the pics in there,fill it up and forget.
    But I a extremely paranoid about the systems,thats my problem...
    Seen 2 boxes loose their marbles,one lost it´s entire data permanently and other got it back when the controller was changed.
    So : Is there a product for me? Reliable,reliable,reliable,disaster proven and reliable?
    Or shall I continue building my pyramid?


    Thx in advance!
     
  2. j2048b macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Feb 18, 2009
    Location:
    Cali
    #2
    If your looking for a good alternative to raid check out UNRaid by http://www.lime-technology.com/joomla/

    it looks to be pretty good, and pretty fault tollerant due to the parity drive(s) you would install?

    and for the setup just buy a 10-16 disc array box or a server like a stackable systems?
     
  3. jdl8422 macrumors 6502

    jdl8422

    Joined:
    Jul 5, 2006
    Location:
    Louisiana
    #3
    Just build your own file server. They have some boxes out there but once you pass 4 drives it gets pretty expensive. You can built a simple C2D or Celeron hackintosh file server for a couple hundred dollars. Or you can just buy a case that can hold 10+ drives and just use an ESATA card in your main computer. Addonics has a nice looking port multiplier card for an external box. I havnt tried it yet, but want to order one.
     
  4. Tesselator macrumors 601

    Tesselator

    Joined:
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    Location:
    Japan
    #4
    I think the best solution is to continue building your pyramid. It's the safest as it's always off-line and unplugged when not in use - and I assume only one drive at a time is being powered up and used. You might want to look into hot-swapable solutions for convenience tho! This would require a capable SATA card and a hot-swap enclosure with it's own PSU. I dunno Apple compatible products in this category so maybe someone else can chime in.

    Next up would be either be a massive RAID6 or RAID6+1 - or NAS/unRAID. NAS in a 10 or 16 drive capable system is e-x-p-e-n-s-i-v-e! unRAID is cheap. And you can easily keep either (NAS or unRAID) off-line and powered down when not in use - thus increasing overall longevity. Still not as good as your pyramid + hot-swap but very reasonable! And of course all the data would be on-line and searchable at once eliminating the need to catalog each 1TG drive individually.

    As far as "box" reliability the only part you need to actually focus on is the PSU - well, that and system cooling. This is the most easy to do in unRAID where the "box" is an old or cheap PC with your choice of PSU. It's also the most expandable as when you need more drives the most that will be needed is just to add another SATA card. Large server cases are maybe the best choice for this unRAID kinda thing.

    Something like this:

    [​IMG]
    Less than $100

    For hot-swap you only need one or two bays (obviously) but there are large units too. Tho expensive they can look pretty sexy!
    http://www.directron.com/ds1500.html
    http://eshop.macsales.com/shop/hard-drives/RAID/Rack_Mount/
    http://www.orbitmicro.com/global/ghi-390ml-zpr65-sl26-p-432.html?ref=base
    http://www.pc-pitstop.com/sas_cables_enclosures/scsase16.asp

    [​IMG]

    Pretty much any decent hot-swap solution is going to run at least $400 and that's for just the enclosure, trays and PSU in a 2 to 4 bay solution.
     
  5. Macinposh thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    Kreplakistan
    #5
    Hmm,that macsales rackmount with HW raid didnt look that bad,actually.
    Btw,can you daisychain them via FW ports if neccessary?


    I am just paranoid about the controllers going tits up.That is what happened with one of the boxes that I mentioned,the disks were corrupted beyond salvation when the controller ****-the-bucket.
    You recon it is common or is some brands just more suspectible for that?
    I mean,it would be great if you could just peel out the drives and put them in a similar chassis and ride to the sunset. Am I being paranoid here for no reason or?


    The PyramidTM is nice because you are about as foolproof as you can get,but getting materiel out of the disks are major pita because you have the numerous disks with 1TB of pics there,in 200+ folders...
    And I suck at metadataing the media...



    JDLxx : was thinkin that for about 2 seconds but I came to conclusion that it is just not worth the hassle. Setting up and managering that kind of pc,let alone hackintosh server is just to goddam difficult and timeconsuming for me.
     
  6. j2048b macrumors 6502a

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    Cali
    #6
  7. Bartman01 macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Oct 23, 2008
    #7
    A couple of ideas:

    If you need the data online all the time, also consider the drobo or drobo pro in addition to the 'build your own' solutions. One benefit of the drobo is the ability to have a drive fail, hot swap in a new one with no data loss, and continue to use the data on the drives while the the array is rebuilt.

    If you only need to archive the data you can always use a 'drive-dock' solution like this:
    http://www.thinkgeek.com/computing/usb-gadgets/a7ea/?cpg=ab

    At the end of each project/month/etc (whatever makes the most practical/financial sense) back it up to the drive on the dock, remove the drive and store it.

    Regardless of your solution, never forget that data doesn't exist unless it exists in at least two places. And for data you can't live without or replace at least one of those places needs to be in a different physical location. Relying on RAID to count as 'two places' is not good enough since it can still all get lost with one mistake or the right kind of failure.
     
  8. nanofrog macrumors G4

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    May 6, 2008
    #8
  9. Tesselator macrumors 601

    Tesselator

    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2008
    Location:
    Japan
    #9
    Yup! It's a Lian Li. The site that linked to that slide-show said it was $69.95 too. ;) Of course that's without the PSU or etc. but with careful selection and research a very nice unRAID could be constructed for under $400 very easily - maybe even under $300. ;)
     
  10. Tesselator macrumors 601

    Tesselator

    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2008
    Location:
    Japan
    #10
    If it's FW I would imagine so. Gigabit eithernet is faster and more expandable tho. FW is too slow - at least for me.

    I really have no idea. I've had 1 controller go bad in 25 years of computing and that was due to an electrical storm. None of the drives were affected. I believe Gugucom is a hardware repair tech or something - he might know know more. I've never heard of such a thing happening. <shrug>



    An HTML of all the thumbs that indexed which drive they were located on and in which folder would be handy here and you can make such a thing automatically. ;)
     
  11. nanofrog macrumors G4

    Joined:
    May 6, 2008
    #11
    They're rather nice, and the price is decent IMO. :)

    I guess it could be done for $300USD, but it would depend on specifics. I'd rather go for a board that has more than 4 SATA ports, so that would mean additional funds. ZFS based AoE (no need to give access to other systems). :D Feeds the greed for speed. :p

    Gb Ethernet is a better way to go, and if it's only needed for a single system, there's other options. AoE and iSCSI come to mind. ;) Either can be DIY'ed rather easily. :)

    It's possible, with any controller BTW. But some fare better than others. This is one of the cases that are rare, but do occur. Likely there was an operation being performed at the time the controller went DOA, such as the Partition Tables/boot sector being written during failure.

    My guess, the box was a FW software RAID-in-a-box, which is more susceptible than a true hardware controller. The only copy of the partition tables are on the drives.

    It's still possible for such things to happen to any card, but at that point, something major almost certainly happened. DOA PSU took the system with it for example. It's extremely rare for them to just "go" on their own, compared to other issues, and typically power related (non drive failure causality).
     

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