SILENT external raid enclosure needed - recommendations?

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by pprior, Oct 29, 2009.

  1. pprior macrumors 65816

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    Aug 1, 2007
    #1
    I'm looking to set up a 4+ drive external eSATA raid system (likely raid5).

    My biggest need is QUIET. I've tried 2 boxes thus far including the 4big quadra that was supposed to be engineered for noise, but it had an annoying fan speed fluctuation and was actually much louder than my mac pro.

    I have a drobo and that is also too noisy.

    I'm wondering of anyone knows of a box or other option that is either fanless (ideally) or has one large super quiet fan.

    appreciate any help.
     
  2. VirtualRain macrumors 603

    VirtualRain

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    #2
    The Sans Digital 8 drive TowerStor or TowerRAID lines uses 120mm fans.

    You may have no choice but to buy an enclosure that allows relatively easy access to the fan so you can (a) disconnect it or (b) replace it with a quieter variety.

    I recently purchased a Sans Digital MobileStor 2 drive enclosure and swapped out the stock 60mm fan for a much quieter version. Problem solved.
     
  3. sidewinder macrumors 68020

    sidewinder

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    #3
    RAID 5 is not the best choice. I would use RAID 10 instead. What are using as a RAID card?

    S-
     
  4. Transporteur macrumors 68030

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    #4

    You loose half the capacity with Raid 10.
    Can you justify your choice?
     
  5. sidewinder macrumors 68020

    sidewinder

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    #5
    Easily. Can you justify knocking mine? Do you know what you are talking about?

    Do some research on RAID 5 problems. RAID 5 has the write hole problem. Battery back-up protects against the write hole problem only if the battery actually works. Then there is the large performance hit the RAID 5 array experiences during the painfully long array rebuild process if a drive does fail. Then, if a drive fails during the rebuild process, all data is lost. Even worse, if even one read error occurs during the rebuild process occurs, all data can be lost. With larger drives, this becoming much more of an issue especially if enterprise grace drives are not used.

    RAID 5 has a 25% loss of capacity in a 4 drive array versus 50% for RAID 10. So use a much safer and better performing RAID 10 setup and just use higher capacity drives.

    Drives are a lot cheaper than data loss.

    S-
     
  6. nanofrog macrumors G4

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    #6
    I've used the Enhance units, and though nice, the fans do need to be replaced with quieter models (80mm).

    The Sans unit having a 120mm is even nicer, as there's more choices if it does have to be replaced (maybe a Noctua NF-P12 for example).

    We'd need details from the OP to try to understand the reasoning, and if there's alternatives.

    I don't hate RAID 5, and do use it. It's good for certain situations, namely needing some minimal degree of redundancy combined with max capacity in a fixed drive quantity. Acceptible in workstation environments if such a compromise is needed, as there's daily access to the system.

    But there's still some additional items that aren't really an option, such as a good UPS and card with an NVRAM solution to the write hole issue. Either of these are missing, and you're playing with fire so to speak. :eek: :p
     
  7. sidewinder macrumors 68020

    sidewinder

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    #7
    In all your posts regarding support for RAID 5, you seem to totally discount the array rebuild issues. How can you do that? The problems are real and quite serious.

    S-
     
  8. nanofrog macrumors G4

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    #8
    They can be mitgated though, and you know this. Use enterprise drives, and keep the sets small make a major difference. I wouldn't ever recommend more than an 8 drive set for this reason, and most here don't seem to go that large. 4 drive sets seem to be far more common.

    And with some cards, there's less risk. Namely the Areca's I've used. The Partition Tables are duplicated on the card in firmware, and there's even additional rebuild commands via the CLI interface. Quite handy, if the need ever arises. It's always a compromise anyway. None of it's perfect. Not even 10, or ZFS for that matter (had it been completed for OS X).

    But no matter the implementation, there must be a proper backup solution.
     
  9. Transporteur macrumors 68030

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    #9
    I'm not knocking your's, I was just curious why you would recommend a Raid10.
    And yes, I know what I'm talking about! A simple question is no reason to get rude.

    Personally, I would not recommend a Raid10 for an 8 drive Array. Not because it's slow or not safe, but the loss of 50% of the capacity is not acceptable for me.
    I would definitely go with a Raid6 Array in that case.

    Of course drives are cheaper than data loss, but I guess we all agree, that no one stores his important data on a Raid Array without serious backup.
     
  10. sidewinder macrumors 68020

    sidewinder

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    #10
    Don't make your posts so challenging and you won't get challenging posts back.....

    Using RAID 6 for an 8 drive array means a a 25% loss of capacity. RAID 6 has the write hole issue and even worse performance issues than RAID 5. But it does mitigate the drive failure a bit.

    I would still use RAID 10 over RAID 6 in an 8 drive array. I would just get bigger drives.

    S-
     
  11. nanofrog macrumors G4

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    #11
    I dont' mind. It's fun, but it also can help to shed light on the details of the different levels, especially when regarding the write hole problem with parity based arrays. ;)

    It's not the simplest aspect to understand afterall. :p

    I see most posts here looking for lower cost drives in small sets, so the larger capacity drives may not be an option (i.e. 2TB models). 1TB (or smaller) is easier to "swallow" financially, and in the case of larger sets, other options may make more sense. The set size and budget requirements is the reasoning behind my evaluation for a type 5 array as having validity in some cases.

    If they realize the differences, and plan for it, they can get better cards to start with, and upgrade as they need additional capacity. For example, start with a 4 drive set, and migrate to an 8 drive set later, and when doing so, change the array type as well (as they will hopefully get out of the critical capacity requirement that another array type would be a better solution).
     
  12. pprior thread starter macrumors 65816

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    #12
    Easy there fellas... :)

    I'm looking for nice sized array to increase read and write speeds for photography and video editing.

    An 8 bay option is probably way more than I need - and the higher attendent power supply necessary for such an array will increase power use and noise as well.

    Really a 4 drive raid 10 or raid 5 would work fine for what i need, but again the issue is NOISE.
     
  13. pprior thread starter macrumors 65816

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    #13
    How quiet would say it is in relation to the mac pro?

    For example, both the drobo and the 4big quadra were louder than my MP.
     
  14. nanofrog macrumors G4

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    #14
    Power wouldn't be a problem, as the MP has a 980W PSU. Startup is the worst part, and typically draws ~36 - 40W for a few milliseconds. Nominal draws for mechanical drives are ~12W. SSD's way lower, if you're considering that as a possibility. :)

    RAID 10 would likely suffice for speed, but you've not given an indication of your capacity needs. That can be a problem with a 4 drive set, especially if it's comprised of smaller drives. Ideally, you want to keep the array at 50% or less (applies to a single drive as well), to keep data off the inner tracks, which are slower.

    As per noise of an external enclosure, the Sans Digital has promise, given the 120mm fan. You should expect to have to replace the enclosure fan with a quieter model, as the stock units aren't usually that quiet at all. They spec them by CFM, not noise most often.

    At least it's an inexpensive swap, and the 120mm has quieter options than say an 80mm unit.
     
  15. pprior thread starter macrumors 65816

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    #15
    I would probably want 4TB to start as amount I would need. I've got 1TB in data right now (video files and photos), but as I'm using my new HD camcorder it's growing faster than it used to.

    I don't need ultra speed - I know for example I'll get no more than mid 300 mb/sec out of a PM array and that would be more than acceptable for my purposes. I'm not editing multiple streams of HD video.

    I'm mainly looking to speed up photo editing writes when saving 300-500mb files which I do routinely and also add capacity and speed when editing video - right now my drives are 90% full.
     
  16. nanofrog macrumors G4

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    #16
    Hmm... RAID 10 does sound like it would be suitable in terms of throughputs, but even using 2TB drives (not cheap btw), would be at 45% full with the existing data. To keep the performance high, you'd want to keep them at no more than 50% full in order to keep the data off the inner tracks.

    You'd actually be able to benefit from a larger array size IMO, but to keep it to a type 10, you'd have to go directly to 8x drives (1.5TB+ in for capacity for the drives used).

    Otherwise, the array type would need to be re-evaluated. This is where a type 5 array (or 6, as your more interested in redundancy than speed; a better way to go if possible) can come into play. It's by no means perfect, but it does have it's place.

    Even a stripe set can work, but the backups must be done religiously to keep the files as recent as possible in order to reduce the need to re-perform work that was lost (state of lost data vs. saved data). Personally, enterprise drives are more important not only with RAID, but especially if the array is a type 0 array (stripe set).
     
  17. Capt. Corduroy macrumors newbie

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    la
    #17
    I have a simple Rosewill (same as Sans Digital) 5 bay and it's nearly silent.
     
  18. VirtualRain macrumors 603

    VirtualRain

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    #18
    The stock fan in the Sans Digital was way too noisy for me... you could hear it well across a large room! ...much louder than my Mac Pro. After I swapped in a quieter fan, it's inaudible.

    I actually tried running without the fan connected... but it started locking up... I think the chipset was overheating - not the drive as I simply had a 2TB WD Green in there.

    Why they put such noisy fans in these drive enclosures is beyond me... it's not like these things are super computers or anything! :rolleyes:
     
  19. VirtualRain macrumors 603

    VirtualRain

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    #19
    The stock fan in the Sans Digital was way too noisy for me... you could hear it well across a large room! ...much louder than my Mac Pro. After I swapped in a quieter fan, it's inaudible.

    I actually tried running without the fan connected... but it started locking up... I think the chipset was overheating - not the drive as I simply had a 2TB WD Green in there.

    Why they put such noisy fans in these drive enclosures is beyond me... it's not like these things are super computers or anything! :rolleyes:

    I guess there's a market opportunity for someone to create a decent low-noise drive enclosure. :cool:
     
  20. nanofrog macrumors G4

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    #20
    They think like little birds... Cheap...Cheap...Cheap... :D :p
     
  21. pprior thread starter macrumors 65816

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    Aug 1, 2007
    #21
    You know, I hadn't thought about iSCSI as an option - could put a box down in my rack room in the basement.

    I've already got a NAS down there I use for redundant backups, but performance and hassle with reconnecting isn't what I want for primary storage.

    Maybe this is another thread, but I don't know anything about iSCSI on Mac and wondering if I'd get decent performance and then the system would be completely quiet because it'd be in the basement. :D

    EDIT: Nevermind - on further research I'm reading that ISCSI will only put about 80mb/sec of performance. NOT fast enough and not interested.
     
  22. nanofrog macrumors G4

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    #22
    Take a look at ATA over Ethernet, and team the NIC ports to double up the bandwidth.
     
  23. Tesselator macrumors 601

    Tesselator

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    #23

    That's the cheapest way and also the quietest way to do this. Enclosures that include acoustic foam originally are VERY expensive! Enclosures that are noisy and typical are more expensive than a computer case + PSU. Usually twice as much. Enclosures built for external SATA drives almost never have enough room to add your own acoustic foam.
     
  24. pprior thread starter macrumors 65816

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    #24
    Tesselator -

    While I appreciate the input, I've done the SPCR thing before and my time and sanity has taken precedence over saving a few dollars. Part of what i love about my mac experience has been not fussing with building and tweaking and managing things.

    I just want a product I can buy, plug in, and go.
     
  25. Tesselator macrumors 601

    Tesselator

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    #25
    OK.

    But besides glueing on the acoustic foam and cable-tieing the four cords together there's no difference in installation. All the same things need to be done.
     

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