Yet another RAIDing Thread

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by Dr.Pants, May 18, 2009.

  1. Dr.Pants macrumors 65816


    Jan 8, 2009
    Alright, in a previous thread I stated my intentions of going with a OpenSolaris box running RAID ZFS - however, since now I am beginning to wonder about power draw, and considering how I have some debts being repaid soon, I was wondering if I should try something less obscure. So, onto more RAID on-the-cheap! Basically, I need to know what I can expect with the combination of these two products - the Highpoint RocketRAID 2314MS and the 1U rack enclosure EliteSTOR ES104TI (Links here and here, respectively).

    The 2314MS has had a great review on AMUG, so that's why I jumped onto that controller, but as according to this page on the highpoint website, the 2314MS is not on the list for being supported in the Powermac. Literally, the $100 question :p And I'm assuming that I also have to supply my own MiniSAS cable.

    And now onto a question about drives, and in a sense about the enclosure. The enclosure (according to Sans Digital) accepts SAS drives - for high write speeds, I assume I am better off with SAS instead of SATA, right?
  2. nanofrog macrumors G4

    May 6, 2008
    Yes, the 2314MS will run on Mac. :) (You have to flash the firmware to the EFI version first though). ;)

    Yes, you need this (SFF-8088 to SFF-8470) cable.

    You could also use a 4 port PCIe eSATA card with that enclosure (via 4*eSATA cables), as both it and the RocketRAID you're looking at are "Fake RAID". No dedicated processor or cache. But will suffice on a limited budget. Performance won't be the same as a full RAID card, but that's the compromise. ;) :p

    Please note, that this isn't the best way to go about a RAID 5, as it can't offer a solution to the write hole issue.

    On the enclosure, it ONLY uses SATA drives. The SAS part, is the interface connector (SFF-8470, aka MulitLane) on the back. It handles 4 ports on the same cable. SAS is backwards compatible with SATA, and the cabling can be used for either drive interface. That's the only SAS part to it. Rather convenient.

    Also, the 2314MS can ONLY operate SATA drives. So don't go and stick SAS drives in it. ;) :p

    Hope this helps. :)
  3. Dr.Pants thread starter macrumors 65816


    Jan 8, 2009
    Thanks Nanofrog. I just wanted to make sure all my "i"s were dotted on this one. Anyways, who said I was going to stumble into a write hole? :D I was planning on three drives in RAID-0 and a fourth as a backup (Not trying to do RAID 10, here). Would this be preferable to RAID5?

    On the Fake RAID, how much overhead on the processor am I looking at, or can roughly guesstimate?
  4. nanofrog macrumors G4

    May 6, 2008
    Depends. RAID 5 gives you some redundancy and higher availability (uptime). Speed is similar, with a small edge to 0. RAID 5 will cost you a little capacity (for parity data).

    As far as CPU %, I'm not sure on PPC. With a Core i7/SP Nehalem system (P6T6 WS Revolution), 4% for RAID 0, and 7% for RAID 5. (4 drive experiment off motherboard's ICH10R).

    If you choose to go with a stripe, why bother with the Highpoint and enclosure? :confused:
  5. Dr.Pants thread starter macrumors 65816


    Jan 8, 2009
    Well, should I be looking at a SATA controller and an internal RAID plus removing the drive bay? Probably a better idea, I am just scared by the case interior temperatures. I'll look into it; I assume it is a cheaper route? With the savings, could I get a hardware RAID card?
  6. nanofrog macrumors G4

    May 6, 2008
    For some strange reason, I thought you were looking into picking up an '09 model and doing the research on it.

    Is this the case, or are you trying to do this in the G5 in your sig?

    Sonnet Technologies makes a braket (Jive) that allows you to add an additional 3 HDD's. Not exactly the cheapest item around at $80USD (here), but certainly less than an external enclosure and card. (Even cheaper at, and comes with free shipping).

    It might be "Just what the doctor ordered". :D :p (Sorry, I couldn't resist). ;)
  7. Dr.Pants thread starter macrumors 65816


    Jan 8, 2009

    Well, you know, I would love to buy a new MacPro and do my own DIY internal RAID, but unfortunately my economic situation frowned on me... And that aside, I would assume when 10.6 comes out, a lot of third-party RAID controllers would lose support (I assume 10.6 requires all new drivers). Not that it matters on the G5.

    But yes, I'm working on RAID for the PPC in my sig. Now that you mention it, external RAID probably isn't the best option unless I go all out; I'll probably do a DIY mod on the optical drive slot and fit drives there. I'll figure out dimensions soon enough, and send the work to get cut at the local high-school shop, where they have all the metalworking toys I can't afford, either :p
  8. nanofrog macrumors G4

    May 6, 2008
    On a budget, skip the external solution. It's always more expensive.

    You might be able to have them fabricate something similar to the Jive I linked. It shouldn't be too difficult, assuming you can get good measurements in front of the fan assembly. (Again tools, but what can you do...). :eek: :p

    You might think about other materials, particularly if you're in a hurry and like making things. PCB material (copper on or etched off) works great. Plexiglass, or even thin plywood found in hobby shops could be used, and rather easy to work with as well. Only requires basic tools. Precision isn't really necessary, but is nice. ;)

    Just a couple of thoughts. :)
  9. Dr.Pants thread starter macrumors 65816


    Jan 8, 2009
    The high school has a plasma cutter which has insane precision. As I said, I would do it myself, but I like to swing some commission work over their way sometimes. I've used their plasma cutter, and probably will give them the architectural drawing in a CAD format.

    And to add onto that, it also means that I can post it online for a low cost solution to keep other G5s running ;)

    So, looking around, I came across the RocketRAID 4320 - would that be more suited toward my end of things? A hardware RAID solution that (god forbid) is slightly expandable?
  10. nanofrog macrumors G4

    May 6, 2008
    :cool: It's nice to have access to facilities like that, and presumably not have to pay a fortune for it. :D

    I've been wanting to build my own CNC unit for some time, but it's too expensive. Even converting used equipment. :(
    It's SAS, so it's not quite as fast with SATA drives as SATA controllers. (Different optimizations do make a difference, but not massively so). You might see a 5% difference between high performance cards.

    Also, they can be picky about SATA drives, so be sure to examine the Compatibility List rather carefully (HDD). Usually, enterprise drives have a better chance of making it. (Just so you know).

    Areca makes this card for them, and it's based on their ARC-1680 series (ARC-1680ix8), but isn't exactly the same. Some features were eliminated. You can compare the two to get an idea of what, but there's also a price difference. (newegg has a decent price ATM, at $414USD). :eek: :D So $256 difference. ;)

    Feature wise, it looks to be decent, and would certainly offer more than what you've been looking at. Check out barefeats, as Rob-Art did a review of the 4320. He seems to like it. :D

    If it's anything like what I'm used to from Areca, it should be decent indeed. :).
  11. Dr.Pants thread starter macrumors 65816


    Jan 8, 2009
    As much as I would want to upgrade to that card, it unfortunately is out of my price range. :eek: Budgeting... *sigh*

    Anyways, I had a look inside the G5 (didn't have time to take measurements), and I'm pretty confident I can squeeze in a four-drive bracket, maybe with a fan - although the design challenge is getting it to fit in the top of the case. Originally it looked daunting, since at first I was considering an enclosure reminiscent of something found in a PC case (metal on four sides). But then I found myself wondering, "why do I need metal on top?" I still need to draw all of it out, but I am fairly confident that the top of the bracket (the bracket will replace the optical drive) does not need to be assembled at all, just the sides so that the HDDs can be screwed in. If this is kind of confusing, I'll try and post a picture tomorrow of the basic idea, if I can.

    However, viewing the compatibility list on the highpoint website, two hard drives that I was considering were the Fujitsu MBA3073RC and the HITACHI HUS153073VLS300. Both are low-capacity, speedy drives (or at least I was under the impression). Anyrate, what would be the downside of using these drives in my array, if any? From the HCL, no NTQ, but I was not under the impression it would help with large writes...
  12. nanofrog macrumors G4

    May 6, 2008
    No problem, I understand. ;) :D
    If I understand you correctly, you want to make a sheet metal U bracket. It should work, assuming you have the clearances needed for 4 HDD's.
    I haven't checked Highpoint's site, but I presume you meant both drives you were interested in won't work. (The sentence looks cut off in mid thought). :p

    As it's a SAS card, and that it's based on Areca's 1680ix8, I'd recommend using enterprise drives. SAS has a habit of being picky about SATA drives, and Areca's seems to have issues with consumer models. You might also want to look at Areca's HDD Compatibility List (.pdf), as it might give a good cross reference, and offer up another potential drive or two. You won't really find much in the way of consumer drives that work on the SAS models.

    The reasoning for staying away for both drives not on the list, and consumer models in general, is that they have a habit of dropping out. VERY OFTEN, rendering the array unreliable, and effectively useless. A great deal of this has to do with the fact the TLER values are different than those in a RAID drive (enterprise/nearline). Consumer units use 0,7 (seconds), and enterprise uses 0,0 s. (It has to do with recovery).

    In the case of WD, they have a utility that allows the user to change these values. Rather handy, as you can take GP (Green) drives, change the values, and get a very large capacity for a smaller array. On the cheap. But it's not guaranteed to work for all controllers. I just happen to have done this before with a decent track record.

    I've never found such utilities for other makers, including Seagate, Hitachi, Samsung, or Fujitsu. :( I guess they figure if people can do this, they wouldn't sell as many of thier enterprise models). :p

    I've had good luck with WD's and Seagate's over the years, and currently use WD3202ABYS on the Areca for SATA drives for the obvious reason: cost.

    I usually shut NCQ/TCQ = Disabled. Most of the experiments I run haven't shown it to be of benefit (definitely on the Areca's), and it can cause instability in the array. Areca's support section suggests leaving it disabled as well.
  13. Dr.Pants thread starter macrumors 65816


    Jan 8, 2009
    Well, unfortunatly my CAD program is on the fritz, so no pictures yet. :mad: However, it came down to two U-shaped brackets that would hold hard drives in similar congruency with the two drives that are in the G5 (i.e., they are in the same vertical space, just displaced horizontally... following? lol, I feel horrible about describing this)

    That aside, I need to stop starting off paragraphs with however - I did view the compatibility list, and those two drives were listed, only they did not support NCQ or staggering, only SMART - since they are on the list I would assume that they work. I was mainly asking what the downside of using these drives - are they single-platter, supposedly? Would that give me less speed then a SATA drive with multiple platters? Maybe I should just go SATA and be done with it :0

    One last thing is, how do I tell if a drive is enterprise or not? Should there be a specification, like mean-time-between-failure (I understand this) Or fault tolerance, which I think is 1 bad sector per 10^14 sectors?
  14. nanofrog macrumors G4

    May 6, 2008
    Actually, your description makes sense. Who ever said HDD's MUST lay flat anyways? ;) :p

    For mechanical drives, all I think they need is to be mounted securely. That's it. :)
    NCQ is for SATA, and TCQ is for SAS. ;) :p They serve the same function though.

    That said, it's fairly common for a controller to not support it. That, or the array becomes unstable when trying to use it. As for staggered spin up, it's likely due to the number of drives it's meant to handle. I usually see it on high end controllers, and supports 12+ drives. (A good reason to make sure you have plenty of PSU power available). ;)

    Those drives would almost certainly be single platter. 73GB isn't much after all. ;) :p As for performance, it does affect it a bit, but keep in mind, if you stay under 50% of the capacity of the array, you're sticking to the fastest part of the disks. If you'd exceed that using these drives, you will very likely notice it. So if this is the case, either use additional drives, or increase the capacity. If you want/need to increase the capacity, go with SATA. SAS is just too expensive. (The best workstation SAS drives are the Fujitsu MBA330RC that I'm aware of, and is rather expensive :().
    It's usually listed under some sort of Enterprise section for internal HDD's. UBE's are 1E15, so an order of magnitude greater than consumer models (1E14). MTBF is usually 1.2 or 1.4M hrs, but is rarely listed on consumer drives.

    Currently, WD's enterprise SATA line consists of the RE2 and RE3 family (very similar to the Caviar Black), the RE2-GP and RE4-GP series (low power, large capacity), and finally the Velociraptor. For Seagate, it's the Constellation ES.2 series (newest in the family).

    SAS is enterprise by definition, as that was the market they're designed for (no consumer level models exist). ;)
  15. MacUserPeggy macrumors newbie

    Mar 17, 2009
    According to highpoint website RocketRAID 2314MS not support Power Mac G5 and SAS Disks. ( It can support Mac OS X 10.3.x–10.5 on Mac Pro (Dual and Quad) system)

    So I think you can choose RocketRAID 2522 or RocketRAID 2322 because these support PowerMac G5.


    You don't need buy the SAS devices because your enclosure can’t support SAS devices.
  16. Dr.Pants thread starter macrumors 65816


    Jan 8, 2009
    So, update - finally, after finding AutoCAD discs, I should be getting the thing made before the week is out. Will post pictures when finished!:D

    However, my main problem now is where to draw power for the four HDDs. The Molex connector on the optical drive that I am replacing would power a pair - the power from the hard-drive rails would power the second pair. I guess the question is, would I be blowing anything:confused:

    I guess it all depends on the drives, I guess, and the amps on the rail.
  17. orpheus1120 macrumors 65816


    Jan 23, 2008
    Nanofrog, I was looking at this because I want the FW800 connection. In the specifications section it mentioned having JBOD. I know some vendors would state JBOD as NRAID (Span). Do you know if this rack does a true JBOD (with each individual drive showing) or NRAID (combining 2 or more drives into one large drive)?

    I want a true FW800 4-bay rack with true JBOD capability. Do you think this rack can do what I want? Is this a good buy?
  18. nanofrog macrumors G4

    May 6, 2008
    Have you sent off an email to Sans Digital about your question?
    Given their product line, I'd think it's true JBOD, but I've not used that particular model.

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