15 Replies Latest reply on Dec 16, 2010 1:08 PM by ECBowen

    Large hard drive array needed in a hurry...

    Colin Brougham Level 6

      I've been asked to come up with a hard drive setup in a big, fat hurry that will store a fair bit of video, and with some degree of redundancy. I don't necessarily need face-peeling speed; just a big dumping ground.

       

      There will be somewhere between 6-8TB of video files which are currently stored on a DroboPro connected via FW800 to a several-year-old Mac G5--my external connectivity is limited. I'd like some amount of redundancy (I'm running RAID5 on my own internals with success, off the onboard RAID controller), and since this box is going to be moving around, the RAID controller probably needs to be integrated into the box. I know that's seldom preferred, but that's the hand I'm dealt. I'll get an add-on card for the Mac G5 (e.g. eSATA on PCI-X) if necessary, but not a dedicated RAID controller. Budget is, as always, an issue, but this "has to be done" so it is what it is...

       

      Anyone have some solid recommendations on a reliable/easy-to-configure RAID enclosure with some connectivity options? I'll probably go with SpinPoints, as I've been satisfied with those in my personal machine, but I'm willing to listen to other recommendations.

       

      Thanks for your hasty help

        • 1. Re: Large hard drive array needed in a hurry...
          Colin Brougham Level 6

          So, the silly name leaves me a bit cold ("Raidon?" C'mon...), but this looks like it might cover my bases:

           

          http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16816142003&cm_re=raid_enclosure_4_bay -_-16-142-003-_-Product

           

          With 4x2TB, I should have around 6TB of storage, which I think will suffice. Any thoughts on this, or better recommendations?

          • 2. Re: Large hard drive array needed in a hurry...
            Harm Millaard Level 7

            Colin,

             

            Have you considered a NAS? With dual teamed NIC's that is pretty fast and contains its own raid controller next to 7 or 8 disks. That will give you up to 16 TB of raw disk space, less in net space, depending on the raid array. but that is pretty easy.

             

            I personally use the Thecus N7700 Pro with iSCSI, which suits me fine, but the alternative is QNAP.

             

            Here is an overview of what might be suitable for your purposes:

             

            7-12-2010 21-10-00.jpg

            1 person found this helpful
            • 3. Re: Large hard drive array needed in a hurry...
              Colin Brougham Level 6

              That would be perfect (in fact, I'm going to look into that for my own purposes), but I know it won't fly Let's put it this way: they are hours away from going to the local office supply store and buying a stack of USB2 external drives to back this stuff up. I will probably go crazy if they do that. It's a sticky situation of politics and money and egos and I'm just a lonely editor... <sigh>

               

              Anyway, I was just trying to find a quick'n'dirty way to do this, that isn't as ridiculous as USB externals. I thought Samsung 2TB F4s came in 7200RPM, but they're only 5400RPM; would those work OK for the situation I'm trying to address, or should I look at something like the Hitachis which are 7200RPM?

               

              Thanks for the input, Harm.

              • 4. Re: Large hard drive array needed in a hurry...
                Harm Millaard Level 7

                Colin,

                 

                If you were to have a 4 disk or larger array over iSCSI (teamed Nic's) the RPM's would be secondary and not impact performance very much. USB2 would definitely impact performance in a huge, read NEGATIVE, way.

                 

                Over USB2 I am lucky to get a sustained transfer rate of more than 20 - 25 MB/s, with my Thecus NAS even over a single NIC, I get around 70 MB/s

                • 5. Re: Large hard drive array needed in a hurry...
                  Colin Brougham Level 6

                  Hmm... my only major trepidation is that I quite literally will not have the time to get another NIC (or two, if the Mac only has 100Mbps Ethernet) installed and get this thing properly configured. I really need a one-cable, one-box solution. I believe I have two FW800 ports to work with, one of which is already occupied by the Drobo Pro I'd be copying from; that's not much better than USB2, but it's better, nonetheless. There is no eSATA, obviously, on the Mac, so I'd have to find a PCI or PCI-X add-on to gain this ability (no PCI-E in this Mac; too old). And, I can't move the Drobo... so the cards are really stacked against me.

                   

                  What the process to get dual NICs configured for a box like this?

                  • 6. Re: Large hard drive array needed in a hurry...
                    ECBowen Most Valuable Participant

                    The Raidon solution is easy and should work fine for you especially since it's for backup. I say go with that unit since you have to get this up now and don't really have time to work with a Nas Solution.

                     

                    Eric

                    ADK

                    • 7. Re: Large hard drive array needed in a hurry...
                      Colin Brougham Level 6

                      Thank you, Eric--perfect timing, I might add I had until the end of the day today... phew.

                       

                      I'd certainly love the NAS--the Thecus looks particularly nice--but the budget is just not there. I'll be looking into one of those for my own purposes, however...

                       

                      Any thoughts on drives? Are the Samsung F4 2TBs OK for something like this? They're only 5400RPM, but I'm guessing that is mitigated somewhat in a RAID 5 setup.

                       

                      Thank you again!

                      • 8. Re: Large hard drive array needed in a hurry...
                        ECBowen Most Valuable Participant

                        If your using FireWire then they will be fine. The FireWire will be slower than the raid by a decent margin in that unit and Enterprise drives seem beyond your budget for this.

                         

                        Eric

                        ADK

                        1 person found this helpful
                        • 9. Re: Large hard drive array needed in a hurry...
                          Colin Brougham Level 6

                          Cool, thanks. I found a PCI-X eSATA card that will work with this era G5, so hopefully that will be faster by several orders of magnitude over the FW800 port.

                           

                          I looked at the next cheapest option--2TB Hitachis--but based on the reviews, they live up to the "Deathstar" name

                          • 10. Re: Large hard drive array needed in a hurry...
                            ECBowen Most Valuable Participant

                            Depending on the controller the max bandwidth will be 110MB/s to 230MB/s with E-Sata.

                             

                            Eric

                            ADK

                            • 11. Re: Large hard drive array needed in a hurry...
                              Colin Brougham Level 6

                              This is the card: Addonics ADS3GX4R5-E PCI-X SATAI / SATA II Controller Card

                               

                              Though Mac OS support is not specifically listed there, I found a PDF at Addonics' web site about installing it in the same era G5 I'm using. They don't have drivers specifically for it, so you install some generic ones from Silicon Image. Since this G5 only has one FW800 port--and that's in use by the Drobo--it's either this or USB--or I lose my mind.

                               

                              Appreciate your insight!

                              • 12. Re: Large hard drive array needed in a hurry...
                                Colin Brougham Level 6

                                Just a quick follow-up on this:

                                 

                                I picked up the Raidon box I linked to above, along with four Samsung F4 2TB drives (5400RPM) and the Addonics card. The drive enclosure is decently made--mostly metal with some plastic--and is well-ventilated and easy to use. The drive screws that came with the sleds were not that good--took me far longer to unmount the shipping blocks and mount the drives than it should have, and ended up cross-threading one of the screws--but after that setup was a breeze. It's builds the RAID5 itself the first time you turn it on. I formatted it NTFS since I will be using it primarily on a Windows box after the files have been copied from the Mac/Drobo.

                                 

                                The Addonics card installed into the Mac G5 without an issue; took a little bit of hunting to find the correct drivers, as the literature was not really clear about which I actually needed. The card itself has several RAID levels built-in, and also provides port multiplying. Since the enclosure also is RAID5, with a port multiplier, I actually had to use a different driver so the card recognized the unit as a "single drive." After a try or two, it popped up and was ready to go.

                                 

                                I'm using the 10-day free demo of Paragon Software NTFS for Mac OS (the computer is running OS X 10.4.11, so no native NTFS write capability). The RAID appears like any other drive in Finder. I'm copying around 300GB at this moment from the Drobo connected via FW800 to the RAID5 connected via eSATA 3Gbps; in 35 minutes I've copied about 110GB. That's certainly not blistering performance, but given the layers of abstraction at play here, I'm satisfied. I should be able to copy 1TB in about 5-6 hours; a full day of copying and I should have the current 4TB or so of data copied.

                                 

                                While there are obviously better and therefore, more expensive, options out there, I'm quite satisfied with the hardware. I can recommend this box if you're looking for a way to hang 6TB of RAID5 storage with decent connectivity and speed off of your computer for less than $1000.

                                 

                                My thanks to Eric for the input; I appreciate your insight!

                                 

                                Colin

                                • 13. Re: Large hard drive array needed in a hurry...
                                  ECBowen Most Valuable Participant

                                  Excellent to hear. The unit is nice because it's hands off. The transfer rate is decided by the controller. If you use the controller that comes with it then you will get about 110MB/s. If you get their $300 4 port controller then the transfer rate is around 230MB/s. However you might as well buy a SAS controller for $200 more and get their 4 bay SAS box since the speed on that is allot better than 230MB/s.

                                   

                                  Eric

                                  ADK

                                  • 14. Re: Large hard drive array needed in a hurry...
                                    Colin Brougham Level 6

                                    Interesting. This is Raidon you're referring to, I assume? Might have to look into one of these...


                                    • 15. Re: Large hard drive array needed in a hurry...
                                      ECBowen Most Valuable Participant

                                      Stardom and Raidon are the same company btw

                                       

                                       

                                      http://www.stardom.com.tw/SJ20_x8.html

                                       

                                      Eric

                                      ADK