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Thread: Home Raid Server

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    Home Raid Server

    Im looking to build a home server with RAID 5 and connect it via gigabit ethernet and crossover cable to my Mac. I would prefer something that will house around as many sata drives as possible to eventually make 2x RAID 5 setups, be as quiet as possible, and pretty reliable. I intend to start with one RAID, than add another when funds are available. As it is for a home setup mainly for backup, I would like to build a cheaply as possible, but upgrade later on.... What would I need, or should I look on ebay? I was talking to a my sisters boyfriend and he said the processor speed isnt too important, but a good raid card and hard drive space are the things to look out for. Any help would be appreciated.

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    Re: Home Raid Server

    Well if your looking to get a RAID card your looking at spending around £190 for a good card:
    Computer hardware and software at amazing prices, available online from Scan Computers UK

    or you can run RAID off the Motherboard.

    Are you looking to go x2 RAID 5 with 6 or 8 drives?

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    Re: Home Raid Server

    If you search on Ebay occasionally there are some 3Ware 9500S card available. Those are probably the cheapest best PCI RAID5 card you can get. (Mine topped at 65MB/s over GbE read / write because of slow PCI bus)

    If you really want absolute speed and opt for a PCI Express RAID5 card, expect to pay a lot more to get the same class of card.

    Pick a card out of the following brands:
    Areca, 3Ware, LSI (Sometimes sold as cheap Dell PERC cards), Adaptec.
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    Re: Home Raid Server

    I would have thought you would be better off running one RAID volume rather than two in parallel. If you want more redundancy you could consider RAID 6 which will tolerate two drives failing, or one giving false answers.

    If it where me, I would look for a specialised Linux distro for the server OS. I have not checked, but there is almost certainly a stripped down server one around that will run off a 256Mb Compact flash card and allow you to dedicate all your drives for storage. Then just buy a big case with a good PSU, and plenty of fans, and put it somewhere out of sight on the end of a quality Cat 5e Ethernet cable.

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    Re: Home Raid Server

    Are you set on RAID? What sort of usable capacity do you need?

    You can argue that RAID is more about resilience than backup, because there are a number of things than can fail that will take out even a RAID 5 array in one go, not least of which is certain PSU or RAID controller failures. RAID gives some reassurance as a backup, but it isn't (IMHO) a substitute for a decent backup strategy, because there are still weak points, and if the cost of a decent RAID 5 is justified, presumably what you're storing on it is important enough that those points of weakness need addressing.

    Unless you need really large capacities, one alternative might be a one/two drive NAS box, but pick one that lets you do a one-button backup to a connected USB or eSATA external drive. If you pick the right unit, you can use the external drive as a sort of pseudo-RAID mirror, and do it with much less chance of losing multiple RAID drives at the same time.

    Or, if you really want a high-end solution (high-end for home, not corporate), a couple a Thecus 5200 Pros, with 5 * 500GB/1TB drives. But you're then looking at £1500-£2000 for the lot, inc drives.

    A decent single-drive NAS box (£150-ish), plus external case (£20-50) plus a couple of 1TB drives gives you 1TB with a mirror for £500-ish.

    All prices exc VAT.

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    Re: Home Raid Server

    Well, the OP said he wants to connect it to his Mac by GbE. Most single-drive NAS box (I would say even the 5200 Pro) will be way too slow.
    chrestomanci, RAID6 is certainly interesting, but unless you use some specialized linux or get a quality Areca / 3Ware top-of-the-range card you'll be hard pressed to find a cheap way to do it. One of my friend had the luxury of running 8x1TB RAID6 on a 3Ware 9650SE-24M8, will easily do 350MB/s read/write with 8 drives, damn jealous...

    I think the best of (cheap) backup is to have a RAID0 volume for speed and have a RAID5 volume for backup.

    If you want to go for the lazy route, Thecus 5200 Pro + 5x1TB RAID5
    If you want to go for the easy route, 3Ware 9650SE-* + 4x1T RAID5 or 8x1T RAID6
    If you want to go for the cheap easy route, 3Ware 9500S-8 + 4x1T RAID5 or 8x1T RAID5
    If you want to go for the cheapest route, any 6~8 port motherboard + 4x1T software RAID5 or 8x1T software RAID6

    Linux raid might be a bit hard if the OP don't know how to use linux.
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    Re: Home Raid Server

    I was also looking for a home NAS.
    And now I'm getting one of these:

    RND4000 - ReadyNASâ„¢ NV+ 4-Bay Gigabit Desktop Network Storage (No Disks)

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    Re: Home Raid Server

    Quote Originally Posted by LegacyOne View Post
    Well if your looking to get a RAID card your looking at spending around £190 for a good card:
    Computer hardware and software at amazing prices, available online from Scan Computers UK

    or you can run RAID off the Motherboard.

    Are you looking to go x2 RAID 5 with 6 or 8 drives?
    that's not a good card, it's a CPU-bound card like on-motherboard stuff

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    Re: Home Raid Server

    Quote Originally Posted by directhex View Post
    that's not a good card, it's a CPU-bound card like on-motherboard stuff
    Yep your right I was thinking with 8 SATA ports and at that cost it must be a true hardware RAID card....NOT.

    *Look at the cost of hardware RAID cards....yep they cost a bit more....*

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    Re: Home Raid Server

    I'd just do RAID1 and then backup to an external machine/disk/nas. Gives you redundancy with the initial raid 1 which is cheap anyway, and then you have a proper backup solution as you would still need with raid5 anyway really. I dont see what you get more from out of raid5 really apart from obviously better percentage of the array used as storage the more disks you add. Its unecessary for home use a lot of the time when you consider the minimal gain for the expense.

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    Re: Home Raid Server

    You need to also consider what happens when your RAID card goes belly up. Usually you will have to get an identical RAID card and if there is an error, to rebuild the raid array.

    If you have enough CPU horsepower you can consider a simple SATA card and use software raid in linux or windows - this makes it easier if your hardware goes.

    True RAID cards usually cost a fortune (ones where the card does the RAID xor calcs).

    Guess also if you need the redundancy of RAID and the various levels of support it provides as well as performance. I had a look at RAID but for my purposes I didn't feel I needed it so I just run a bunch of disks across a SAMBA share - currently up to around 2TB of storage.

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    Re: Home Raid Server

    Thats a good point, if the raid card dies you are in trouble, as each raid card will write a different alorithm for the parity differently and wont be recoverable. Really you would need to buy two raid cars if you were paranoid of it going and dont intend to take backups as well. Honestly...RAID1 + backup for the win

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    Re: Home Raid Server

    Thanks for all that. The reason for RAID is that I used to have a 20gb RAID 5 (5 Disk) at work about 10 years ago, and it was pretty reliable, and really useful when a drive died that you just swapped it out and kept going. I have 3, 4 bay enclosures hooked up via firewire and also a couple of 2 Bay RAID 1 enclosures... all on my desk as well as my Quad G5! Ideally having a server means I can get rid of all but one enclosure... and also cut down on the noise from the enclosure power supplies. Thinking about it more I may use the RAID as primary media storage (graphics, audio, video etc) and use a firewire enclosures as a back up.

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    Re: Home Raid Server

    Buy a Coolermaster Stacker Case which houses loads of drives, I've got an the following
    ASUS NCCH-DL Dual Xeon Mobo (Onboard Gigabit NIC)
    2 x 3.2Ghz 800Mhz FSB Xeon (Passively Cooled)
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    Adaptec 21610SA 16Port SATA RAID (Also recommend 2820SA)
    10 x 500Gb Hitachi SATA HDD 2x2TB RAID 5
    64Mb Geforce 4 (Passively Cooled)
    3Com 64Bit PCI-X Gigabit NIC
    580w Tagan U22 PSU
    Thanks to the way the stacker works all HDD's are cooled and the standard fans are quiet. My server Lives in the loft so it is out of the way all the time. I have also cabled the house so have sunk cabling and sockets which helps.

    I am considering changing to the Adaptec 2820SA and 5x1TB drives

    You can obviously play about with the spec but the CM Stacker is a good starting point.

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    Re: Home Raid Server

    Quote Originally Posted by pendulum666 View Post
    I'd just do RAID1 and then backup to an external machine/disk/nas. Gives you redundancy with the initial raid 1 which is cheap anyway, and then you have a proper backup solution as you would still need with raid5 anyway really. I dont see what you get more from out of raid5 really apart from obviously better percentage of the array used as storage the more disks you add. Its unecessary for home use a lot of the time when you consider the minimal gain for the expense.
    RAID 5 gives you striping of the data as well as redundandcy, so for a server (particularly a database server) there will be an improvement in performance. I'm not sure that it is worth it for a home system though, and as someone else pointed out, a RAID array (of whatever level) is not a substitute for a proper backup strategy - as Saracen (I think) said - it is more about resilience and minimising down time.
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    Re: Home Raid Server

    Quote Originally Posted by azrael View Post
    Buy a Coolermaster Stacker Case which houses loads of drives, I've got an the following
    ASUS NCCH-DL Dual Xeon Mobo (Onboard Gigabit NIC)
    2 x 3.2Ghz 800Mhz FSB Xeon (Passively Cooled)
    3Gb RAM
    2x146Gb Raptor (OS)
    Adaptec 21610SA 16Port SATA RAID (Also recommend 2820SA)
    10 x 500Gb Hitachi SATA HDD 2x2TB RAID 5
    64Mb Geforce 4 (Passively Cooled)
    3Com 64Bit PCI-X Gigabit NIC
    580w Tagan U22 PSU
    Thanks to the way the stacker works all HDD's are cooled and the standard fans are quiet. My server Lives in the loft so it is out of the way all the time. I have also cabled the house so have sunk cabling and sockets which helps.

    I am considering changing to the Adaptec 2820SA and 5x1TB drives

    You can obviously play about with the spec but the CM Stacker is a good starting point.
    Crikey...is that storage all for home use then?

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