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Thread: Build or buy a RAID6 server?

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    jim
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    Build or buy a RAID6 server?

    I have an HP N36L with an Openfiler 6TB RAID6 array (5x2TB), working great.
    My Windows Home Server on the other hand, that's on its last legs. Atom powered, 3TB server (3x2TB, halved for Drive Extender).

    Question is, what do I do with the WHS? I need a Windows machine, not necessarily a server, to take care of various pieces of software (backup and media sharing especially) that I don't want running on my desktop 24x7.

    What I need is a 4TB+ machine, with RAID6. That's going to count out budget options like the N40L, since they can't do hardware RAID, and to my knowledge Windows can't either. IIRC it can simulate RAID5 but not 6?

    What's likely to be the cheapest option, but remain robust? I have a license for Server 2008 R2, so that's not a problem. I'm guessing I could probably get a decent P45 board second hand, stick my Q9550 in there and then add a RAID card and be done with it, but it hardly ticks the robust box. Also it would have to be vaguely mobile, and a cobbled together chassis from an old gaming tower probably wouldn't do the trick.

    This is fairly new ground for me so not really sure where to look.

  2. #2
    Splash
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    Re: Build or buy a RAID6 server?

    Is the size of the microserver about right for you? If so you could always pick one up and stick a P410 card in the x8 slot - this is a half height, half length card which you can unlock RAID6 with an extra license purchase. Your requirement for robustness pretty much rules out Windows software RAID, so this seems like a happy compromise between portability and robustness (if you can stomach splashing out for a hardware controller, BBWC and the Smart Array Advanced pack license, that is )

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    Jay
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    Re: Build or buy a RAID6 server?

    I have tried all sorts of differnt setups and I have to say my QNAP NAS has been fantastic, it was a bit expensive though
    □ΞVΞ□

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    jim
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    Re: Build or buy a RAID6 server?

    Quote Originally Posted by Splash View Post
    Is the size of the microserver about right for you? If so you could always pick one up and stick a P410 card in the x8 slot - this is a half height, half length card which you can unlock RAID6 with an extra license purchase. Your requirement for robustness pretty much rules out Windows software RAID, so this seems like a happy compromise between portability and robustness (if you can stomach splashing out for a hardware controller, BBWC and the Smart Array Advanced pack license, that is )
    Well, that's certainly the budget option

    So it's just £245 for the SAAP, £242 for the controller plus BBWC, meaning around £500. And naturally, a quarter of that for the server itself :/

    You can see where these guys make their money!

    I have to admit, that would be absolutely perfect, but I fear my budget will be a little tighter than that. Is it possible to get a cheaper card than that? I'm assuming you suggested it because it was HP and therefore guaranteed to function effectively in the HP server?

  6. #5
    Splash
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    Re: Build or buy a RAID6 server?

    Nope, I suggested that because it's one of few half height, half length cards that do hardware RAID6 - if you can live with a larger case then you would save a pretty penny looking at something like a PERC6/i (yes, you can install in non-Dell systems).

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    Re: Build or buy a RAID6 server?

    Depends how far you want to expand this in the future, as my plan was originally largely similar until the HP Microserver came about.

    I put together a machine around an E6600, 4gb RAM and an Abit AB9 Quad GT (here) but then purchased the Microserver for sheer simplicity. I have no data which cannot adequately be protected by multiple backups (and a large amount of the data I have doesn't really matter if I lost, so isn't).
    Last edited by dave87; 06-12-2011 at 08:48 PM.

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    Re: Build or buy a RAID6 server?

    Quote Originally Posted by Splash View Post
    Nope, I suggested that because it's one of few half height, half length cards that do hardware RAID6 - if you can live with a larger case then you would save a pretty penny looking at something like a PERC6/i (yes, you can install in non-Dell systems).
    Ah okay, pity about that because I would've loved another N36L or new N40L, such nice systems. As much as I would like something small though, it's too much of a cost (isn't it always ).

    So the most logical option is a tower of some kind with a PERC6/i then. Question then is how much difference it makes between a self-build or a cheap server. Is it worth getting the PERC6/i second hand or is it best to buy new? I seem to recall quite a lot of people on these boards mentioning they got them second hand, presumably it's no different to buying any other component second hand?

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    Re: Build or buy a RAID6 server?

    Quote Originally Posted by dave87 View Post
    Depends how far you want to expand this in the future, as my plan was originally largely similar until the HP Microserver came about.

    I put together a machine around an E6600, 4gb RAM and an Abit AB9 Quad GT (here) but then purchased the Microserver for sheer simplicity. I have no data which cannot adequately be protected by multiple backups (and a large amount of the data I have doesn't really matter if I lost, so isn't).
    And yeah, that's the other side of things. It's tempting to go for the Microserver, but skimp on the RAID6 and make do with a cheaper RAID5 solution.

    Thing is though, it would mean a radical rethink of my backup system because while I'm very thorough, I only backup sporadically.

  10. #9
    Splash
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    Re: Build or buy a RAID6 server?

    Same as always really - buy new and get a warranty. If buying second hand I think I'd prefer to buy the BBWC new though - you have no idea what condition the battery is in otherwise. In terms of hardware this ML110 is a pretty decent price, and they're still a relatively pleasant form factor. Sure, the processor's not great for virtualisation, but if you're going for a physical install of Server 2008 R2 then it'll be fine. You can always bump the RAM with non-ECC DDR3 at a later date if you really want to. HP used to do the cashback on the ML110 G6s, but sadly no longer.

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    Re: Build or buy a RAID6 server?

    For what its worth, the HP p212 raid card I've got in my microserver can do raid 6 / 6+0 (if you buy a licence pack)... I picked mine up, with the 256mb memory module required for hardware raid 5, brand new on ebay for £104...

    So in my microserver Im now running hardware raid 5 (4x 2tb), plus a seperate 2tb drive (60gb OS partition + rest for backups), plus a 250gb laptop hdd in a usb caddy on the internal usb...

    My main rig plus various laptops backup to the raid array, the 1.7tb partition and (vital stuff only) to the external 250gb disc...

    Depends how far down the 'data backed up in mutliple places' route you want to go...?
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    Re: Build or buy a RAID6 server?

    Quote Originally Posted by vrykyl View Post
    For what its worth, the HP p212 raid card I've got in my microserver can do raid 6 / 6+0 (if you buy a licence pack)... I picked mine up, with the 256mb memory module required for hardware raid 5, brand new on ebay for £104...

    So in my microserver Im now running hardware raid 5 (4x 2tb), plus a seperate 2tb drive (60gb OS partition + rest for backups), plus a 250gb laptop hdd in a usb caddy on the internal usb...

    My main rig plus various laptops backup to the raid array, the 1.7tb partition and (vital stuff only) to the external 250gb disc...

    Depends how far down the 'data backed up in mutliple places' route you want to go...?
    Everything I have is physically replicated at least 3 times, ignoring RAID and the like, but as I said earlier some of those backups are ancient. Not a lot of the data changes, so that's not such a big deal, but anything in the interim... gone. Wouldn't be tragic, hence why I'm not worried about it, but it would certainly be a pain. That's where the RAID6 comes in.

    Need to have a think about exactly what I want to do now. If I make do with RAID5 that will change the situation quite dramatically, as will the question of whether I want virtualisation, as will the question of how much storage I need.

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    Re: Build or buy a RAID6 server?

    For what you're talking about would RAID5 with an online hotspare? If so then the P212 should do fine for you.

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    Re: Build or buy a RAID6 server?

    Quote Originally Posted by snootyjim View Post
    Thing is though, it would mean a radical rethink of my backup system because while I'm very thorough, I only backup sporadically.
    Automate it - then you don't have to think about it. Mines done nightly as an incrimental backup, which is useful as I'm not usually modifying the items backed up at that point.

    I've got mine backing up primarily to an external drive, on the homeserver, but I think the next step will be to do the same on a weekly basis to somewhere else - probably another external drive somewhere else in the house that can be readily removed (i.e. if the worst happens and there is a fire).

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    Re: Build or buy a RAID6 server?

    Quote Originally Posted by Splash View Post
    For what you're talking about would RAID5 with an online hotspare? If so then the P212 should do fine for you.
    Isn't that still vulnerable to the old URE issue though? Mind you, I guess if we're talking about 4TB-ish then it's not the same kettle of fish as my 10TB server.

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    Re: Build or buy a RAID6 server?

    Quote Originally Posted by dave87 View Post
    Automate it - then you don't have to think about it. Mines done nightly as an incrimental backup, which is useful as I'm not usually modifying the items backed up at that point.

    I've got mine backing up primarily to an external drive, on the homeserver, but I think the next step will be to do the same on a weekly basis to somewhere else - probably another external drive somewhere else in the house that can be readily removed (i.e. if the worst happens and there is a fire).
    That's precisely it - all of my backups are offline for that reason. I did look into a 6TB USB enclosure or similar to use for online backups but the cost was prohibitive at the time.

    In a couple of years' time I will probably build a second unix server to mirror the other one, but it's not really feasible at the moment.

  19. #16
    Splash
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    Re: Build or buy a RAID6 server?

    Quote Originally Posted by snootyjim View Post
    Isn't that still vulnerable to the old URE issue though? Mind you, I guess if we're talking about 4TB-ish then it's not the same kettle of fish as my 10TB server.
    If the vital data is backed up anyways and it's a home server then is this an acceptable risk? Only you can answer that.

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