Foos' 1.5TB server build thread

Discussion in 'Technology' started by Foosinho, Apr 28, 2006.

  1. Grouchy

    Grouchy Member+

    turkey bacon with swiss
    Apr 18, 1999
    Canal Winchester
    Club:
    Columbus Crew
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    Right now I'm playing around with software RAID 5 on Windows 2003 Server.

    I have 3x500GB and 2x750GB on three IDE controllers. I started by carving out roughly 1TB (half a 500GB drive x 5 - 1 for redundancy) chunks and using junction points on the system drive (80GB SATA, not RAID'ed) to reference the storage. When I start getting low on storage I'll carve out the next chunk, junction it, and continue. The extra storage on the 750GB disks will be for stuff I really don't give a :eek: about.

    If I ever get to the point where I don't have enough storage I'll either redo the whole thing or just slap myself for even considering it.

    I've considered software RAID 5 under Linux and played around with it in a VM but my comfort level for recovery wasn't as good as I wanted it to be; I have a developmental license for 2003 Server so why not; I'm learnding ...
     
  2. patrickdavila

    patrickdavila Member

    Jan 13, 1999
    Easton, PA
    Club:
    New York Red Bulls
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    I've setup a Raid1 array using a 3ware card under Ubuntu for my blog server and media archive. It's been running great without any issues for some time now.
     
  3. zman31

    zman31 Member+

    May 5, 1999
    Columbus, OH
    Club:
    Columbus Crew
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    Hey Foos--

    I dug deep to find this thread. It's time for me to come in to the world of people able to build a computer. Might as well start with a NAS. I want to store ripped dvds and blu-rays, music an photos for streaming thorughout my home network in a raid 5 array.

    Hard drives have decreased in storage/price ratio quite a bit since your build. For about the same money you spent on drives I could get 4 1.5TB drives

    So, I am a complete novice at this. I've googled NAS build and read quite a bit but most of the parts lists are as old as the ones listed in this thread. I don't want to spend a bunch of money and then not be able to cobble it together for it to work.

    So I'm turning to you guys.

    What I want to be able to do. Stream at least 2 HD things at once to different locations. Be able to easily recover from a failed drive in the array i.e. be able to identify the failed drive, remove it, reconfigure and be back up an running in a 24 hour period with minimal fuss.

    I have no computer parts in my home except for a dvd burner and some old memory so I'm starting from scratch.

    This is what I'm thinking I'll need. Can anyone put together a shopping list for me?

    Tower case (with ability to house up to 8 drives)
    Mother board and processor (with enough juice to handle the above)
    Power Supply (enough power to handle the current 4 drives and up to 8)
    RAID Card
    Gigabit ethernet
    4 1GB or 1.5TB Hard Drives (will probably go with whatever I can get the cheapest when the time comes)
    Memory

    Oppertating system (FreeNAS seems like a good way to go for cheep though being a linux novice maybe WHS would be a better way to go.

    Thoughts? Am I nuts for this being the first thing I've built? Should I just buy one of those prepackaged NAS boxes with 4 drive bays and be done with it?
     
  4. Foosinho

    Foosinho New Member

    Jan 11, 1999
    New Albany, OH
    Club:
    Columbus Crew
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    How ironic you just brought this up. In December my array failed, and I lost all my data. 3 of my 8 drives failed, and the controller never alarmed. My lessons learned:

    1) Think long and hard about how much you need RAID. Why do you want it? What are you looking for it to give you?

    2) RAID is not backup. I learned the hard way that counting on the redundancy to protect your data is a mistake. I could have just as easily suffered a controller failure and had virtually the same result.

    For me, my conclusion from this experiment is that RAID is not appropriate for me. In practice, I got little from using RAID, and not just because the controller didn't alarm. I lost some storage space to parity, I wasn't able to spin down drives to save power (this is a bigger thing than you think!), and in some cases the RAID couldn't keep up performance wise.

    I have since rebuilt my machine, using the salvagable drives as individual mountable storage locations. This works for me for several reasons:

    1) MythTV can write to multiple folders when storing (and playing back) recordings. To the end user, the different folders are invisible; it just looks like a big block of recordings. MythTV is also smart enough to know when these different folders are on different physical disks (local or NFS mounted), and balance recordings across them to keep loads reasonable. So I just mount a bunch of drives as additional folders to be written to.

    2) I don't care about losing a recordings drive. If one melts, oh well. Recordings are low-value data, compared to photos (yes, I lost all of my digital photos), home directory data, etc.

    3) If a drive gets full, I can buy an individual larger drive and (a) just bring it on line, or (b) (in the case of the drive holding my personal home directory) I could copy the data to the new drive, unmount the old, mount the new in the old mountpoint, and use the old drive for something else.

    4) I can copy the important data to a 2nd drive for backup purposes. If the backup drive dies, I replace it. I've lost my backups, but not the core data. If one of the core drives die, I still have the data on a backup. I've even backed up /etc to make restoring the system drive/setup easier.

    5) I'm a little gunshy on "consumer" RAID cards being capable enough. As of right now, I'm not sure that RAID is either necessary or cost-effective for home users. It certainly isn't in my application, especially since MythTV added the multiple-folder capability, which didn't exist when I built the machine, and was one of my primary reasons for building it. (Ironically, multiple HD streams overloaded the box - it took too long to write to disk - and I needed to bring another recording drive on-line almost immediately.)

    I still have a separate machine running FreeNAS. I like it, and my long-term solution is to eventually put all of my data storage capability into a FreeNAS box. The box I'm running for that now isn't capable of holding all of these other drives, and unfortunately it's not formatted in a non-FreeBSD file system, so I can't just pop it into my main server to save a little power. Oh well.

    Andy, I'd be glad to talk to you in more detail, face-to-face if you want. We haven't hung out in a long while. Not tonight tho. We're getting a little bit of snow up here in New Albany today. :D
     
  5. zman31

    zman31 Member+

    May 5, 1999
    Columbus, OH
    Club:
    Columbus Crew
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    Yes, I'm a total novice on this.

    I do want some data security, especially for photos and other irreplacable files. I thought that RAID 5 would provide that from the reading I've done with the minimum of lost storage. But I don't know.

    Those 4TB NAS boxes available for retail at $500 or so seem like decent value for money, but they are not that expandable and as my family gets older and more and more hi-def video is stored that space will just get eaten up.

    I'm wiring my home with 4 cat6 and 2 rg6 lines to each room. I'll have 2 Directv HDdvr boxes, the PS3 and this server to distribute throughout the house.

    If I rip hundreds of movies, CDs, store pictures and other critical data, I want to be able to use and never lose it. I can backup critical stuff to offline drives at intervals. However all the time and effort put in to ripping and storing is something that you don't want to have to repeat.

    I won't be storing TV on the box and I'm not a BT guy.

    Yeah, Foos, today is bad. Maybe sometime soon. You'll like my new house.
     
  6. Foosinho

    Foosinho New Member

    Jan 11, 1999
    New Albany, OH
    Club:
    Columbus Crew
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    Correct - RAID 5 provides redundancy with the fewest parity bits. It has the added benefit of continuing to function thru a drive failure. Which is why I used it. Just remember - RAID is not backup. Make it your mantra.

    Personally, I like the added flexibility of building your own. That pre-made NAS box won't be able to grow with you, IMO.

    Good! 4 cat6 is more than "normal", I think, but a good idea. You can send a lot of data over a cat6 cable, and you can use them for a lot of things.

    OK - in which case, RAID might make sense for you. I will definitely still have a robust backup plan in place for the truly critical stuff (photos, for example). I can run you thru my plan (which still doesn't have 100% implementation), which includes automated local daily backups, automated off-site backups, and even a portable 1TB drive in a waterproof case that I can grab on my way out the door if the house is burning down with electronic, encrypted copies of all the super-important stuff.

    Hit me up on my cell sometime, if you've still got the number. You can show me the new place, we can have a beer, shoot the shit, maybe play some PS3, and talk thru all this stuff.
     
  7. zman31

    zman31 Member+

    May 5, 1999
    Columbus, OH
    Club:
    Columbus Crew
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    Yeah, 4 cat6 is more than normal but for HD video distribution with IR control along with data, that's 3 right there. The guys at AVSforum say that should be standard in new builds along with conduit for future proofing. I figure if I'm going to run 1 I might as well run them all as they can be usefull for lots more than data when you look at some of the 4x4 HDMI to cat5/6 matrix switches out there which is how I am looking to send video throughout.

    I'm pretty sure I have your number. I'll be in touch. Since the 2nd child was born I've been a bit house bound. Thanks!
     

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