View Full Version : Need advice on a network RAID configuration

01-10-2001, 04:00 PM
Hi all

(an aside - damn that new PB G4 looks nice).. O.K. - real question

Our lab using a mixed platform network (PC / Mac / Unix). Now I'm using an ASIP server for all my students' data files etc... and this works fine. For our experimental work, we've been using 230 MB MO disks as removable storage for our microscope data but this is getting onerous since we're rapidly running out of sources for disks and drives (old > 4 yr technology). What I'm thinking of doing is setting up a network storage system so that the students can yank their data from any machine. Ideally I'd like to use the ASIP server to host this data (we're looking at something along the lines of 50 GB at the moment). The complicating factor is that one of our machines is DOS-only (I know) and it won't map the ASIP server volume. It does map NT volumes though.

So - here's my thinking - I can set up a RAID 1 volume on an NT box (argh) and then back that up to an Excrix drive that is mounted on my Retrospect server. I need to ensure that we have the data on-line all the time and that it's backed up continuously... (i.e. Raid 1 array and then back it up to tape...)

Any other suggestions? I'd be MUCH happier if I could set up the RAID on a Mac so I'd really appreciate any comments or suggestions on how I might be able to do that...



01-11-2001, 02:32 PM
it looks to me as if you are considering migrating from ASIP to NT merely because one workstation can't map HFS+ volumes?

there may be a Windows utility that can fix that one workstation, Chris.

I have looked at NT servers, and while they are easier than previously, I get unnerved by the pricing, and the continual release of service packs, etc. You've been using ASIP for awhile now, and you know how easy it is even on machines you cobble together. Would you do that with NT? Or would you, as I would, buy a bundled pre-integrated system from Compaq or someone? Compare the cost. Compare the time you will need to devote in managing the server. Can you be the NT weenie on staff? or will you need to hire one, or borrow one from one of the other departments? You know what you require to admin an ASIP box.

maybe I'm missing something here?

01-11-2001, 04:33 PM
Hi there...

Oh - don't get me wrong ;-) - there's no way I want to migrate to NT.. the problem I have is that the one and only machine I have that can't access the ASIP server is this MS-DOS - only machine. ASIP supports Windows clients but not MS-DOS clients, except save via FTP perhaps but then I can't get the vendor's software to map to an FTP site. The one option is to do something odd like have the students save their data locally to the machine's hard drive, and then run some utility to transfer the data over to the ASIP server drive. The problem here is that most if not all my students don't even know how to set the time or date on an MS-DOS machine ;-)...

I could upgrade the machine to NT and then I'd be fine since I could then map without a problem to the ASIP server. (The students don't even know that I'm using ASIP at all - they just know their data is somewhere). The only caveat is that that may involve hardware upgrades as well to the computer .. but that's an option...

I totally concur that ASIP is much easier to deal with (except for an annoying shutdown bug) and it works really well. I hate the fact that I have to come up with three separate ways of having people map drives under Windows (i.e. 95 is different than 98 which is in turn different than NT in terms of passing usernames and passwords) whereas the MacOS Chooser is so transparent.

(sigh)... I'll see if I can cobble up a solution - do you have any pre-made RAID boxes around?...


01-11-2001, 05:11 PM
chris, no pre-built units at this time, but we're pleased to build one for you or just ship you the parts so you can have the pleasure of building all to yourself. We're pretty jammed, as usual, with basement work, but we can squeeze you in.


01-11-2001, 11:01 PM

Thanks Mag...
Will follow up on this.


01-12-2001, 10:01 PM

Don't know if this will help but consider the following: MacOS X server (or just MacOS X depending on your timeframe) can serve ASIP to mac clients (naturally) and can do windows filesharing with Samba - I'm not sure if that's built in right now but I think I heard something about it working with Darwin. If Samba works, you can connect your DOS client via standard DOS UNCs. ?? la "NET USE X: \\MYSERVER\MYSHARE"

You might actually be able to do that with your existing ASIP server is it appears to Windows clients transparently in windows networking. (Sorry, I can't say I've had the chance to do any serious AS networking.) Configuration of DOS workstations is quite a nightmare though.

If none of that works out, I would definitely go NetWare before I went NT. The security model is strong and easy to understand (i.e. not like NT) and the stability is unparalleled. Novell software is really quite good, but they couldn't market their way out of a wet paper bag.

Best of luck,

01-20-2001, 06:53 PM

I think I tried to use that Net USe command to hook it up but it wasn't successful - I'll try it again.. I can get a copy of MacOSX server from our bookstore for all of about $125 right now.. their lone copy...

Let's just say that I just spent the last day and half trying to install a 10 GB IDE drive into a Pentium Pro 200 machine that was MS-DOS 6.22 only and it was a nightmare - the ol' DOS doesn't recognize partitions > 2 GB and Seagate needing some Disk Master software (Ontrack) in order to boot the drive problems. It's so annoying to get a message "insert bootable media into the appropriate drive". and then my MS-DOS 3.5" disks were bad. Gawd.. FDISK hell ensued...

So I'm not overly enamoured with DOS at the moment. It did take me about 2 weeks to figure out how to get the DOS networking up and working...


01-23-2001, 04:26 AM
Hi Chris

Most of the server stuff I know of is either run with a unix variant, freeBSD,
etc. Linux, etc. or Linux on a mac.

Switching to a NT box for a server makes my skin crawl.

My two cents. Don't know about Mac server software, but a unix based, mac gui sounds like heaven to me...

01-23-2001, 09:56 AM
Thanks for the info.. I tried to map under DOS to the ASIP server but all I get is "Error 64 The network name has been deleted".. there's no explanation of what this means but the ASIP server doesn't show up when I type "NET" at the C:\ prompt.

Guess I could try a SAMBA box...This PPro 200 machine can only run under DOS (unless I try to install Windows but that will be a nightmare as the machine doesn't have a CD-ROM drive.. )


01-24-2001, 01:21 AM
i saw you said something about windows, you could find someone who has windows 3.1 on floppies, but if you have to do it off cd, just be sure your startup floppy has mscdex on it so it can run the cd drive. little things like that can be a pain in the ass. i had to install windows on a couple of machines here and i didn't realize the startup disk didn't have it so my cd wouldn't run. it really pissed me off for a while until i realized it. i think i'll leave this server stuff up to you guys.

01-24-2001, 02:09 AM
If you pull a CD rom just for a few hours to load windows you should be OK, Windows won't really care that the CD is gone as long as you don't have to load new drivers from the CD. Like the good Professor said make sure you have a boot disk with the CD-Drivers on it. Just create a boot disk from another computer with 98 or higher and it has a "nifty" boot menu that will allow you to choose the cd driver or not. Nifty being the only creative power that Gates ever had.... a DOS ascii menu allowing you to boot with or with out cd drivers.. Yeah.

It may be better in the long run since, as you said, most of your students don't know dos. Load what ever you already have instructions written for and call it a day. One less headache. I've loaded many 486's with 98SE (Second Edition) and little problem except being a snail. Luckily the people that want 98SE on a 486 can't think faster than the computer anyway so they don't care!

BTW, what is this DOS only machine you speak of? Worse than a 486SX?


01-24-2001, 09:17 AM
Hi ...

Following up... the DOS box we have is a Pentium Pro 200 box - it's actually a server setup.. What it does is run a really expensive microscope that is quasi-multitasking under DOS.. Let's just say that the vendor hasn't made an NT-native version yet. It will run under NT but only in a DOS-emulation mode. Straight from the tech-support guy's mouth - "It's a pain in the rear to upgrade your DOS machine to an NT box to run our stuff - we have to make all sorts of changes to the registry etc.. and you don't gain anything aside from simpler (or more transparent) networking and printing - it's far faster under DOS and no graphics artifacts".. Right now I've set it up so that it basically boots up onto the network and the students are fine with it. What's in fact nice is that the speed of the instrument is independent of the computer (to a large extent - the data acquisition is all done on a separate box). Don't get me wrong - the machine is SWEET under DOS and I have no complaints at all. We have a Win98 machine though that I'd love to drop-kick into the stratosphere - it spends all day disk-thrashing - slower than my Palm in doing anything.


01-24-2001, 10:14 AM
Ah yes, I completely see what your problem is chris...

What version of DOS are you running? If you aren't running the absolute latest version before windows then *MAYBE* upgrading that will yeild some results. I think the last real MS-DOS was 6.2??


01-24-2001, 01:40 PM
We're running 6.22? MS-DOS on the machines..

get this though - the machine came pre-loaded so we had the MS-DOS 3.5" disks all shrink-wrapped etc...so I go to use them after 4 years of being sealed and ..ta-da - disk 1 General Fault Reading.. ARGHHH - bad FAT on the disk so there was no way to even install DOS from scratch..




01-25-2001, 12:18 AM
That sounds like a wonderful situation... Wonder if MS would replace the disk? (very large LOL!). There has GOT to be a way to make it work...

Was there ever a PC/MAC in DOS version? That would allow it to speak Apple.


(And yes 98 sucks, but at least 98SE does not suck as bad as WinME!)

01-25-2001, 01:46 AM
it got better... the only other source was a old MS DOS 6.2.. on .. hang on.. 5 1/4" disks...

Anyways - I was able to (1) download DiskMaster from the Seagate site; (2) build a 3.5 disk using it to set up the new drive; (3) setting it up as the slave, XCOPY /E all the stuff from the old drive -> new drive; (4) reset it as the master and then reboot and all worked out.



01-25-2001, 05:00 PM

01-25-2001, 07:17 PM
...Then I had to fix the config.sys file to include a device=c:\SCSI\ASPI8DOS.sys and device=c:\SCSI\ASPIDISK.sys files so that my external SCSI devices would be recognized and then seen as extra drives.

BUT - what annoys me is that the drive lettering and assignments under Windows get all mucked up when someone leaves a disk in a removable drive and then reboots the machine. All of sudden - it's the "Oh no, where are my files, the paths are all wrong.." - that's cuz the what was "D" is now "E" etc.. arghhh - only on a WinTel world..for that - there is no real fix...


02-02-2001, 05:26 PM
Made the big jump...

Just ordered 2 x 36 GB Cheetahs, a Burly 4 bay enclosure, a Granite terminator and two fan set ups.. should be good to go.. hope I got everything....


02-04-2001, 04:03 AM
I think I remember seeing that order go thru the system, Chris. I made a correction or two....I don't really recall what.

I was doing about five other things at the same time I reviewed it. I told Deb what to do, and that should take care of it. She'll either make the substitutions for you, or contact you to ensure that you approve, if she has not already done so.

I would be helpless without her. She's like a right-arm.


02-04-2001, 10:30 AM

Deb contacted me with some updates and suggestions, which I followed up on - a change on the fan kits, and some cabling

Thanks - you guys are the best in the business ...


02-04-2001, 09:43 PM
excellent. Just wanted to make sure you were getting the right stuff!


02-12-2001, 12:40 PM
Just received the goods ;-0..Looking forward to bolting things together.


02-12-2001, 03:19 PM
Sweet - took about an hour but it's all bolted together - the two Cheetahs are mirrored with SoftRaid, the Granite terminator is reading LVD and it's all bolted to our Miles2
Boy - this 7300 is getting a workout...

A ton of peripherals on it now...

Thanks guys -


02-12-2001, 03:59 PM
I love to see a vintage machine hauling butt like that, Chris.

No way Apple ever envisioned what we'd be doing with these machines years later. They really built them right back in the '90's.


02-12-2001, 05:53 PM
Indeed.. a very sweet machine "Cyclops" is...

Here are its current specs

7300 w/ an XLR G3/400 card (not overclocked)
224 MB RAM / 4 MB VRAM
Adaptec 2930U driving an external DDS-2 DAT drive and an external 230 MB MO drive

Miles2 driving
(1) RAID 0 Atlas V and Atlas IV internal 8.5 GB drives as the boot drives
(2) Ecrix VXA external tape drive
(3) RAID 1 in an external Burly MAP 5041 case comprising 2 x 36 GB 10K Cheetahs and 3 ultimate HD Cooler set-ups.

Original Internal SCSI driving the original Apple CD-ROM

Original External SCSI driving
an external enclosure containing
(1) 230 MB MO drive
(2) CD-RW
(3) Fujitsu 4.5 GB / WD Enterprise 4.5 GB drive as a RAID 0
(4) 1 GB external drive

Dual-Port XLR8 USB card driving an XLR Scroll-mouse and a KritterKam

System is running OS 8.6 and is hosting up our FM Pro database and is acting as our Retrospect server, and FTP host under NetPresenz. All RAID volumes are running with SoftRAID 2.2.2...

Amazing for a machine I bought 4 years ago...

All of this is working so well because of the excellent advice from you guys...

Thanks again


02-12-2001, 10:19 PM

how do you like your Kritter? Just curious.


02-12-2001, 10:38 PM
It works really well - you can check it out here

Note that if you hit it now, you're getting it late at night and in a room w/ an odd set of lighting - hit it during the day and you'll get a better sense.

It works really well.. I had a Connectix QuickCam before and I like this one more - I'm using StripCam to send images to our ASIP server via FTP. (no, it's named that because it runs from the control strip.. ;-) - http://www.stripcam.org) -.. be careful with that URL in case you end up .. ummm. somewhere else...


02-12-2001, 11:10 PM
have you tried using it to videoconference?

02-12-2001, 11:18 PM
Not yet - most of the folks who want to video conference use MS's NetMeeting and there's no equivalent (well - that I can find) for the Mac side and if I use VPC, then it's too slow

We have at best 10 baseT in the lab (I know, I know - we're upgrading to 100BaseT shortly) so that makes it even slower. I suppose I could run out and pick up a spare Kritter Kam to test out - say on my Lombard when I'm not in the lab.


02-13-2001, 01:09 AM
Somebody left the lights on. We can't do that here. Have to turn the lights off so that the guys stealing cars in the parking lot have a safe haven. k

02-13-2001, 08:18 AM
right. You wouldn't want to violate their rights or anything, K. Thanks for being such a fine civil libertarian.


we've been playing around with FireWire cams here for awhile, and frankly, they are a pain in the butt. I sure wish someone would come out with a definitive product that we could use, sell and endorse. I sure would love to be able to videoconference with customers. It might even make me clean up the basement all over again if customers were seeing it in all its pristine chaos.

[This message has been edited by magician (edited 13 February 2001).]

02-13-2001, 08:33 AM
I tried to use a Connectix cam on a PC once under NetMeeting - it seemed to work well but was always choppy and so dependent on how the other person's system was set up...Not really useful here since my office is just down the hall from my lab but sometimes, it can help if I'm at home and need to see if a machine is down or if there's a problem...


02-13-2001, 05:46 PM
If you want to plug into a Netmeeting conference you can try to get a copy of Timbuktu Pro v. 4.8 and then download the conference module from Netopia's website. If you ask anyone there they will tell you that it doesn't exist anymore... I'm not sure if it will work with v5 of Timbuktu, I don't have it to experiment with.

This version won't work with Netmeeting v3. Microsnot's embrace and extend policy towards open standards has another victim... It does work with anything that is actually compliant with DataBeam's T.120 standard, which includes a number of apps on various platforms. We use it for whiteboarding only since we have ISDN videoconferencing in place already.

02-13-2001, 09:41 PM
So...my cool network RAID box rocks - works really well EXCEPT for one niggly thing...

Scenario - the RAID is hooked up to a 7300 running OS 8.6 and w/ DAVE from Thursby running so our NT boxes can see it

the NT boxes see the drive under Windows Explorer. They can see it from the command prompt, you can navigate etc... all is well EXCEPT for when I use a specialized application for our microscopes, which, while it can see the drives doesn't see any folders... - arghhh. Call Thursby up - "Nope, can't be our software - if NT can see it under Explorer, then it's a problem with that other piece of software.

So.. I move the RAID box to my ASIP server...set it all back up again (ASIP 6 under 9.0.4).. and boom - it all works, the NT boxes see it, the software program sees it.. Go figure...all is well again.

Only problem now is that I think I need to build yet another box for my ASIP server since that machine is now running out of disk space.. what a vicious cycle.. ;-) maybe I'll install an internal VXA drive as well ...



02-14-2001, 08:01 AM
hmmmm....well, I guess it could be either an AppleShare thing....or an OS/Open Transport thing.

very odd, IMO.

02-14-2001, 08:46 AM
Indeed... According to the Thursby guys, he thinks it's one line of code in the vendor software that is preventing it from seeing sub volumes..

Anyways - it works - I'm dragging files to the RAID box now over our network from our stash of MO disks..

Now time to think about budgeting for another drive and VXA drive...