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View Full Version : external RAID for xserve (other than XRAID)



jacob
06-19-2007, 03:26 PM
I have a g5 xserve and want to give it more storage.

Currently have a few wiebetech rackfires, which have proved good, but too slow for online storage.

I find the XRAID to be too expensive for what you get out of it. I'd rather build something myself, which will be a hell of a lot cheaper!

I am thinking about sata2 options, and want to have a RAID5 rackmount case.
There are many many options out there-- I could go with using Softraid, a PCI-x card, and a bunch of seagate 7200.10 500GB. I could also go with a multichannel setup. There are also a couple of hardware raid enclosures out there.

I am interested in people's thoughts on this.

Thanks!

TZ
06-19-2007, 03:30 PM
Which Xserve? you mention PCI-X so that would place it in G5 era.

Would you consider FC + SATA?

jacob
06-19-2007, 03:48 PM
Yeah, this is a g5 single 2ghx xserve with 1.5 GB RAM
(Its used in small retouching workgroup. Doesn't get TOO much simultaneous action, but it happens. Currently, we archive stuff off on an as-need basis, and use the internal drives. I replaced them once with larger drives.)

I would consider Fibre Channel, yes. I was thinking Ultra Scsi 320 and sata2, however.
You don't think a simple multilane or port multiplier to RAID5 enclosure would be reliable/fast enough?

ricks
06-19-2007, 03:56 PM
RAID5 must be done with hardware RAID. Software RAID5 eats CPU cycles, something like 95% during writes. Makes it impossible to use for any serious use.

There are no hardware RAID cards that use Port Multipliers.... yet.

There are VERY few hardware RAID PCI/PCI-X cards for the Mac. HArdware RAID being defined as those that have the processor on the PCI card. Apple sold one called the MegaRAID, but only Apple sold it. If you can find one it will do. NetCell made one but they are now out of business.

You can accomplish this using a finished product like a Huge Media Vault. You can do this using the new CalDigit HDPro (http://www.caldigit.com/HDPro.asp), we'll have it in stock in a week or two, the rack first, the tower later.

Rick

jacob
06-19-2007, 03:59 PM
have you seen this yet?

http://wiebetech.com/products/RTX600.php


The caldigit HD looks pretty impressive!

TZ
06-19-2007, 03:59 PM
I was thinking you can't beat Apple's FC card in an Xserve. Everything else is 3rd party.

I just wanted to throw the ball up in the air, see if it taps into the basket. FC and SCSI were/are the original multilane.

So what are your needs? storage capacity; speed; sustained I/O?

How about some 1TB Hitachi's? fast and massive and suppose to be reliable. Seagate has their 750 and Samsung is out with 750 and headed to 1TB while WD just brought out non-enterprise (non-RAID) Caviar, the RE2 750GB will take longer.

jacob
06-19-2007, 04:10 PM
Apple FC cards are cheap too.

My needs are simple: More storage on the server. Its a basic fileserver where we store large lots of large photo files (psds and Tifs for the). Things are copied locally, worked on, then copied back.
I am thinking raid5 so i don't have to stick with mirroring (which i have now).

I could also just change out the 2 internal drives on the xserve again and yes go with 1TB drives mirrored, which would help. But I would prefer going with a much larger solution, for better future proofing. Then when I upgrade to a newer xserve, I can just move the RAID to the new server.

jacob
07-10-2007, 07:47 AM
hey guys, could you explain something about the HIghpoint RocketRaid?
There is a 'new' one which works on a pci, here (http://granitedigital.com/catalog/pg49_fasthostadapters.htm#highpointrocketraid).
But the specs don't indicate if there is actually a processor on the card or not.
I would be using the card with either a RAID10, or RAID5 external enlosure.

Nicolas
07-10-2007, 11:30 AM
hey guys, could you explain something about the HIghpoint RocketRaid?
There is a 'new' one which works on a pci, here (http://granitedigital.com/catalog/pg49_fasthostadapters.htm#highpointrocketraid).
But the specs don't indicate if there is actually a processor on the card or not.
I would be using the card with either a RAID10, or RAID5 external enlosure.
Yes, no one here would recommend it ;)


But this stuff is good!
SCSI:
http://www.easyraid.com/?RAID-Products:easyRAID_S6A2-U4R2
http://www.easyraid.com/?RAID-Products:easyRAID_S8A2-U4R2

FC:
http://www.easyraid.com/?RAID-Products:easyRAID_Q12%2B
http://www.easyraid.com/index.php?RAID-Products:easyRAID_Q12P2
EASYRAID good and favorable stuff.


But yes there is always something better but also this stuff is costly:
http://www.infortrend.com/main/2_product/sata.asp
http://www.infortrend.com/main/2_product/fibre.asp


Regards

Nicolas

jacob
07-10-2007, 11:37 AM
nicolas,

thanks for the links-- but these are enclosures, and i was asking about a pci card.
did i miss something?

TZ
07-10-2007, 12:04 PM
<table border="1" bordercolor="#667bb4" cellspacing="0" width="500"><tbody><tr><td align="center" bgcolor="#ffffff" width="50%">
Inbuilt-Controller Processor
</td> <td align="center" bgcolor="#ffffff" width="50%">Intel<sup></sup> i80331<sup></sup> 667MHz, 64-bit RISC Microprocessor</td> </tr> <tr> <td align="center" bgcolor="#ffffff" width="50%">
Cache Memory
</td> <td align="center" bgcolor="#ffffff" width="50%">256 ~ 1024MB (256 MB installed)</td> </tr> <tr> <td align="center" bgcolor="#ffffff" width="50%">
RAID Levels
</td> <td align="center" bgcolor="#ffffff" width="50%">0, 1, 0+1, 3, 5, 6, TP (Triple Parity), 30, 50, JBOD</td> </tr> <tr> <td align="center" bgcolor="#ffffff" width="50%">
Data Transfer Rate
</td> <td align="center" bgcolor="#ffffff">Up to 320 MB/s</td> </tr> <tr> <td align="center" bgcolor="#ffffff" width="50%">
Host Channel
</td> <td align="center" bgcolor="#ffffff">1x Ultra320 SCSI</td> </tr> <tr> <td align="center" bgcolor="#ffffff" width="50%">
Disk Channels
</td> <td align="center" bgcolor="#ffffff" width="50%">Serial ATA II 3.0Gbit/s</td></tr></tbody></table>
http://www.easyraid.com/?RAID-Products:easyRAID_S6A2-U4R2

jacob
07-10-2007, 12:11 PM
thanks, tz, for pointing me to the obvious.
can i blame it on the heat?

next dumb question: who sells this in the US? I've been looking and I can't find anywhere on their pages, or searching online...

Nicolas
07-10-2007, 12:36 PM
nicolas,

thanks for the links-- but these are enclosures, and i was asking about a pci card.
did i miss something?

You will need an interface card only for the SCSI RAIDs e.g. ATTO UL4S or UL4D and for the FC RAIDs the Apple FC or an ATTO FC card will do the job.

The RAID controller is build-in the RAID itself which is a dedicated CPU plus Cache to speed things even more up.

I knew the Q16 and Q16+ and those are great units, fast an painless to administrate.

Regards

Nicolas

jacob
07-10-2007, 12:50 PM
nic,
where did you buy yours?

Greentree_uk
07-10-2007, 01:07 PM
Jacob,

I'm surprised you have written off the xserve raid as expensive. when you look at what you are getting (essentially two raid arrays) then I regard it as good value. sometimes you have to weigh up peace of mind, hassle,reliability, and industry standard. if you want an array to grow with your needs then the xserve raid is a tidy solution. I'd say wait a couple months and get a new revision but it is a neat solution. you also have to bear in mind just how you are going to backup your new array. raid 5 is a must these days but it is by no means enough. you need a near line backup and an offsite solution. lets face it when we are talking Terrabytes of data it isn't worth the risk to lose it all on a bad setup or incomplete backup strategy.

jacob
07-10-2007, 01:14 PM
the reason i write-off the xraid is because you have the 'apple tax', and I am willing and able to install my own HDs (saving a lot of money).

i will reconsider the xraid if i am mistaken.

as for the backup routine, yes-- i have a wiebetech rackfire for nightly backup, as well as removeable drives for off-site.
the rackfire won't be enough to perform a nightly backup, but I'll come up with something...

Greentree_uk
07-10-2007, 01:23 PM
I've often looked into alternative solutions other than the xserve raid and yes if you buy drives seperately then you are indeed paying a tax. and because drive prices are dropping by the day you are indeed being robbed for the 750's at the moment. my advice. if you can at all pickup a 2nd hand unit they are reliable and replace the drives with 1TB ones, you also have to think about connectivity, spare PCI slots! and exactly how is this data gonna come off in the future. I see you have some rackfire's already how much data have you got exactly? you mention mirroring a couple of 1tb drives.

jacob
07-10-2007, 01:38 PM
a 2nd hand unit, eh? perhaps.

this is a small retouching studio, and we go through files pretty quickly.
we only have 500gb of common storage (which is now a mirror-- 2x 500), i have about 1tb of rackfire space.

i was thinking, whichever way i go, of getting an raid enclosure which i would half-fill, and further populate in the future.
having just talked to an apple business specialist, they will lower the sticker price if you deal with them directly, and they DO include the empty trays for whatever is not filled by them.


anyway, i always go by the 2x rule-- get 2x the storage space you think you need. I think i need 1TB in resulting total (raid1, raid 5, whatever), so should get 2tb in resulting total.

that would be 5x500gb drives as raid5.
i suppose i could fill the other half with another 5 and use the other half for my nightly backup.
i ain't spending 6k for this though, so a retread might be a good idea.

Nicolas
07-10-2007, 01:42 PM
nic,
where did you buy yours?

http://www.transtec.de/D/E/ (http://www.transtec.de)
http://www.starline.de

Regards

Nicolas

jacob
07-10-2007, 02:10 PM
hmm, anything a little closer to ny city? ;)

Nicolas
07-10-2007, 03:23 PM
hmm, anything a little closer to ny city? ;)


Hehehe ;)

http://www.maxtronic.com/raid_systems/information/raid_products_overview/

Same stuff other name ;)

Regards

Nicolas

jacob
07-11-2007, 03:08 PM
xraid i want (4x 500) from the business services dept at apple is 400 cheaper than list, at 6k.
still more than i want to spend.
i want to get it down to around 3000.


here it is:

http://www.enhance-tech.com/products/diskarrays/R8.html
it sells for about $2700!


comes empty and i can get 4x750 GB seagates for pretty cheap, leaving the others empty for expansion.


or this, for $2690. it actually looks better (check out the back)
http://www.jetstor.com/02_01_jetstor_sata_408s.html

jacob
07-14-2007, 06:57 AM
Nicolas,

Out of the 2 boxes I linked to, which one looks better to you?
They are very similar to me, though the ENHANCE box has a slighter faster processor, the JETSTOR Raid seems to have a better RAID controller, but its hard to tell.

What do you think?

By the way, I just got an ATTO UL4S-- so I am definitely getting a RAID box connected via SCSI.

Nicolas
07-15-2007, 12:43 PM
Hello,

the JetStore semms OK but, I never saw a similar unit.


Have you seen this one?
http://www.maxtronic.com/raid_systems/janusraid_series/janusraid_sa-4540s/

Duno how much this unit is in the US but, I would prefer it over the JetStore.

Regards

Nicolas