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Old July 24, 2014, 09:18 AM
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Hi folks,
I want to expand my data storage system, which right now is composed of a 1.5 TB 7200rpm Seagate and a 2 TB Samsung F4 5400rpm drive, as we are running out of space. I was thinking to get a hardware RAID 5 controller and slap 3x2 TB drives together, as I am kinda worried that I can't really find some reliable new drives for storage. For that I am looking at the drives on newegg for reviews and short of WD Black I don't find anything to inspire trust for some long term storage. Please help me with some input here. I was thinking of getting something like a Dell Perc 5i, or an HP/LSI design, with hardware raid 5. What do you think?
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Old July 24, 2014, 11:31 AM
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What is the rest of your setup? Does does this server all do besides storage?
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Old July 24, 2014, 11:35 AM
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is a c2d with 4 gb of ram. no duty besides storage.
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Old July 24, 2014, 11:47 AM
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I would personally throw FreeNAS on the system. Do a ZFS RAIDZ array using onboard. It is similar to RAID5 however ZFS is far superior for data reliability nor is writing so slow. 4GB of ram should be enough for a 3x2TB system. IMO any HDD should do fine besides the WD Green when used in NAS situations.

FreeNAS Project - Open Source Storage - FreeNAS Project
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Old July 25, 2014, 04:18 PM
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I know nothing about the FreeNAS and the ZFS, I seems a bit daunting the whole thing, I would like to stay at what i know best, Win7. What do you guys know about PCI-X card functioning in regular PCI slots? I know that regular PCI in PCI-X slots work fine, I had a graphics card that was doing that just fine, but what about the reverse?
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Old July 25, 2014, 06:31 PM
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I only tried it once with my PCI-X Raid card and it does work. However the card must be a 3.3v and 5.0v universal card for it to work. As far as I know, the bandwidth basically drops in half if it's in PCI slot instead of PCI-X. That's pretty much why I shell out $215 for a used 4 port LSI Raid card instead.

PCI-X - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
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Old July 27, 2014, 07:36 AM
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I don't really care about the bandwidth drop, this is going to be just storage.
I am reading about ZFS on Wikipedia and I don't really like the fact that, in RAID Z the available capacity will be less than with RAID 5! Defeats the purpose of getting more space.
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Old July 29, 2014, 10:26 AM
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Consider getting a 4 to 8 bay NAS as well. SmallNetBuilder.com usually has updated reviews.

At work we replaced 2 data storage servers with a single 8 bay Synology NAS and it is faster than our Linux servers were and much easier to administer (Synology's interface in particular is super straight forward). I mention a NAS as they can be had for around the same price as a good hardware RAID card.

Words of caution. If you do go RAID card do not cheap out. The cheap ones have driver issues and no noticeable speed increase over software. We even had one old Adaptec card become useless when we moved it from the Linux server to a Win 7 box because some service pack for Win 7 killed support for it.

Last edited by ntslatko; July 29, 2014 at 04:06 PM. Reason: spelling
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Old July 29, 2014, 03:27 PM
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As much as I love ZFS for my storage needs, and FreeNAS would be nice, with only 4GB RAM you might be better off sticking to using UFS with FreeNAS rather than ZFS. The other pitfall with ZFS, is that without ECC RAM, you're taking a pretty big risk with your data.

This article covers some information regarding ZFS and Non-ECC ram, though I don't personally agree with the conclusion, it would be up to you to make the final decision
Why I Chose Non-ECC RAM for my FreeNAS - Brian's Blog

For some more technical reading, this may be worth a look if storage performance is a factor and you're considering ZFS
https://blogs.oracle.com/roch/entry/when_to_and_not_to

For the sake of simplicity though, I agree with ntslatko, Synology NAS' are pretty great, and flexible, and a NAS will be lower powered than any PC you can build to run a file server
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Old July 29, 2014, 08:27 PM
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I was going for a 3ware or LSI based hardware RAID controller, the 9500 series has add in onboard RAM module while LSI 1068 or higher are ROC system with some onboard RAM. I was thinking of a Dell PERC or HP Smart Array P400 line. Sure there is also the OS issue and support in various OSes, as we can see right now some older OSes are not supported anymore by MS, like Win7, they are doing patches only for Win8. I am still studying the problem, no final decision has been taken yet.
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