advertisement
Forums

The Forum is sponsored by 
 

AAPL stock: Click Here

You are currently viewing the Tips and Deals forum
Bouncing an idea off you guys... file server or FW RAID?
Posted by: Will Collier
Date: May 15, 2006 09:56AM
As some of you probably noticed, I've been planning a home media server for my house (and yes, for the smart-alecs, it will be built long before my MAME cabinet).

My going-in plan was to build a very simple (and cheap) Linux file server with lots of hard drives, and hook it in to the rest of my network via either 802.11n or Ethernet. A Core Duo Mini would serve as the "playback head" at the television, and handle all the actual playback tasks.

Then (okay, today), I started reading up on daisy-chaining Firewire drives into RAID arrays, and I said to myself, "Self, why bother with building a file server? Get some cheap external FW cases, fill them with drives, use Disk Utility to configure them as a RAID, share that drive with your network, and you're golden."

Any reason why this would be a dumb idea? Depending on how much throughput I could get from a wireless network, I'd either plug the RAID into my main Mac upstairs and manage it from there, or go direct via FW into the Mini at the TV (the RAID would be shared on the network either way).

Thoughts?
Options:  Reply • Quote
Re: Bouncing an idea off you guys... file server or FW RAID?
Posted by: mattkime
Date: May 15, 2006 10:06AM
I'm a bit confused about the setup you're considering. Further, are you talking about a mirroring RAID? Striping would be a bad idea as it would double you're likelyhood of data loss.



Options:  Reply • Quote
Re: Bouncing an idea off you guys... file server or FW RAID?
Posted by: Will Collier
Date: May 15, 2006 10:09AM
RAID 5 would be my first choice. Good combination of recoverability and maximizing capacity. That said, I don't have any idea at the moment whether that's even possible with a FW array.
Options:  Reply • Quote
Re: Bouncing an idea off you guys... file server or FW RAID?
Posted by: mattkime
Date: May 15, 2006 10:23AM
[www.wiebetech.com]

It certainly is, but are you willing to pay?

How much info do you want to store? Do you need backups?



Options:  Reply • Quote
Re: Bouncing an idea off you guys... file server or FW RAID?
Posted by: Will Collier
Date: May 15, 2006 11:12AM
Yeah, let me elaborate a little bit.

"How much" basically comes down to how expensive hard drives are when I start actually buying hardware. Short answer is, as much as I can get without going broke. Right now it would be 5 300GB drives for an effective capacity of 1.2 GB (300GB would be "lost" to the parity drive). I may wait until 500GB drives drop to $150 or even $100 (they're just under $200, at best, right now).

The main reason I'd like to set up a RAID array is for simplicity at the user end. One of the prime drivers of this whole project is that the end result be "wife-friendly." A single volume is going to be much easier to access from that point of view than many volumes. Having access to RAID 5's recovery options would be a nice bonus.

I don't anticipate doing full backups of the volume. Just too much data, money, etc. involved. Since most of the volume will be backed-up DVDs and CDs that I already own, it wouldn't be a gigantic loss if I had a hard failure (although it wouldn't be fun to re-rip everything again, either).

I'm reading up more now... I see Disk Utility only does RAID 0 and 1. Obviously more research to do if I want to use RAID 5--and not pay big bucks for a pre-configured box. If I can daisy-chain together, say, five external FW cases (I do have a place to put them), that'd work fine for me.
Options:  Reply • Quote
Re: Bouncing an idea off you guys... file server or FW RAID?
Posted by: The Grim Ninja
Date: May 15, 2006 11:25AM
I haven't quite decided which, but I'll be building an external drive system over the next few months.

I'm still playing with options, but it'll either be SATA II (with port multiplier) or Firewire based.

Two SATA cables would give me 10 SATA drives: [cooldrives.com] ($240 total cost)

One Firewire cable would give me 8 IDE drives: [cooldrives.com] ($200 total cost)

Or I might just go with 1 firewire, 1 SATA for 9 drives total and $220 total cost.

(total for controllers only, case plus drives extra)

The SATA route would also require I get an SATA II controller card. And if I upgrade machines, I'd probably need a new controller. (MDD with PCI, probably will go to G5/6 with PCIe)

Firewire is easier, but has less throughput.


As for the case... I bought one of these: [cgi.ebay.com]
It's a great case, but has a few sharp edges. Looks VERY nice though. It will require drive cages or other such adaptation for hard drives. I have been considering something like this: [www.geeks.com] but probably not that one as I don't like the way it looks.
Options:  Reply • Quote
Re: Bouncing an idea off you guys... file server or FW RAID?
Posted by: mattkime
Date: May 15, 2006 11:27AM
I recently did a bunch of reseach on this for a client -

The WiebeTech is actually cheap for what it offers.

For your setup, I'd consider just a bunch of internal or firewire drives. I think your linux box is a good idea - if you're good with linux.

If you lose a drive, so what? Re-rip the disc if you think you'll want to watch it again. Much cheaper that any sort of redundant solution.

>>A single volume is going to be much easier to access from that point of view than many volumes.

yes, but with linux and mac os x, you can have volumes appear as subdirectories. Would it be that much harder for the wife if she had to open a folder?





Options:  Reply • Quote
Re: Bouncing an idea off you guys... file server or FW RAID?
Posted by: Will Collier
Date: May 15, 2006 12:00PM
Thanks for the links, Grimmy, that's good stuff.

>yes, but with linux and mac os x, you can have volumes appear
>as subdirectories. Would it be that much harder for the wife
>if she had to open a folder?

Probably not, but with this many volumes, I'd just as soon have the transitions between them be transparent.

I'm not hugely hung up on recovery and/or redundancy. It's a nice-to-have, but not a must-have in this case. If I can get recoverability, great, if not, I can go on living dangerously. winking smiley
Options:  Reply • Quote
Re: Bouncing an idea off you guys... file server or FW RAID?
Posted by: The Grim Ninja
Date: May 15, 2006 12:15PM
Though not many, there are a few other places that sell the two interfaces I linked. There's one which I believe sells the SATA multiplier for $100.


I'm thinking I may go all-SATA and try using some SATA->IDE adapters. SATA II x 2 would be 600 MB/sec as opposed to FW800 x1 at 800 mb/sec (100MB/sec) or x2 (200MB/sec) if I got a second controller card. SATA just seems to make more sense for the future. Just getting 3 or 4 IDE adapters to use current drives until they can be replaced.
Options:  Reply • Quote
Re: Bouncing an idea off you guys... file server or FW RAID?
Posted by: Will Collier
Date: May 15, 2006 07:19PM
Grimmy, here's another SATA multiplier, $85.

[www.addonics.com]

Problem with that is, there's no easy link to a Mini. I'd have to have some kind of host computer with an SATA card to be the go-between, unless I hooked it to the G5 upstairs and went wireless. Not a deal killer by any stretch (it wouldn't have to be much of a computer), but still added complexity and $.
Options:  Reply • Quote
Re: Bouncing an idea off you guys... file server or FW RAID?
Posted by: The Grim Ninja
Date: May 15, 2006 10:00PM
Yeah, that's what this is for...

[cooldrives.com]

I forgot it was in a different section, so I didn't see it to link to it earlier.

FW/USB to SATA II with Port Multiplier capability. That, to the Port Multiplier... = 5 Firewire connected SATA drives. You also have the ability to either use the external port to route back inside for 5 more drives, 1 more drive, or leave it external to use with an SATA host card.

(I wish it were 2 internal, 2 external SATA... having to give up the one port to use as passthrough kinda sucks. I'd gladly give up the USB connection to have another SATA external)
Options:  Reply • Quote
Re: Bouncing an idea off you guys... file server or FW RAID?
Posted by: Will Collier
Date: May 16, 2006 05:50AM
Ooo, now that's cool. Thanks.
Options:  Reply • Quote
Sorry, only registered users may post in this forum.

Click here to login

Online Users

Guests: 81
Record Number of Users: 186 on February 20, 2020
Record Number of Guests: 5122 on October 03, 2020