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Sata Raid or Nas or cloud ?


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I am looking at away to securly store data. For Sata Raid I am looking at, idea 1 sata multiplier, idea 2 pcI sata Raid Card, and idea 3 build a new pc with an on board raid controller. I am looking at Raid 10. The other thoughts are Nas or Cloud. I could buy a nas device or look for a new cloud provider. Ubuntu one is dead maybe something like own cloud. I don't know the answer just some ideas any thoughts.

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I'm not a big fan of "The Cloud". I want to be able to touch whatever device is holding my data, and have a say about who else has access to it. OwnCloud could work but I haven't really found the functional difference between it and a web-based NAS.

You say you want to securely store your data and thus you're looking at RAID10. If you wanted just secure storage you would've dropped the '0' from that. The only reason to have RAID0 is speed. Are you sure you need that?

I wouldn't go with a commercial NAS since the device itself might die on you and they tend to do funny tricks with the harddisks, partition types and such preventing you from taking out the disks and using them as-is in a regular PC so you can still access your own data.

Instead of getting a big-ass RAID card, my suggestion would be to get a cheap-ass AMD board. For something like $70 you get an ASRock E350M1 with 4 SATA ports on there. There's a PCI-Express slot for expansion if need be. Instead of going with RAID10, which requires an even number of disks so a minimum of 4, which would cost you half the total storage space of your disk array in redundancy but 1 of your drives can die without you losing your data and if a second were to die before you fix things there's a 33% chance you've lost everything.

A potentially better idea is RAID5 which would cost you 1 disk in redundancy (so 25% in a 4-disk setup, but you can go RAID5 starting from 3 disks) but any 1 of those drives can die without you losing your data. If a second drive dies, it's all gone.

For some time now I have a big-ass fileserver on the cheap. It's made using a Sharkoon Rebel9 chassis (30 euro or less. Dirt cheap) and 2 IcyDock 5-disk enclosures with trays quite similar to this one. At the time I populated this with a total of 10 Seagate 250GB harddisks. 250gb at the time was the sweet spot in terms of price per gb.

I set it up as RAID5 and had to put in a MONSTER of a PSU because all the drives span up at the same time on boot which was causing brown-outs. Modern drives should not do this anymore, but you might want to look into "staggered startup" if you're going to make a large array with a lot of disks.

Inside was an Asus workstation board with 6 SATA connections, 2 PCI-X slots and a few regular PCI slots. The processor was a P4 Prescott (hot as hell and not very fast - bad choice but cheapest that fit the board, which was designed for Xeons) and I had a Promise TX4 (or some such) cheap 4-port SATA card. It ran Linux using a single Software RAID5 defined across the full array giving me 2.25TB of storage at a time where 500 cost an arm and a leg, and possibly your first-born.

The good:

- Massive storage for a decent price.

- Performance was, for the time, completely mental. It was almost like you had the data before your finger let go of the return key.

- Redundant

- Comparitively cheap, although the mobo/cpu combo would've been cheaper to do with a regular board and 2 SATA cards.

The bad:

- The disks spun down after some time without use to conserve power. If at this stage you wanted to access a file, all drives in the array had to be spun up before the data could be accessed. It wasn't unusual for this delay to approach 30 seconds.

- Noisy. Disks back then weren't as whisper-quiet as they are today. That time 10, with the very thinnest available metal used on the chassis to keep the sound at bay (i.e. forgeddaboudit)

- The thing drew a metric shit-ton of power continuously. That piece of shit Prescott was mainly at fault here, but the Mobo didn't help much and to keep 10 disks spinning needs a bit of juice aswell.

- All that power comes out in the form of heat, so the closet this machine was in got so hot, especially in the summer, that the door would have to be kept open all the time. See bad point #2.

After a while the drawbacks outweighed the benefits and I redid the build which is what I'm using now. The harddisks were all removed and currently just 3 disks are in there: 2x2TB Samsung SpinPoints and a 3TB WD. On the Samsungs I defined 2 1TB partitions and the first 1TB partition of each is a RAID1 array that houses truly irreplacable data (photographs and such). The rest contains mainly video and audio files which I would prefer to keep, but no harm done if they're lost. I know I can find them again if need be. I have a tiny (16GB) and very, VERY slow SSD in there which is the root drive. It contains the OS and using symbolic links to the harddisks I can present a unified view of the 3 harddisks from a single folder AND get excellent searching performance. If I want to browse through my files looking for something the symlink is enough so the SSD can handle all that and the harddisks can remain spun down. Only when I actually go and view/listen to something will the file on one of the harddisks be accessed which might impose a slight delay to get the disk to spin up, but that's always less than 5 seconds. The consequence though is that this puny SSD contains a lot of symlinks and next to no data, so when I created the filesystem on there I had to format it such that there were a *LOT* of inodes (a low value passed into mke2fs via the -i option). When I want to build a new kernel, I have to place the sources on one of the regular HDs as the SSD runs out of space during compilation. Not a problem, but something to keep an eye on.

Currently this setup makes me happy. I can easily expand the storage by simply plugging in another harddisk and expanding the script that makes the symlinks for the unioning of the data on them. If a drive dies, I only lose the data one that one drive and in case of the important stuff, there's always the other part of that mirror so it's sufficiently safe. Performance is good enough - I get the throughput of a single drive, but when all you want to do is access a few movies or MP3s, big effing deal. And the total power consumption of the current setup is about 60 watts (guessed, not measured) relative to the 500 - 1000W of the old one (measured). And it's still pretty damned cheap to acquire.

Edited by Cooper
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