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You are here: MacNN Forums > Hardware - Troubleshooting and Discussion > Consumer Hardware & Components > external RAID recommendations..

external RAID recommendations..
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UnixMac
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Sep 8, 2007, 05:52 PM
 
Looking for more disk space for my photoshop work, and thinking of going external RAID.. cost is an issue however..

Thinking of getting this: JR.com: G-Tech 90720901 Professional G-Raid II 1.5TB Triple Interface External Hard Driv in Hard Drives:

Anyone with any better suggestions? Thanks for the help.
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mduell
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Sep 8, 2007, 06:04 PM
 
If you're just using it for storage (and the internals for work in progress), why pay the premium for RAID? Buy a couple big single disks.
     
besson3c
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Sep 8, 2007, 06:05 PM
 
How are you going to backup all of that data?

I'm a fan of software RAID solutions myself. If you have a spare PC, have you thought about buying a bunch of low cost drives and attaching them to a cheap network server? This way, you could continue to add drives as you need, and your data will be fully redundant. You only need 3 drives to form a RAID-5 array.

This device is RAID-0. RAID-0 is basically a way of combining the space available from two drives and presenting the drive as one. So, this thing is two 750 GB drives. The problem with this is that if one of the drives goes bad, the whole thing goes bad. You also have no backup.

I'm not sure whether you could run software RAID-5 in OS X (although I've done RAID-2 in FreeBSD), but here's a Slashdot post about building a RAID-5 setup on Linux using a 500 Mhz PC:

Slashdot | Experiences w/ Software RAID 5 Under Linux?
     
UnixMac  (op)
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Sep 8, 2007, 06:12 PM
 
I don't just want to use them for storage.. I want to use them for work disks too.. After I've filled up my two internals (almost done now), I will use the external.. by the time that gets close to full, a year will have passed and I can just delete all the data on the internals and cycle between the two. I just am sick of backing up to DVD customer data which can be 8-10 GB and had to break up over two DVD's!!! Any other ideas are welcome!
Mac Pro 3.0, ATI 5770 1GB VRAM, 10GB, 2xVelociraptor boot RAID, 4.5TB RAID0 storage, 30" & 20" Apple displays.
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besson3c
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Sep 8, 2007, 06:20 PM
 
never mind
( Last edited by besson3c; Sep 8, 2007 at 08:04 PM. )
     
mduell
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Sep 8, 2007, 07:39 PM
 
I really don't see network storage (especially some flimsy linux box) being fast (in latency, but also bandwidth) enough for workstation photoshop work.

UnixMac, how about one of the internal drive brackets for the Mac Pro? They're pretty cheap and you have two more unused SATA ports on the logic board in addition to the drive bay you're not using.
     
besson3c
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Sep 8, 2007, 08:06 PM
 
Originally Posted by mduell View Post
I really don't see network storage (especially some flimsy linux box) being fast (in latency, but also bandwidth) enough for workstation photoshop work.
This is likely, unless he goes with gigabit or fiber or something, which would probably be expensive. Moreover, the Finder would probably be a bottleneck.

I was just thinking about providing some redundancy and room to grow...
     
UnixMac  (op)
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Sep 20, 2007, 10:08 AM
 
Originally Posted by mduell View Post
I really don't see network storage (especially some flimsy linux box) being fast (in latency, but also bandwidth) enough for workstation photoshop work.

UnixMac, how about one of the internal drive brackets for the Mac Pro? They're pretty cheap and you have two more unused SATA ports on the logic board in addition to the drive bay you're not using.
I've got an internal RAID on there for my non-video stuff.. it's software RAID and I honestly don't know how the speed compares to the software RAID, but it's been working flawlessly for almost a year now.
Mac Pro 3.0, ATI 5770 1GB VRAM, 10GB, 2xVelociraptor boot RAID, 4.5TB RAID0 storage, 30" & 20" Apple displays.
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nerd
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Sep 24, 2007, 01:50 AM
 
I'm running a RAID 5 under Ubuntu 6.06 over a gigabit network and I can get 60-80MB/sec on large files. The Ubuntu server is running a 2gHz Athlon 64 with 1GB of RAM.

I just upgraded my drives the other day and for kicks I did a RAID 0 and I could fully saturate the gigabit connection, 98MB/sec when viewing it with Menu Meters. This shows that RAID 5 is taking some CPU time but 60-80Mb/sec is plenty fast for me.

One thing to think about it how do you get your data off your RAID if your hardware RAID card dies and you can't get it anymore? I don't know if the lower cost RAID devices on the marker are backwards compatible with their predecessors.
     
besson3c
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Sep 24, 2007, 02:07 AM
 
Interesting results!

It would be interesting to compare Finder copy speeds to a straight timed Unix cp command, just to see if the Finder is a bottleneck. If it is, this might throw off your Menu Meters number as a metric for what is possible with your RAID hardware, but if there is a difference it would be interesting to know how much of a bottleneck the Finder is.

Also, how are you copying files from your Ubuntu machine? Netatalk? NFS?
     
kamina
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Sep 24, 2007, 05:01 AM
 
Raid 0 is generally a very bad idea for an external unless you keep an up to date backup somewhere else. You will really be gaining nothing in terms of performance as the interface (network, FW, USB2) will already be limiting) and if you have one disk in the external device die you will lose everything.
     
Aqua_Geek
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Sep 24, 2007, 02:41 PM
 
I am a film student and am also looking for an external RAID storage solution. After some thought, here is what I am planning on doing:

I recently bought a new MacBook Pro as an upgrade from my Dual 450 G4. The tower is basically just collecting dust now, so I am going to use it for storage as it has on-board Gigabit Ethernet (first model to have it). The 8-port RocketRAID controller card (PCI-X) I was thinking about getting goes for about $250. The tower has 4 HD slots as well as a full 5.25" bay with an additional 3.5" bay below it, meaning you could theoretically put up to 6 drives (firmly mounted anyway) in the system. I think I will leave the optical drive there, move the ATA boot drive to the (currently-empty) 3.5" bay, and use the 4 HD slots for the RAID. Currently, I am not that pressed for space, so I will probably just go with 4 500GB drives (~$100/ea), giving me a total of 1.5TB in RAID5.

All in all, I will end up spending roughly $650 (compared to the $899 they want for the external). Granted, it is not as portable, but it also could be used as an additional, fully-functioning computer if needed. Not to mention it could be set up for network rendering, etc.

Any thoughts/ideas/suggestions?
( Last edited by Aqua_Geek; Oct 22, 2007 at 05:41 PM. )
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besson3c
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Sep 24, 2007, 03:01 PM
 
Are you certain that you can get a 500GB for $100 each that is an IDE and not a SATA drive? If so, I would be surprised... Your G4 only supports IDE/ATA drives, not SATA drives, and these older drives are now much more expensive, especially at that capacity.

It might literally be cheaper for you to build your own super cheap PC (you can get a motherboard for around $50, a cheap case, RAM, etc. quite cheaply), install Ubuntu on it and go with a software RAID 5 setup. If keeping your costs down is a priority and you want to do RAID, this is what I'd suggest.
     
besson3c
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Sep 24, 2007, 03:08 PM
 
I was wrong, it looks like you can still get an Ultra ATA/100 500 GB drive for around $100. However, the 450mhz G4 only supports Ultra ATA/66, so this is several revisions older (and slower) than newer SATA drives.

I probably would not recommend sinking in this kind of money to older drive technology like this.
     
Aqua_Geek
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Sep 24, 2007, 03:09 PM
 
Originally Posted by besson3c View Post
Are you certain that you can get a 500GB for $100 each that is an IDE and not a SATA drive? If so, I would be surprised... Your G4 only supports IDE/ATA drives, not SATA drives, and these older drives are now much more expensive, especially at that capacity.
No, they're SATA. I realize that my G4 doesn't support SATA out-of-the-box, nor does it have hardware RAID support built-in. That's why I'm getting a PCI-X card with SATA ports that supports RAID 5.

Edit: looking at my original post, I realized that I had left out that detail (that it's a SATA RAID card)
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besson3c
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Sep 24, 2007, 03:23 PM
 
Cool! SATA 1.5 or 3?

As long as you're investing in SATA, what you're describing sounds great! I'm sure Apple designed their cases to cool the 4 drives adequately, but that might be the only remaining concern. 4 is a great number for RAID 5 - 3 drives for the min configuration plus one hot spare.
     
Aqua_Geek
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Sep 24, 2007, 03:28 PM
 
The model I'm gonna go with is SATA 3 (HighPoint Technologies, Inc -Mac Support), that way there's still room to grow in the future once HDs can finally utilize the bandwidth.
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Aqua_Geek
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Sep 26, 2007, 11:05 AM
 
Originally Posted by besson3c View Post
4 is a great number for RAID 5 - 3 drives for the min configuration plus one hot spare.
I'm actually debating a little about that - should I go with the hot spare or add the extra .5TB to the array? I mean, it's not like it's for an important website or streaming server or anything, so do I really need the hot spare? One drive goes down, I think I'd rather just deal with running to Fry's to pick up a new one and have the extra space.

Thoughts?
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besson3c
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Sep 26, 2007, 11:47 AM
 
Originally Posted by Aqua_Geek View Post
I'm actually debating a little about that - should I go with the hot spare or add the extra .5TB to the array? I mean, it's not like it's for an important website or streaming server or anything, so do I really need the hot spare? One drive goes down, I think I'd rather just deal with running to Fry's to pick up a new one and have the extra space.

Thoughts?
You could live without the hot spare, as long as you had the ability to diagnose which drive it was that failed I guess...

What combination of drives would you use to build 5 TB with 4 drives?
     
Aqua_Geek
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Sep 26, 2007, 12:03 PM
 
Originally Posted by besson3c View Post
You could live without the hot spare, as long as you had the ability to diagnose which drive it was that failed I guess...
The RAID controller should inform the user which drive failed, should it not?

Originally Posted by besson3c View Post
What combination of drives would you use to build 5 TB with 4 drives?
In RAID 5 it would be 1.5TB - 3x500GB with 1x500GB for parity. There's a . in my last post (1/2TB boost using the 4th HD for space and not spare).
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besson3c
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Sep 26, 2007, 12:15 PM
 
Originally Posted by Aqua_Geek View Post
The RAID controller should inform the user which drive failed, should it not?
I don't know, I guess this would depend on the driver/kernel? The OS would report I/O errors, but it would likely apply to the RAID as a whole. At work we have a dedicated enclosure for our SAN with lights that light up to indicate drive failures, so this is super easy. I've never used a simple PCI card solution like this, perhaps this is worth looking into?

In RAID 5 it would be 1.5TB - 3x500GB with 1x500GB for parity. There's a . in my last post (1/2TB boost using the 4th HD for space and not spare).

Ahhh.. for some reason I missed the decimal
     
ginoledesma
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Sep 26, 2007, 03:48 PM
 
Another option is to go Firewire and buy an external device that handles the RAID for you. It'll be a bit slower than native ATA/SATA, but overall good-enough for PS work. Companies like Lacie, WiebeTech, G-Technology, and the like have them (though I suppose they tend to have a higher premium). There are build-your-own solutions (enclosure + drives) that should go for a bit cheaper.
     
besson3c
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Sep 26, 2007, 04:04 PM
 
For reasons stated in either this thread or one of the other RAID threads, I would not recommend a RAID 0 solution, such as many of the drives listed on the Newegg page linked to above.
     
   
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