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 Post subject: Home Server or Alternative Suggestions
PostPosted: Thu Jul 19, 2012 8:27 am 
8086
8086

Joined: Mon Jun 13, 2005 6:16 am
Posts: 19
Location: New York City
Dear members of the Network Nook -

First of all thank you for reading my post. I realize it is long, but I want to make my situation clear so that I can get the best possible advice in moving forward with an effective network storage solution.

Let me explain my scenario. I run my graphics intensive business from home and have two assistants. We all access the same data set which is store exclusively on a networked storage server. The computers that we each use house only programs and are quite fast, but do not store any of the pertinent data.

For years I was using a windows home server box by Acer running as the raid array in which data is spread over three disks. The system was relatively fast and did a good job. Eventually one drive failed leading to a general server failure. I have not been able to recover the server itself though all data was saved.

To my disappointment Windows Home Server units are now few and far between. Moreover, I understand that the technology is not longer well supported by Microsoft, nor does it offer some of the key redundancy features of the older Home Server OS. I replaced the Acer Home Server Unit with a two disk iomega storcenter ix2-200 running in a Raid 1 array over the network. This storage operates so slowly its is almost useless for my purposes.

These purposes are: Data Storage, Redundancy, and Speed of Access. I access and write large amounts of data to the server regularly in the form of countless small files as well as very large image documents saved directly from my 44 inch scanner.

Here are my ideas. I have an old 64 bit computer that I am not using. My total data set is currently well under 512 GB. If I install Home Server 2011 on a small ssd attached to this unit can I also purchase the HighPoint RocketRaid 2720SGL and set it up as a raid 1 mirrored raid array using two 512 SSDs? Will this provide the access speed and redundancy I need? Or would I need to move into 5 disk array to get the speed I need for reading and writing large image files? Of course, the system needs to be expandable once I get more than 512 GB of data, but that will sill be a couple of years.

Performance and consistency are very important to me. Budget is an issue, but I am willing to invest in this project if I can come up with a speedy solution that offers long term reliability. I do like the home server build described by maximum PC here

http://www.maximumpc.com/article/featur ... ome_server

but don't know if it is best for my purposes nor do I know if it is the most economical system for my needs.

Thank you for your advice.

Kevin


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 Post subject: Re: Home Server or Alternative Suggestions
PostPosted: Thu Jul 19, 2012 4:15 pm 
Smithfield
Smithfield

Joined: Sun Jun 18, 2006 7:37 pm
Posts: 5409
Two high performance SSDs in RAID1 will provide about 800MBps-1GBps, on a good day depending on how the files are ultimately organized. But the problem is that you'll get shafted on your network. If you're using Gigabit Ethernet, your raw performance rate is 100MBs not including overhead (which if it's TCP, is like 20 bytes per packet). So even if you get a high performance SSD RAID setup, your network will kill your transfer rate.

So you'll have to include everything else if you want to get really damn fast.


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 Post subject: Re: Home Server or Alternative Suggestions
PostPosted: Thu Jul 19, 2012 6:13 pm 
8086
8086

Joined: Mon Jun 13, 2005 6:16 am
Posts: 19
Location: New York City
What do you mean "everything else?"

Here is what I am thinking. My old system is a pretty decent (meaning it can run all modern games very very well) 64 Bit system with a fair amount of Ram. I install FREE NAS on a small SSD and run three 1 terrabyte disks in a Software Raid 5 system.

My main system right now is blazing fast. From the main computer I can upload a huge collection of files to my remote webserver more quickly than I can download that same file the damned Iomega StorCenter.

Is there anyway around the Ethernet bottleneck?

Kevin


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 Post subject: Re: Home Server or Alternative Suggestions
PostPosted: Fri Jul 20, 2012 8:34 am 
Smithfield
Smithfield

Joined: Sun Jun 18, 2006 7:37 pm
Posts: 5409
By everything else, this is more of a system upgrade than simply throwing in some hard drives and a RAID card and calling it a day. I'm going to assume you don't want to spend any more money than you have to or build something entirely new for this.

The only around the Ethernet bottleneck is:
  • Get a faster protocol. Except anything beyond Gigabit Ethernet tends to be used in the professional world, so it's insanely expensive for a consumer
  • Use another interface that plugs into your computer. The next step ups are eSATA (3Gbps cap), USB3.0 (5Gbps cap), or Thunderbolt (10Gbps, but there exists no add-on cards if you don't have it).

However, I would take some measurements of the performance of your current system. Maybe you can do a small upgrade for a huge benefit if there's something weird about your current performance. And I don't want to sound like a hard ass, but this requires numbers, not "it's slow/fast/something"


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 Post subject: Re: Home Server or Alternative Suggestions
PostPosted: Fri Jul 20, 2012 9:18 am 
8086
8086

Joined: Mon Jun 13, 2005 6:16 am
Posts: 19
Location: New York City
Interesting. Apparently a Thunderbolt Card is scheduled to be released by ASUS this month.

Can I plug my server into both the ethernet switch and to my computer directly via the USB 3 or THunderbolt connection?

My Iomega Storcenter is a mess. The internal fan does not seem to run and when I try to using the included software to monitor the system status it doesn't work.

Kevin


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 Post subject: Re: Home Server or Alternative Suggestions
PostPosted: Fri Jul 20, 2012 1:10 pm 
Smithfield
Smithfield

Joined: Sun Jun 18, 2006 7:37 pm
Posts: 5409
tantris wrote:
Can I plug my server into both the ethernet switch and to my computer directly via the USB 3 or THunderbolt connection?

Without something special, no. They're peripheral protocols, not networking ones.

tantris wrote:
My Iomega Storcenter is a mess. The internal fan does not seem to run and when I try to using the included software to monitor the system status it doesn't work.

Hm, well here's your problem. If your NAS box isn't working correctly, fixing this may bring it up to a better speed.


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 Post subject: Re: Home Server or Alternative Suggestions
PostPosted: Fri Jul 20, 2012 2:12 pm 
8086
8086

Joined: Mon Jun 13, 2005 6:16 am
Posts: 19
Location: New York City
I am not certain it isn't working - only that it is slow. I can't seem to get Intel's NAS Performance Toolkit to work on it - the program can't seem to recognize it as a storage device. The thing works and is accessible. I did upgrade the Firmware and this seemed to help with Iomega "system status" which doesn't really offer much info. It seems to run at a temperature of about 132 F (56 C), but the fan doesn't run - perhaps it doesn't need to because the system is not hot enough. My main system runs between 38 and 40 degrees C, so perhaps performance is being degraded because my iomega is too hot?

Kevin


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