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 Post subject: Expanding Storage
PostPosted: Sun Dec 30, 2012 11:51 pm 
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1TB storage
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So, for a while now, I've run 2 servers - my original V1 (EX470) did all the backups, and the WHS 2011 (65+TB) is my movie server. I'm starting to experience lots of problems with the EX470, and my 2011 server is filling up. I'm thinking it's time to retire the 470 and move everything to the 2011 server. I've got the 2011 server in a Norco box with a Supermicro mb. Right now, the only slots open on the mobo are 1X PCI Express slots (the higher speed slots are used for the 3 SAS controller cards). Although a bit on the expensive side, here's my thought on the EASIEST way to expand my storage capacity:

Norco expansion chassis:
http://www.norcotek.com/item_detail.php?categoryid=8&modelno=ds-24e&PHPSESSID=4ffe22111b5f71e36a1b322f8e85b72a

and a connecting 8088 card in the existing Norco server box to connect the 2 boxes together.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16816101736

This should work, yes? Is there a simpler solution (please don't suggest stringing a lot of USB enclosures onto this thing)? Thoughts/suggestions?

_________________
HP EX470, WHS1, 2GB ram, 16.2TB storage (production - moving to decommissioned end of 2013)

Norco 4220, Supermicro board/SAS cards, 4GB ram, WHS 2011, Stablebit DrivePool, 64tb storage (production)


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 Post subject: Re: Expanding Storage
PostPosted: Thu Jan 03, 2013 5:03 am 
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The only thing that I can see is that if you only have x1 slots available to you then how are you going to use that Controller Card? I also have a Norco 4220 fully populated and have often thought about expanding in the same manor as you but I have quite a bit of time before I need to cross that bridge. One thing I have been looking at is fabricating a plate to hold 4 additional drives and mount it in the enclosure behind the fan board. In theory I have enough SATA connections to add like 9 more drives in my server and the Norco Backplane boards are very inexpensive but its just a thought I had but have yet to confirm there is enough space to work with as I believe there is. Certainly there is enough air flow through the enclosure to keep the drives cool and the PSU I have can handle some additional load.

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Exploring the possibilities!

Migrated from WHS2011 to WS2012E: HIGHLANDER

~ Norco 4220 Enclosure
~ Gigabyte GA-990FXA-UD5
~ AMD Phenom II X4 995 3.2 GHz
~ 8 GB Corsair Vengeance DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800)
~ 3 Supermicro AOC-SASLP-MV8


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 Post subject: Re: Expanding Storage
PostPosted: Wed Feb 06, 2013 5:34 pm 
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Comp1962 wrote:
The only thing that I can see is that if you only have x1 slots available to you then how are you going to use that Controller Card? I also have a Norco 4220 fully populated and have often thought about expanding in the same manor as you but I have quite a bit of time before I need to cross that bridge. One thing I have been looking at is fabricating a plate to hold 4 additional drives and mount it in the enclosure behind the fan board. In theory I have enough SATA connections to add like 9 more drives in my server and the Norco Backplane boards are very inexpensive but its just a thought I had but have yet to confirm there is enough space to work with as I believe there is. Certainly there is enough air flow through the enclosure to keep the drives cool and the PSU I have can handle some additional load.


Sorry I haven't come back to this. Year-end reporting is in full swing and I've been buried since coming back on 1/2/13. Thank you for your feedback. Your idea is intriguing, but frankly, I just don't have the time to put together an experiment like that. I really need to be able to put together some components and have things up and running quickly.

I checked and I DO still have an X8 PCI Express 2.0 slot available. I'd forgotten that one of my 3 SASLP-MV8 cards was bad, and I wound up using the onboard ports for the last 4 drives in the case.

So here's my followup question: I am using JBOD in the current box (yeah, I know, I should have done a RAID configuration, but I'm just relying on DrivePool's duplication, and yeah, I know that's a space waster - I'm using what I'm comfortable with). With the 2nd Norco box and the right expansion card, I'm sure I could extend my JBOD array to the expansion Norco box. My problem is finding that magic card. After looking at the details on the Supermicro card I linked above, it appears to only support RAID options, and not JBOD (though I'm not 100% certain of that). Is there a better card to put into my current server to link via SFF-8088 cables to the additional Norco expansion drive box?

_________________
HP EX470, WHS1, 2GB ram, 16.2TB storage (production - moving to decommissioned end of 2013)

Norco 4220, Supermicro board/SAS cards, 4GB ram, WHS 2011, Stablebit DrivePool, 64tb storage (production)


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 Post subject: Re: Expanding Storage
PostPosted: Fri Feb 08, 2013 8:02 am 
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My situation is somewhat similar to yours. I have 22 Drives running in my Norco Enclosure but I have plenty of space available to get by with before having to expand outside the box but I also have a bunch of port multiplies should I need additional capacity. My preference is to add another Norco Enclosure but I am toying with building another server and using higher capacity drives over 2TB.

Anyway there is a card and I will have to look it up that will do the trick but is expensive somewhere as I recall between $800-1200 but as I recall its a Hardware RAID Card with lots of onboard memory. I saw this on Youtube in an unboxing review of the 24 Bay Norco enclosure so I will have to look it up to see if I can find it again.

I am currently running Stablebit Drive Pool the released version and while its not the fastest solution its simple, easy to maintain and I can continue to run my WD Blacks, Hitachi Deskstars and now WD Reds but down the road I know I will want something more robust but my wallet is hurting so right now I am just an online window shopper.

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Exploring the possibilities!

Migrated from WHS2011 to WS2012E: HIGHLANDER

~ Norco 4220 Enclosure
~ Gigabyte GA-990FXA-UD5
~ AMD Phenom II X4 995 3.2 GHz
~ 8 GB Corsair Vengeance DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800)
~ 3 Supermicro AOC-SASLP-MV8


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 Post subject: Re: Expanding Storage
PostPosted: Fri Feb 08, 2013 8:48 am 
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Thanks. However, I'm not looking for a RAID solution, as I run Stablebit DrivePool just as you do (released version). I think I MAY have found a less expensive solution than you propose above.

The Norco box I linked in my first post above is a "storage expander" box - it has a power supply, SFF-8088 connectors on the back, and a full SAS expander / backplane solution installed. Fill that up with drives and and then connect it to the main server through SFF-8088 connectors and you're off and running. The original Supermicro card I linked is not a true HBA board, which is what I need to connect the expansion box to the main server.

I'm looking at the following possible cards:

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16816118133

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16816118116

http://www.backupworks.com/hp-pcie-sas-614988-b21.aspx

or possibly one of the Areca cards listed here:
http://www.pc-pitstop.com/sas_hba/

Is there any reason why any of those would not work? Does anyone have experience using one of those HBA cards? The reviews on Newegg for the 2 LSI cards are favorable, but I know nothing at the moment about theses specific Areca or HP cards (other than generally favorable comments about other Areca and HP cards).

Many thanks for your help. I've already gone through and swapped all my 2tb drives out for 3 and 4tb drives in the main box (luckily I was able to sell my 2tbs to my buddy for his server build to mitigate some of the expense). As I expand this, it will be with 3 and 4tb drives. I was originally going to keep my WHSv1 for certain items and use the 2011 server for JUST my movies (I have a massive movie collection), but my EX470 has been very unruly lately, and I'm thinking I'm just going to expand the heck out of this one and move everything (backups, photography work, documents, etc.) over to the 2011 server and decommission my V1 server.

_________________
HP EX470, WHS1, 2GB ram, 16.2TB storage (production - moving to decommissioned end of 2013)

Norco 4220, Supermicro board/SAS cards, 4GB ram, WHS 2011, Stablebit DrivePool, 64tb storage (production)


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 Post subject: Re: Expanding Storage
PostPosted: Tue Feb 12, 2013 5:50 am 
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I think your on the right track just make sure the SFF-8088 cable connections will properly support the intended drive compliment your looking to add between your two enclosures. While I like JBOD I also want the option to go RAID but I also know there is a big performance and cost difference between Software and Hardware RAID.

I am looking at a couple 24 bay Norco Enclosures to expand my WHS2011 server:

(1) http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.a ... 6816133047

This one has 1 SFF-8088 In and 2 Out which opens up expansion but and supports my requirements

(2) http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.a ... 6816133046

Same thing here but the SFF-8088 connections will require me to change out my MV8's to provide the necessary SFF-8088 external and internal connections to my existing drive using a card similar to the first one in your listing.

There is a balance between cost and performance and its not something to be made over night but I will not be able to move on this until July 2013 when I can fit it into my budget. While I do not mind spending the funds I also want the most bang for my buck. Most of all I want to only do this once. Also some of my drives are aging and while they are still in good shape I will want to replace them with higher capacity drives so I am also looking at 3 and 4 TB Drives. If I go with 4 TB Drives I will reduce the need to expand outside the box but I need the cost to come down a bit more. My storage pool is around 32.7 TB with 14.1 TB Free so I have time on my hands but I know all too well its easy to eat up drives so I like to have room for expansion and room to accommodate a drive failure.

There is one cost that needs to be factored in as well an that is the cost of power it takes to run the server and while I do want the external enclosure I have to be honest and say if I can keep everything in one enclosure and still handle my storage needs that would be the best way to go but if that's not possible then the external enclosure is the way to go.

_________________
Exploring the possibilities!

Migrated from WHS2011 to WS2012E: HIGHLANDER

~ Norco 4220 Enclosure
~ Gigabyte GA-990FXA-UD5
~ AMD Phenom II X4 995 3.2 GHz
~ 8 GB Corsair Vengeance DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800)
~ 3 Supermicro AOC-SASLP-MV8


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 Post subject: Re: Expanding Storage
PostPosted: Tue Feb 12, 2013 11:55 am 
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I think you and I are heading down the exact same path. The only difference is that it appears, with your 3 MV8 cards, that you are maxed out. Since I have the capacity to add an additional card, I should not have to swap my MV8's for anything - they will run the server box drives, with an HBA card running the expansion box drives. That first Norco box that you link above is the same one I link to in my first post - the DS24E. Since they have the 2 outs on the back, I considered the 12E, but the cost difference is only about 20% for a 100% increase in drive capacity.

It will likely be May or June before I can do this as well. The only thing that would allow me to hold off would be if I were to go back and re-rip everything to movie-only, instead of full-disc ISOs. At the time I spec'd everything a couple of years ago, I really didn't think I'd grow my library as much as I have over the past couple of years. Between that and a growing number of raw files from my photography work, I'm eating up disk space very quickly.

I'll probably post about the cards themselves on another general pc forum to get some feedback on those before making my final decision.

Thanks for the input - let me know how you progress on your project and I'll update on mine when I get there.

_________________
HP EX470, WHS1, 2GB ram, 16.2TB storage (production - moving to decommissioned end of 2013)

Norco 4220, Supermicro board/SAS cards, 4GB ram, WHS 2011, Stablebit DrivePool, 64tb storage (production)


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 Post subject: Re: Expanding Storage
PostPosted: Tue Feb 12, 2013 6:39 pm 
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I have some flexibility with adding additional cards. I am can change the video card and drop out a NIC Card. I am playing with multiple NICs to see what if anything I can do to improve network performance which is something I have to get back to. As for the MV8's I have 3 and would not mind changing those out down the road for something more robust but for now they just server the intended purpose.

A couple weeks ago I had the Norco Enclosure open and was looking at adding an additional 4 drives but I would need to fabricate a bracket to hold the drives. This would be behind the fans so the fans would provide the cooling.

_________________
Exploring the possibilities!

Migrated from WHS2011 to WS2012E: HIGHLANDER

~ Norco 4220 Enclosure
~ Gigabyte GA-990FXA-UD5
~ AMD Phenom II X4 995 3.2 GHz
~ 8 GB Corsair Vengeance DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800)
~ 3 Supermicro AOC-SASLP-MV8


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