Guide To Building A Media Storage Server - Page 43 - AVS Forum
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post #1261 of 7906 Old 12-14-2008, 09:12 PM
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Originally Posted by f00kies View Post

Basically, at the end of it all, I'd want each of the four Addonics cards to be it's separate RAID5 array (built up over time). Would a normal 4-port RAID card be able to achieve this right now (i.e. RocketRAID)? With this configuration, WHS would see 4 RAID5 arrays and 1 System drive.

Thanks for the help.

If you add up the cost of the raid card + 4 more addonics cards, you would be able to invest that into a single (or two separate) hardware raid cards.

With one quality hardware raid card, it is possible to separate groups of drives into different raid5 arrays that the system see's logically.

The difference is a larger outlay initially, but then again, you won't have to fish around for port multipliers later on, plus you'll gain on performance.
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post #1262 of 7906 Old 12-14-2008, 09:56 PM
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Thanks guys. Turns out, after much Googling, no hardware RAID PCI-E SATA cards actually support Port Multiplier anyway, so back to the drawing board.
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post #1263 of 7906 Old 12-14-2008, 10:36 PM
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After reading thru the three main server threads ive got more questions than answers i think

Here are the main questions i have, i am pretty sure I have decided to go with hardware raid and either raid 5 or 6. I will use the norco case but if i go with HW raid what cards would be the best bet for me if i want to populate all 20 drives spaces? do i need 3-8 port cards? or am i just better off going with 2 and leaving 4 unpopulated?

Also, from an OS im not clear on what advantages/disadvantages there are to WHS, Server 2008 or running linux? If the server is acting solely as a server, how often will you be spending in the OS? I am thinking linux would probably be the best and most stable solution.
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post #1264 of 7906 Old 12-15-2008, 05:54 AM
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Just a warning to people considdering buying Seagate disks due to their 5 year warranty:

This warranty will now be reduced to 3 years.
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post #1265 of 7906 Old 12-15-2008, 04:43 PM
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zicoz, What is your source for saying the Seagate warranty will be reduced to 3 years? Which models?

On another topic, does anybody know the difference between the old and new 7200.11 1TB disks? The part number of the old one ends in 340AS and the new one is 333AS. I looked at the Seagate data sheets and I don't see any significant difference. However, they don't say what the physical layout is, ie. how many platters & heads are used.

- Mike
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post #1266 of 7906 Old 12-15-2008, 10:52 PM
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The 333AS uses newer recording technology and has higher throughput. See Tom's Hardware Guide's Winter 2008 Hard Drive Guide.

http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/...tb,2077-5.html
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post #1267 of 7906 Old 12-16-2008, 03:59 AM
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http://www.seagate.com/www/en-us/sup...rranty_matrix/

Drives with a 3-year warranty period include the Barracuda 7200, Diamondmax, Momentus 7200 and 5400, Pipeline HD and HD Pro, DB35 and LD25 5400.

And I belive that with Barracuda 7200 comes the reduced warranty for the disks that are most used for our usergroup, the 0,5 to 1,5 TB drives.
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post #1268 of 7906 Old 12-16-2008, 05:32 AM
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hi everybody,
how do you rate the hitachi deskstar 500 gb hard drive?is it worth using for storage?
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post #1269 of 7906 Old 12-16-2008, 08:01 PM
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Does anyone know if its possible to hook up an eSATA Port on a Motherboard to a SATA drive through a eSATA to SATA cable of some sort?

If so could anyone please provide the link to such a cable? I've only been able to find information going from SATA to eSATA not the other way around?

Thanks.
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post #1270 of 7906 Old 12-16-2008, 08:49 PM
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You could try one of these
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16817153071
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post #1271 of 7906 Old 12-16-2008, 10:55 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by diet butcher View Post

Does anyone know if its possible to hook up an eSATA Port on a Motherboard to a SATA drive through a eSATA to SATA cable of some sort?

If so could anyone please provide the link to such a cable? I've only been able to find information going from SATA to eSATA not the other way around?

Thanks.

About 1/2 way down this page they have eSATA to SATA cables:
http://www.satacables.com/html/sata_...al_cables.html

... Only available in 1 or 2 meter lengths ... but it'll do the job (and the 1m is only $9.99)
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post #1272 of 7906 Old 12-17-2008, 10:46 AM
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Hey guys,
I finally finished reading this massive thread and have learned alot, thank you all. Based on the overwhelmingly supportive community and general tone of this thread I decided to join and post my thoughts. Fair warning, they are out there, way past left field.

One thing that I do not believe has been considered is running WHS inside a virtual machine.

Before I get jumped on, let me explain why this could be useful.

I stumbled upon the proposition of using iscsi targets with whs somewhere; can't remember where. Sadly this doesn't work directly because the initiator does not start until after whs has taken control of the drives (whs will complain about missing drives at this point). If you instead ran whs inside a virtual machine, which would not start until after the host os has started, then use that host os as an iscsi initiator, then whs will see the iscsi targets as local drives. Hell, whs will see the mapped network drives the host os has as local drives from within the vm as well.

This allows you to add raid protected iscsi or smb shares to a whs pool. Granted you will have to segment those targets into 2tb partitions before adding them.

An example of what an iscsi or smb target end node could be:
- one of those nifty 4020 cases
- 3 of those supermicro mv8 cards
- linux mdadm software raid 6 with hot spare (any number of arrays) or unraid
- any board/cpu combo you wanted that supported 3 mv8 cards and the load of sw raid 6 or unraid
- as many drives as you want (mdadm allows OCE for future expansion and unraid does something similar)
- if using linux; iscsi target software or an export file for nfs. Nothing more needed if using unraid.

Although mdadm does not support arrays using differing drive capacities, you can make several arrays and export them individually based on the number of identical drives you have. IE buy 3 identical drives at a time and make a raid 5 array out of them.

An example "Middle Node" could be:
- 1u server case
- linux or windows with WHS in a vm
- iscsi initiator (microsoft and linux versions are free)
- any mobo/cpu combo that could handle whs and streaming content

To tie the end nodes (4020 systems) to the middle node you could use high speed infiniband interconnects and the ofed stack. You could also make use of RDMA and iser for upwards of 40Gb/s transfer speeds to and from each end node. To tie the middle nodes to all the pcs and htpcs you can use the usual gig-e network.

This environment basically treats each 4020 system as a single hdd that whs can add to its pool. However whs will know nothing about a drive failure on the end nodes. This also creates its own unique set of problems.
- since each system is a drive, each system will need to be on a UPS and start before the vm running whs starts. Just like a drive starts before the os in a normal system.
- whs will not be able to retrieve drive temp or smart status directly. Instead you will need to rely on whatever system you decide to employ on each end node. There are several available. You can even have them use the whs host os as a mail relay server for smart status updates.

In case of drive failure; you would hotswap the dead drive, plug in a new one, let mdadm rebuild and whs is none the wiser. If you have many r5 or r6 arrays you can loose many drives without data loss and let them rebuild at the same time without service interruption and keep each array small. You can even employ hot spares and let them rebuild automatically without admin intervention.

Automated clustered computing for storage, ummm, very interesting.

Anyway, enough of my ranting. What do you guys think? Yes I know it is not a green solution but it is highly scalable and hdparm allows you to spin down an mdadm array after a set time limit.
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post #1273 of 7906 Old 12-17-2008, 11:13 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ndv2 View Post

I stumbled upon the proposition of using iscsi targets with whs somewhere; can't remember where. Sadly this doesn't work directly because the initiator does not start until after whs has taken control of the drives (whs will complain about missing drives at this point). If you instead ran whs inside a virtual machine, which would not start until after the host os has started, then use that host os as an iscsi initiator, then whs will see the iscsi targets as local drives. Hell, whs will see the mapped network drives the host os has as local drives from within the vm as well.

This allows you to add raid protected iscsi or smb shares to a whs pool. Granted you will have to segment those targets into 2tb partitions before adding them.

Wow, that sounds awfully complicated when you could just run a RAID5 or 6 array inside that Norco case. You still get hot swaps, drive redundancy, etc. And they could be broken up into smaller arrays on a single (or multiple) RAID cards if desired.

Perhaps you could explain what advantages your approach holds and why WHS is important to have? What features does WHS offer that you want/need? AFAIK the only real 'feature' it offers is backup, which is easily available from other (arguably better) software. It has 'drive pooling', but so does a HW RAID card . . .

I just don't see your point

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post #1274 of 7906 Old 12-17-2008, 11:25 AM
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Well, the advantage is scale. You are still limited to what the 4020 can hold. What if you wanted to go above that? This allows you to use many 4020 enclosures with the same logical drive pool. The only reason that I suggested using WHS is because of its backup ability. The os doesn't much matter. What matters is the ability to add more drives logically to a system then that system can physically support on the fly and protect that storage unit at the same time.

The only complicated part of the system is iscsi. Really nfs would work just fine.

I am not much of a fan of hw raid for a couple of reasons.
1. you are locked to a certain vendors platform as the configurations written to the drives are not compatible between vendors.
2. the speed is not needed in a system that is primarily bottle-necked by the network interface.
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post #1275 of 7906 Old 12-17-2008, 12:58 PM
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If you really want RAID protected storage inside WHS, just use a 3Ware card and turn on Auto-Carving. That way it will present 2TB Logical Units to WHS just like it does for WinXP 32bit. You can use additional 3Ware cards to expand to additional cases. These could even be 9690SA SAS cards that use external SFF-8088 cables and SAS expanders in the second chassis. Very clean setup and much simpler than the iSCSI arrangement described above.

- Mike
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post #1276 of 7906 Old 12-17-2008, 01:57 PM
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If you really need more than 20 drives, you could also:
* use a separate filesystem on each server with something like DFS (for CIFS) providing a single mountpoint - this is probably the easiest approach, and I'd consider it first (with iSCSI block devices second)
* consider purchasing an enterprise storage system

I'm not sure why WHS is so useful in this configuration; it seems like you're making things needlessly complex, with lots of opportunitues for failure and performance problems.

If you want to run virtualized Windows with the iSCSI initiatior in the host, you'll want to use VMware ESX/ESXi or Hyper-V and block device/SCSI device passthrough. Using filesystem-based virtual disks would be an unnecessary risk and impediment to performance. (Xen-based solutions with adequate performance running Windows might also work, but I don't think any have block/SCSI device passthrough with paravirtualized drivers yet.)
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post #1277 of 7906 Old 12-17-2008, 08:14 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ndv2 View Post

Hey guys,
I finally finished reading this massive thread and have learned alot, thank you all. Based on the overwhelmingly supportive community and general tone of this thread I decided to join and post my thoughts. Fair warning, they are out there, way past left field.

... snip ....

A few have already commented on your suggested configuration -- and where they find fault, I find inspiration. Kudos.

Granted, it does indeed seem a tad overly complex, but I like your outside-of-the-box thinking. WHS via a virtual machine, Linux software RAID, iSCSI, etc., a very interesting approach.

I like the thought of taking this discussion into untried/untested waters.

Another area I've been reading into is the use of SAS expanders. Now I realize there was bit of talk on this subject a few weeks ago, but I don't remember seeing anything from someone who has actual experience building/administering a system that uses expanders (if I'm wrong, I'm sure someone will correct me).

Anyone got a system using an HBA that connects to another box via the use of an SAS Expander? Care to list your config? Benchmark numbers? Admin experience?

One of the initial downsides looks to be the availability of Expanders to enthusiast builders as Chenbro is the only vendor (IFAIK) that has an Expander product we could buy:
http://usa.chenbro.com/corporatesite...ine.php?pos=35

BUT, I don't see any of those in stock anywhere.

Theoretically speaking, I think a great build for people in our shoes would be an external device that consists of the internal drive chassis and backplane of the Norco RPC-4020 (simply take the drive cages and the backplane, which are only approx. 9 inches deep) broken off and turned into a device of its own (w/ an expander included). Obviously there are already devices like this on the market, but they are insanely expensive.

Anywho, just thought I would throw this out there to get the discussion going.
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post #1278 of 7906 Old 12-17-2008, 09:57 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ndv2 View Post

I am not much of a fan of hw raid for a couple of reasons.
1. you are locked to a certain vendors platform as the configurations written to the drives are not compatible between vendors.

Sure. And with SW RAID you're locked to the SW vendor. Choose a good vendor and they'll be there in case of a failure and you'll not lose your data. In either case.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ndv2 View Post

2. the speed is not needed in a system that is primarily bottle-necked by the network interface.

Ah, but this is the key. Put the RAID array in your HTPC and enjoy the high speed for disk-intensive Blu-ray sized file operations without the ethernet throttle. Stream to other PCs or extenders as needed with the gigabit limit less significant.

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post #1279 of 7906 Old 12-18-2008, 05:56 AM
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Originally Posted by lifespeed View Post

Sure. And with SW RAID you're locked to the SW vendor. Choose a good vendor and they'll be there in case of a failure and you'll not lose your data. In either case.

Very true. You are indeed locked into the software vendor which is precisely why I would be using open source software. Basically I am locked into the linux community. I don't find that such a bad place to be.

Quote:
Originally Posted by lifespeed View Post

Ah, but this is the key. Put the RAID array in your HTPC and enjoy the high speed for disk-intensive Blu-ray sized file operations without the ethernet throttle. Stream to other PCs or extenders as needed with the gigabit limit less significant.

Last night I set up TVersity off of my vista machine. Extracted the DTS-HD audio from Wall-E BR and converted it to AC3 then remuxed the movie with 1080p resolution. From there I put it onto an external USB drive and gave it to TVersity. After that I streamed that m2ts file across a gig-e network to my ps3. It played flawlessly even off a USB drive on the server. The speed of dedicated raid controllers is not needed to stream HD content in the home environment. Tonight I plan on running it to 3 different devices and see if I see an impact in quality. If I do, I will move the files onto a DAS drive and retry.

Quote:
Originally Posted by plasticquart View Post

A few have already commented on your suggested configuration -- and where they find fault, I find inspiration. Kudos.

Granted, it does indeed seem a tad overly complex, but I like your outside-of-the-box thinking. WHS via a virtual machine, Linux software RAID, iSCSI, etc., a very interesting approach.

I like the thought of taking this discussion into untried/untested waters.

Thank you for your support. I agree it seems complex however I have not been able to find an easy-ish approach to the scale and expandability I need outside of an enterprise solution. Yes, sas expanders are still an enterprise solution IMHO and they are still limited to "only" 128 devices. As interested in them as I am, I cannot justify the cost when I can exploit a disk array at the block level to any host using iSCSI for free. Plus, I do not feel like spending 1000+ on a sas controller.

I have worked with iSCSI and iSER across infiniband before and it is not that hard. There is a nice wiki article on how to set it up , "https://wiki.openfabrics.org/tiki-index.php?page=iSER", if anyone is interested. Sry, the system won't let me post a link until after 3 posts.

I guess infiniband can also be considered an enterprise product however iSCSI still works across normal gig-e and at 100+MB/s/gig-e connection, it is more then feasible to at least try. Using a direct gig-e connection to each backend storage node you can get aggregate storage bandwidth of N*100 as long as that bandwidth does not exceed your bus's abilities. It is also a clean solution with only power and a gig-e connection to each backend node.
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post #1280 of 7906 Old 12-18-2008, 06:06 AM
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Originally Posted by plasticquart View Post

Another area I've been reading into is the use of SAS expanders. Now I realize there was bit of talk on this subject a few weeks ago, but I don't remember seeing anything from someone who has actual experience building/administering a system that uses expanders (if I'm wrong, I'm sure someone will correct me).

Anyone got a system using an HBA that connects to another box via the use of an SAS Expander? Care to list your config? Benchmark numbers? Admin experience?

One of the initial downsides looks to be the availability of Expanders to enthusiast builders as Chenbro is the only vendor (IFAIK) that has an Expander product we could buy:
http://usa.chenbro.com/corporatesite...ine.php?pos=35

BUT, I don't see any of those in stock anywhere.

The areca sas expander seams to still be in stock; here 2 left at time of posting.

It is only a 12 port but it still exists. There is a 16 port model but I have not been able to find it.
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post #1281 of 7906 Old 12-18-2008, 10:34 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ndv2 View Post

....

You aren't alone.... I was in fact planning a similar setup....



What I ended up with....(for now)....is this.




The system spans multiple enclosures, I don't even do Expanders, I just route the SATA cables from the RAID cards, out the back, into a SATA female bridge, and then into the backplanes of each enclosure. Works like a charm. I'm only limited by the number of SATA ports and slots on my motherboard. Right now, this is wired for 36 slave disks (Off of 5 RAID controllers) + 5 primary disks (off of the motherboard), but I could easily triple that with higher port density controllers.

It benchmarked at ~700MBps Reads and almost the same writes, not that that's needed for streaming media, but I use it for other things as well.
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post #1282 of 7906 Old 12-18-2008, 10:55 AM
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A Colleague of mine ran some tests using DD to dump data from a suse box to a NAs device: Here is what we had as results.

START QUOTE"
Hi,

Thought you might be interested in my NAS throughput results;

Host1 type Host2 Throughput

SUSE NAS dd:2G 35.7 MBytes/s
NAS dd:2G 154 MBytes/s
SUSE NAS 84.9 MBytes/s

SUSE NAS dd:2G 56.5 MBytes/s
SUSE NAS dd:2G 91.2 MBytes/s

I was really surprised on the NFS throughput. Pretty much maximum a gigether could carry.
" END QUOTE
I will get his specs later, but interesting. What are people using here to test IOPS, MB/s Read, Write, Network test (latentcy, and Bandwidth) between two points.
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post #1283 of 7906 Old 12-18-2008, 12:17 PM
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Hi everyone,

Not sure if this is the correct thread to punch in. I dont want to start uncessary threads so im just gonna put it here and hopefully someone can direct me.

I currently own couple of external hard drives and i was wondering if there is anyway to combine all the hard drive into one drive so i only have 1 outlet. I basically used this harddrive to store movie files. How can i build a server that i can simply add additional hard drive. I was reading this thread and i got lost. Do you really need processor and all that? my currenlty hard drive doesnt have any of those. I simply ran out of outlets to put anymore additioanl external hard drives.

thanks everyone for reading.
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post #1284 of 7906 Old 12-18-2008, 01:31 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by smino View Post

Host1 type Host2 Throughput

SUSE NAS dd:2G 35.7 MBytes/s
NAS dd:2G 154 MBytes/s
SUSE NAS 84.9 MBytes/s

SUSE NAS dd:2G 56.5 MBytes/s
SUSE NAS dd:2G 91.2 MBytes/s

I was really surprised on the NFS throughput. Pretty much maximum a gigether could carry.

results using dd can change drastically in some configurations, depending on the block size used.

I've seen cached transfers using CIFS (NT 6.0 client, CentOS 5.2 server) in excess of 100 megabytes/sec on a standard gigabit network.
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post #1285 of 7906 Old 12-18-2008, 03:13 PM
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Originally Posted by punksterz626 View Post

Hi everyone,

Not sure if this is the correct thread to punch in. I dont want to start uncessary threads so im just gonna put it here and hopefully someone can direct me.

I currently own couple of external hard drives and i was wondering if there is anyway to combine all the hard drive into one drive so i only have 1 outlet. I basically used this harddrive to store movie files. How can i build a server that i can simply add additional hard drive. I was reading this thread and i got lost. Do you really need processor and all that? my currenlty hard drive doesnt have any of those. I simply ran out of outlets to put anymore additioanl external hard drives.

thanks everyone for reading.

It looks as though you are on the precipice of opening a can of worms that I would venture to guess you aren't ready to open.

As such, may I suggest you simply add more USB ports (more "outlets") to your system. This can be easily accomplished by attaching a USB Hub to one of your existing USB ports -- the USB Hub will have additional USB port to which you can plug in any number of external hard drives.

Which USB Hub? Good question... pick one:

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...e=&srchInDesc=
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post #1286 of 7906 Old 12-18-2008, 03:19 PM
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A hub is indeed a good idea -- but don't just "pick one". Be SURE you use a powered hub. Passive hubs are a BAD idea and can cause USB controller failures due to power overloads. This is a good choice: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16817707143
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post #1287 of 7906 Old 12-18-2008, 09:08 PM
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which hard drives are yall using in the Norco cases for your raid arrays.
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post #1288 of 7906 Old 12-18-2008, 10:31 PM
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Originally Posted by garycase2001 View Post

About 1/2 way down this page they have eSATA to SATA cables:
http://www.satacables.com/html/sata_...al_cables.html

... Only available in 1 or 2 meter lengths ... but it'll do the job (and the 1m is only $9.99)

Thanks, I saw that along my research path but then read:

eSATA to SATA (Type L) This Cables allows New eSATA Devices to be connected to Older Style SATA Ports. For use with External Enclosures.

The for use with External enclosures didnt make sense to me as I want to connect to a regular SATA drive from an eSATA port. Has anyone actually done this?
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post #1289 of 7906 Old 12-19-2008, 01:33 AM
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Originally Posted by diet butcher View Post

Thanks, I saw that along my research path but then read:

eSATA to SATA (Type ā€œLā€) This Cables allows New eSATA Devices to be connected to Older Style SATA Ports. For use with External Enclosures.

The for use with External enclosures didnt make sense to me as I want to connect to a regular SATA drive from an eSATA port. Has anyone actually done this?

It's still a Type L connection, so it should work fine with a drive -- I don't believe the latching mechanism interferes with the drive connection. Here's a standard internal Type L cable: http://www.monoprice.com/products/pr...t=1#largeimage you can compare with the Type L connection on the Type I to Type L cable in the previous link. (click on the 2nd small image on the left and it will show a large picture of the L connector)

... the only way to know for sure is try it.
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post #1290 of 7906 Old 12-19-2008, 02:55 PM
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Originally Posted by garycase2001 View Post

It's still a Type L connection, so it should work fine with a drive -- I don't believe the latching mechanism interferes with the drive connection. Here's a standard internal Type L cable: http://www.monoprice.com/products/pr...t=1#largeimage you can compare with the Type L connection on the Type I to Type L cable in the previous link. (click on the 2nd small image on the left and it will show a large picture of the L connector)

... the only way to know for sure is try it.

Thanks, I ordered one.

Out of curiosity Has anyone tried running WHS under VMWare or Hyper-V? Is the performance awful?
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