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post #1 of 29 Old 03-15-2014, 01:31 PM - Thread Starter
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Hi guys, I need little help here.
I'm planning to build up a wired home network in near future so I'll be needing couple of advice from You guys.
Considering that I'm gonna go wired I was thinking about one of those two switches:

http://www.dlink.com/us/en/business-solutions/switching/unmanaged-switches/rackmount/dgs-1016d-16-port-copper-gigabit-switch
http://www.tp-link.com/lk/products/details/?model=TL-SG1016D

I have already my internet provider router and not planning to buy one. What I need from You is to help me out with the rest of the components especially for my server computer. I won't be using it for gaming or some heavy video processing, I want to use it as a NAS. It will be mostly used as a storage for other computers that will have acces to network (laptop, gaming computer, tablet) and as a storage for Blu Ray ISO played over Noontec media player. So what I need is a little help about components so here are my question:

1.) Motherboard that has at least 8 sata ports (I'd go for 12 if price is reasonable)
2.) High tower that could fit up po 12 HDD 3.5 internal
3.) Processor (probably some i3 will do just fine)
4.) I'm assuming that I won't be needing graphic card?
5.) Which of these two switches I provided link above would suit me better or it is all the same?
6.) What HDD have provided as most stable? (thinking about 2-4 TB HDD, WD, Seagate, Toshiba???)
6.) Any other information that could be helpfull for my network?
7.) Do I need another switch (second network) to go from my router for IPTV? (If I'm gona physicaly remove it from one room to another that also has TV)

THNX alot!
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post #2 of 29 Old 03-15-2014, 08:33 PM
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It sounds like you want to go DIY.
I have built more servers than I can recall.
Today I use Synology NAS' for non-production environments.
I really like the the DS1812+
Cheap, saves tons of time, is solid as a rock and is easily expandable.

http://www.synology.com/en-us/products/overview/DS1812+

Oh and use Seagate enterprise grade drives for amazing performance and reliability
http://www.seagate.com/internal-hard-drives/enterprise-hard-drives/hdd/enterprise-capacity-3-5-hdd/?sku=ST33000650NS

Never use anything from WD-I have boxes and boxes of failed or failing drives.
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post #3 of 29 Old 03-16-2014, 03:56 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by merceg100 View Post

Hi guys, I need little help here.
I'm planning to build up a wired home network in near future so I'll be needing couple of advice from You guys.
Considering that I'm gonna go wired I was thinking about one of those two switches:

http://www.dlink.com/us/en/business-solutions/switching/unmanaged-switches/rackmount/dgs-1016d-16-port-copper-gigabit-switch
http://www.tp-link.com/lk/products/details/?model=TL-SG1016D

I have already my internet provider router and not planning to buy one. What I need from You is to help me out with the rest of the components especially for my server computer. I won't be using it for gaming or some heavy video processing, I want to use it as a NAS. It will be mostly used as a storage for other computers that will have acces to network (laptop, gaming computer, tablet) and as a storage for Blu Ray ISO played over Noontec media player. So what I need is a little help about components so here are my question:

1.) Motherboard that has at least 8 sata ports (I'd go for 12 if price is reasonable)
2.) High tower that could fit up po 12 HDD 3.5 internal
3.) Processor (probably some i3 will do just fine)
4.) I'm assuming that I won't be needing graphic card?
5.) Which of these two switches I provided link above would suit me better or it is all the same?
6.) What HDD have provided as most stable? (thinking about 2-4 TB HDD, WD, Seagate, Toshiba???)
6.) Any other information that could be helpfull for my network?
7.) Do I need another switch (second network) to go from my router for IPTV? (If I'm gona physicaly remove it from one room to another that also has TV)

THNX alot!


I have also built a ton of RAID Systems over the years and recently gave one of the Synology NAS Units a try and love it. That said I am certainly not going to knock anyone for building their own. So I will try and answer some of your questions. I've attached a photo of a few that I've built to give you an idea.

 

Any Gig Switch will work just make sure that it is a full "Wire Speed" switch which means that the switch can actually handle full speed connections from all of the ports at once. So an 8 port switch should be able to pass 16Gb of Traffic. There are many other ratings that might made a difference in an enterprise setting so I wouldn't worry about them.

 

1) Motherboard - This is completely subjective but my experience is that Gigabyte Motherboards have been the best / most reliable ones I've dealt with in many years. They have a few that have 10 SATA Ports, finding one with more might be a little more difficult.

 

2) Case - I've been using Cooler-Master and Super Micro Cases, a case can run you from under $100 to well in to the thousands if you want to go with Hotswap Bays. I don't believe The CoolerMaster Cases I've been using are available anymore. I was adding the Super Micro Hotswap Bays (as seen in the photo).

 

3) Processor - This really depends on what you are going to be using the system for and what you are going to be using for software. If you are going with say a FreeNAS System then the processor wouldn't be that critical but you will want to get a motherboard that supports ECC Memory which can / will add to the cost of both the motherboard and the memory as well. Also the more memory the better no matter what direction you go in.

 

4) Video Card - Again depends.. you don't need it but you will want a video card of some sort so you can connect a monitor to it. A lot of motherboards (especially the Intel based ones) have a part of the CPU that will power a video card. 

 

5) Switch - Pick one, I would stick with a brand name like Netgear, Cisco Home, Linksys and even D-Link

 

6) Any of the major brand name drives will work fine but make sure you get their "NAS Version" otherwise you could run in to some issues with warranty or even compatibility in a RAID as some don't have the same functionality. My Goto Drive has been the Seagate but also like WD as well.

 

6a) Other Suggestions - Depending on the motherboard you get and how much you transfer data around the onboard Network Cards can use a lot of CPU Overhead / Slow the systems down. If that is the case then you can look at a dedicated workstation of server card which does all of the processing / off loads the CPU.

 

COOLING - The very worst enemy of any computer component is heat so make sure that whatever case you go with make sure that it has the ability to add in plenty of fans and you might want to look at replacing the factory ones with higher quality ones. At the same time you should be able to connect several of the fans to the motherboard which will control them based on the temp of the air inside the case.

 

Power Supply - This is also very important and can not be overlooked, if you have upwards of say 10 hard drives that are powered on at one time you are going to need a very, very large power supply to handle that first inrush of power. I've seen some systems take upwards of 10amp of AC Power so you can imagine the DC Power needed. A true RAID System with a RAID Controller will actually stagger the spin-up of the drives which will let you get away with a smaller hard drive. There are some websites that can help you calculate the size you need.

 

7) This depends on how your IPTV Setup works, if your TV is connected to the router directly you are probably fine using the same network. You can also set up another network but if you do you could consider a router / firewall as another layer of protection but that isn't needed.

 

With all of this in mind you can see what some of us have decided to go with a dedicated NAS like the Synology Ones. I got the DS1518+ and love it! I highly recommend it and when you get down to it you are probably looking at a cost savings over building your own.

 

Keep in mind that no matter what you decide you should always have some kind of backup plan in place. Using a NAS or RAID System certainly provides a level of protection but data loss can certainly occur. Backing up a NAS is certainly something that everyone should do but usually doesn't due to the cost.

 

Hope this helps and let me know if I missed anything / needs anymore information.

 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by merceg100 View Post

So what I need is a little help about components

I just did a 8-SATA port server, details here: curator: a file server.

I have only 8 drives installed, but with the proper cages you could put in more.

-Bill
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post #5 of 29 Old 03-16-2014, 06:49 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by trans_lux View Post

It sounds like you want to go DIY.
I have built more servers than I can recall.
Today I use Synology NAS' for non-production environments.
I really like the the DS1812+
Cheap, saves tons of time, is solid as a rock and is easily expandable.

http://www.synology.com/en-us/products/overview/DS1812+

Oh and use Seagate enterprise grade drives for amazing performance and reliability
http://www.seagate.com/internal-hard-drives/enterprise-hard-drives/hdd/enterprise-capacity-3-5-hdd/?sku=ST33000650NS

Never use anything from WD-I have boxes and boxes of failed or failing drives.

I know what You mean going with Synology, I can find one where are live for 1600USD (DS1813+), but for that kind of money I was thinking of building a server with at least 3x4TB HDD.
Now, i know it is easier to buy Synology and one has swappable which is easier to use, probably more quiter than PC.
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post #6 of 29 Old 03-16-2014, 07:03 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by funhouse69 View Post


I have also built a ton of RAID Systems over the years and recently gave one of the Synology NAS Units a try and love it. That said I am certainly not going to knock anyone for building their own. So I will try and answer some of your questions. I've attached a photo of a few that I've built to give you an idea.

Any Gig Switch will work just make sure that it is a full "Wire Speed" switch which means that the switch can actually handle full speed connections from all of the ports at once. So an 8 port switch should be able to pass 16Gb of Traffic. There are many other ratings that might made a difference in an enterprise setting so I wouldn't worry about them.

1) Motherboard - This is completely subjective but my experience is that Gigabyte Motherboards have been the best / most reliable ones I've dealt with in many years. They have a few that have 10 SATA Ports, finding one with more might be a little more difficult.

2) Case - I've been using Cooler-Master and Super Micro Cases, a case can run you from under $100 to well in to the thousands if you want to go with Hotswap Bays. I don't believe The CoolerMaster Cases I've been using are available anymore. I was adding the Super Micro Hotswap Bays (as seen in the photo).

3) Processor - This really depends on what you are going to be using the system for and what you are going to be using for software. If you are going with say a FreeNAS System then the processor wouldn't be that critical but you will want to get a motherboard that supports ECC Memory which can / will add to the cost of both the motherboard and the memory as well. Also the more memory the better no matter what direction you go in.

4) Video Card - Again depends.. you don't need it but you will want a video card of some sort so you can connect a monitor to it. A lot of motherboards (especially the Intel based ones) have a part of the CPU that will power a video card. 

5) Switch - Pick one, I would stick with a brand name like Netgear, Cisco Home, Linksys and even D-Link

6) Any of the major brand name drives will work fine but make sure you get their "NAS Version" otherwise you could run in to some issues with warranty or even compatibility in a RAID as some don't have the same functionality. My Goto Drive has been the Seagate but also like WD as well.

6a) Other Suggestions - Depending on the motherboard you get and how much you transfer data around the onboard Network Cards can use a lot of CPU Overhead / Slow the systems down. If that is the case then you can look at a dedicated workstation of server card which does all of the processing / off loads the CPU.

COOLING - The very worst enemy of any computer component is heat so make sure that whatever case you go with make sure that it has the ability to add in plenty of fans and you might want to look at replacing the factory ones with higher quality ones. At the same time you should be able to connect several of the fans to the motherboard which will control them based on the temp of the air inside the case.

Power Supply - This is also very important and can not be overlooked, if you have upwards of say 10 hard drives that are powered on at one time you are going to need a very, very large power supply to handle that first inrush of power. I've seen some systems take upwards of 10amp of AC Power so you can imagine the DC Power needed. A true RAID System with a RAID Controller will actually stagger the spin-up of the drives which will let you get away with a smaller hard drive. There are some websites that can help you calculate the size you need.

7) This depends on how your IPTV Setup works, if your TV is connected to the router directly you are probably fine using the same network. You can also set up another network but if you do you could consider a router / firewall as another layer of protection but that isn't needed.

With all of this in mind you can see what some of us have decided to go with a dedicated NAS like the Synology Ones. I got the DS1518+ and love it! I highly recommend it and when you get down to it you are probably looking at a cost savings over building your own.

Keep in mind that no matter what you decide you should always have some kind of backup plan in place. Using a NAS or RAID System certainly provides a level of protection but data loss can certainly occur. Backing up a NAS is certainly something that everyone should do but usually doesn't due to the cost.

Hope this helps and let me know if I missed anything / needs anymore information.



How can i know tht a switch is "wire speed".
1) I was also thinking about Gigabyte with 6 SATA 3 connectors and expend it later on with PCI slot with 4 extra SATA connections.
2) I don't think I would be needing howswap bays, 'cos I don't feel I'll be removing disks that often. Or is there any other reason I should go for them?
3) I was planning on I3 Haswell with integrated grapgic chip so that i don't need graphic card and that I can use x16 slot for SATA PCI-e expansion
4) Probably no video card, cos that pc won't be connected to monitor, mouse, keyboard, but in future I could always upgrade it with GP and put monitor along with it.
5) Will see more about that, but think I'll be going with D-link one I've provided link above
6) Probably gonna go for a mix of Seagate and WD CG
7) IPTV goes =router to IPTV reciever to TV so i think I'll probably be needing another switch/network

I'll be defintly looking about cooling, no worries about that.
About PS, would 500W be enough? I think it should, 'cos I want be having optical drive, probably no GP.
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post #7 of 29 Old 03-16-2014, 07:12 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wmcclain View Post

I just did a 8-SATA port server, details here: curator: a file server.

I have only 8 drives installed, but with the proper cages you could put in more.

-Bill

I kinda like that Zalman case you have purchased, maybe I'll go with the same one.
As I look on the side picture of that case on the link You provided "Spacious interior space, one could realize that you could put 10 HDD in those "Tool-Free ODD bays" - but down in the specs it states that you could only have 3 bays for internal HDD. Are those 7 left (one of them for 5.25) capable to be transformed as for internal HDD.

THNX.
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post #8 of 29 Old 03-16-2014, 07:18 AM
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I'm not trying to talk you out of DIY.
I love building stuff, learning new things along the way and the satisfaction when it all works-it's a great hobby.

I just think for a NAS you can't beat something like a Synology.
This guy is a 4 bay model. Amazon US has it for under $400.
http://www.synology.com/en-us/products/overview/DS413j
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post #9 of 29 Old 03-16-2014, 07:31 AM
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Originally Posted by merceg100 View Post

I kinda like that Zalman case you have purchased, maybe I'll go with the same one.
As I look on the side picture of that case on the link You provided "Spacious interior space, one could realize that you could put 10 HDD in those "Tool-Free ODD bays" - but down in the specs it states that you could only have 3 bays for internal HDD. Are those 7 left (one of them for 5.25) capable to be transformed as for internal HDD.

THNX.

It actually has 10 5.25" bays. The 3.5" slots are provided by adapters. You can use those, your own, or install drive cages in any combination that fit physically.

The tool-free aspect is not that important when using adapters or cages. They'll be screwed in. Maybe for optical drives (which I'm not using here).

-Bill
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post #10 of 29 Old 03-16-2014, 07:47 AM
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By the way, if you haven't already done this, I got a good deal of info by reading the UnRaid forums: http://lime-technology.com/forum/, particularly the Server Building section. I don't use that system but those guys build a lot of file servers and do a lot of testing.

I must have found the Zalman case when browsing this thread: Tower cases with 5.25" drive bays top to bottom...

-Bill
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post #11 of 29 Old 03-16-2014, 08:25 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by trans_lux View Post

I'm not trying to talk you out of DIY.
I love building stuff, learning new things along the way and the satisfaction when it all works-it's a great hobby.

I just think for a NAS you can't beat something like a Synology.
This guy is a 4 bay model. Amazon US has it for under $400.
http://www.synology.com/en-us/products/overview/DS413j

So do I like building stuff. I would really like if I could just buy Synology and get rid of weasting time but as I already said too expensive...
For the Synology and the hard drives I could spend 3000USD and thats just too much.
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post #12 of 29 Old 03-16-2014, 08:54 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by wmcclain View Post

It actually has 10 5.25" bays. The 3.5" slots are provided by adapters. You can use those, your own, or install drive cages in any combination that fit physically.

The tool-free aspect is not that important when using adapters or cages. They'll be screwed in. Maybe for optical drives (which I'm not using here).

-Bill

So You are saying that in order to get all those 5.25 bays I'm going to buy extra adapters or drive cages. If that so what do You recommend and if You could Provide me with a link of what to look for.

P.S. Drive cages - could they be better if they provide even more space for the HDD due to their construcion?

THNX!
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How can i know tht a switch is "wire speed".
1) I was also thinking about Gigabyte with 6 SATA 3 connectors and expend it later on with PCI slot with 4 extra SATA connections.
2) I don't think I would be needing howswap bays, 'cos I don't feel I'll be removing disks that often. Or is there any other reason I should go for them?
3) I was planning on I3 Haswell with integrated grapgic chip so that i don't need graphic card and that I can use x16 slot for SATA PCI-e expansion
4) Probably no video card, cos that pc won't be connected to monitor, mouse, keyboard, but in future I could always upgrade it with GP and put monitor along with it.
5) Will see more about that, but think I'll be going with D-link one I've provided link above
6) Probably gonna go for a mix of Seagate and WD CG
7) IPTV goes =router to IPTV reciever to TV so i think I'll probably be needing another switch/network

I'll be defintly looking about cooling, no worries about that.
About PS, would 500W be enough? I think it should, 'cos I want be having optical drive, probably no GP.

Wire Speed would be defined in the specs but might be buried or not shown / mentioned if they don't support full speed. After some additional thought for a home network you probably don't really have to worry about that spec. Just buy a brand name as you will be fine.

 

1) If you go with this solution and you have this set up as a Single RAID using both the On Board and Add On Card if the card would somehow fail you might end up loosing all of your data.

 

2) Hot Swap Bays are really only a convenience but also have some other benefits (see below). Keep in mind that even if you get the hotswap bays (aka drive cages) the motherboard / SATA Ports have to support it and so does whatever operating system you go with.

 

3) Just buy a motherboard with onboard video and you will be all set.

 

6) I would not recommend mixing / matching hard drives in the same RAID Set. Sure it might work depending on the operating system you go with but you are better off going with the same drives with the same specs. Some people will buy them weeks or even months apart to keep from getting a bad batch (which has happened) once you are up and running keep an eye out for a sale and buy a drive or two to have on hand for spares / expansion as drive models change all the time.

 

You will probably need larger than a 500 Watt Power Supply just for the initial surge, after that a 500 Watt should be fine. Just keep in mind that when a drive spins up it can take a tremendous amount of power compared to the power needed to keep it running (think of the Battery in your car). Imagine the surge that 8 or 10 Drives will take.

 

I would suggest using an SSD Drive as your Operating System Drive unless you are going with FreeNAS which you will just load off a Thumb Drive. That said an SSD as a Cache can also make a huge difference in performance but you probably won't need it.

 

You mentioned that a Synology DS1518+ is how much there? Where do you live, they are $1000 here, sometimes less on sale.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by merceg100 View Post


So You are saying that in order to get all those 5.25 bays I'm going to buy extra adapters or drive cages. If that so what do You recommend and if You could Provide me with a link of what to look for.

P.S. Drive cages - could they be better if they provide even more space for the HDD due to their construcion?

THNX!

A Drive Cage can give you "Hot Swap" Capabilities (Depending on your motherboard / controller) and it can give you more space. In the instance of the ones I have in the photo I posted you are able to put Five 3.5" Drives in the space of Three 5.25" Bays.

 

Here is the SuperMicro Version. http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16817121405&Tpk=N82E16817121405

I've been told that you can get far cheaper ones from places like MonoPrice. I use the SuperMicro Ones because they have their own temp sensing fan on the back of the unit which has served me well. They also have a Temp Alarm if something goes wrong and the drives get to hot. 

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Wire Speed would be defined in the specs but might be buried or not shown / mentioned if they don't support full speed. After some additional thought for a home network you probably don't really have to worry about that spec. Just buy a brand name as you will be fine.

1) If you go with this solution and you have this set up as a Single RAID using both the On Board and Add On Card if the card would somehow fail you might end up loosing all of your data.

2) Hot Swap Bays are really only a convenience but also have some other benefits (see below). Keep in mind that even if you get the hotswap bays (aka drive cages) the motherboard / SATA Ports have to support it and so does whatever operating system you go with.

3) Just buy a motherboard with onboard video and you will be all set.

6) I would not recommend mixing / matching hard drives in the same RAID Set. Sure it might work depending on the operating system you go with but you are better off going with the same drives with the same specs. Some people will buy them weeks or even months apart to keep from getting a bad batch (which has happened) once you are up and running keep an eye out for a sale and buy a drive or two to have on hand for spares / expansion as drive models change all the time.

You will probably need larger than a 500 Watt Power Supply just for the initial surge, after that a 500 Watt should be fine. Just keep in mind that when a drive spins up it can take a tremendous amount of power compared to the power needed to keep it running (think of the Battery in your car). Imagine the surge that 8 or 10 Drives will take.

I would suggest using an SSD Drive as your Operating System Drive unless you are going with FreeNAS which you will just load off a Thumb Drive. That said an SSD as a Cache can also make a huge difference in performance but you probably won't need it.

You mentioned that a Synology DS1518+ is how much there? Where do you live, they are $1000 here, sometimes less on sale.

A Drive Cage can give you "Hot Swap" Capabilities (Depending on your motherboard / controller) and it can give you more space. In the instance of the ones I have in the photo I posted you are able to put Five 3.5" Drives in the space of Three 5.25" Bays.

Here is the SuperMicro Version. http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16817121405&Tpk=N82E16817121405
I've been told that you can get far cheaper ones from places like MonoPrice. I use the SuperMicro Ones because they have their own temp sensing fan on the back of the unit which has served me well. They also have a Temp Alarm if something goes wrong and the drives get to hot. 

1) If that so i was thinking maybe to put only the on board drives in RAID (I'm gonna have to google up a bir about RAID configuration 'cos I never set up one, I know that there are several types of RAID "fields" so I'll have to check that out later on)
2) http://www.gigabyte.com.hr/products/product-page.aspx?pid=4491#ov - does this one support hot swap bays? If not so how do You know this specification.
3) Whart processor then?

DS1813+ is in Croatia around 1,600 USD, getting it from abroad would cost me the same due to import taxes so if in the end I go for Synology I'd buy it in Croatia.

On the page you provided me link for cages I cann't find specification of the size HDD suports, can it support 4TB. On Thermaltake pages no cage can support more than 2TB, and yet the ones @wmcclain recommended supports 4TB.

So what power supply would You recommend, I don't want to spend money upgrading equipement except hard drives so I'm gonna stick to one I purchase at the beginning?

And lastly, You mentioned OS. I was planning with Windows 7 Ultimate. Is this fine or You recommend anything else?

P.S. Does it meen that if PCI-e card fails that I'm gonna loose all the data on all 4 HDD?
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1) If that so i was thinking maybe to put only the on board drives in RAID (I'm gonna have to google up a bir about RAID configuration 'cos I never set up one, I know that there are several types of RAID "fields" so I'll have to check that out later on)
2) http://www.gigabyte.com.hr/products/product-page.aspx?pid=4491#ov - does this one support hot swap bays? If not so how do You know this specification.
3) Whart processor then?

DS1813+ is in Croatia around 1,600 USD, getting it from abroad would cost me the same due to import taxes so if in the end I go for Synology I'd buy it in Croatia.

On the page you provided me link for cages I cann't find specification of the size HDD suports, can it support 4TB. On Thermaltake pages no cage can support more than 2TB, and yet the ones @wmcclain recommended supports 4TB.

So what power supply would You recommend, I don't want to spend money upgrading equipement except hard drives so I'm gonna stick to one I purchase at the beginning?

And lastly, You mentioned OS. I was planning with Windows 7 Ultimate. Is this fine or You recommend anything else?

P.S. Does it meen that if PCI-e card fails that I'm gonna loose all the data on all 4 HDD?


First of all lets take a step back here and take a look at the overall goal here. You mentioned that you are looking to use this system as a NAS and you want to set up some kind of RAID. Well I don't believe that Windows itself Supports RAID (using Windows itself) that said it looks like the motherboard you are looking at does support RAID. There are a few different types of RAID that offer different levels of fault tolerance. A RAID 5 will allow you to have a single drive fail and not loose any data provided you can replace that drive without another drive failing. This will mean that the space of 1 drive is lost (N-1) so lets say you have Four 4TB Drives you will have a usable space of about 12TB. RAID 6 gives you Two Parity Drives so you will loose the Capacity of Two Drives (N-2) or about 8TB of usable space in the same Four 4TB Drives. Most people feel that once you get in the 10+ TB Range you want to have RAID 6 as the time it takes to rebuild a large raid can be many days and the leaves you open to an additional failure which would result in data loss.

 

Personally I have had no luck whatsoever using onboard RAID Solutions. I went down this road many times / tried and always ended up using a Dedicated RAID Controller. Most Onboard Implementations are very slow and for some reason not very stable. I have lost data several times. That said this was many years ago and I would assume / hope that things have gotten better. Still I am not sure that you will be very happy with the performance of the onboard RAID Solutions as they are not caching which makes a huge difference in performance.

 

That said Windows 7 Does NOT natively support RAID 5 or 6 so you can't do it through Windows. My suggestion would be to look at something like FreeNAS which is a free software based NAS System that has been around for a while and is very stable / reliable and very fast. You can get great results out of relatively low end hardware. Again going back to my original post for a very reliable system FreeNAS Specs out Error Correcting Memory which most standard motherboards don't support so your have to start looking at higher end motherboard which can get pricey. This is not a deal breaker, you can use a regular motherboard but could end up with data corruption as you are loosing that layer of error checking.

 

I know that the Super Micro Hotswap Cages support large drives, most of these are just pass through connections. I have 3TB Drives in mind and they have been running since the drives were put in / haven't had a single failure in well over a year. I'd check the manufacturers website, they probably have older specs which have been updated since.

 

If you have a PCI Card with SATA Ports on it and the card fails you more than likely won't loose your data, my point was if you have one large raid combined with the onboard and external ports that could lead to issues. You would just have to replace the card to get it back up and running. Again it depends on what is creating / maintaining the RAID. Of course never say never, data loss is always possible if / when you have a hardware failure and not to mention something like a virus or even physical threats like fire, theft and floods.

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So You are saying that in order to get all those 5.25 bays I'm going to buy extra adapters or drive cages. If that so what do You recommend and if You could Provide me with a link of what to look for.

P.S. Drive cages - could they be better if they provide even more space for the HDD due to their construcion?

THNX!

Cages: yes, that's the way I do it. That way any series of 5.25" bays can become hot-swap slots for 3.5" drives. Actually swapping while the system is up is not that important to me, but if a drive is failing I want to be able to get it out and replaced without worrying about digging around in the nest of wires inside. Plus I may want to mount temporary drives for special loads, conversion and such.

The UnRaid forum has endless discussions of drive cages, so I suggest spending some time there. What I have now are the first I have used: two IcyDock 4-in-3 units, which, ironically are each more expensive than the entire case.

-Bill
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Cages: yes, that's the way I do it. That way any series of 5.25" bays can become hot-swap slots for 3.5" drives. Actually swapping while the system is up is not that important to me, but if a drive is failing I want to be able to get it out and replaced without worrying about digging around in the nest of wires inside. Plus I may want to mount temporary drives for special loads, conversion and such.

The UnRaid forum has endless discussions of drive cages, so I suggest spending some time there. What I have now are the first I have used: two IcyDock 4-in-3 units, which, ironically are each more expensive than the entire case.

-Bill

Yes, I'll definetly go and search a bit on that forum.
Just curious, Why haven't you go for one cage that supports 5 HDD http://www.icydock.com/goods.php?id=163 but You went with those that enclose only 4?
I've seen that the cages were more expensive than casa smile.gif
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Yes, I'll definetly go and search a bit on that forum.
Just curious, Why haven't you go for one cage that supports 5 HDD http://www.icydock.com/goods.php?id=163 but You went with those that enclose only 4?
I've seen that the cages were more expensive than casa smile.gif

Just for symmetry. I'd need two cages anyway and 8 drives is the max on this motherboard. I'm not planning on using a SATA expansion card.

-Bill
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First of all lets take a step back here and take a look at the overall goal here. You mentioned that you are looking to use this system as a NAS and you want to set up some kind of RAID. Well I don't believe that Windows itself Supports RAID (using Windows itself) that said it looks like the motherboard you are looking at does support RAID. There are a few different types of RAID that offer different levels of fault tolerance. A RAID 5 will allow you to have a single drive fail and not loose any data provided you can replace that drive without another drive failing. This will mean that the space of 1 drive is lost (N-1) so lets say you have Four 4TB Drives you will have a usable space of about 12TB. RAID 6 gives you Two Parity Drives so you will loose the Capacity of Two Drives (N-2) or about 8TB of usable space in the same Four 4TB Drives. Most people feel that once you get in the 10+ TB Range you want to have RAID 6 as the time it takes to rebuild a large raid can be many days and the leaves you open to an additional failure which would result in data loss.

Personally I have had no luck whatsoever using onboard RAID Solutions. I went down this road many times / tried and always ended up using a Dedicated RAID Controller. Most Onboard Implementations are very slow and for some reason not very stable. I have lost data several times. That said this was many years ago and I would assume / hope that things have gotten better. Still I am not sure that you will be very happy with the performance of the onboard RAID Solutions as they are not caching which makes a huge difference in performance.

That said Windows 7 Does NOT natively support RAID 5 or 6 so you can't do it through Windows. My suggestion would be to look at something like FreeNAS which is a free software based NAS System that has been around for a while and is very stable / reliable and very fast. You can get great results out of relatively low end hardware. Again going back to my original post for a very reliable system FreeNAS Specs out Error Correcting Memory which most standard motherboards don't support so your have to start looking at higher end motherboard which can get pricey. This is not a deal breaker, you can use a regular motherboard but could end up with data corruption as you are loosing that layer of error checking.

I know that the Super Micro Hotswap Cages support large drives, most of these are just pass through connections. I have 3TB Drives in mind and they have been running since the drives were put in / haven't had a single failure in well over a year. I'd check the manufacturers website, they probably have older specs which have been updated since.

If you have a PCI Card with SATA Ports on it and the card fails you more than likely won't loose your data, my point was if you have one large raid combined with the onboard and external ports that could lead to issues. You would just have to replace the card to get it back up and running. Again it depends on what is creating / maintaining the RAID. Of course never say never, data loss is always possible if / when you have a hardware failure and not to mention something like a virus or even physical threats like fire, theft and floods.

Haven't understand You quite well, does this mean that You don't recommend building RAID at all?

As much as I realize I would rather live with that one of my hard drive fails me with all the data on it then loosing half the amount of space and yet maybe not available to recover it.
So let's reconsider the way I think:
Windows 7, 1 hard drive for OS, 9 other for space storage (in time frame bought), low cost components, possibility of loosing space on each hard drive=high (but not loosing on all the drives=that would be one in the milion I asume), motherboard I provided earlier in the post. with extra PCI-e for additional 4 SATA connectors.

How much is that possible/smart/foolish?
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Just for symmetry. I'd need two cages anyway and 8 drives is the max on this motherboard. I'm not planning on using a SATA expansion card.

-Bill

8 sata conectors for 8 hdd, I may be a bit a pain in the ass right now, but why haven't You bought just one save 106 USD, You already have 3 adapters to 3,5 HDD bays and just bought one more adapter over amazon or ebay and you still have 8.

Sorry if I'm bodering You smile.gif
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8 sata conectors for 8 hdd, I may be a bit a pain in the ass right now, but why haven't You bought just one save 106 USD, You already have 3 adapters to 3,5 HDD bays and just bought one more adapter over amazon or ebay and you still have 8.

Sorry if I'm bodering You smile.gif

The adapters that come with the case are just metal brackets. They do not have power or data connections or loading doors. I want to be able to treat all the drives in the system the same way: open the door, slide them in, shut the door, go.

-Bill
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Haven't understand You quite well, does this mean that You don't recommend building RAID at all?

As much as I realize I would rather live with that one of my hard drive fails me with all the data on it then loosing half the amount of space and yet maybe not available to recover it.
So let's reconsider the way I think:
Windows 7, 1 hard drive for OS, 9 other for space storage (in time frame bought), low cost components, possibility of loosing space on each hard drive=high (but not loosing on all the drives=that would be one in the milion I asume), motherboard I provided earlier in the post. with extra PCI-e for additional 4 SATA connectors.

How much is that possible/smart/foolish?


I am just giving you my opinion / my experiences. RAID is great and serves a purpose of data protection I currently have a RAID System that is server based (Windows 2003 Server) and my Synology RAID that will eventually replace my Server Based RAID.

 

Another thing that I should mention is there are a few different types of RAIDs and the way they are implemented. There are "Hardware" and there are "Software".

 

Hardware RAID is done through some kind of "Controller" that is either built on the motherboard or an add on card like a 3Ware or LSI RAID Controller. This piece of hardware will take all of your drives and assuming you put them in a RAID 5 or RAID 6 will make it in to a single large drive that is reported to your operating system as a single drive.

 

Software RAID is done / implemented through Software so in the operating system you will see a bunch of hard drives then the operating system will allow you to create the RAID and share it out on to your network. This type of RAID is NOT Supported by Windows 7 but is supported by Windows Server Editions as well as other operating systems like FreeNAS and UnRAID.

 

Newer Windows Server Editions, Home Server (which has been discontinued) and Windows 8 on the other hand offers something else which is "Storage Spaces" which has its own benefits where you can add / remove drives and if a single drive fails you won't loose everything but you don't really have any redundancy either. Windows 8 however does offer a Parity Option that does offer some redundancy.

 

I just want to make sure you know what you are getting yourself in to and not spend money on something you think will work one way but isn't possible.

 

So if you build the system you suggested with Windows 7 and 5 other drives using the onboard controller you can have a RAID 5 that will be created / maintained by the motherboard. I looked through the motherboard manual and I do not see a way to "Expand" the RAID so I am not sure that is possible. Expanding would mean you start out with say 3 Drives and add additional drives over time, to get the additional space the RAID Controller will need to support expanding of the volumes. Again this is not mentioned in the manual so it might not be supported. That means that you will be stuck with the original RAID unless you back up your data, replace the drives or add drives create a new RAID which will cause all of your data to be lost then start over again with a new RAID and then copy your data back over.

 

If you go with Just Windows 7 managing your drives you will have 6 separate drives that you can NOT configure in a Redundant Configuration, the most you can do is set up what they call JBOD (Just a bunch of disks) which will allow you to created a single large drive from all of your drives HOWEVER this does not have any fault tolerance, if one drive fails you will loose ALL of your data not just what was on that one drive.

 

So what are your options if you want to use the hardware you are proposing?

1) Use the onboard RAID Controller but it seems like you might be very limited with its functionality. After all this is a "Free" part on the motherboard and a true RAID Controller can cost many hundreds of dollars.

 

2) Buy a Hardware RAID Controller like an LSI / 3Ware which can go all the way up to 24 ports, this would be a potentially costly addition but offer many benefits in performance as well as expansion options. If you are going to go this route you might want to just consider buying a NAS.

 

3) Use a different Operating System / One that supports RAID like Windows 8, FreeNAS, UnRAID, ZFS and such - This would be the cheapest alternative and these operating systems are designed with Storage / Performance in mind (except for Windows 8)  This would be a Software RAID that can offer a lot of performance and flexibility. I personally only have experience with FreeNAS and really liked it and it is always being worked on / upgraded with additional features.

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I am just giving you my opinion / my experiences. RAID is great and serves a purpose of data protection I currently have a RAID System that is server based (Windows 2003 Server) and my Synology RAID that will eventually replace my Server Based RAID.

Another thing that I should mention is there are a few different types of RAIDs and the way they are implemented. There are "Hardware" and there are "Software".

Hardware RAID is done through some kind of "Controller" that is either built on the motherboard or an add on card like a 3Ware or LSI RAID Controller. This piece of hardware will take all of your drives and assuming you put them in a RAID 5 or RAID 6 will make it in to a single large drive that is reported to your operating system as a single drive.

Software RAID is done / implemented through Software so in the operating system you will see a bunch of hard drives then the operating system will allow you to create the RAID and share it out on to your network. This type of RAID is NOT Supported by Windows 7 but is supported by Windows Server Editions as well as other operating systems like FreeNAS and UnRAID.

Newer Windows Server Editions, Home Server (which has been discontinued) and Windows 8 on the other hand offers something else which is "Storage Spaces" which has its own benefits where you can add / remove drives and if a single drive fails you won't loose everything but you don't really have any redundancy either. Windows 8 however does offer a Parity Option that does offer some redundancy.

I just want to make sure you know what you are getting yourself in to and not spend money on something you think will work one way but isn't possible.

So if you build the system you suggested with Windows 7 and 5 other drives using the onboard controller you can have a RAID 5 that will be created / maintained by the motherboard. I looked through the motherboard manual and I do not see a way to "Expand" the RAID so I am not sure that is possible. Expanding would mean you start out with say 3 Drives and add additional drives over time, to get the additional space the RAID Controller will need to support expanding of the volumes. Again this is not mentioned in the manual so it might not be supported. That means that you will be stuck with the original RAID unless you back up your data, replace the drives or add drives create a new RAID which will cause all of your data to be lost then start over again with a new RAID and then copy your data back over.

If you go with Just Windows 7 managing your drives you will have 6 separate drives that you can NOT configure in a Redundant Configuration, the most you can do is set up what they call JBOD (Just a bunch of disks) which will allow you to created a single large drive from all of your drives HOWEVER this does not have any fault tolerance, if one drive fails you will loose ALL of your data not just what was on that one drive.

So what are your options if you want to use the hardware you are proposing?
1) Use the onboard RAID Controller but it seems like you might be very limited with its functionality. After all this is a "Free" part on the motherboard and a true RAID Controller can cost many hundreds of dollars.

2) Buy a Hardware RAID Controller like an LSI / 3Ware which can go all the way up to 24 ports, this would be a potentially costly addition but offer many benefits in performance as well as expansion options. If you are going to go this route you might want to just consider buying a NAS.

3) Use a different Operating System / One that supports RAID like Windows 8, FreeNAS, UnRAID, ZFS and such - This would be the cheapest alternative and these operating systems are designed with Storage / Performance in mind (except for Windows 8)  This would be a Software RAID that can offer a lot of performance and flexibility. I personally only have experience with FreeNAS and really liked it and it is always being worked on / upgraded with additional features.

But what if I plan not to go with RAID. Just build up hard drives on go on motherboard as I buy them one by one, give them appropiate drive letters and right click on it and just click "share this drive on network". If one of the drive fails, no metter, I won't loose half of this space on RAID.

Another question, if I choose in the end to go with Synology does that mean that it " has to be RAID" or can I exploit full bay/drive space?
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But what if I plan not to go with RAID. Just build up hard drives on go on motherboard as I buy them one by one, give them appropiate drive letters and right click on it and just click "share this drive on network". If one of the drive fails, no metter, I won't loose half of this space on RAID.

Another question, if I choose in the end to go with Synology does that mean that it " has to be RAID" or can I exploit full bay/drive space?

If I misunderstood your original question / post please forgive me. I thought the whole goal was to go with a RAID Solution.

 

If you are just looking to load up an operating system / windows 7 and throw a bunch of drives in it you can certainly do exactly what you said, share them on the network as individual drives or folders. You are also correct in saying that if one of those drives fails you will only loose that data and that portion of the storage.

 

The nice thing about a RAID is that you are taking a bunch of drives and making them in to one large / expandable / redundant / fault tolerant "Virtual Drive" that can have all of your data in one place and not have to search for it. Personally I couldn't imagine having more than a few drives and trying to keep track of what data is where unless of course you have them labeled properly but what happens if you have say one Blu-Ray Drive and fill it up.

 

Based on what you just said about the individual drives you might want to take a look at Windows 8 / 8.1 and the Storage Spaces that they offer. From what I see you can pool your drives together and even add redundancy to it.

 

Oh and if you would go with a Synology NAS you can certainly use the drives individually or put them together in a RAID. I wouldn't spend the money unless you plan on using it as a RAID otherwise you are paying a ton of money for no reason other than maybe speed and stability but you aren't taking advantage of the fault tolerance.

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If I misunderstood your original question / post please forgive me. I thought the whole goal was to go with a RAID Solution.

If you are just looking to load up an operating system / windows 7 and throw a bunch of drives in it you can certainly do exactly what you said, share them on the network as individual drives or folders. You are also correct in saying that if one of those drives fails you will only loose that data and that portion of the storage.

The nice thing about a RAID is that you are taking a bunch of drives and making them in to one large / expandable / redundant / fault tolerant "Virtual Drive" that can have all of your data in one place and not have to search for it. Personally I couldn't imagine having more than a few drives and trying to keep track of what data is where unless of course you have them labeled properly but what happens if you have say one Blu-Ray Drive and fill it up.

Based on what you just said about the individual drives you might want to take a look at Windows 8 / 8.1 and the Storage Spaces that they offer. From what I see you can pool your drives together and even add redundancy to it.

Oh and if you would go with a Synology NAS you can certainly use the drives individually or put them together in a RAID. I wouldn't spend the money unless you plan on using it as a RAID otherwise you are paying a ton of money for no reason other than maybe speed and stability but you aren't taking advantage of the fault tolerance.

smile.gif Yes, ou have misunderstood me. I haven't stated in the first post that I'm planning with RAID, but it still doesn't mean that if it is possible I won't create one RAID field for the important files and go with the rest of the HDD as only stoorage disks. So I have several other question if You or anyone else is willing to answer.

1) As I mentioned in this post, is it possible to create one RAID field with 2X4TB HDD for most important files and put them in RAID and the rest of HDD only for storage?
2) Same question only for Synology, can I have only 2 bays connected in RAID and the rest of 6 also only for storage
3) You are saying that one could create RAID with hardware or with OS or some other free software, if I go down this road what is the best option than is not too expensive?
4) Haven't understand You quite well about connecting all the HDD and to be shown as only one drive in windows explorer. Is it safe? What happens in that case that if one of the drives fail? Will then all of the files on every single drive be lost or I just won't see that hard drive that has failed and conitune on with 4TB less space (if we are going with the assumption that all HDD are 4TB)?
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smile.gif Yes, ou have misunderstood me. I haven't stated in the first post that I'm planning with RAID, but it still doesn't mean that if it is possible I won't create one RAID field for the important files and go with the rest of the HDD as only stoorage disks. So I have several other question if You or anyone else is willing to answer.

1) As I mentioned in this post, is it possible to create one RAID field with 2X4TB HDD for most important files and put them in RAID and the rest of HDD only for storage?
2) Same question only for Synology, can I have only 2 bays connected in RAID and the rest of 6 also only for storage
3) You are saying that one could create RAID with hardware or with OS or some other free software, if I go down this road what is the best option than is not too expensive?
4) Haven't understand You quite well about connecting all the HDD and to be shown as only one drive in windows explorer. Is it safe? What happens in that case that if one of the drives fail? Will then all of the files on every single drive be lost or I just won't see that hard drive that has failed and conitune on with 4TB less space (if we are going with the assumption that all HDD are 4TB)?

You are confusing me here saying No RAID but then talking about RAID again. Not really sure we are on the same page but here are the answers to your questions below.


1) Yes you can "Mirror" (This is known as RAID 1) two identical drives, this can be done either through the motherboard controller or through Windows 7 Disk Manager. I'd go with Windows.

2) Yes any NAS units including Synology will give you lots of options for how to utilize Disks which include Mirroring which is known as RAID 1. The number of options will depend on the NAS.

3) Yes there are hardware and software options. The lest expensive option would be to use FreeNAS or UnRAID (free for basic but pay for more than 3 drives) these are complete operating systems that would be loaded on the system Instead of Windows. I've used FreeNAS and really liked it, you manage it from a Web Interface after the initial setup.

4) Lets say you have a Windows System with 4 Hard Drives One 1TB and Three 4TB Drives. By default each of these drives are going to show up in Windows as an individual drive with its own drive letter so you would have the C, D, E & F (assuming no optical drives). Each of these drives would have to be used / shared independently. So you would have to keep track of what is on each drive unless of course you are using something that will consolidate them for you (like a Media Player) you will still have to maintain all of the shares and tell the media player where the media is. In this configuration one of the drives fails, you loose all of that data and the rest of the drives keep going on.

 

Alternatives to this are to combine the drives together which brings us back to RAID which will combine the drives together and create a large "Virtual Drive" that is only seen by your network at a single large drive. With this option you have different levels of RAID some will offer redundancy (at a cost of drive space) that can tolerate a drive failure without the loss of any data. This is what most people do.

 

Windows 8 add the new "Storage Space" that allows you to combine multiple drives together and create a large virtual drive but seems to keep the drives individual so if one fails you loose only what is on that drive but it also seems to offer some parity options as well which would allow a drive to fail without any loss of data.

 

The whole idea (for most people) to get / make / use a NAS is to allow multiple drives to be used in a RAID so you don't have to keep track of what files are on what drive and not loose data if a drive fails. There are also some performance gains buy going with a RAID but most people won't really realize it in a home environment.

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post #27 of 29 Old 03-18-2014, 02:41 AM - Thread Starter
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Sorry about that
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You are confusing me here saying No RAID but then talking about RAID again. Not really sure we are on the same page but here are the answers to your questions below.


1) Yes you can "Mirror" (This is known as RAID 1) two identical drives, this can be done either through the motherboard controller or through Windows 7 Disk Manager. I'd go with Windows.
2) Yes any NAS units including Synology will give you lots of options for how to utilize Disks which include Mirroring which is known as RAID 1. The number of options will depend on the NAS.
3) Yes there are hardware and software options. The lest expensive option would be to use FreeNAS or UnRAID (free for basic but pay for more than 3 drives) these are complete operating systems that would be loaded on the system Instead of Windows. I've used FreeNAS and really liked it, you manage it from a Web Interface after the initial setup.
4) Lets say you have a Windows System with 4 Hard Drives One 1TB and Three 4TB Drives. By default each of these drives are going to show up in Windows as an individual drive with its own drive letter so you would have the C, D, E & F (assuming no optical drives). Each of these drives would have to be used / shared independently. So you would have to keep track of what is on each drive unless of course you are using something that will consolidate them for you (like a Media Player) you will still have to maintain all of the shares and tell the media player where the media is. In this configuration one of the drives fails, you loose all of that data and the rest of the drives keep going on.

Alternatives to this are to combine the drives together which brings us back to RAID which will combine the drives together and create a large "Virtual Drive" that is only seen by your network at a single large drive. With this option you have different levels of RAID some will offer redundancy (at a cost of drive space) that can tolerate a drive failure without the loss of any data. This is what most people do.

Windows 8 add the new "Storage Space" that allows you to combine multiple drives together and create a large virtual drive but seems to keep the drives individual so if one fails you loose only what is on that drive but it also seems to offer some parity options as well which would allow a drive to fail without any loss of data.

The whole idea (for most people) to get / make / use a NAS is to allow multiple drives to be used in a RAID so you don't have to keep track of what files are on what drive and not loose data if a drive fails. There are also some performance gains buy going with a RAID but most people won't really realize it in a home environment.

Sorry about that, but as You continued on writing about RAID, I figured out that I could use RAID only with 2 HDD for most important data and the rest off HDD only as separate space storage. Now You've lighten me up with that option that I could put rest of the HDD into one single large hard drive so I don't have hard time finding things over several hard drives. So as I go I have one more question:

1) Is it possible to have 2HDD in RAID for important data and the rest of the hard drives as one big virtual HDD so I don't have problems finding things across several HDD, and if so which OS could provide me with this?

THNX and sorry for any confusion made along the conversation.
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post #28 of 29 Old 03-18-2014, 03:14 AM
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Sorry about that
Sorry about that, but as You continued on writing about RAID, I figured out that I could use RAID only with 2 HDD for most important data and the rest off HDD only as separate space storage. Now You've lighten me up with that option that I could put rest of the HDD into one single large hard drive so I don't have hard time finding things over several hard drives. So as I go I have one more question:

1) Is it possible to have 2HDD in RAID for important data and the rest of the hard drives as one big virtual HDD so I don't have problems finding things across several HDD, and if so which OS could provide me with this?

THNX and sorry for any confusion made along the conversation.


Yes you can do that with even Windows 7 Pro / Ultimate / Enterprise (not Home or Standard Editions), you can have a "Mirrored" Pair of drives for your most important data and then you can create a "Spanned" Drive Set with the other drives. Just keep in mind that if you loose a drive out of the Spanned Set you might / probably will loose all of the Data off all of the drives.

 

There is another application that runs on Windows that I have been hearing a lot of buzz about called "FlexRAID. Check it out at http://www.flexraid.com/ this might be something to consider with what you are looking to do. You don't get the full storage of all of the drives BUT you do get some redundancy / fault tolerance. I do believe that you have to pay for this software but it isn't too pricey.

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Yes you can do that with even Windows 7 Pro / Ultimate / Enterprise (not Home or Standard Editions), you can have a "Mirrored" Pair of drives for your most important data and then you can create a "Spanned" Drive Set with the other drives. Just keep in mind that if you loose a drive out of the Spanned Set you might / probably will loose all of the Data off all of the drives.

There is another application that runs on Windows that I have been hearing a lot of buzz about called "FlexRAID. Check it out at http://www.flexraid.com/ this might be something to consider with what you are looking to do. You don't get the full storage of all of the drives BUT you do get some redundancy / fault tolerance. I do believe that you have to pay for this software but it isn't too pricey.

What do You suggest is then the best thing I should do as I know want 2 HDD in RAID and all rest HDD as one drive but in case one fails I wont loose data on rest of HDD?
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