Originally Posted by bryansj
Instead of started a new thread I'll just post here. I currently have an Intel e8400 based server built from my first HTPC. Has a mATX Gigabyte motherboard from that era and has five SATA ports. Right now I've used up all five ports with one 64GB SSD OS drive, and 4x 2TB drives. The server was recently upgraded from WHS2011 using StableBit DrivePool to WS2012 Essentials. Right now I have 3x 2TB (WD Green) drives in Storage Spaces pooled mode with no RAID or duplication, just pooling. The other 2TB drive (Seagate 7,200) is my working disc that houses the incoming downloads, Newznab Ubuntu VM, and IP cam scratch disc.
I have an IBM Megaraid M1015 card arriving Tuesday that I paid $75 shipped plus another $10 for a full height bracket (see other SAS thread that went downhill since the poster was too lazy to find his own $85 deal
). When I installed WS2012E I don't think StableBit DrivePool was compatible so I just stuck with Storage Spaces basic pooled mode. My question is how should I grow my server using the M1015?
I'm considering buying 2 to 4 WD Red 3TB drives, leaving the SSD for OS and Seagate as the working disc connected to the motherboard's SATA ports. The new drives would go to the SAS card (flashed to IT mode for JBOD). Is the only option with decent performance with parity to use FlexRAID? I haven't read anything good about RAID 5 on these cards, but don't want to rule that out (flashing to IR mode).
*I plan on retiring two of my 2TB WD Greens to my HTPC for local RecordedTV storage to replace the old 1TB WD Green currently in use. The plan would be to use Storage Spaces Mirror mode (RAID1) for the recorded TV storage.
Lots of info but I am unsure of your specific question. I guess your asking how should you grow your storage??? I will assume so."I haven't read anything good about RAID 5 on these cards, but don't want to rule that out (flashing to IR mode)."
Did you mean flashing to IR or IT mode?
IT mode I believe is the mode where you use it as an HBA or plain old SATA port card. My terminology might be wrong though. That is basically what I did with mine. You can find all the info earlier in this thread about how to flash your card. I ran into some trouble because the board I was using - but when I swapped the motherboard for an older one it worked flawless. My advice on flashing is make sure you use an x8 slot and board- older motherboards work great. I used a board that had a video card and no integrated graphics but the older motherboard did not run x8 when an x16 slot video card was installed so I was getting errors. Swapping to a motherboard with no video card and integrated graphics worked well for me. I was lucky to have many machines to try it out.
As far as flashing- I would just tell you go into the earlier pages of this thread and watch my process. It was pretty easy in retrospect. You should be fine. Ask here if you have questions, there is about 5 of us with that card that have it flashed that can help you. I was noob and asked lots of questions I did not need to ask so it's likely the answers are earlier in this thread if you have questions. It's not hard at all.
About your main question- That IBM is a really nice card, especially for that price. I'll assume your going to add more HDD in the future ??? If so then Flexraid and software parity will make more sense IMO. It would give you drive pooling and parity based backup now- (both good) and also allow you to add additional HDD's in the future with very little fuss. Just buy a HDD and add it to the pool. You can add empty or full drives. Does not matter. And you can remove a drive and still read all the data from it. That is a very important feature to me I think many people overlook or downplay - which is a mistake IMO. I really like knowing I can both rebuild a failed drive and not lose data from the parity software RAID system and I also like knowing that if something crazy happened all my data on the drives is readable from any machine.
You don't need Flexraid. But it's not a bad option at all.
If you flash your card to make it just a SATA port multiplier you'll see great performance for software raid. Basically as fast as the HDD reads and writes. Flashing + software raid is a great solution. Your alternative would be running hardware Raid. You can do that with RED drives I believe, or Seagata 3TB. You'd gain some performance in speed but sacrifice some storage (you need more parity backup HDD drives) and you'll be at the mercy of the raid set up. If it breaks down the data is not easily readable in other machines.