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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
My media server (norco 4020) with 20 x 2TB drives now has no more space after I have ripped ‘Bond 50: The Complete 22 Film Collection Blu-ray (2012)’ that I bought from Amazon.

Plan to migrate to another big Lian Li D8000 case that I hope can hold over 30 drives (more space to be remodeled). My server is just for keeping data, nothing else.




I did a research throughout avs forum specially "Guide to Building a Media Storage Server". I’m still so confused a lot. Your advice would be much appreciated.

You may ask “Are you looking for data redundancy and/or drive pooling?” Yes, I need both.

With that being said, I have some questions on both hardware and software in building my new storage server.

Software:

For the OS, I prefer Windows OS. I don’t say Linux / FreeBSD / OpenSolaris is not good. It’s just because I’m not familiar with it. So, 1) what Windows OS should I pick? Windows 7, WHS 2011, Windows server 2008 R2, or Windows server 2012? My current server is running on Windows server 2008 R2, and I like it much.

I really value my data and therefore, as I said, I’m looking for data redundancy. Also, I prefer software RAID to hardware RAID. 2) Should I pick Storage Spaces, disParity, SnapRaid or FlexRAID.

Finally, as for drive pooling, I have no idea about drive pooling of snapRaid. 3) How about Drive Bender? FlexRaid? Anything else you can recommend?

Hardware:

Just bought Intel core i3-3225 and Asus P8Z77 –V mobo with $40 off deal at Microcenter (I can return if I have any better idea). Also got in hands 3 SAS Supermicro AOC-SASLP-MV8 controller cards. I’ve heard IMB M1015 card once flashed to IT mode (as if it was an LSI 9211-8i),




It runs faster supermicro ones I have. 4) Is that true? Is it worth buying those 3 cards for my new server. Of course, I hate to wait too long during the time parity refresh. 5) Hope the Intel processor is good enough for my server, but should I buy another mobo that has at least 4 PCIe x 4 slots to build 30+ 6Gb/s drives like Asus P8Z77 WS or keep Asus P8Z77 –V mobo to save money? In short, any noticeable difference between 3Gb/s and 6Gb/s in real server world?

6)For the server memory, I don’t care much about brand name but how much ram should I use? 4GB or 8GB is enough in my case? One stick or better with 2 sticks in dual channel? 7) For PSU, I now have 20 2TB WD green drives. Just bought 12 4TB drives (2 drives will be parity). What kind of PSU is the one that gives me safety? 750W, 850W, 1000W, 1200W? I prefer Seasonic and Corsair names only.

Finally, 8) for the best streaming HD movies within home network, should I buy a dedicate NIC card or just use onboard one even they are the same ‘Intel’ brand name? Why? I prefer Intel name.


I am an open-minded person, and I appreciate any other ideas, opinions and arguments you may have.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by TornadoTJ  /t/1468557/building-a-media-storage-server-with-30-drives#post_23211201


I will answer one question for you. I have not had good luck with that Intel 82579V NIC. I'm an Intel NIC fan, too.


YMMV.

I had issues trying to install the Intel driver for the 82579V NIC chip on a Gigabyte Z77XUD5H for Server 2012.


As it happens, Intel does not want us to use consumer level HW on servers and makes the unified driver non compatible. A simple edit of the .inf file to copy 3-4 lines from one place to the other within the file is all that is required. Sorry, I don't have the link but I am sure you will find.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Thank you all for the replies.
Quote:
Originally Posted by TornadoTJ  /t/1468557/building-a-media-storage-server-with-30-drives#post_23211201


I will answer one question for you. I have not had good luck with that Intel 82579V NIC. I'm an Intel NIC fan, too.


YMMV.
I remember I read an Assassin review when he built a server in this forum. He found the way how to fix it.
Quote:
Originally Posted by el_kano  /t/1468557/building-a-media-storage-server-with-30-drives#post_23211455


If you want to calculate the power supply requirements there are several online options to help you:

http://www.thermaltake.outervision.com/

www.extreme.outervision.com/psucalculatorlite.jsp (get the lite version)
The two links point to the same calculator. Thanks. I tried several times with some different optional parts. Recommended PSU wattage: 714W - 745W. Should I buy a Seasonic 850W 80+ GOLD PSU? Is it reliable enough? Please advise.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dropkick Murphy  /t/1468557/building-a-media-storage-server-with-30-drives#post_23211812


Here's another case manufacturer you may want to consider before making your final decision.
http://www.caselabs-store.com/the-magnum-case-line/


The specs on that Lian Li case says it holds 20 HDD's
I know Lian Li case only holds 20 HDDs. But I can remodel space where the 2nd PSU located to hold at least 10 more drives. I love Lian Li case because of nice design and quality.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Elpee  /t/1468557/building-a-media-storage-server-with-30-drives#post_23212076


The two links point to the same calculator. Thanks. I tried several times with some different optional parts. Recommended PSU wattage: 714W - 745W. Should I buy a Seasonic 850W 80+ GOLD PSU? Is it reliable enough? Please advise.

The power supply estimator tend to overestimate, so the 850W should be plenty. Make sure the power supply has enough connections to run all those hard drives :)
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by el_kano  /t/1468557/building-a-media-storage-server-with-30-drives/0_100#post_23212921


The power supply estimator tend to overestimate, so the 850W should be plenty. Make sure the power supply has enough connections to run all those hard drives :)

Agree on both counts. Honestly 750 would have plenty of breathing room as well


Knowing your "stacking" plans really helps. If using cages where you need sata power cables realize that each PSU sata cable can adapt to four. Molex adapters exist as well, but I've only seen 1 molex -> 2 sata.


For backplane 5in3 (or specialized depending on case) you'll need mostly molex. Like the norco ss 5in3 hot swap enclosure which needs 2 molex connections instead of sata
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·

Quote:
Originally Posted by goros  /t/1468557/building-a-media-storage-server-with-30-drives#post_23212174


IMO you're better served getting a SAS expander for an M1015 and then you can run them all internally without eating pcie ports.

I don't get it. Can you explain more?
Quote:
Originally Posted by amarshonarbangla  /t/1468557/building-a-media-storage-server-with-30-drives#post_23212618


Or get this
http://www.techpowerup.com/182507/HighPoint-Launches-First-40-Port-SATA-6-Gb-s-HBA.html


It's made by HighPoint, not the most reputable of brands for making storage related products.

I saw it on the day it's posted. For USD$ 739.00, it definitely burns my budget. Besides, I was told HighPoint has poor quality. Once again, I value all my data.
Quote:
Originally Posted by el_kano  /t/1468557/building-a-media-storage-server-with-30-drives#post_23212921


The power supply estimator tend to overestimate, so the 850W should be plenty. Make sure the power supply has enough connections to run all those hard drives :)

Thanks. I'll buy a Seasonic 850W 80+ Gold PSU today. It's $110 AR + promo code. Hope I only have to buy some more expanding connectors for this babe.


How about the OS, RAM, and software Raid? Any ideas, guys?
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by amarshonarbangla  /t/1468557/building-a-media-storage-server-with-30-drives/0_100#post_23215417


M1015 + this or this .

M1015
  • 2x SAS -> 8x SATA III


24 port SAS expander (Intel RES2SV240)
  • Connect 1xSAS from M1015 (leaves 4xSATA)
  • Leaves 5xSAS -> 20xSATA


Of course you still have the onboard ports as well (usually 8)


Has anyone used these? Seems like a good way to utilitze only 2 PCIe slots, but I'm not sure if the math is right. Essentially the M1015 runs 8x6Gbps from 1 x8 lane. This would be teaming that x8 lane with an x4 lane, but the specs say transfer rate up to 6Gbps even though it seems like it wouldn't have the lane bandwidth to achieve that
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dark_Slayer  /t/1468557/building-a-media-storage-server-with-30-drives#post_23215817


M1015
  • 2x SAS -> 8x SATA III


24 port SAS expander (Intel RES2SV240)
  • Connect 1xSAS from M1015 (leaves 4xSATA)
  • Leaves 5xSAS -> 20xSATA


Of course you still have the onboard ports as well (usually 8)


Has anyone used these? Seems like a good way to utilitze only 2 PCIe slots, but I'm not sure if the math is right. Essentially the M1015 runs 8x6Gbps from 1 x8 lane. This would be teaming that x8 lane with an x4 lane, but the specs say transfer rate up to 6Gbps even though it seems like it wouldn't have the lane bandwidth to achieve that

Are you talking about a Z68 based server? I believe Z68 can do x16, x8 natively. Since x8 cards can be installed in x16 slots, both the cards should manage to run in full x8, x8. There's also a solid expander made by Chenbro which has a x16 slot, if you are worried about bandwidth. The HP expander is my personal favorite however.

http://www.amazon.com/CHENBRO-CK23601-36-Port-Expander-Controller/dp/B008LA8AO4
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dark_Slayer  /t/1468557/building-a-media-storage-server-with-30-drives#post_23215817


M1015
  • 2x SAS -> 8x SATA III


24 port SAS expander (Intel RES2SV240)
  • Connect 1xSAS from M1015 (leaves 4xSATA)
  • Leaves 5xSAS -> 20xSATA


Of course you still have the onboard ports as well (usually 8)


Has anyone used these? Seems like a good way to utilitze only 2 PCIe slots, but I'm not sure if the math is right. Essentially the M1015 runs 8x6Gbps from 1 x8 lane. This would be teaming that x8 lane with an x4 lane, but the specs say transfer rate up to 6Gbps even though it seems like it wouldn't have the lane bandwidth to achieve that

Once again, you guys made me feel confused a lot.

OK, in my first stage, I'll build a 33 drives server that includes 30 data drives + 2 parity drives + 1 OS drive.

If I buy a Asus P8Z77 –V mobo, I will have 3 PCIe slots (2 x16/0 or x8/x8 slots + 1x4 slot) and 8 onboard sata ports (4 x SATA 6Gb/s + 4 x SATA 3Gb/s)

From your counting, definitely I don't have enough 6Gbps sata ports to setup. And from what I read a SAS expander needs to be paired with another sata controller card (like M1015), is that true?
Quote:
Originally Posted by amarshonarbangla  /t/1468557/building-a-media-storage-server-with-30-drives#post_23215872


Are you talking about a Z68 based server? I believe Z68 can do x16, x8 natively. Since x8 cards can be installed in x16 slots, both the cards should manage to run in full x8, x8. There's also a solid expander made by Chenbro which has a x16 slot, if you are worried about bandwidth. The HP expander is my personal favorite however.

http://www.amazon.com/CHENBRO-CK23601-36-Port-Expander-Controller/dp/B008LA8AO4

Looks tempting but can I use it as a stand-alone card?
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Elpee  /t/1468557/building-a-media-storage-server-with-30-drives#post_23216068


Once again, you guys made me feel confused a lot.

OK, in my first stage, I'll build a 33 drives server that includes 30 data drives + 2 parity drives + 1 OS drive.

If I buy a Asus P8Z77 –V mobo, I will have 3 PCIe slots (2 x16/0 or x8/x8 slots + 1x4 slot) and 8 onboard sata ports (4 x SATA 6Gb/s + 4 x SATA 3Gb/s)

From your counting, definitely I don't have enough 6Gbps sata ports to setup. And from what I read a SAS expander needs to be paired with another sata controller card (like M1015), is that true?

A SAS expander does exactly what it's called, expands available SAS ports. So yes, a SAS expander needs a HBA, like the M1015. If you buy the M1015 + HP SAS Expander, you will have enough SATA ports.


HP SAS Expander
  • Connect 1xSAS from M1015 to the expander
  • Leaves 7xSAS -> 28xSATA (excluding the external 8088 port)
  • The other SAS on the IBM can fan out to 4 more SATA ports giving you a total of 32 SATA ports.


I would recommend the following setup though
  • Connect 2xSAS from M1015 to the expander (via link teaming) which will give you double the bandwidth for all your drives. This requires a HBA which supports link teaming. The M1015 supports it.
  • Leaves 6xSAS -> 24xSATA (excluding the external 8088 port)
  • Your mobo can manage the other SATA ports.


For more information on the HP SAS expander, refer to this thread
http://hardforum.com/showthread.php?t=1484614


A similar setup can be achieved with the Chenbro expander as well, but I am reluctant on recommending it because it can only accept one input from the HBA, unlike the HP SAS expander which can accomodate two SAS inputs. This greatly limits the bandwidth available to the drives. For home use however, that is not a big issue at all. The Chenbro is one of the best expanders in the market.


Chenbro SAS Expander
  • Connect 1xSAS from M1015 to the expander
  • Leaves 6xSAS -> 24xSATA (excluding the external 8088 ports)
  • The other SAS on the IBM can fan out to 4 more SATA ports giving you a total of 28 SATA ports.
  • Your motherboard can manage the rest


Both the HP and Chenbro SAS expanders will eat up a PCIe slot for power. This is where the Intel expander provides a huge advantage. It doesn't have to be plugged in to a PCIe slot. It has an optional 4pin molex connector which can be used to power the card. You can just stick it anywhere in your case, saving you one PCIe slot. The following setup might work well for your needs, although this will be the most expensive and the most radical solution out of the rest and I am not entirely sure if this will work (I don't see why it won't)


Intel SAS Expander
  • Buy two Intel SAS expanders
  • Distribute the two SAS connections on the M1015 to the two expanders
  • This should give you 40 SATA ports

Quote:
Originally Posted by Elpee  /t/1468557/building-a-media-storage-server-with-30-drives#post_23216068


Looks tempting but can I use it as a stand-alone card?

No you cannot.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
I just found out one important thing. In my new media storge server, there are about 10 Seagate 4TB 7200 RPM 64MB Cache SATA 6.0Gb and 5 Seagate 3TB 7200 RPM 64MB Cache 6.0Gb. Also, I'll re-use 16 WD Green WD20EARS 2TB drives those I'm taking from the current server. I was told the 'Green' drives are not suited for RAID usage. The reason is that the variable speeds of these drives can cause the multiple drives to become desynchronized that can lead to data corruption. Any words on this issue, guys?
 

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If your doing hardware raid like raid 5/6 you can have isuues with drives and TLER I think it is makes the controller drop drives if your using flex raid, unraid or similar your ok


Sent from my DROID BIONIC using Tapatalk 2
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Elpee  /t/1468557/building-a-media-storage-server-with-30-drives#post_23217192


I just found out one important thing. In my new media storge server, there are about 10 Seagate 4TB 7200 RPM 64MB Cache SATA 6.0Gb and 5 Seagate 3TB 7200 RPM 64MB Cache 6.0Gb. Also, I'll re-use 16 WD Green WD20EARS 2TB drives those I'm taking from the current server. I was told the 'Green' drives are not suited for RAID usage. The reason is that the variable speeds of these drives can cause the multiple drives to become desynchronized that can lead to data corruption. Any words on this issue, guys?

For software RAID, that's not an issue.


Oh and since you are looking for a good softwar RAID solution, I will recommend FlexRAID. It works well for media servers.
 

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Just let me throw in my two cents.


I know you stated you want to stick with Windows, but FreeNAS is deceptively easy to use with its web interface, and the step by step guides online walk you through everything. It should be much more stable than any Windows based server.


As far as storage controllers go, the IBM M1015 are GREAT, and can be found cheaply on ebay. With a SAS expander card they can support 16 drives each.


They have hardware RAID, but I flashed mine with the LSI IT JBOD firmware, as I wanted to use ZFS software raid in FreeNAS, as it appears more reliable and flexible.
 
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