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networking two home servers to show as one drive

Duekay

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#1
Hi everyone,

I have two questions for you all, I am wanting to upgrade my storage space.

1# I have a 4 drive raid 10 array atm and want to expand that to 8 drive array using raid 100 (10+0),
I want to add the other new 4 drives to my mobo chipset ports because my current pcie raid card is only a 4 port, if I run 2 raid 10 arrays and use a software raid 0 is this possible, I have win 7 pro on the server atm.

2# next if I later want to expand this to another server for even more space is there a way of linking two different server arrays to show as 1 drive?

Also a bother sneak question what is a good network switch that has a backplane of 10gbps and 8+ gb ports, at the moment I just got a netgear gigabit router and when having 2-4 machines working at a time I'm starting to get a bottleneck from the server to the router, the server array w/r is over 150mb and if its possible to do what I asked in questions 1# I might get 250+ mbs..

Any help would be much welcomed

Thanks
Dave
 
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#2
I'm not aware of a cheap way of achieving this without starting again i.e. use something like unraid to create an expandable array. Not sure how you would go about adding another server and making them appear as one logical server within the machine. Perhaps just putting shortcuts on the main server that link to the secondary? I'm not sure if this would work for streaming media to devices like smart TV's, Xbox's, DVR, etc.....

Would be interested to see everyone elses suggestions here.

As for the switch. You should be able to pickup some small business grade unmanaged gigabit switches that should do what you need them to. I won't reccommend a brand as most of the products out there are made by the same manufacturer and rebadged by whomever is selling the product, just check the specs first to make sure they do what you need them to.

I would also consider adding a second NIC into your server as it may be getting maxxed out and this would help load balance.
 

newtekie1

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#3
You can mount drives to appear as folders inside of another drive, that would be about as close as you could get, AFAIK. There isn't a good way to get both servers to appear as a single drive, at least not on Windows 7.
 

Duekay

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#4
Cool thanks guys,
Yea I don't think I could just add new drives in but... I have everthing backed up to external esata hhds so I could wipe the current volume and make another new one with my chipset ports then as the drives are showing up as two raided raid10 arrays instead of 8 different drives I could use window disk manager and make a raid0 array using the two arrays, making a raid100 array.
Sounds like it could work but I haven't got the 4 extra drives yet so have no idea.

With having two servers connected to gether I was think last night I might be best just splitting the data so I have media like tv shows, movies, music on one server and ally audio production stuff on the other server, could help any bottlenecking going on.

With the switch I really want one with a 10gbps backplane and ill put a 10gbps NIC in the server, I am finding it pretty hard to see what the back plane of the switchs are... They don't really tell you any thing.
If I get a switch is it possible to connect my current netgear gigabit router to the switch so that can expand on my networks wireless connectivity?
 
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#5
Hey Duekay,

Have a look at DFS (Distributed file system) for a way to spread data over multiple servers. I'm sure it's been available in Windows servers OSs since Win 2003. I've also seen a few open source variants that run under various other OS.

With regard to 10Gb networking - just a few points to watch out for:

Stay away from fibre - it will cost you a fortune :p
Stick with SFP+ interfaces if you can (modular and gives you a good deal more flexibility at a lower cost)
For a server to tx/rx at anywhere near 10Gb speed it will have to have a server class motherboard.

Pretty much any reputable brand of switch that supports SFP+s at 10Gb will be non blocking at 20+Gbs - Cisco Catalyst 3560 range for example (minimum of a 64Gb backplane depending on port density).

I hope some of that info is useful.
 

Duekay

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#6
Hey Duekay,

Have a look at DFS (Distributed file system) for a way to spread data over multiple servers. I'm sure it's been available in Windows servers OSs since Win 2003. I've also seen a few open source variants that run under various other OS.

With regard to 10Gb networking - just a few points to watch out for:

Stay away from fibre - it will cost you a fortune :p
Stick with SFP+ interfaces if you can (modular and gives you a good deal more flexibility at a lower cost)
For a server to tx/rx at anywhere near 10Gb speed it will have to have a server class motherboard.

Pretty much any reputable brand of switch that supports SFP+s at 10Gb will be non blocking at 20+Gbs - Cisco Catalyst 3560 range for example (minimum of a 64Gb backplane depending on port density).

I hope some of that info is useful.
Thanks, its hard finding people th know anything about 10Gb networking,
Might not work as easy as I was hoping, I was going to use a x58 Board for my next server build so there would be limiting factors there.
In the meantime is it possible to get more bandwidth by using 2x gigabit NICs? I remember talking with someone a few years back about it.
 
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#7
Its actually very straight forward to bundle multiple 1Gb connections into a fatter pipe. The general term is link aggregation and there are many versions (dot1q, lacp, alb etc).

You will still need a multiport 1Gb NIC or multiple 1Gb NICs of the same type (which support 1 or many of the protocols) and a Switch which is also capable and supports the same standard(s)

This will almost certainly be a factor of 10 cheaper than 10Gb and gives you more resilience at the same time.

A couple of things to watch out for:

Double check the NICs and switch to make sure they support the same protocol.
Make sure the protocol you choose has the features you want...some only provide failover so you get no speed benefit, others are limited by the number of ports you can bundle (you should be looking for support of at least 4 ports and 8 ports if you can find at good price.

Oh and finally - drivers for your NIC...they will be very OS dependant and the OS could further add or remove listed features. (ie a certain feature may only be available under win 2008 or Ubuntu)
 

Duekay

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#8
Its actually very straight forward to bundle multiple 1Gb connections into a fatter pipe. The general term is link aggregation and there are many versions (dot1q, lacp, alb etc).

You will still need a multiport 1Gb NIC or multiple 1Gb NICs of the same type (which support 1 or many of the protocols) and a Switch which is also capable and supports the same standard(s)

This will almost certainly be a factor of 10 cheaper than 10Gb and gives you more resilience at the same time.

A couple of things to watch out for:

Double check the NICs and switch to make sure they support the same protocol.
Make sure the protocol you choose has the features you want...some only provide failover so you get no speed benefit, others are limited by the number of ports you can bundle (you should be looking for support of at least 4 ports and 8 ports if you can find at good price.

Oh and finally - drivers for your NIC...they will be very OS dependant and the OS could further add or remove listed features. (ie a certain feature may only be available under win 2008 or Ubuntu)
Very cool,

I was looking at this card
And my router atm is a netgear wndr3700v2.... Not sure if that will do it
 

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#9
You've told us what you're attempting to do but in the end what are you trying to accomplish? I would take a step back because there might be an easier solution to whatever you're goal is.
 

Duekay

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#10
You've told us what you're attempting to do but in the end what are you trying to accomplish? I would take a step back because there might be an easier solution to whatever you're goal is.
Well my end goal is to have up to 4 1080p video steams (Max) and possible room for I/O of files up to a 1GB getting copied every few minutes for a Cad package (The faster this can be copied the better. I also want to have my DAW running on the network what also benefits from fast file access times.

Its fine at the moment but im about to move into another house with 3 other producers is well as there partners and we will have a shit load of computers networked up.

One will be steaming uncompressed video for video editing and 2-3 (wireless laptops) just for standard compressed video.
and another 3 machines setup as workstations
 

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#11
Well my end goal is to have up to 4 1080p video steams (Max) and possible room for I/O of files up to a 1GB getting copied every few minutes for a Cad package (The faster this can be copied the better. I also want to have my DAW running on the network what also benefits from fast file access times.

Its fine at the moment but im about to move into another house with 3 other producers is well as there partners and we will have a shit load of computers networked up.

One will be steaming uncompressed video for video editing and 2-3 (wireless laptops) just for standard compressed video.
and another 3 machines setup as workstations
Have you ever considered getting a 4-port 1Gb card and run ethernet from the server directly to your 3 workstations and your wireless access point. That way each workstation gets a dedicated 1gb/s. You may want to just get an 8-port RAID controller, but the combo of these two things. I just noticed that might be 4 workstations. Pick a workstation to share bandwidth with an access point, maybe a Linksys router with DD-WRT? Either that or another Ethernet card but I don't know how many PCI-E slots you have available in your server.

So something like:
Intel E1G44HTBLK Server Adapter I340-T4 (Bulk Pack...
+
LSI Internal SATA/SAS 9211-8i 6Gb/s PCI-Express 2....

And instead of doing RAID 100, just do it like this.

RAID 0+1
(Disk 1, 2, 3, 4) + (Disk 5,6,7,8)

Instead of
0+0+1
((Disk 1 + 2) + (Disk 2 + 3)) + ((Disk 5 + 6) + (Disk 7 + 8))

There are more expensive cards, but I thought ~300 USD for an 8-port LSI raid card is a pretty good deal. You can improve write speeds by adding a BBU to the raid card.
 

DanTheBanjoman

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#12
Don't bother with multiple servers in such a situation. Get a DAS.

Also, there is no such thing as RAID 100, it would make no sense. It's two separate arrays. Just use RAID 5 or 6.

Edit: Google apparently agrees there is RAID 100. Still makes little sense to use if you ask me.
 
Last edited:

Duekay

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#13
Don't bother with multiple servers in such a situation. Get a DAS.

Also, there is no such thing as RAID 100, it would make no sense. It's two separate arrays. Just use RAID 5 or 6.

Edit: Google apparently agrees there is RAID 100. Still makes little sense to use if you ask me.
What's a DAS? Something attach storage?

I still got a lot to learn in the networking world.
 

Duekay

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#14
Right I been thinking for the moment to go with the link aggregation to a new switch, then connect my netgear router as a WiFi outlet and my modem to that is well as 3-4 workstations.

So now I guess the question is what's the best 8 port managed switch I can get under $500 that supports the link aggregation protocols. I don't want a shit one as its got to last me atleast 4 years.

Any ideas friends?
 
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#15
Some switches to consider:

Cisco
HP
Netgear

You will certainly need a managed switch and look for IEEE 802.3ad (LACP) support.

Some models that may suit you:

HP V1910-48G 48 Ports Managed Switch - £360.00
Cisco Small Business 24-port Gigabit Smart Switch - £210.00
Cisco Small Business 300 Series 10-port Gigabit Managed Switch - £160.00
 

Duekay

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#16
Cool thanks,

I just found this little one that looks as thought it suits the job, can get is for 125AUD is well.

And was going to get the Intel PRO/1000 PT card even though when i do my gear switch around for a new Sandy Bridge-E DAW i will be using my GA-EX58-UD5 Motherboard, i done a bit of research and the Realtek 8111D dual LAN's don't support IEEE 802.3ad but that's all good, could use them to backup to a NAS down the track.