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Project DataWh0re - 26 Drive, 27TB Tower Server

rust0r

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#1
Most hardware is 2-3 years old from my old server, this build is simply to expand the drive capacity/ease of access and use:

CPU: AMD Athlon II X4 620
MOBO: Asus M4A79XTD-EVO
RAM: 2GB
CARDS: 2x Supermicro AOC-SAS2LP-MV8
Windows 7 w Remote Desktop access for any maintenance it needs

I am running DISPARITY, it is simliar to Unraid but a little bit different. It is probably the most flexible of any raid/non-raid setup I've ever come across and has been flawless and worked for several drive recoverys in the past years both for myself and friends who run it. It works based off of 1 Parity drive, it is not real time parity, you can boot a system up with half the drives and not worry about messing the parity/array up. You can lose any number of drives without it affecting other data. Parity and another data drive can fail, and all other data is in tact (Similar to Unraid as is my understanding). Since it is not real-time parity, you can schedule or manually run "Disparity updates", which calculate parity and happen quite quickly. There is no such thing as a complete "Rebuild" needed if a drive fails and is replaced, you simply rebuild data onto the new drive, and the entire setup continues without needing to rebuild/repair parity. Drives can be added quickly and again, without rebuilding the entire parity drive. The only two negative things I can say about this setup, which I don't even think are negative to the average media streamer 1) All drives are shown individually since it isn't "Raid" 2) You don't have the speed of raid, each drives speed is based on it's individual performance.

I got over the drives showing individually pretty quickly when I discovered Link Shell Extensions, it's a windows extension that allows you create unique junctions (beyond what the typical "Junctions" program does. At this point it pretty much runs itself, batch files sort any media/files I download/create and space is easy to manage with a little planning and organization. The speed issue really isn't an issue for a home server if you're just looking to stream media, music, etc.

The best part of disparity it is programmed by one individual who is actively involved in the forums on his site, frequently posts asking for new feature ideas, and actually listens to his users on how to improve and make Disparity better, even though it is completely FREE.

Check out Disparity HERE

ABOUT THE BUILD!

I originally (3 years ago) started with a 3TB Raid 5 setup on my main PC but quickly realized my need for more storage space, I ended up building a dedicated server/storage tower using an Azza Solano 1000 that would hold 12 Disks (I later mounted the OS drive in the bottom of the tower to make it 13 in total). About 8 month ago, I finally outgrew the tower and added an external 4 bay enclosure. At the point I had only 1 spot left in the enclosure I realized I needed a more permanent solution for storage, something that would last YEARS instead of months.

I scoured the internet and all the various storage forums looking for solutions that might suit my needs. People recommended Norco constantly but I have never really been a fan of Norco's design (flame suit on).

I finally settled on a Sharkoon Rebel 12, a German made 22-Bay tower using 4-to-3 adapters. They are very hard to come by but there are still some that pop up on eBay now and again. One thing I didn't want with my server was those annoying 4-to-3 adapters that in order to take 1 hard drive out you had to remove the entire adapter, unplug all drives and take the bay adapter out, then you had access to the drive that needed to be removed. I will NEVER buy any case that functions in this way, it is the largest annoyance I can think of.

I searched for a 5-to-3 solution and wasn't about to pay $110+ x 4 to outfit my tower with enterprise 5-to-3 bays from companies like Supermicro, etc. I found a company ( http://www.moddiy.com ) that had 5-to-3 bay adapters with hot swap tabs, but lacking the hot swap microboard. This meant they were dirt cheap and allowed me to pick up 4 of them for just slightly over what 1 enterprise 5-to-3 adapter would have cost.



I decided that I would REVERSE mount these bay adapters and have all power/sas cables connect in the front of the tower, also allowing for drives to be pulled out through the front after popping the front cover off. It wasn't going to be easy, I knew this case needed the top cover shaved/cut away to allow for a bay adapter to be installed but didn't realize that I would also have to cut the bay adapter since I was reverse mounting it, it's a scary thing when the top lid is an entire inch away from going on properly, you question if your vision was going to fail pretty quickly lol. After some aggressive cutting and filing, everything fit! I was going to make a build log, but after realizing the amount of patience I would need to do this build, I quickly opted against it.

Here is what I was dealing with, an Azza Solano 1000 with 13 drives (there are 3 inside an external 4 bay not shown here), as you can see it was quite a mess and removing a single drive meant I had to disconnect 4 power/sata adapters/fans, remove the bay, and then access the hard drive. It was a nightmare! This was about as good as cable management allowed within the case given the drive setup.





Sharkoon Rebel 12 arrives, 1 week from Germany, not bad at all.





I wasn't a fan of the typical grey/nude interior color that this case was painted, my painting skills and patience have always been severely lacking, I opted for Flat Black because 1) it looks awesome 2) it hides many paint flaws that would otherwise show up on a glossy surface.



A large part of what was going to keep cable clutter down, would be custom Sata Power cables, it gets rid of the the ribbon effect that normal PSU power connectors have when hooking up multiple hard drives in a custom space. These are all 24" long Sata Power extension cables, and Sata power connectors/caps from http://www.performance-pcs.com . They are very easy to make, just take your time and be sure that no cables are crossed, and that the empty space is on the "L" side of the sata adapter and you'll be fine. One word of caution to those attempting this, it requires a great amount of force using a screw driver to force them into the crimp section, you CAN and WILL snap and I/O board if you put the connectors into your drives and attempt to use them as "holders" (ask me how I know!). I snapped the main OS drive's I/O board in half, somehow it bent back and works 100%, I wish I had a picture of my face for this thread when I did that. I highly suggest plugging the connectors into the drives and lightly pushing the cables on so that you can score them to get the spacing, then unplug them and do it on a hard service, like a work bench.



Here are the SAS cables routed behind the drive tower and through holes in the front, I had to grind the front panel of the tower down on the inside so there would be room for the cabling for those wondering.



Here is the finished product! The PSU is from the previous build and is the one thing that really inhibits this from being as clean as it possibly can be. When/if it dies I will definitely pick up a Corsair fully modular with black braided PSU cables, but in the meantime I think I will live with it, it is a huge step up from what I previously had in terms of cable management/ease of replacing and adding a drive.





Hope you enjoyed and weren't too bored :D

If anyone has any questions I would be happy to answer!
 

erocker

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#2
What are you using to power all those drives?
 
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#3
porn, what else?!?
 

rust0r

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#4
What are you using to power all those drives?
LOL

erocker: the PSU you see there (OCZ Modxstream Pro 700w), it's a single rail 12v 700w. The Supermicro's cards have staggered spin up enabled, so it doesn't get hit with a high initial spin up load. Is there something I'm missing or should be concerned about though ?
 

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#5
the case with all of the drives looks amazing. but i have to say nay too not using something like CentOS (or any other enterprise linux solution) and its excellent software raid configuration. you would get faster speeds than on windows.
 

rust0r

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#6
the case with all of the drives looks amazing. but i have to say nay too not using something like CentOS (or any other enterprise linux solution) and its excellent software raid configuration. you would get faster speeds than on windows.
Well, that's always been the thing, at one point 2 years ago, I had an 8 port Areca raid card in my hands but realized it wasn't really needed for what I wanted the server to do. It's mainly storage for files and media, it's streamed to my PC/TV's, most drives transfer anywhere from 60-95mb/s depending on the file type and destination. I really do prefer the safety of Disparity over the speed gain that Raid/CentOS/Linux distro would provide. I feel much safer with Disparity, especially considering these are all Non-RAID/enterprise class drives. I've seen too many people lose arrays due to non-raid drives dropping from arrays and killing the entire thing.

I'm not knocking Raid at all, it has it's place and is exactly what a lot of people are looking for, it is definitely amazing to see the speeds it pulls off. And I do love that it pools the drives as one large storage area, makes it so you don't have to worry about balancing drive space
 
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#7
RAID 5 does all that in hardware, or software too, plus its real time parity calculations with less overhead. Or RAID 6which is dual parity and get 48 TB and two drive failure.
 

rust0r

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#8
RAID 5 does all that in hardware, or software too, plus its real time parity calculations with less overhead. Or RAID 6which is dual parity and get 48 TB and two drive failure.
And if multiple drives drop out because they aren't "enterprise raid edition" that cost 2x as much as standard drives.... Raid 5 or 6, both allow for the possibility of losing ALL data in the extreme case, the only way that is happening while running disparity is a surge that somehow bypasses my breakers and UPS.

Not to mention a full raid setup with 15+ disks is going to triple build cost on the disks and cards alone
 
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#9
Nice clean up. Didn't know you could put that many drives in a case and make it look so neat.

Did you make the power connectors yourself or did you find them at a shop?
 
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#10
Agreed with the other guys, the way you managed the cables is brilliant, some builds with a couple of HDDs look busier than yours :toast:
 

rust0r

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#11
Nice clean up. Didn't know you could put that many drives in a case and make it look so neat.

Did you make the power connectors yourself or did you find them at a shop?
Thanks! :) It was a challenge as the SAS to Sata cables are 1M (3ft) each, they were the only one's that came pre-sleeved with good quality sleeving so it was a no-brainer; I also wasn't sure what route I would have to take with them to reach the hard drives. All the cabling is tucked on the backside of the hard drive tower, there are a few SMALL holes in the case that BARELY fit the molex connector through. The panel door closes without much fuss, surprisingly.

Agreed with the other guys, the way you managed the cables is brilliant, some builds with a couple of HDDs look busier than yours :toast:
Thank you, that means alot! The whole point of the build was to make it look as clean as possible while remaining functional. I had too much frustration with my last build and all the wires when trying to do anything inside the case. I always give people hell when I see their computer inside and it looks like a rats nest and they only have 1 or 2 hard drives lol

:toast:
 
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#12
subbed. I might come back with questions later, if you don't mind.
 
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#13
Nice job! Incredibly tidy. Puts my rig to shame.

BTW you are crazy.

+1 for the info about disParity
 

rust0r

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#14
subbed. I might come back with questions later, if you don't mind.
Of course, that's why I posted the build, hoping to give people some ideas and make them get creative! What did you have in mind as far as your build goes?

Nice job! Incredibly tidy. Puts my rig to shame.

BTW you are crazy.

+1 for the info about disParity
Haha thank you, this made me laugh "BTW you are crazy" :rockout:

I highly suggest everyone take a look at Disparity that doesn't want to shell out $$$ for raid cards or enterprise drives, but still wants a high level of safeguarding.
 

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#15
Excellent job. :toast:

Of that 27 TB of space, how much is actually in use and how are you backing it up?
 

rust0r

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#16
Excellent job. :toast:

Of that 27 TB of space, how much is actually in use and how are you backing it up?
Thank you :toast:

Of the 27TB, 3TB is dedicated to parity (as with most free-parity setups, you just need 1 parity drive that is as large or larger than the largest drive you want to protect). That leaves me with 24TB prior to the 1024mb kick in the pants that all drives suffer (leaving me with a realistic 21.855 TB of usable space)

I currently have 19.89TB used of 21.855, almost time to add another drive or two.

I am using Disparity as a data-safeguard solution, right up at the intro to my post I explain a bit about it, it's benefits and how it differs from Raid, as well as provide a link to the site with forum if you are interested. I definitely don't think enough people even know about it to be honest, I never see it mentioned on these forums or any other. I've been running it for close to 2+ years now, with a friend who has a similar setup to the first case I posted with slightly less data, and it has saved us from numerous drive failures.
 
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#17
Yeah my porn collection grows around 1tb per year
 

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#19
I am using Disparity as a data-safeguard solution, right up at the intro to my post I explain a bit about it, it's benefits and how it differs from Raid, as well as provide a link to the site with forum if you are interested. I definitely don't think enough people even know about it to be honest, I never see it mentioned on these forums or any other. I've been running it for close to 2 years now, with a friend who has a similar setup to the first case I posted with slightly less data, and it has saved us from numerous drive failures
I understand that you are doing well protecting against single or even multiple drive failures, but what if the whole system is destroyed?
(for instance, a fire, tornado, flood, etc.)

Do you have the data backed up?
 

rust0r

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#20
I understand that you are doing well protecting against single or even multiple drive failures, but what if the whole system is destroyed?
(for instance, a fire, tornado, flood, etc.)

Do you have the data backed up?
Well, the REAL important things (all pictures I've taken) are backed up regularly at a friends house an hour away, he largely has much of the same media as I do, so 85% of the stuff on my server isn't much of a concern should I lose the entire thing, it can be easily replaced. The other personal files such as documents and program backups, etc are backed up on an external with frequent backups, and an additional copy of those files on my personal PC.

I refuse to use any "online" backup methods/services.

Are there any other options/ideas ?
 

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#21
now build another one and put it on the other side of town linked with a fiber line and you could be in business.
 

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#22
Well, the REAL important things (all pictures I've taken) are backed up regularly at a friends house an hour away, he largely has much of the same media as I do, so 85% of the stuff on my server isn't much of a concern should I lose the entire thing, it can be easily replaced. The other personal files such as documents and program backups, etc are backed up on an external with frequent backups, and an additional copy of those files on my personal PC.

I refuse to use any "online" backup methods/services.

Are there any other options/ideas ?
No. Not really. The importace of data redundancy is up to you.
If you can replace it without to much problem then it is of no real concern.

I was just curious as to how someone might backup 20+ TB of data. :)
 

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#23
No. Not really. The importace of data redundancy is up to you.
If you can replace it without to much problem then it is of no real concern.

I was just curious as to how someone might backup 20+ TB of data. :)
with another unit obviously :laugh:
 

rust0r

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#24
now build another one and put it on the other side of town linked with a fiber line and you could be in business.
Haha, that would be awesome! If only I found a bag of money somewhere :toast:

No. Not really. The importace of data redundancy is up to you.
If you can replace it without to much problem then it is of no real concern.

I was just curious as to how someone might backup 20+ TB of data. :)
Ah alright, I was hoping you had some secret method that I didn't know about quite yet lol

You can realistically only put so many safeguards in place and then just leave it up to fate if something tragic like a flood or fire happened. I'm pretty confident at the moment, with my next hard drive addition I will probably pull one of the 1 TB from the server, fill that will all my personal files and leave it at my friends house in case of fire/flood at my place.
 

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Software Centos 7 | Windows 10
#25
You can realistically only put so many safeguards in place and then just leave it up to fate if something tragic like a flood or fire happened. I'm pretty confident at the moment, with my next hard drive addition I will probably pull one of the 1 TB from the server, fill that will all my personal files and leave it at my friends house in case of fire/flood at my place.
buy a fireproof cabinet for it and dont put it in a basement and you should be set.