The centralized storage upgrade

loocas | miscellaneous,opinions,technical | Wednesday, September 16th, 2009

I’ve been using tons of external hard drives for storing my data, backup needs or for carrying certain large files on me.

But with larger projects grew the needs for something much more advanced. So I finally bought a centralized data storage, a DAS (Direct-Attached Storage) from DELL. Concretely a MD1000, which is an extensional disk array that gets connected directly to a server, via a SAS controller, and acts as a physical drive on that server with up to, in this case, 7.5TB of redundant storage!

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I could have bought a NAS, like the MD3000i, but I already had a server (an old PowerVault 2600) and I got the MD1000 for a very good price. So, now, I’m only waiting for a PCI-X SAS card, that I bought on e-bay, that’ll fit into the PowerVault 2600 and, hopefully, allow for this setup.

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Along with it I also bought a gigabit switch and I have a UPS and a server cabinet on the way. The last thing I’ll be buying (actually building myself) are the render slaves. I’ll go for the best value/price ratio so for about $500 USD, I’ll be able to build a single render node. At first, I’ll buy about four, or as funds allow :D but I expect to cram the 42U cabinet full by the end of 2010. The next step will be to put everything together and make it work. I’ve never actually configured Windows Server before and a SAS, so, I hope everyting will work as hoped, otherwise I’ll be pretty much fucked!

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In case the server won’t perform as expected, I’ll be buying a very low-cost machine, from DELL again, PowerVault R300. Very cheap, very powerful for what I need. So, expect updates on this matter as things develop further ;) I hope to have the cabinet in two weeks and the whole setup by the end of November. Then it’ll all be about software which’ll need to be installed and configured in a specific way I’ve designed, but about that later.

As I said, 2009 is full of changes and expansions for me. ;)

2 Comments »

  1. This is some seroius hardware you´re putting together there!
    I would love to have something similar in my basement.

    What switch do you use for connecting all the machines?
    Btw: I´m interested in how much you spend on this (overall) by the end of the project.

    Greetings from Germany

    Comment by L-rac — September 17, 2009 @ 09:28

  2. Hi L-rac,

    I bought a gigabit switch from Dell as well, concretely the PowerConnect 2816 (16 port only).

    The whole thing cost, so far (not including the cabinet, render nodes, ups and other equipment that I’ll need) 4500 EUR. By the end (depending on the deals I get from Dell etc…) the whole setup without software shouldn’t go over 9000 EUR. Then another sum will have to be spent on software alone for this rig.

    Comment by loocas — September 17, 2009 @ 09:38

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