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General Chat Thread, Cluster / SAN or other for Home Drive Data in General; Hi everyone, one of those times again where your opinions are valuable We recently had issues with our home drive ...
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    mthomas08's Avatar
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    Cluster / SAN or other for Home Drive Data

    Hi everyone, one of those times again where your opinions are valuable

    We recently had issues with our home drive data server, it was cheap and cheerful which is why it has failed 3 times over the last 2-3 years.

    So we are looking in to replacing it and because we have become so heavily in to IT (most of the students course work is produced on computers 1600+ users). We need something big, reliable, redundant.

    One option is Clustering, we want the ability where a server fails then the system is pretty much unaffected while the dead server is restored. What would you all choose? what kind of setup?

    I am currently looking at 2x Dell PowerVault NX3000 setup with Storage enterprise, both servers will have R5 setup with hot swaps etc. So replacing parts on one server will not take forever and ofcourse clustering for a dead server with unaffected down time.

    Many thanks for your replies, you can be totally honest. Some might say the above is overkill but this is something that really can not be down for 1 hour let alone longer.

    Spec wise, we need at least 1-2TB of space, currently 500GB used, which has gone from 20GB 6 years ago.

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    dhicks's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mthomas08 View Post
    we want the ability where a server fails then the system is pretty much unaffected while the dead server is restored. What would you all choose?
    Two servers, both running Debian with Samba for file sharing, one with faster, smaller storage (maybe a dedicated RAID card, if you like) and one with a larger amount of slower (and cheaper) storage. Have the first server as your main, live file server and have the second one be the backup server, syncing with the live server on a regular basis (at least every night, maybe more often). Have the backup server do versioning, so that at any time any user can step back a few days or weeks to get a previous version of a backed-up file. Should be quite doable for around £3,000.

    If you just want two identical servers then you can have them sync their volumes in real time with DRBD.

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    Quote Originally Posted by mthomas08 View Post
    We recently had issues with our home drive data server, it was cheap and cheerful which is why it has failed 3 times over the last 2-3 years.
    Expensive does not necessarily mean 'robust' and cheap and cheerful does not necessarily mean it will or has to fail. We have some cheap and cheerful Thecus iSCSI storage devices and we have a hugely expensive multi redundant DataCore SAN. Guess which one we have had more trouble with? If I was putting together 'robust' storage for users I'd consider the cheap Thecus type units (offering at a minimum, iSCSI, RAID 5/6 and dual power supplies), I would buy two of them, initially synchronise them and then just use robo-copy or similar to sync up the copies every hour. I could buy a couple of these units new every year just for the cost of the support and maintenance on the Datacore.

    That said, it would be useful to know what your budget is.

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    nicholab's Avatar
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    That is quite a small amount of storage for 1600 user being each user could get 1.25GB each not much use if video editing. We deployed a msa DAS with 9TB of storage for our 1500 users.

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    mthomas08's Avatar
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    Space wise, I am always one for a buffer. I spent about 2 weeks going through it all and managed to save 150GB just by compressing pictures in documents or urging staff to remove their "personal ones".

    I am currently looking at Windows Server Storage 2008 R2 on that Dell box, I know some times cheap/non MS is the way to go but the one time we chose non DELL it turned out to be a bad decision. We are a MS Vanilla network so being able to manage anything outside of a Windows setup becomes more time consuming because I will have to do more research. Although I will browse and have a look at the options.

    I guess the flack I through at the current server is also dueto the fact it was not my choice, infact a DELL server was.

    Budget wise looking at 10K+ possibly more, obviously not something put together with a few bits of string

    Looking at the NX300 with Windows Storage Enterprise R2 - I will probably end up ringing DELL because I need to know if this can easily be mapped to/permissioned for each user similar to normal Windows Share.
    Last edited by mthomas08; 12th September 2011 at 02:49 PM.

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    mthomas08's Avatar
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    Bump*

    Hope you all dont mind, think we going to head for the NX3000 Dell which comes with Windows Storage Server 2008 R2 Enterprise and have two of them setup as a cluster.

    Would this work well as a Home Drive server? easy to share? map with Active Directory batch files - simply will it work exact the same as our current Home Drive system which are just a bunch of shared folders on a server Hard Drive.

    Permissioning and all that will relatively be the same easy style as current one?

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