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Hardware Thread, Storage Expansion in Technical; We need some ideas for storage expansion. We need to temporarily expand our storage capability. Next year we are having ...
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    TechMonkey's Avatar
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    Storage Expansion

    We need some ideas for storage expansion. We need to temporarily expand our storage capability. Next year we are having a complete overhaul of the network so we do not want to get a new SAN, server or massive investment just yet.
    We just want to be able to either assign a new drive letter to students that would lead to a secondary space they can use or be able to reassign a selection of users to use the new area as their home drives.

    We got a TerraStation last year only to find that the number of shares were limited, we couldn't set security to individual folders (as needed for home drives) and "Active Directory integration" didn't mean exactly what we were lead to believe so don't want to fall into that trap again.

    What have others done & does any one have any suggestions

    Ta.

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    I'm in a kind of similar situation in that I just need a load of storage but don't need a fancy SAN/NAS (need it for D2D backups).

    Some companies have quoted for a Netgear ReadyNAS that looks pretty good, obviously Iomega and QNAP do similar stuff. Another one is Overland S1000/N2000 but that's a bit pricier.

    My current preference is for:

    • Intel Mobo
    • Core i3
    • 4GB DDR3 RAM
    • 8x 2TB drives
    • Supermicro 2U chassis
    • 30GB SSD
    • 2.5in-3.5in adaptor
    • LSI Raid card
    • Windows licence


    That comes in at less than half the price of the alternatives and should provide around 11TB-12TB usable storage in RAID 5. The Supermicro chassis will take 8x 3.5in hotswap drives, then we stick the SSD with an adaptor in one of the fixed 3.5in bays.

    Haven't got it yet but think I might do. Only problem with that spec is that performance won't be great if you're using it for production data. If that was the case and you were confident building it, I'd maybe switch to SAS 10k/15k drives and get twin SAS expander cards, then buy one of the Supermicro cases that can be used as a disk expansion array. SAS cables out the back, maybe 4U total, relatively cheap. Stick Windows on it if you need lots of control over it, maybe FreeNAS or OpenFiler if not.

    Cheers,
    Chris

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    Well if you want a certain about of redundancy but on the cheap then you can get or buy a PC with onboard raid capability and stick some big drives in it (1TB SATA drives are really cheap), install windows server on it temporarily and then do whatever plan you had for your TerraStation.

    Whatever you do you'll have to consider backup capacity though.

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    Dos_Box's Avatar
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    I suggest you give ICT Direct a ring if you are pushed for price as they often have SANs and NAS devices in stock. To my mind a SAN would be far more versatile than just having some plain storage, which is always good, especially for virtualisation and the sudden demands for extra storage from other servers. SANs are like cars with remote central locking and air-con. Once you've had one you never want to go without!

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    As TechMonkey's colleague can I clarify this a bit... Basically our main staff & student servers are both really tight on space. Next year is The Big Upgrade, but meanwhile we'd like our users to come back in September to an extra drive letter giving them more space. We've got a very busy summer ahead so ideally we just want a box (£1K tops) we can plug in with minimum fuss which can have around 1300 user folders on it, correctly shared and permissioned as per the users' current home folders on our existing servers. We got a couple of Terastations last year which have turned out useful for backups but can't do this kind of stuff, as their much vaunted "AD integration" just means you can have authenticated users, not actual NTFS-style folders. So would we best off with a device that uses WSS? I notice Buffalo do a WSS Terastation, for example. Seems a simple query but in some ways there's too much info out there!

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    Thanks all. We are getting SAN next year but this is a stop gap until then. Just to take the brunt of abuse by Y10 & 11. Mainly wondering if there is just a device we can get, not going to have time to faff with building a machine, bit of a full summer.

    The important bit is being able to control many shares & have NTFS security so we can use it for home directories.

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    Duke's Avatar
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    If you want all the Windows ACL features on a budget, why not use Windows?

    Stuff like NetApp and Oracle all do AD integration perfectly and will support quite a few shares, but if you want it on a budget I reckon a cheap Windows server (either pre-built and add drives or home-rolled like my spec) might be your best bet.

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    Shan and I both have one of these:

    Scan.co.uk: Thecus N0503 ComboNAS SATA-II 3x 3.5" or 5x 2.5", Intel ATOM, NEW AJAX WEB UI, RAID 0,1,5,6, JBOD

    A 3 drive Thecus N0503, which has iSCSI and can take up to 6TB of storage. They are also expandable via eSATA and at £274 would be well within your price range even kitted out with disks. They have GB ethernet, but I couldn't tell you how good they'd be serving that amount of user areas, which is, TBH, not something I'd want a NAS device to do. For that level you are firmly in SAN territory I reckon. As I said though, give ICT Direct a buzz, they may have something well within your budget.

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