I'm a little stuck with where to go next for my storage requirements. I have little money to play with but need to start looking at replacing the XRAID that currently holds all of our data. I am also looking forward to the future where there is no XServe.
I have already invested in the new mac mini with thunderbolt connectivity. My theory is this:
I was thinking of using the 10Gb connection between a 2Big drive set and coupling that with another 2Big drive, then using Apple's disk util, create a raid-1. This in theory would provide the bandwidth for the data, whilst providing redundancy. I was then thinking that using the Thunderbolt - 1Gb ethernet adaptor and then teaming the 2 ethernets together would give me a decent connection to the Mac Mini. The mini already has an SSD drive which the OS runs on.
At present the XRAID runs on ATA100/133 drives and is connected to the XServe via a 4Gb Fiber Channel card. The XServe has it's 2 Ethernet ports teamed giving a 2Gb connection to the switch.
My main concern is providing enough bandwidth for our mac users. They connect using networked home dirs.
I am not sure about the LaCie's ability to serve up the data quick enough, but also concerned about their failure rate (but they now have a 3yr warranty), plus the non-standard power supply (would like to connect to the UPS). I have asked for a loan to put them on trial.
So my question really is, is there a reasonable alternative to my proposal. I have looked at Drobo, but they can be slow, Promise which requires propriety caddies (something else I am trying to avoid) and a couple other devices. Nothing really seems to provide the connectivity speed that Thunderbolt provides for the same sort of money the 2Big is priced at.
Sorry for the long post. Just wanted to get everything out there.
I have a client that I set up a promise RAID as part of a SAN with there current xserves (about 4 years old) as a replacement for there xserve RAID. This has been in place for about 2 years now and has been very fast and reliable serving approximately 300 macs on an OD environment.
I suppose the key questions are how many macs will this be serving at one time, how much data do you need to store, and how much budget do you have to spend on this?
You're right about the questions. Let's start off with the simple ones. We only have around 35 macs that would be connected (via AFP) using networked home dirs at one time, but everything runs from here, e.g. Garageband, iMovie. All apps are run across the network. I understand that the switches and connection to them is still a bottleneck. Its more about the IOPS?
However, there will be other machines around the school connecting to shares via SMB, currently XP. Documents come from here as well. Our iTunes library will run off this array also streaming content, maybe eventually to iPads, or other wireless devices.
The total amount of data isn't a great deal. We have managed with a 1TB raid array for the last 4 years. It rapidly filled up over this year though so additional space would be needed. I'm also considering the fact that this probably won't have any more money thrown at it in my life-time. I'm looking at around 4TB of space.
Money available is unknown. It all depends on how much I can save on other purchases. We are buying some new laptops as well which apparently weren't budgeted for as they didn't know about this purchase. Since it was their idea and not mine, I'm not sure how this came about.
Last edited by HodgeHi; 27th June 2012 at 12:50 PM.
Reason: isn't a great deal
Shame you have the mac mini server already, I would have bought a mac pro server with a hardware RAID card installed and then pop a few disks in. However now that you have the mac mini server i would go for a Promise pegasus R4 as it has a built in RAID controller, an expansion thunderbolt slot that hopefully means you can daisy chain a thunderbolt to ethernet adapter, is faster than the lacie, doesn't cost that much and has a kettle lead power plug so it can connect to the UPS.
I know you mentioned the proprietary drive bays but since all four bays will have a caddy you should be able to just swap the drives inside the caddy in future.