18 February 2008

Major storage expansion to 2,2 TByte

So, downloading HD stuff from several torrents (post about best HD torrents will be available soon) filled up quickly my Half Terabyte server. So, I decided to switch frorm 4x160GB disks to 4x750GB setup, eg total 2,25 TB usable RAID5 storage.

RAID5 is essential in multy-disk setups, as single drive failure destroy's completely striped storage (RAID 0). Mirroring halves usable storage and is expeensive. So, RAID 5 is the winner. It is important to notice, that You may not want to use any entry-level RAID controller for RAID 5 as they use software parity calculation, overloeading CPU at large array writes. Instead usse HW accelerated version, for example RocketRAID 1810a.

My 2,2 TB media server in the nutshell

  • Intel P4, 2GHz, 100MHz FSB
  • 512 MB RAM
  • PCI bus 32bit
  • 40 Gb ATA disk for OS from integrated controller
  • 4 x 750 SATA II 7200 RPM disks from Hitachi
  • RAID5 controlled by HighPoint RocketRAID 1810a
  • Intel Gigabit NIC
  • Tower form factor (Dell Dimension 8200)
My 2,2 TB RAID migration process:
  • Installed temporary SATA controller and SATA drive 500GB for migration buffer;
  • Tested old partition performance, using HD Tune 2.55 (free);
  • Copied the contents from old RAID to single 500 GB SATA disk, attached to temporary SATA controller, using CodeSector TERACopy (took about 15 hours at average speed 6,5 MB/s)
  • Tested the integrity of copy using TERACopy
  • Took out 4 x 160 GB disks
  • Installed fresh 4 x 750 GB Hitachi disks
  • RAID 5 Zero build, using RocketRAID BIOS utility, block size 2048 (good for large sequential reads-writes as usual in video and audio media streaming), took 15 hours;
  • Created parrtition and formatted it, usine windows storage admin tools from Control Panel;
  • Copied all data back from single 500GB disk, using TERACopy;
  • Tested integrity of the copy with TERACopy;
  • Uninstalled temporary migration hard drive and controller;
  • Tested partition speed, using HD Tune.
It took total to c3 full days to complete the job, far more than I expected Thanks to slow disk-to-disk copy -- probably due to slow 100MHz FSB. Copy speed to single disk was in average 6,5 MBps, restoring to new RAD happened at 10 MBps pace. My next server will be >1000 MHz FSB and PCI-x configuration. For streaming purposes old system is good, but copying is painfully slow.

After the break -- places to get HD content, Victoria Secret 2007 show in 1080 HD and more..

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