Discussion in 'Article Discussion' started by Sifter3000, 23 Apr 2009.
Have you looked at ZFS? A seriously impressive intelligent volume manager / file system. It does all sorts of very smart things - end to end data checksumming (detects "silent" corruption where a drive writes corrupt data but reports itself as working properly, unlike your poisonous 300GB Diamondmax 10); copy-on-write with atomic write operations; snapshotting; top-down resilvering; clever load balancing.
I've road tested it and performance is excellent (it loves lots of RAM and 64 bit processors though), and my next backup box will definitely be running Solaris on x64 with a RAIDZ (broadly similar to RAID-5) / RAIDZ2 (broadly similar to RAID-6) storage array. I'll probably repurpose my GA-MA78G-S2H for that when the upgrade fairy next visits...
I haven't checked ZFS but have v.little experience with *nix so Solaris is alien territory to me. I'd love to investigate it though, but it's just a question of ease of use and time.
really, windows home server's drive extender tech is the way to go for home users. they really need to roll out the feature to other OS products. i am buying WHS pretty much for that feature alone. the only redundancy it offers is duplication, but it's on a per-folder/share basis, which is nice. also absolutely no hassle in expanding the array, you just plug any old drive in, USB, SATA, ATA, whatever and it gets added to the storage pool.
My *nix knowledge was very basic before I started playing with Solaris. I'd say it is as easy to get a basic install up and running as Ubuntu - burn a boot CD from iso and the installation is trivial. ZFS is part of the standard Solaris install (IIRC it is the default FS for Solaris volumes), and it is incredibly intuitive and easy to get started with. If you have a spare test box in the office (what am I talking about, of COURSE you do!), I'd really recommend giving it a try and let us know how you get on.
The latest beta version of FreeNAS includes ZFS, so no mucking around with this Solaris malarky needed
In fact, I can't praise FreeNas enough, it can pretty much do anything you might conceivably want your storage device to do, from ZFS and iSCSI to XBox streaming and ftp, although I'll admit it's not super user friendly yet.
(and you can automate tape backups if someone buys you one of these:
i just moved my 3x F1 750GB RAID 0 array over from ICH9R to ICH10R, with no real issues. Great stuff, i really didn't expect that to work.
The only funny thing is, it still lists a ICH9R in the bootup screen
Indeed FreeNAS is fantastic. It was fantastic 3 years ago when I built my parents machine that's still running!
WHS sounds good, but would that OS also be suitable for a media centre PC? I have an AMD 4050e with a Gigabyte 780G motherboard which I use to watch TV/films etc and also to leave on overnight downloading stuff (its nice and quiet). However, it would be nice if i could have some storage/backup on there too as I currently have 2x 1TB drives in RAID 1 on my main gaming rig (see sig).
Definitely worth checking out BTRFS, very similar to ZFS (they both have pros and cons) but you're not locked in to Solaris. Still a bit new, but it's in the kernel now so only a matter of time.
I have my storage server in a virtual machine, so no worries when I change hardware configuration of the host box. If a hdd starts going south I can move the disk image to another drive.
no it really is designed to be used as a headless server. it's win2k3 at heart, with the cool drive extender tech and a lot of user-friendly web frontends. you can always get at the windows core, but it doesn't run media center.
works well WITH a media center machine, though.
Ive lost count of the hard drives i have (im sure it adds up to over 11TB), however i have yet to see the point of raid. I backup the data i want to backup to external drives.... and am able to take those where i want (useful for going between uni and home).
the performance advantage with hard drives is about to be redundant with the newer ssd's.... and as for backup storage, only works if its a mechanical hd failure. a psu blowout can take out a number of components in one go....
Obviously it has use for on the fly automatic backup, but i dont need that personally.
Ahh but a quality PSU, and quality surge protector largely prevents this unlikely event
I don't know about Intel Matrix RAID, but having to wait 7 hours to rebuild a mirrored RAID on a silicon image 3132 chip every time I got a BSOD or any other 'incorrect shutdown' drove me crazy.
I ended up ditching RAID altogether and splitting the drives up, setting one drive aside for backup, with scheduled drive-image backups in Macrium Reflect every night.
The Sil3132 chip was on a cheap £30 RAID PCI-E RAID card, so I couldn't have honestly expected much from it, but it definitely left a sour taste with regards to RAID.
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