Forum Thread

Recommendation: RAID card

irobot73 65 22 March 9, 2016 at 06:29 AM
Needing to upgrade from an existing LSI 8308ELP (yeah, talk about 'old'); limited by hardware and have backed-up all existing data. This will be a new/complete re-build (4TB+...purchasing AFTER I figure which card).

Know that LSI used to make quite a few 'off-branded' cards in the day. Seeing that LSI merged (now Avago?) and suspect the field just opened-up for me BIG time...but making research and comparing a major PITA.

Found a few on E-Bay that contain the card/BBU (sometimes cache add-on)/etc. Since this is mostly for storage (storage for Plex, etc.), I need 4+ ports, but don't need the 16+ port models. Even a $50 difference (LSI 9261 vs. 9361) throws a few more variables into the option mix Roll Eyes (Sarcastic).

IBM ServerRaid vs. Areca vs. Adaptec vs. LSI vs. ???

PCI 2 vs. 3?

3 vs. 6 vs. 12 Gb/s?

Any add-ons to look for that might make an 'older' card more desirable vs. $$$ vs. future-proof?

Hoping a few of the tech heads here can suggest a few to narrow down the field, or even possibly point me in a direction I hadn't thought of before. Price isn't so much an issue knowing that I have what's needed (it's only an initial lay-out); but I'm not willing to break the bank on cutting-edge that I don't need.

Appreciate

14 Comments

1

Sign up for a Slickdeals account to remove this ad.

#2
If you are just doing basic storage such as Plex, I don't see any technical reason to be picky about a RAID controller.

I guess my first question would be are you really running up against a performance threshold on your old card? I believe your model is only a 3Gb/s model so you might benefit from a 6Gb/s model if utilizing newer storage but Plex and archival video storage really doesn't do much.

Just my opinion but I think you are trying to over-analyze this. Just get a card to fit your job. A LSI 9361 would certainly do the job but doesn't that seem overkill or at least pose the point that there are better options?
Reply Helpful Comment? 0 0
#3
Quote from irobot73 View Post :
Price isn't so much an issue knowing that I have what's needed (it's only an initial lay-out); but I'm not willing to break the bank on cutting-edge that I don't need.

Appreciate
I can recommend a card at Amazon [amazon.com]

Have fun nod
Reply Helpful Comment? 0 0
Earth 1st! We'll mine the other planets later. Biker

Did you know?

If it can't be grown its gotta be mined
EEK!

The best meal I ever ate was Spotted Owl fried in Exxon Oil! Yumshake head

Expand your horizons. Explore something new. Get a RasberryPi and learn something.
Joined Aug 2008
L2: Beginner
65 Posts
22 Reputation
Original Poster
#4
Quote from dale_101798 View Post :
I can recommend a card at Amazon [amazon.com]

Have fun
PCI-X cards for one....I doubt they'd handle anything over 2TB to start. Appreciate the attempt though.
Reply Helpful Comment? 0 0
Joined Aug 2008
L2: Beginner
65 Posts
22 Reputation
Original Poster
#5
Quote from eekthecat View Post :
If you are just doing basic storage such as Plex, I don't see any technical reason to be picky about a RAID controller.

I guess my first question would be are you really running up against a performance threshold on your old card? I believe your model is only a 3Gb/s model so you might benefit from a 6Gb/s model if utilizing newer storage but Plex and archival video storage really doesn't do much.

Just my opinion but I think you are trying to over-analyze this. Just get a card to fit your job. A LSI 9361 would certainly do the job but doesn't that seem overkill or at least pose the point that there are better options?
Quote from eekthecat View Post :
If you are just doing basic storage such as Plex, I don't see any technical reason to be picky about a RAID controller.

I guess my first question would be are you really running up against a performance threshold on your old card? I believe your model is only a 3Gb/s model so you might benefit from a 6Gb/s model if utilizing newer storage but Plex and archival video storage really doesn't do much.

Just my opinion but I think you are trying to over-analyze this. Just get a card to fit your job. A LSI 9361 would certainly do the job but doesn't that seem overkill or at least pose the point that there are better options?
The existing card won't handle anything over 2TB (got a 3 in there now and won't recognize the last 1/3). It's all older-than-Moses enough to warrant a complete overhaul.

Over-analyze? Quite possibly. I tend to weight the PROs vs. CONs on any chunk of cash Stick Out Tongue My big concerns are availability (hence RAID 5/6+) and streaming (3 vs. 6 vs. 12 Gb/s). HDD are getting damn cheap so 'space'/expansion is of little worry. My luck, the 'works today' proves to be just-not-enough 6mo down the road (EG: I should have went w/ the XYZ w/ the cache upgrade instead...)

So many choices w/ similar specs...whittling down is proving to be....*fun*
Reply Helpful Comment? 0 0
#6
Out of curiosity, is there a reason you've ruled out software raid? It doesn't seem like your use cases require high performance, and software gives you a great deal more flexibility.
Reply Helpful Comment? 0 0
Joined Aug 2008
L2: Beginner
65 Posts
22 Reputation
Original Poster
#7
Quote from quotidian View Post :
Out of curiosity, is there a reason you've ruled out software raid? It doesn't seem like your use cases require high performance, and software gives you a great deal more flexibility.
Last I looked, few, if any, had expansion capability (which I used w/ the current card...nice and easy). But, I'm always willing to be schooled too. I would suspect that might also eat into the memory/CPU (if trans-coding especially).

Suggestion(s)?
Reply Helpful Comment? 0 0
#8
Quote from irobot73 View Post :
Last I looked, few, if any, had expansion capability (which I used w/ the current card...nice and easy). But, I'm always willing to be schooled too. I would suspect that might also eat into the memory/CPU (if trans-coding especially).

Suggestion(s)?
Ah, yeah, that's a feature that has spotty support in software. When I say flexibility, i primarily mean the ability to use the disks in any system without being tied to a particular piece of hardware.

Linux supports growing raid, Windows doesn't except using third party apps that I know nothing about and therefore don't trust. ZFS, which is pretty much the gold standard of software raid right now doesn't.

ReFS (Storage Spaces) in Windows 10 can do a ton of interesting things, including raid across different sized drives and adding/removing drives from a pool. The big caveat about storage spaces is that it's a new feature and doesn't have the years of hardening and bug fixes others do. Btrfs on Linux is roughly the same, except they straight up tell people not to use raid 5/6 yet Smilie
Reply Helpful Comment? 0 0

Sign up for a Slickdeals account to remove this ad.

#9
You might be better off upgrading the entire computer. Also reliability of 4tb drives has improved. You could just pick up a single 4TB HGST sata drive and call it a day.

Most mobo's can be configured to use the built in sata ports in a RAID.
Reply Helpful Comment? 0 0
#10
Quote from irobot73 View Post :
The existing card won't handle anything over 2TB (got a 3 in there now and won't recognize the last 1/3). It's all older-than-Moses enough to warrant a complete overhaul.

Over-analyze? Quite possibly. I tend to weight the PROs vs. CONs on any chunk of cash My big concerns are availability (hence RAID 5/6+) and streaming (3 vs. 6 vs. 12 Gb/s). HDD are getting damn cheap so 'space'/expansion is of little worry. My luck, the 'works today' proves to be just-not-enough 6mo down the road (EG: I should have went w/ the XYZ w/ the cache upgrade instead...)

So many choices w/ similar specs...whittling down is proving to be....*fun*
It would be more economical to have a single large drive serve your files and have onsite and potentially offsite backup should you desire. This is what I do. I use Plex and I would say my storage habits and usage are very much higher than average.

If it were me, I'd rather spend the money on actual storage rather than a controller. For the kind of money you are talking you could probably ease into a Synology unit to either serve the files or be the backup unit. I'd also likely ditch the raid idea -- it depends on how you serve your files. But you could easily have your media volumes on different drives -- this could also be a good design anyway.

It's very likely that performance won't be a factor in your Plex setup.

Not that a $500 raid card won't work great and give you the warm-and-fuzzies.... but I really don't think it's necessary if you are doing media storage and streaming.
Reply Helpful Comment? 0 0
Joined Sep 2005
L10: Grand Master
6,012 Posts
2,014 Reputation
#11
define your reason for using RAID and you will answer a lot more questions.
RAID does many different things
1. Allows creation of large size virtual drives by striping data across multiple drives.
2. Allows for real time redundancy for uptime by mirroring data across multiple drives.
3. Allows for keeping data available by creating small portions of the data from the entire array and storing them on each drive within the array.
4. Allows for superior data access times by using multiple spindles to read/write faster than one spoindle can.

those are just the basics.
define which of them are most important and you can help answer your question easier.

if you are thinking you need to "grow" your array by changing disc SIZES in the future, then RAID is a bad way to do that as you will spend a lot of time rebuilding the arrays after changing out individual array drives.
If you want to grow by adding similar size drives or larger drives that you dont care about losing space on then this is a different idea altogether.

Ive found most of the time, in a home user environment, its actually easier to grow by replacing the drives with larger drives and having both arrays online and just copying data from old to new. This does however require the ability to hook up enough drives to have both arrays online at the same time.

also network setup should be taken into account.
I personally use a 23 bay SAS shelf to hold my drives, but its designed for data centers and is large and has loud fans in it. however having the ability to have 23 5TB drives in it allows me to not only have room to grow, but also allows me to have redundant data sets so i dont need RAID setups that have parity information on them.
Because it's tucked away and just network storage attached to a file server that isnt in the same room as my playback devices, the sound doesnt bother me at all.
This might not be the case for you.

basically ive found that most home users try to overly complicate things and use enterprise level systems were less complicated answers are available to fit their needs.
Reply Helpful Comment? 0 0
all tech support threads will now be answered with possibly random and false information.
This is due to the retardedness of posters and answering posters in general.
thank you, have a nice day.
Joined Mar 2004
L11: Monkey's Apprentice
17,196 Posts
2,789 Reputation
#12
Quote from irobot73 View Post :
Last I looked, few, if any, had expansion capability (which I used w/ the current card...nice and easy). But, I'm always willing to be schooled too. I would suspect that might also eat into the memory/CPU (if trans-coding especially).

Suggestion(s)?
ZFS is pool based so it has infinite expansion capability, just keep adding to the pool. Also existing mirrors or RAIDZ sets can always be upgraded by rebuilding individual drives to higher capacity ones. Once you rebuild the last one in the set with the bigger drive, the entire set will automatically expand to the bigger capacity. The major downside to ZFS is ECC RAM and lots of it.
Reply Helpful Comment? 0 0
Joined Aug 2008
L2: Beginner
65 Posts
22 Reputation
Original Poster
#13
Quote from brbubba View Post :
ZFS is pool based so it has infinite expansion capability, just keep adding to the pool. Also existing mirrors or RAIDZ sets can always be upgraded by rebuilding individual drives to higher capacity ones. Once you rebuild the last one in the set with the bigger drive, the entire set will automatically expand to the bigger capacity. The major downside to ZFS is ECC RAM and lots of it.
Might play with ZFS at some point (I got enough 'old' HDDs, just have to get the ECC).

I went w/ a re-badged LSI 2960-8i from Fujitsu w/ some cross-flashing options. $75 w/ BBU I couldn't complain; it's cheap enough to give it a whirl.

Put it through some testing and I'll get to searching for some new (NAS) HDDs. Now to figure out which to go with: RAID 5, 6 or 10?
Reply Helpful Comment? 0 0
Joined Mar 2004
L11: Monkey's Apprentice
17,196 Posts
2,789 Reputation
#14
Quote from irobot73 View Post :
Might play with ZFS at some point (I got enough 'old' HDDs, just have to get the ECC).

I went w/ a re-badged LSI 2960-8i from Fujitsu w/ some cross-flashing options. $75 w/ BBU I couldn't complain; it's cheap enough to give it a whirl.

Put it through some testing and I'll get to searching for some new (NAS) HDDs. Now to figure out which to go with: RAID 5, 6 or 10?
If you just want to play around feel free to use non-ECC. It's basically just highly recommended for data integrity since it scrubs the drives on a regular basis doing checksuming.
Reply Helpful Comment? 0 0
#15
Quote from irobot73 View Post :
Might play with ZFS at some point (I got enough 'old' HDDs, just have to get the ECC).
To expand on what brbubba said, in case you've been scared off ZFS by "Scrub of Death" stories, there's nothing special about ZFS that requires ECC any more than any other FS: http://jrs-s.net/2015/02/03/will-...your-data/. It's a good thing, and you should absolutely use it if you have access to it, but don't worry about it anymore than you would otherwise.

It does however require a ton of some kind of memory to get good performance.
Reply Helpful Comment? 0 0
Last edited by quotidian March 11, 2016 at 05:56 PM
Page 1 of 1
1
Join the Conversation
Add a Comment
 
Copyright 1999 - 2016. Slickdeals, LLC. All Rights Reserved. Copyright / Infringement Policy  •  Privacy Policy  •  Terms of Service  •  Acceptable Use Policy (Rules)  •  Interest-Based Ads
Link Copied to Clipboard