which ASUS board (and other HW/SW) for RAID-NAS?

Discussion in 'Asus' started by Lady Margaret Thatcher, May 6, 2006.

  1. I'd like to build up a NAS for my windows network, in the 1-2 TB
    range. And using RAID 5. I may want to add Linux systems to my
    network in the future.

    Which ASUS boards are suitable, in terms of required CPU power,
    memory, etc. I have no prior preferences for Windows or Linux, except
    that I believe that Linux would more stable. And less expensive. I
    don't have any strong feelings between Intel and AMD, as long as I
    have a cost-effective system that is stable!

    However, if there is a proprietary NAS OS that is better than Linux,
    that would be OK too.

    For hot-swapping, do I need specialized drive "sleds" or can I just
    use the latest SATA drives?

    Having no real experience with RAID5, I would like to have a system
    that can grow simply by adding more drives. E.g.I start at say 3
    drives + parity. Then as I need more capacity, I could simply add
    another drive and let the system automatically load data across the
    new drive. In other words, if I go from 3+1 to 4 or even 5+1, the
    data will be distributed evenly as though I had started out with 4 or
    5 data drives. Is this possible?

    Should I be looking for controllers that run on PCI-E or is PCI-X good
    enough? If I use PCI or PCI-X do I need a 64 bit wide data path, or
    is 32 bits good enough?

    URLs to good web sites would be appreciated.

    Thanks in advance.

    --Lady Margaret Thatcher--
    Lady Margaret Thatcher, May 6, 2006
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  2. Lady Margaret Thatcher

    Paul Guest

    I tried a search on "NAS DIY" and this is the first link I read.
    I think this states the situation pretty well.


    There are people on forums.2cpu.com who build up file server
    boxes, so there are discussions of various RAID cards over
    there. Another place to look, might be the forums on
    storagereview.com .

    A RAID card with an IOP to do the XOR, plus a DIMM used for a
    cache, helps smooth out the performance bumps in RAID5.
    Specifically, writes should improve. These things can be
    quite pricy.


    The networking could well be the weakest link. A gigabit
    Ethernet link might not allow you to get all the possible
    performance from the RAID card. (You might only see the
    true speed, when doing array to array backup.)

    The hardest part of the project, is learning about the
    gotchas with the RAID controllers. Like finding drives
    drop out for no reason on some products. Or, when you
    attempt to do a capacity expansion, the "wheels fall off".
    Before spending the big money on a card, I'd spend about
    a week searching the private forums, to get the scoop on
    the details. A bargain RAID card is only a bargain, until
    the day that it dumps your data on the floor.

    In terms of cost, the biggest issue I can see, is how do
    you back up 1-2TB of data ? You may want to plan on a
    second array, which is a cold standby (drives in trays,
    removed when not in use). But 4x500GB disks would costs
    4*$275=$1100. You could use some Southbridge SATA ports
    on the motherboard, to do a four drive RAID 0 for the
    backup array, so at least you might avoid buying a second
    controller card.

    You should plan for hardware failures as well. The RAID5
    and the backup array, should not use the same controller
    card. The backup array should be as portable as possible.
    If you used a cheap SIL3114 card for the backup array,
    they are dirt cheap, and you could afford to buy more than
    one of them. The same won't be true for the RAID5 card.

    Paul, May 6, 2006
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