I posted a picture earlier today on Twitter and Facebook about the latest RAID setup I’m building here at the facility, and ended up getting some questions about it, so I figured I’d post a quick blog post on what hardware I’m using and how I put it together.
Building your own RAID is a lot easier than in year’s past, and quite affordable too. Not to mention it’s fun to get your geek on. I’ve been using HighPoint RAID hardware on Mac OSX and so far it’s been 100% completely rock solid. Oddly enough, some of the product info on HighPoint’s website doesn’t reference Mac OSX support alongside their Window, Linux and FreeBSD info. But rest assured, it’s been working flawlessly on our MacPro systems (at least on Snow Leopard, and am now just getting it installed on Lion).
I’m using a standard, off-the-shelf 9-bay hard disk drive tower that you can just about get anywhere (just make sure it’s got a Centronics Mount Compliant hole to fit the storage controller board). It uses a standard 300-watt power supply, which is enough power needed to run the eight Seagate drives, all of the fans, and the RAID controller card. The only “mod” I did to the case was to replace the rear screws that keep the outer casing on with blue-anodized thumb screws for easier/faster disassembly.
For this setup, I’m using 2TB drives, but it’s compatible with 3TB drives as well. I’m using RAID 5, which in the end gives me 14TB of storage from 16TB space of original space. The RocketRAID card I’m using supports RAID 0, 1, 5, 6, 10, 50, and JBOD. It also supports two physical array units (each unit supporting a maximum of eight drives), so you could have 16 drives at 3TB each for a total of 48TB. Even though the RAID 5 setup gives me some protection, I still keep any media I want on a backup/archive Drobo Pro system.
To setup your RAID, HighPoint supplies a little app that basically launches your web browser to a local URL on your workstation. The browser is basically the interface to setup and modify your RAID. It works well, but is a little sluggish to refresh in my opinion.
Here’s a breakdown of all the parts I’ve accumulated to get this together. Note that this setup is derived from an old setup that once housed eight 300GB drives, so I’ve added a few things along the way (not just the drives themselves).
- 9-bay hard drive tower with 300-watt power supply.
- Eight 2TB Seagate Barracuda hard drives (also supports 3TB drives).
- HighPoint RocketRAID 2722 PCIe controller card.
- HighPoint EJ220 storage controller device board.
- Adaptec internal mini-SASX4 SFF-8087 to 4-SATA fanout cables (X2).
- External mini-SAS to external mini-SAS (SFF-8088 to SFF-8088) cable.
- Quick-release trayless mobile hard drive rack with bottom fans
- Triple-fan hard drive cooling kit
- Six blue anodized computer case thumbscrews.
Here are some iPhone snapshots of my build along the way. I didn’t plan on writing a blog about the process and taking pictures of it, so these will have to do!