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Old 03-29-2010, 05:03 AM   #1
Raveolution
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Really really BIG home archive server... money no object


I'm taking a very large collection of music and also newly purchased anime DVDs and adding them to another large existing collection, basically hundreds of ogg/mp3 and OGV-type files on a jukebox system to serve to my PS3 via mediatomb. (No, I'm not handing out copies and risking the feds at my door! I'm just trying to save my CDs and DVDs from ruin by over-replaying.)

My problem is I want to save electricity and minimize my carbon footprint but also I need a LOT of terabytes for what I have and what I will have, since these are going to be DVD quality (and later Blu-Ray quality) movies playing on a big TV from the PS3. I want RAID 6 level redundancy so that when 2 or even 3 drives fail (as Murphy's Law says they will want to do all at once), I can still recover. (Yes, I'm an insurance dude, with all the risk aversion that this implies )

What would y'all suggest that I do here, short of getting the same energy-hogging racks in corporate server rooms?

Is there a way to "go green" with a multi terabyte multiple redundancy system or am I just wishfully thinking?
 
Old 03-29-2010, 05:56 AM   #2
David the H.
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This is just a layman's opinion (meaning I may be way off here), but from what you describe, I think it would be better to go with a lighter, less-massively-redundant system, but with a good set of on and off-site backups.

1) Since this is basically storage server for static data, there won't be a lot of modification of files going on, apart from the occasional addition or subtraction. This means that only incremental backups would be needed to cover any changes. And a series of static backups is certainly "greener" than running a huge set of extra drives.

2) As your server will simply act as background storage for a media center, it's likely to be one that you won't monitor on a daily basis. And if that server is massively-redundant, it's possible that you could go through multiple levels of failure before you're even aware that there's a problem (or decide that something needs to be done about it); at which point it may be too late. A lighter system that fails decisively, but can be quickly re-built and repopulated from back-ups, might be, in a way, safer.

So I suggest that a simple rack of drives, set up in, say, a raid 3 or 4 configuration, and a good backup policy, would do you just fine.
 
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Old 03-29-2010, 06:28 AM   #3
Raveolution
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Quote:
Originally Posted by David the H. View Post
This is just a layman's opinion (meaning I may be way off here), but from what you describe, I think it would be better to go with a lighter, less-massively-redundant system, but with a good set of on and off-site backups.
Hmmmm. Not wanting to go offsite with those backups. Increases the risk of someone else getting a copy. Unintended piracy and all that. (Yes, I'm paranoid.) Onsite, yeah, that's already figured in.

Quote:
1) Since this is basically storage server for static data, there won't be a lot of modification of files going on, apart from the occasional addition or subtraction. This means that only incremental backups would be needed to cover any changes. And a series of static backups is certainly "greener" than running a huge set of extra drives.
Agreed.

Quote:
2) As your server will simply act as background storage for a media center, it's likely to be one that you won't monitor on a daily basis. And if that server is massively-redundant, it's possible that you could go through multiple levels of failure before you're even aware that there's a problem (or decide that something needs to be done about it); at which point it may be too late.
I babysit my machines almost as much as I watch my own kids. (Yes, my wife sometimes hates that.) If one drive pops I'm gonna know. Still, I may want to consider a raid 3 or 4 configuration if the chances of catastrophic loss are low enough and the relative electricity savings are high. And then there's the heat issues...

So what kind of RAID card would you recommend?
 
Old 03-29-2010, 11:33 AM   #4
David the H.
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Well, perhaps I should've said "and/or", since exactly how you handle the backups is up to you. I was thinking along the lines of storing copies of the backup media in a safety deposit box or other trusted location. The main purpose of off-site backups after all is to protect from loss in case of theft or disaster at the main location.

But sorry, I couldn't tell you much about what hardware would be best. Linux does have good software raid capabilities though, so you may not even need a special raid solution; just enough connectors to handle the number of drives you decide to use. A simple multi-disk enclosure would probably do.
 
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Old 03-29-2010, 12:59 PM   #5
Guttorm
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Hi

I have a few terabytes in my home server, and done a few things to make it use less power. It's probably not all relevant, just some comments.

My data is not so important to keep online all the time, so I don't use any Raid. It doesn't matter much if it goes down a little bit, as long as it comes up again without losing anything. So I keep most of the files' backup at other places with rsync over the internet. That helps against other dangers like theft, fire and so on.

Since there is no Raid, I can control the spinning timeouts of the disks and set some of them to spin down while others don't. Then it will take a few seconds to spin it up again. It's a little annoying, but not a big problem. To tell a disk to spin down after a timeout, you can run a command, for example "sudo hdparm -S 60 /dev/sdb". See "man hdparm" for details.

A file server does not much of a CPU unless you want encryption. I think Via, Intel Atom or Arm are good alternatives. Also you could probably underclock them without any slowdown. But lots of RAM for file cache can help and it doesn't use much power if underclocked.

I have a few disks with a label "green power" on them. As I understand it, they spin down to slower speed without spinning completely down. I have had no problems with them. http://www.westerndigital.com/en/products/greenpower/
 
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Old 03-29-2010, 04:31 PM   #6
jefro
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Some of those atom based systems and "green" drives might suite your needs.

Putting it all on a power strip and turning it off when not in use might save the most electricity. I do that and it helps prevent any electrical damage from storms maybe. I hate having 20 wall warts plugged in all the time so they all go on a strip.
 
Old 03-30-2010, 11:26 PM   #7
Raveolution
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1) I have not found a simple multi disk enclosure that works for long. I would LIKE to use this, but these things like to break. Often. Taking drives with them, no less. If someone can point me to a brand that is known to last I will try that, as it is indeed the most drama-free option if it will just not DIE on me.

2) Atom or ARM, eh? That sounds like a nice idea. I do need RAID, though, since I am running backups of my DVDs converted to OGV; and when I do the conversions of these DVDs it will take COUNTLESS cpu hours (divided over 5 computers) to get it done. If a drive goes kaboom and I have no redundancy I'd have to redo that. Yeah, offline backups are going to be a certainty.

3) Western Digital, eh? I hope they have commercial grade green power drives. At work we used a lot of WD's they were good but woah, the consumer grade drives...

4) Wall warts? Eh, no way. I use UPS systems...
 
  


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