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Old 08-27-2007, 08:02 PM   #1
crisostomo_enrico
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what disk configuration do you use with your ZFS pools at home?


Hi guys.

I'm experimenting with ZFS at home in order to find a disk configuration that suits my needs (the only bandwidth I need is streaming a DVD image from my disks, so performance shouldn't be a concern when reading). I started with a couple of USB disk in a RAID 0 zpool (just trying ZFS) and now I would like to build a RAIDZ configuration with at least 3 disks to store all my data. Unfortunately with my Ultra 20 M2 I only have these choices (am I missing some alternative?):
- USB disks (my machine has 6 USB ports)
- buying an eSATA controller and using eSATA disks

USB 2.0 disks are less expensive and I have sufficient ports. My doubts are: are some USB ports sharing the controller in an Ultra 20 M2 (thus sharing the bandwith) or are they independent (how can I check that)? Is an USB zpool reliable? FireWire would be a better choice, but it's precluded because I only have 2 ports: maybe I could by a controller? Is buying an eSATA adapter overkill for home use?

What are you guys using with your ZFS zpools at home?

Thanks,
Enrico.
 
Old 08-28-2007, 12:18 AM   #2
abcdefg
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Ill try and answer your question as best as I can.

Ive been running solaris under Vmware on a windows XP host, since it makes it a bit easier for any experimenting. Nothing fancy or really worth mentioning, 3 "sparse" 950GB vmware virtual drives. Each file is on a seperate hard drive (80GB SATA, 250GB IDE, 20GB IDE). I just hope something like ZFS ends up with linux, it seems ZFS/solaris makes drive management far easier than anything else ive used.

For multiple USB drives, im fairly sure most computers just have one USB interface/channel/host, and it is 48/480mbs total for all devices connected via USB.

Correct me if im wrong, but it sounds like you are using USB-Thumb drives to store the DVDs for streaming? If so, you might be better off purchasing some USB->IDE adapters (wheater laptop sized or 3.5").

Are you using multiple USB drives, mainly for reliability? or only for increasing storage space? If its for reliability, it might be best to see how much 2-3 USB-IDE adapters, and hard drives will cost. If its only for storage-space, a USB to 3.5" IDE adapter, or USB to sata adapter might be the best option, as 300GB desktop drives are now about $80.00 USD, 80GB SATA drives are as low as $36.00 USD new, on newegg.com. Laptop hard drives, $44 USD for a 40GB IDE.
 
Old 08-28-2007, 07:45 AM   #3
kebabbert
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I suggest you buy a internal SATA card. If you can not do that, try USB first? Ive heard a SUN engineer pulled out the USB drive during operation without problems. ZFS managed that without errors.
 
Old 08-28-2007, 12:46 PM   #4
mmusante
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kebabbert View Post
I've heard a SUN engineer pulled out the USB drive during operation without problems. ZFS managed that without errors.

Not just one USB drive was pulled. See the video demonstration here: http://video.google.com/videoplay?do...08442979626078
 
Old 08-28-2007, 09:22 PM   #5
crisostomo_enrico
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Thanks for all the info.

Quote:
Correct me if im wrong, but it sounds like you are using USB-Thumb drives to store the DVDs for streaming?
I'm using some LaCie's USB 2.0 drives (320 GB).

Quote:
Are you using multiple USB drives, mainly for reliability? or only for increasing storage space?
I'm using multiple drives because I want a RAIDZ (for reliability); the drives are USB because that's just what I have to experiment with. That's why I wanted to understand if moving to SATA drives makes sense for me.

Quote:
I suggest you buy a internal SATA card. If you can not do that, try USB first?
That's true, I should try and check if I can buy an internal card. My doubt is whether my workstation can host more than 2 internal drives. Technical specs says that there's room for 2 drives (the first is system's, the second would be insufficient for a RAIDZ). By the way, does anyone know if there's room for additional drives (more than 2) on a Sun Ultra 20 M2? If the answer is yes, could you please suggest a SATA controller? Solaris HCL only mentions a few from Addonics...

I wasn't sure if I could stick with USB because I "didn't feel like it" without a proof of concept... I didn't want to buy 4 external USB drives only to discover that they didn't meet expectations. Besides, it seems like buying a good SATA disk is cheaper that the equivalent USB one (I usually buy LaCie's one).

Thanks,
Enrico.
 
Old 08-29-2007, 09:16 AM   #6
kebabbert
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I have posted some questions about external sata and posted several threads about sata card that solaris recognizes. Search for my name, and "sata" or "esata" posts?
 
Old 08-29-2007, 11:42 AM   #7
crisostomo_enrico
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Thanks kebabbert.

I just refurbished your posts. How's life with your SATA controller? Are you using the supermicro one, aren't you? There's only one thing I'm wondering: you struggled to find a suitable controller but... the ones listed in Solaris HCL, why didn't they fit your expectations?

The 4-HD SATA case you found is very interesting, I could not find one with a separate eSATA plug for every disk, I only found RAID solution; I was indeed thinking about buying a separate SATA case for every HD.

The last question: does the drive you're using allow hotplug or are you rebooting when you want to see your drives?

Thanks,
Enrico.
 
Old 08-29-2007, 12:07 PM   #8
rossonieri#1
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Thumbs up

Quote:
Originally Posted by mmusante View Post
Not just one USB drive was pulled. See the video demonstration here: http://video.google.com/videoplay?do...08442979626078
WOW - i've never see anything like that,
i must explore my solaris knowledge much deeper.
that thumper thing - awesome!!!

thanks for the link mmusante

cheers.
 
Old 08-29-2007, 12:12 PM   #9
crisostomo_enrico
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Quote:
WOW - i've never see anything like that,
i must explore my solaris knowledge much deeper.
that thumper thing - awesome!!!

thanks for the link mmusante
Yes. Even knowing ZFS theory, the video is impressive, I liked it very much.
 
Old 08-30-2007, 08:04 AM   #10
kebabbert
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Quote:
Originally Posted by crisostomo_enrico View Post
Thanks kebabbert.

I just refurbished your posts. How's life with your SATA controller? Are you using the supermicro one, aren't you? There's only one thing I'm wondering: you struggled to find a suitable controller but... the ones listed in Solaris HCL, why didn't they fit your expectations?

The 4-HD SATA case you found is very interesting, I could not find one with a separate eSATA plug for every disk, I only found RAID solution; I was indeed thinking about buying a separate SATA case for every HD.

The last question: does the drive you're using allow hotplug or are you rebooting when you want to see your drives?

Thanks,
Enrico.
Life is good. It works flawlessly. Got recognized immediately. I suspect that SUN uses this chip set with Thumper server?

I am using the AoC card, yes.

The cards in HCL didnt suit me. I wanted a Sata2 card, no raid, with 4 or more ports. AoC works good, and fulfills my needs perfectly.

About hotplug, I dont know about that. Havent tried the function. I plan to insert a power switch on the power cables, cut the cables and add a switch. I seems that is easiest? Then I turn off the switch upon boot, or turn it off. First I do "export pool" or "import pool" - takes 1 sec.

My Raid setup is awesome. At last I can feel safe and no worries about old CD's or backing up to several discs. I can really recommend ZFS as home server. And, some SunRays to, and you a nice easily managed (?) server at home.
 
Old 09-02-2007, 09:29 AM   #11
crisostomo_enrico
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Thanks kebabbert.

Quote:
I am using the AoC card, yes.

The cards in HCL didnt suit me. I wanted a Sata2 card, no raid, with 4 or more ports. AoC works good, and fulfills my needs perfectly.
Tomorrow I'll be checking for a local reseller for buying one.

Quote:
About hotplug, I dont know about that. Havent tried the function. I plan to insert a power switch on the power cables, cut the cables and add a switch. I seems that is easiest? Then I turn off the switch upon boot, or turn it off. First I do "export pool" or "import pool" - takes 1 sec.
Well, that's really not a problem, for me either. I'll just poweroff the disks when I'm not using them. The worst thing that can happen is a reboot more.

Quote:
My Raid setup is awesome. At last I can feel safe and no worries about old CD's or backing up to several discs. I can really recommend ZFS as home server. And, some SunRays to, and you a nice easily managed (?) server at home.
Yes, that's why I was planning such a setup at home. I had been thinking about SunRays, and the idea sounds cool, but I don't think I'm deploying such a configuration at home, at least for the moment. For the sake of management, I just ssh the server, which is primarily a file server.

Bye,
Enrico.
 
  


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