Author Topic: Fresh Hardware Build, Could use a second opinion...  (Read 1539 times)

Offline Dizzy49

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Fresh Hardware Build, Could use a second opinion...
« on: July 15, 2014, 02:55:48 am »
A buddy of mine is buying my existing server.  I'm using the money and a bit more to build a new one and upgrade a bit.

Originally I had a hardware raid setup that I didn't care for in the end.  As a result my processor and ram and very anemic.  I was running Plex and streaming my stuff until Verizon Wireless decided to get rid of the Unlimited Data plans.  I primarily use the server to download via bittorrent (to a drive not in the flexraid pool), as data/backup for our work machines, and stream to multiple XBMC boxes.

My existing setup is 24TB max with 5TB free right now.  I add about 10GB of media to the pool, and delete about 5GB from the pool per day.  In addition, we alter dozens of work files every day (Typically smaller doc, xls, and some PSD files).  I have been running Snapshot RAID, but I think the new tRAID is the better way to go for this new setup.

I will be using a Norco 2440 case, and a solid state drive for my OS.

First off, PSU recommendations.  I want to ensure I have enough juice to run updates and things without taking me down.  My existing system does the incremental update/verify (can't remember the process names) and takes about 6-8 hours.  I would like to run them every night, with a full update once a week (which takes almost 40 hours).  During either watching a single 1080p video is out of the question, 720p is choppy, and forget multiple streams, or anything else...  Due to the time, I instead run the incremental once a week, and the full once a month.  I admit I don't entirely understand the tRAID process, but I want to ensure my data is protected nightly with a weekly refresh, and not have it take a ridiculous amount of time to do it.

I'm looking at 3 diff processors right now:
Intel G3258 3.2Ghz - $75
Intel i3-4330 3.5Ghz - $140
Intel i5-4570 3.2Ghz - $200

As far as thermals/power efficiency, the first two are 54w, and the third is 84w.  At $0.09/kiloWatt the cost to run 54w for a month is $3.50 and $42 for a year.  For 84w it's $5.44 and $65.32 for a year.  That's a difference of $1.95/$23.50 for a year.  Not a big deal IMO, pretty sure the video card in my gaming machine eats 3x that.

I don't see huge differences between the G3258 and the i3.  The i3 has 4 threads vs 2 threads, and the HD Graphics are quite a bit better.  If I wanted to run Plex again the better HD graphics would come in handy for the transcoding.  Otherwise I'm not sure if the warrants the increased price.

The i5 is a quad core vs dual core.  I imagine it would make quite a bit of difference with the update/verify processes, it also has the Iris Pro 5200 graphics.

Of course for another $100 I could get an i7, but I'm not sure how much of a bump in performance I'd get.  Any thoughts here?

I'm debating between 8, and 16GB for the RAM.  I know that for typical file servers you couldn't put enough RAM in them, I wasn't sure if the same was true here, or if even more RAM was recommended for optimum performance.


Next up HBA Extenders.  What's the best way to handle the drives?  My existing setup has a LSI 9201-16i handling the DRUs, and the PPUs I connected to the mobo's SATA ports.  I wasn't sure if it was better to load up a single HBA with as many drives as you can, or use multiple HBAs to spread the I/O load across HBA's and lanes.  What's the best way to handle the drives with regard to using HBAs and extenders to maximize performance.


Motherboards.  Any recommendations for mobos?  I have Cat6 run throughout my house, so a good NIC is required.  My current mobo had dual Intel NICs that were really good.  I was able to bind them together to maximize network traffic which was nice since I streamed to multiple devices.


Lastly, something I touched on in another thread.  DRU to Parity ratio.  Is there a recommended, suggested, or ideal ratio?  I'm currently using 5 DRU to 1 Parity.

Any and all suggestions are appreciated!

Server HW: Norco RPC-4220 | Supermicro X7SPA-H-D525 | 4GB Mushkin SO-DIMM DDR3 1333 | LSI 9201-16i | Corsair TX650 | 64GB Corsair Vertex2 SSD (OS)
Server OS: Windows 7 64bit Pro
FlexRAID RAID-F 2.0 Update 12, Cruise Control [SnapShot RAID], 9 DRUs (9x3TB), 2 PPU (2x3TB)

Offline Dizzy49

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Re: Fresh Hardware Build, Could use a second opinion...
« Reply #1 on: July 18, 2014, 01:30:24 am »
Quote
I will be using a Norco 2440 case, and a solid state drive for my OS.

Sorry, I meant Norco RPC 4224 (24 port, 4u rackmount case).

So any thoughts on anything else?  I know FlexRaid has a pretty hefty user base that spans considerable user experience/knowledge.  I know that there are many "Power Users" that would love answers to my questions so a full system could be quickly easily built up with little muss/fuss.

I love building systems, but when they are highly specialized like this I need some help understanding the ins and outs.

Thanks!
Server HW: Norco RPC-4220 | Supermicro X7SPA-H-D525 | 4GB Mushkin SO-DIMM DDR3 1333 | LSI 9201-16i | Corsair TX650 | 64GB Corsair Vertex2 SSD (OS)
Server OS: Windows 7 64bit Pro
FlexRAID RAID-F 2.0 Update 12, Cruise Control [SnapShot RAID], 9 DRUs (9x3TB), 2 PPU (2x3TB)

Offline Quaraxkad

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Re: Fresh Hardware Build, Could use a second opinion...
« Reply #2 on: July 18, 2014, 09:53:53 am »
First off, PSU recommendations.  I want to ensure I have enough juice to run updates and things without taking me down.  My existing system does the incremental update/verify (can't remember the process names) and takes about 6-8 hours.  I would like to run them every night, with a full update once a week (which takes almost 40 hours).  During either watching a single 1080p video is out of the question, 720p is choppy, and forget multiple streams, or anything else...  Due to the time, I instead run the incremental once a week, and the full once a month.  I admit I don't entirely understand the tRAID process, but I want to ensure my data is protected nightly with a weekly refresh, and not have it take a ridiculous amount of time to do it.

If you use tRAID, there are no incremental or full updates. It all happens in real time.

I'm debating between 8, and 16GB for the RAM.  I know that for typical file servers you couldn't put enough RAM in them, I wasn't sure if the same was true here, or if even more RAM was recommended for optimum performance.

FlexRAID is a 32-bit process, it can't use that much RAM. As for Plex or whatever else you expect to be running on the server, best to ask around on their forums for RAM and CPU recommendations.

Lastly, something I touched on in another thread.  DRU to Parity ratio.  Is there a recommended, suggested, or ideal ratio?  I'm currently using 5 DRU to 1 Parity.

There's no ideal ratio, it depends entirely on how well you want to be protected. Consider your own history of drive failures and data loss, assume the worst, be prepared for that. Don't compare FlexRAID to traditional RAID levels, as they are intended for maximum uptime, not data protection. You can use fewer parity drives in FlexRAID and have better protection than if you used more parity drives in traditional RAID systems.

Any and all suggestions are appreciated!

You're thinking too much, just buy stuff and cobble it together, it will work!

Offline Dizzy49

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Re: Fresh Hardware Build, Could use a second opinion...
« Reply #3 on: July 18, 2014, 01:41:23 pm »
If you use tRAID, there are no incremental or full updates. It all happens in real time.

Good to know, while I believe tRAID is the way to go for me, I'm still uncertain on all of it's specifics and how it works.

FlexRAID is a 32-bit process, it can't use that much RAM. As for Plex or whatever else you expect to be running on the server, best to ask around on their forums for RAM and CPU recommendations.

I didn't realize FlexRAID was only 32-bit.  You'd think it would benefit greatly from the 64-bit architecture and expanded resources.  Anyone know if it's LARGEADDRESSAWARE ??
If I remember correctly, a 32-bit app, can access 2GB max if it is NOT LARGEADDRESSAWARE, and 4GB if it is.  However, if I'm running multiple 32-bit apps, in a 64-bit environment (and with enough ram), then EACH APP would have access to 2/4GB.  Plex is also a 32-bit app, so it sounds like 8GB might be enough.
Looks like good 2x4GB will run me ~$100, and good 2x8GB will run me ~$170.  If we're talking $70 in a $3k build, I think I'd rather bump up the ram so that if FlexRAID or Plex move to 64bit, or I decide to run something else, that I have the ram overhead to accommodate it.

There's no ideal ratio, it depends entirely on how well you want to be protected. Consider your own history of drive failures and data loss, assume the worst, be prepared for that. Don't compare FlexRAID to traditional RAID levels, as they are intended for maximum uptime, not data protection. You can use fewer parity drives in FlexRAID and have better protection than if you used more parity drives in traditional RAID systems.

Yeah, I use RAID5 as my baseline.  4 drives, and can lose one without penalty.  In the last 20 years, I've had one drive lost where I lost data.  I've had several drives die on me in various RAID setups, but I always have at least one spare on hand and I'm back up and running with no data loss.  There is so much data on HW raid with calculations on read/write performance, drive failure rates, etc, but nothing like that for FlexRAID.

Read/Write performance is going to depend on so many factors that it would be difficult to calculate.  For instance, if you have 5 drives connected directly to MOBO, vs 5 connected to a HBA, or 2 drives on 1 HBA and and 3 drives on a second HBA.  I know there are people (such as myself) that want to know how to maximize performance either for their own use, or use when building systems for others.

As far as drive failure rate, I hear you.  It's another thing undocumented.  If you have a mobo/HBA that spins down your drives then it will reduce the failure rate of those drives.  Given how tRaid operates, are all drives spun up that contain data?  Or only drives that contain data being accessed?  Then of course if you don't have a mobo/HBA that spins down drives your failure rate increases.  Sounds like tRaid would have the parity drives spun up all the time.

You're thinking too much, just buy stuff and cobble it together, it will work!

I've done that multiple times over the years, and I always regret it!  My last build started as unRAID or ZFS (was years ago, can't remember now), and was using hardware raid (2x RAID5 across 5 drives each) then pooled.  Since it was hardware based, I went lite with the hardware specs.  After about a year I got sick of fighting with it, and switched to FlexRAID, and have been pretty happy with it for the most part except for the long processing times for update/verify and the system can get bogged down a lot if multiple devices are hitting it at once.

I don't want to throw stuff together and find out that I created a data bottleneck because I am using a single HBA vs two, or that had I spent $12 more on the other mobo, I could have put my parity drives on it, and increased my throughput for parity calcs to lower my processing time/load.

I build a lot of systems for small businesses around town, and different businesses have different needs, so I like to understand the trade-offs so I can help them make the most informed decisions possible.

Thanks for the reply Quaraxkad, I do appreciate it!
Server HW: Norco RPC-4220 | Supermicro X7SPA-H-D525 | 4GB Mushkin SO-DIMM DDR3 1333 | LSI 9201-16i | Corsair TX650 | 64GB Corsair Vertex2 SSD (OS)
Server OS: Windows 7 64bit Pro
FlexRAID RAID-F 2.0 Update 12, Cruise Control [SnapShot RAID], 9 DRUs (9x3TB), 2 PPU (2x3TB)