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eSATA Multi-Terabyte Roundup (Working Systems) Re-Try

Discussion in 'DIRECTV Tips and Resources' started by 1948GG, Oct 3, 2007.

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  1. Oct 3, 2007 #1 of 37
    1948GG

    1948GG Icon

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    I originally posted this in one of the 'main' sections, where (naturally) it got buried quick time, so here it goes again:

    There have been quite a few threads over the last x months concerning big drive arrays in use with the HR20; I thought I'd start a new one specifically targeted to/for those folks with an actual working system.

    I've emailed quite a few of the folks who, in the fast, either had something 'working' or were working on it, and I just guess that the don't notice the 'private messages' lingering in their mailboxes here.

    A list of past systems commented on here on DBSTalk:

    http://www.cooldrives.com/fidrsaiihara.html
    This is the latest one, 'echo' started the thread; sounds good, but no further response.

    http://www.datoptic.com/cgi-bin/web....x-R&detail=yes
    This is one of the early ones mentioned

    http://www.cooldrives.com/harasaiipomu.html
    here's another early one that dropped of the planet data wise

    http://www.tenbox.net/index2.htm
    and here is one of the advertisers; still brand new, barely 2GB, needs more, much more.

    The cooldrives one is, other than the tenbox, the most expensive (basic box is $1300+), but load it up with 1TB drives and you're looking at 4TB of raw (Raid5) storage. Now, we'd be cooking with gas!

    So, where we are at the precipice of HD nirvana (correction: now, wall on the way!), and I've got this nice wad of cash ready to go. I'm not going to be an unpaid 'beta tester' for this though, at those kind of prices ($2-3K+).

    Please, folks only with multi-disk, terabyte arrays respond. Those of course with side comments surely can (like there's any way to stop that!), but would like some actual users from the field.

    THANKS!
     
  2. Oct 3, 2007 #2 of 37
    elixir26

    elixir26 Legend

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    For me it's a question of value per dollar vs need. Sure I'd like to have a 4tb set up. I'm lookin at roughly 500.00 for the 4 bay enclosure. About 350.00 per 1tb drive if I'm gonna use the cheapest I can find. (don't bother to bust my balls over prices. We all know they change and I'm SURE someone will find it CHEAPER somewhere sometime. This is just a general guide) So I'm lookin at 1900 to 2000. As much as I like TV, I don't like it that much. I have about 600 in my 1.5tb setup with quality drives designed for 24x7 operation. The specs are in my signature. I had a 750gb hooked to main HR20 that was more than adaquate for my needs. I doubled it to 1.5 to prep for the influx of HD. In the end I have to temper all eSATA solutions with the knowledge that at some point in time they ALL will fail.

    Say you got your 4 tb system tooling along with all your favorites archived and neatly tucked away for a rainy month. Next thing ya know your HR20 takes a dump and has to be replaced. Under current conditions you just lost ALL your content. That would suck.
     
  3. Oct 3, 2007 #3 of 37
    1948GG

    1948GG Icon

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    The price(s) on 1TB drives is a bit on the high side right now, as Seagate has just entered the fray (competition for the Hitachi), so I was looking at 750GB drives (around $220/ea for 3TB); that makes the total package <$2500 vrs. the $3K+ of the 4TB.

    Of course, if one waits long enough, the prices will fall on the 1TB's, but will of course continue to fall on the 'smaller' drives as well.

    As far as box failure, that's a possibility, but all I can say is that I've had zero problems with my HR20 in almost a full year of operation (being on a ups and a powered multiswitch, the WB616, helps as well).

    If it takes a 'dump' (others with single drives have had that happen, either out of the blue or when s/w upgrades occur), that's the basic risk one takes.

    But I'd rather put the bucks into this rather than a top-line Blu-Ray disc player (about the same price range) at the present time. There are some others out there that have gone for it as well, hopefully they'll 'come out of the woodwork'!
     
  4. Oct 3, 2007 #4 of 37
    elixir26

    elixir26 Legend

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    I read about a 3tb setup months ago, so I know ones out there but I've read so much in the past few months about this, that I can't even remember where some of MY posts are. I'll be watching the thread and hope some of the big guns tell us about their systems and experiences. Good Luck
     
  5. Oct 3, 2007 #5 of 37
    1948GG

    1948GG Icon

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    Here is the thread on the 3TB system that 'echo' was upgrading to 4TB a bit ago.

    http://www.dbstalk.com/showthread.php?t=95230

    I've got a large 'collection' of threads and such! I emailed but this is one of those 'missing in action' threads that petered out without any real solid conclusion. The h/w is listed as one of the 'cooldrives' links in my top post.
     
  6. Oct 4, 2007 #6 of 37
    erp2863

    erp2863 Mentor

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    I've been working on a 1.6gb (4x400gb RAID0) custom made setup that uses an enclosure that fits in with components and is rackmount-able.

    Unfortunately I have been struggling with a random connection loss on one of the drives. I've come to the conclusion that the vast majority of SATA cables (internal and external varieties) are poorly made and do not stand up to alot of plugging and un-plugging, which during my proof of concept stage needed to be done.

    I will be looking at commercializing this project if I can fix the stability issue with better parts suppliers. PM me if you want some pics of what it looks like.

    Eric
     
  7. Oct 4, 2007 #7 of 37
    1948GG

    1948GG Icon

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    Which box/port-multiplexer are you utilizing?
     
  8. Oct 5, 2007 #8 of 37
    erp2863

    erp2863 Mentor

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    The controller is based on the Silicon Image 4726 RAID chip. The box is an off the shelf enclosure modified to fit 4 hard drives, the controller, power supply, and a couple of fans.

    Here's a couple of pics....
     

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  9. Oct 6, 2007 #9 of 37
    1948GG

    1948GG Icon

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    One of the links I put in the top post was a 4726 box, the biggest drawback (to me, and probably others) is/was the lack of an independent means (other than a PC with sata capability) to set up (and perhaps monitor) the box. If you've managed to get around those problems...

    btw, the much more expensive box (also from cooldrives, the SR6600) that 'echo' used has a different port multiplexer and an RS232 serial port (and LAN) for system setup etc. But then again, it's almost $1K more (!).

    I don't think the capability for Raidx is all that important, drives have gotten so reliable these days, that a JBOD is good enough (for me). But the cost of one more disc is not that much either (for Raid1), if the drive capacity (mounting) is there.
     
  10. erp2863

    erp2863 Mentor

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    The lack of an independent way to setup the RAID array isn't really due to it being a SII4726 chip. A controller can be made with this chip, along with a processor and memory, which allows it to be independent of a PC.

    But I do agree with you, this would be a drawback for any RAID setup besides RAID0 (which I think you are incorrectly referring to JBOD, since the HR20 does not support JBOD). As you said, hard drives these days are fairly reliable, so the storage box only needs to be setup once (at the factory) to set the array for RAID0. If a drive does fail, you are going to lose all the data anyway once you replace it. If you don't have a PC that can configure the RAID, then sending it back to get fixed/re-setup would be a decent option. Better than spending hundreds of dollars on a fancy controller that you are betting you won't need anyway (since you believe drives are reliable and thus using RAID0 instead of say RAID1 or 5). Monitoring temperature is only needed if your enclosure is poorly designed. Monitoring drive connection status can be done with LED's off the controller, which you may have missed in my pics because they weren't on, but next to the power switch on the front of the unit.

    I'm starting to question whether using RAID1 or RAID5 makes any sense at all since there is no way to make the storage device usable on more than one HR20. I would guess that the reliability of the HR20 is worse than that of a storage array. So what is the point in having multi-terabytes of "safe" storage capacity if you lose it all once you have to replace the HR20 because of some other problem? Having RAID5 capability (4 drive array only gives 3 drives worth of storage) about doubles the cost compared to a 3 drive RAID0 system with equivalent storage capability. Even RAID1 would add about 50% to the cost.

    Again, I'm looking at this situation from a potential business opportunity standpoint. The price of the Tenbox and that SR6600 enclosure is ridiculously high for what you are getting. The Tenbox at least makes a decent attempt at making it look like it belongs in an AV rack. The SR6600 is really intended to be next to a PC or in a closet somewhere.
     
  11. 1948GG

    1948GG Icon

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    What's interesting (to me) is that none of the chips out there that I've found are truly 'independent', in that they all seem to rely on the sata chip in the attached device for certain functionality, i.e., don't really 'present' themselves to that controller as a 'single drive', completely hiding the fact that several drives, of any configuration, are actually attached. So the host machine (in this case the HR20), is used to drive certain functions, there thereby can't have a JBOD array.


    It all comes back to cost, and in exactly where the 'elbow' of the cost/benefit ratio actually is. In looking at any Raid box, where I was looking at using 1TB drives vrs. 750GB, that last terabyte is far more expensive than the first, in fast something like 3-4x as much. But if your system was bought, fully loaded, from the 'factory', one would think the drive cost would be as low as possible, since they would be bought 'in mass quantities'. :)

    But I was looking at a range of $2K (with 5/750GB, 3TB usable) to $3K (with 5/1TB, 4TB usable), so one can see that last TB is bloody expensive, relatively. And the cost of the box itself is a rather large percentage in any case.

    Exactly the point. That final 'bit' of storage (or 'safety') is just too much, where all decent drives have a 5 year warranty.

    I'm really surprised that, almost a full year after the HR20 was 'released', that several more (other than this Tenbox) haven't 'come out of the woodwork'. Even the two companies that have done Tivo 'upgrades' for years have been pretty silent. Build something that's plug and save, and folks will beat a path to your door.
     
  12. 1948GG

    1948GG Icon

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    In looking through one of the other threads on 'working systems', found a link to this particular box, a 2-drive model, that is the 'small brother' to that SR6600 $$$ box.

    http://www.sansdigital.com/mobilestor/ms2ut.html

    A quite simple, and cheap (~$200+), and supports either Raid0/1. So, with a pair of decent 750MB/1TB drives, it's a 1.5/2TB 'solution'. Not bad for the price.

    Unfortunately, the next 'step up' is that SR6600 5disc array; there's nothing in the 'in-between' gap (like a 4drive unit) that erp2863 is working on.
     
  13. dminches

    dminches Godfather

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    Oct 1, 2006
    Are you also considering network storage boxes such as Thecus or Buffalo Technology in your comparison? Both of those are pretty highly rated and can storage as much as 3-4 TB at different RAID levels.
     
  14. 1948GG

    1948GG Icon

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    Both of those are network attached storage (NAS) solutions, no eSATA connectivity, only ethernet (although some models do have USB as well). In either case, again, no eSATA, which is the only thing the HR20(*) supports.
     
  15. TWJR

    TWJR Mentor

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    May 17, 2007
    Will this support two 1TB drives? I ask because the website indicates only supporting up to 1.5TB w/ two 750GB drives.
     
  16. 1948GG

    1948GG Icon

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    Like a lot of 'copy', obviously the specs were written before anything larger than 750GB was in existence (like, last year!).

    If you simply clicked on the 'order' button, you'd see that twin 1TB drives are included in the 'order option', so obviously it does support them. Although at $1K for the pair, you'd surely buy your own! And, there are now multiple choices, from the Hitachi to Western Digital, to at least two models from Seagate, but all hovering around $360+ or so (see Pricegrabber or others). So the 'choice' is either a twin 750GB setup (total 1.5TB at around $650 total) or a twin 1TB (total 2TB at around $950).

    That last 500GB costs around $300, so once again that becomes a 'choice'. :)
     
  17. elixir26

    elixir26 Legend

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    Model MS2UT2T supports 2 1tb drives.
     
  18. 1948GG

    1948GG Icon

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    That is the 2TB 'bundle' model; the base MS2UT is 'without drives' and is the same enclosure.

    Also, any others (the 'Cavalry') need to be researched not from the retailer site but from the actual manufacturers site:

    http://www.cavalrystorage.com/

    I don't think I've tripped across anyone using this although I could have missed it. The target seems to be pc/mac though, complete with controllers. I had looked at them quite a while ago, they build a nice 'photo' storage drive that has a card reader built in; but the latest very large memory modules kinda made them out of usability, unless one works for National Geographic on safari!
     
  19. thumperr

    thumperr Godfather

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    Feb 10, 2006
    I believe the SATA (internal) connector is speced for 50 insertions and removals.

    I believe the eSATA (external) connector is speced for 500 insertions and removals.
     
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