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Cheap Hardware Raid And Port Replicator


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#1 Master_Scythe

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Posted 19 September 2014 - 11:01 AM

So after a long search I finally found what I've been looking for, 

a truly host OS independent hardware RAID solution.

 

At about $50 per card;

 

What I found was a JMB393 chip. 

Exact specifications (such as clock and cache) are impossible to find. But otherwise, reviews and testing speaks loudly enough.

YES, this controller DOES max out a 3Gbps port

 

Since this is limited to that single 3Gbps host port, you're not going to be using this for multi-user servers with fiber network connections, but for home, with your 1Gbps NIC (Hell, lets be generous and team them, 2Gbps NIC) limit, you'll easily max it out. The rebuild rate is around 250GB\Hour, which isnt bad, and its completely host independent, no drivers.

Yes it supports drives larger than 2TB.

 

It's used in the "Patriot Convoy 425XL" so I know its been used by big brands, I just want to implement it my own way.

 

Patriot_Convoy_425XL_RAID_Enclosure_JMB3

 

Several versions of hardware have used this chip.

Some have Rotary dials to set RAID level, some have DIP switches, and all have a jumper to set it to 'Manual' and let you configure it more specifically via software.

 

Rather than steal ALL their images, I'll just link this page.

http://archive.bench...=1&limitstart=4

It shows the software and a brief rundown of how it works.

 

Status LED's for each HDD to show which one is degraded in the array, and software alerts for admins.

I'm pretty excited.

 

A video of it in use:

 

Or, a more clear version, using a JMB394, which is identical, but has LCM built in too, to allow for a screen and buttons instead of DIP's or software.

 

 

1.jpg

 

 

 

 

______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

 

 

Looking around at OTHER cards;

About the ONLY thing that I can find that challenges the above card, are some $50 MARVELL cards that rely on the much faster PCI-E 4x connection.

http://www.dx.com/p/...99#.VBt_HKLjHa8

 

sku_282999_1_small.jpg

But problem there, is that I still only have, at best, a 2Gbps network connection.

So for a theoretical boost in speed, I lose host independence (requires drivers), and, for example, no BSD drivers are  available, so no FreeNAS if I ever wanted to go that way.

 

I also lose a PCI-E port of course.

IMO, The only time this solution makes sense is if your server itself is a number cruncher and you saturate more than 3gbps on your storage often.

 

 

But for me, my PC is the 'powerhouse' and the server is a: small web server, RAID storage, Media PC (hdmi to TV), and 2-disc rip-station.

How can I ask for more?

 

 

 

 

 

Opinions people? I'm about to order 2.....

What do we think?


Edited by Master_Scythe, 24 September 2014 - 02:58 PM.

Wherever you go in life, watch out for Scythe, the tackling IT support guy.

"I don't care what race you are, not one f*cking bit, if you want to be seen as a good people, you go in there and you f*ck up the people who (unofficially) represent you in a negative light!"


#2 SquallStrife

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Posted 23 September 2014 - 12:25 PM

So what you have is the internal version of an eSATA RAID enclosure. Neat.

 

Why the fixation on OS independence though? How often do you change OS on your server that this is an important factor?


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#3 Gas Lee

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Posted 23 September 2014 - 09:49 PM

OS independence is a fault tolerance / recovery thing, is the OS isn't maintaining the array then the OS can fall over all it likes and you don't lose any more data than what the OS trashes on it's way out.

 

the problem with this kind of independence is if the module maintaining the raid falls over.

 

My preference is for dumb drive controllers and a linux powered softraid, they tend to be very recoverable.


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#4 SquallStrife

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Posted 24 September 2014 - 07:23 AM

OS independence is a fault tolerance / recovery thing, is the OS isn't maintaining the array then the OS can fall over all it likes and you don't lose any more data than what the OS trashes on it's way out.

 

In that respect, a proper hardware RAID card is OS independent, but MS said that going that way meant he lost that feature.

 

He said the Marvell RAID card is not OS independent because it needs drivers, and he couldn't use FreeNAS "if he chose to go that way". To which I say, stop being so fickle! ;)


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#5 Master_Scythe

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Posted 24 September 2014 - 02:52 PM

Only the Marvell card, not the original one.

 

The first one I mention IS a proper hardware raid. Just a weak and cheap one, but for one to.. say... 3? users it'd be ideal!


Wherever you go in life, watch out for Scythe, the tackling IT support guy.

"I don't care what race you are, not one f*cking bit, if you want to be seen as a good people, you go in there and you f*ck up the people who (unofficially) represent you in a negative light!"





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