[RndTbl] Server config

Shawn Wallbridge shawn at synack-hosting.com
Tue Apr 30 20:34:43 CDT 2002

I have about 3.5TB of fileservers running on 3Ware IDE RAID cards. I am
pretty happy with them. They are very well supported under Linux (in the
kernel since 2.2.15). They have a separate controller for each drive, so you
avoid many of the limitations of IDE. The 8 port card can give you 1280GB of
drives (1120GB at RAID5) if needed.

Cases to build your own fileserver with 8 drives are hard to come by. We
have an Antec SX1440 and it sucks (IMHO). I wouldn't buy it again. For the
last server we built, I used a 'Small Cube Server' case from California PC
(www.calpc.com) ~$400. It is pretty decent, I have a couple of complaints,
but it works. It's the best I have found so far. I would recommend the
redundant power supply.

Don't buy a desktop or workstation motherboard. We have used the following
boards and I haven't been 100% satisfied with any of them....

Tyan Tiger MPX (Dual Athlon board with 64bit/66MHz PCI, AMD MPX chipset)
Asus P2B-DS (Dual PIII board, BX chipset)
Tyan Thunder (Dual PIII board with onboard everything, GX chipset)

I would recommend looking at a motherboard with a ServerWorks chipset, they
are designed to be servers. Their (onboard) IDE and Video performance are
terrible, but they can really pump out the data. I plan on going with a
ServerWorks chipset for our next server.

I will never buy another IBM drive! Out of 50 drives, I sent back 10. Out of
60 Maxtor drives, I have sent back 1. I buy Maxtor or Seagate now. I have
about 30 80GB drives and a dozen 160GB drives and I have had no problems.

Since you said a sysadmin will not always be around, I would recommend a DLT
changer or LTO drive for backup. If a user has to change multiple tapes, it
is going to be a hassle and they are going to forget. So I would recommend a
drive (or library) that can back up all the data in one go. That means a
DLT8000 library (40-80GB/tape) or an LTO drive (100-200GB/tape). I have
heard good things about LTO, but I haven't used one. Personally I don't
really like DLT, but it is VERY popular.

If you have any questions, or would like to see some of what we have done at
Frantic, email me privately.


-----Original Message-----
From: roundtable-admin at muug.mb.ca [mailto:roundtable-admin at muug.mb.ca]On
Behalf Of Brock Wolfe
Sent: Tuesday, April 30, 2002 7:07 PM
To: roundtable at muug.mb.ca
Subject: [RndTbl] Server config

I am looking at building a high reliability, fault tolerant file server to
store 300 plus GB worth of files. Reliability is needed b/c a sysadmin will
not always be around/on-site to ensure full backups are made regularly. I am
assuming RAID 5 array, for data
and seperate drive(s) for OS (RH 7.x), redundant power supplies.  Any
suggestions (voice of experience) on:
- Motherboard/CPU combo's
- Server Cases
- RAID host cards (3ware-IDE, Mylex-SCSI)
- High(er) MTBF  IDE, SCSI Hard drives (I don't want another 60/75GXP
fiasco) <g>.
- Tape drives (DLT, DAT, etc)

Thanks in advance for any words of wisdom.


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