[Beowulf] RAID storage: Vendor vs. parts

Maurice Hilarius maurice at harddata.com
Tue Feb 22 20:58:21 PST 2005

Steve Cousins wrote:
Subject: [Beowulf] RAID storage: Vendor vs. parts

>I'm in the process of getting a couple 16 Bay 6.4 TB RAID units.  The
>vendors who have given me quotes have a SATA-SCSI version for around
>$14,000 each.  I can get a similarly equipped StorCase unit for around
>$11,000. With the StorCase I envision that I'd be more on my own if
>anything went wrong.  However, with the cheaper price, I'd be able to buy
>a spare RAID controller to have on hand in case one of them failed and
>still save a couple grand.
>All three of these (the other two are Infortrend and I believe a re-badged
>Jet) use the same Intel i80321 CPU on their controllers.  
>All are configured the same (with spare PS module and Fan module)  except
>the StorCase doesn't include a 3 year Express Swap warranty. This is why
>I'd also want to get the spare RAID controller to share between the two
>units in case one went bad.  So, for price comparison, it is probably
>closer to $28,000 for two "Name-brand" units or $25,500 for two StorCase
>units with spares of most everything.
>Does anyone have experience with any or all of these?  Is it worth the
>extra money to have a "burned-in" device supported by some company?  
>I know this isn't a Beowulf specific question but it seems that storage is
>a big part of Beowulfery and I'd bet that a lot of people are looking into
>similar devices.  I hope it is relevant. 
>I'm not after any more quotes from vendors (please don't email or call).
>I'm happy with the alternatives that I have right now.

I am not sure what you are asking here?
If you had the experience to build this yourself with confidence, then it is not a question.
And if you do not, then why the uncertainty? You will NEED the support.

Or am I missing a vital part of your question?

BTW, those prices are WAY too high.
Further, there is a very strong case now for a purely software RAID. Still use the RAID controllers as disk interface controllers, such as LSI or AMCC (Was 3Ware).
But use a commodity dual CPU motherboard as the "RAID controller" under mdadm.
LOTS of people are doing that very successfully, and it is both economical and generally higher performance than pure RAID controllers under RAID5 or 6.

With our best regards,

Maurice W. Hilarius        Telephone: 01-780-456-9771
Hard Data Ltd.  FAX:       01-780-456-9772
11060 - 166 Avenue         email:maurice at harddata.com
Edmonton, AB, Canada       http://www.harddata.com/
   T5X 1Y3

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