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💬General Category => General Discussion => Topic started by: bkenobi on October 08, 2018, 11:52:22 AM

Title: File server options
Post by: bkenobi on October 08, 2018, 11:52:22 AM
I have a local file server I've been running for 5-10 years now that's based on a hardware RAID 5 controller.  I like the setup in that it has redundancy and was pretty quick at the time of build.  I started with 3x750GB drives and later added a 4th so I have 2TB of fault tolerant storage.

I just realized over the weekend that a drive had failed in July but I was not notified (alarms disabled apparently). I swapped the drive and the system rebuilt but today it says the same drive unit is bad.  I will have to check the connections, but I may have to update my setup.

So the question is, what are others using or could recommend?  I need a LAN accessible solution that is somewhat fault tolerant.  I store music, photos, media on the system that I don't want to lose.  The files must be accessible to media players and PC/Android on the LAN.  I am currently also using the server for P2P type things though I assume that could be accomplished in another way (e.g., RPi).
Title: Re: File server options
Post by: petera on October 08, 2018, 12:11:02 PM
I find most users of Raid are from the commercial or industrial sector. As you're clearly aware it's not a substitute for a backup although many people treat it as if it was. The fact that your system has been running since July with a failed disk is slightly worrying though. I assume in addition to RAID you're backing up your system regularly anyway.

What server software do you use and what media type forms your array. Are they hot swappable Do you use NAS as well. Is your server used for commercial purposes as well as domestic.
Title: Re: File server options
Post by: bkenobi on October 08, 2018, 08:40:10 PM
The server is strictly for home use for personal files.  I have no real backup other than some very old burned discs.  The goal was to have things backed to a secondary location with a different type of media, but never got there.

This is a fairly robust setup in that it's a commercial hardware RAID (3ware) rather than a software solution.  I could have used a MB software RAID, but those are problematic if the MB fails. Because this is a hardware controller, I can pull the card and drives and move it to a new system if needed.

That said, it does nothing for a lightning strike or fire.  I still need to address that concern for the more important files, but the bulk are my music collection and arcade roms.  Losing them would be very annoying but not life altering.  I am mainly looking for something better than a single drive NAS where a single failure loses everything.
Title: Re: File server options
Post by: HA Dave on October 08, 2018, 08:55:01 PM
File storage? Isn't that what the cloud is for? Cloud files are backed-up and can NOT be robbed or destroyed in a house fire or other disaster. The files can be assessed via all sorts of devices from anywhere in the world and shared "with permissions" as you desire.   
Title: Re: File server options
Post by: brobin on October 09, 2018, 02:36:41 AM
File storage? Isn't that what the cloud is for? Cloud files are backed-up and can NOT be robbed or destroyed in a house fire or other disaster. The files can be assessed via all sorts of devices from anywhere in the world and shared "with permissions" as you desire.

There's nothing wrong with cloud storage, it's convenient and reliable - but not infallible. Case in point: Some years ago I logged into my gmail account and found that, other than mail received that day, years of saved emails were simply gone. Vanished for good. Google was of no help and said there was no way to recover them and they didn't know why they were missing.  Free service, you get what you pay for.  Fortunately I had archived copies of most of them on my PC but I did learn a lesson about the cloud.
Title: Re: File server options
Post by: petera on October 09, 2018, 06:47:27 AM
Yes data once again shared from the cloud without permission. https://economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/international/world-news/google-exposed-user-data-feared-repercussions-of-disclosing-to-public-wsj/articleshow/66125333.cms

This carry on is only the tip of the iceberg. On top of this the so called free storage will come to an end once reliance on cloud storage becomes irreversible. Then what. Ridiculous monthly storage plan fees to be paid or as @brobin mentions the mysterious disappearance of your data.

@bkenobi not sure how old your storage media is but I'd look at replacing it with something like SSD. Four 500gb SSD drives for approx $280. I assume you want your data permanently on line and accessible so for convenience I'd stick with the RAID setup and take regular backups on one of those large capacity SATA drives.

You had an unchecked disk failure on Raid 5 for nearly three months. No doubt you were aware that a second failure during that period and everything was gone.

You don't mention what server software you use but I have regular backups scheduled with cron jobs on my Ubuntu Server Edition server. I do periodic restores to check the integrity of my backups. Nothing worse to discover your backup won't restore in the event of catastrophic system failure.
Title: Re: File server options
Post by: bkenobi on October 09, 2018, 10:53:21 AM
I didn't list all the detailed specs because I didn't think it mattered nor would anyone be interested.

Windows XP SP2
AthlonXP 3000+ based PC
AAMC 9590SE-8MI RAID controller
4x 750GB SATA HDD comfigured in RAID 5
relativley small system HDD


The RAID controller deals with the RAID and WinXP is used with file sharing and RDC as well as P2P.  I have nothing currently for scheduled backups.  I had considered a second drive as the backup location, but that doesnt help if the system is the fault (MB, power spike, etc).  I considered a second location (either a web share or simply a different NAS device located in the home.

Yes, I'm aware that the data would be lost with 1 more failure which is why I asked the question. After swapping a single failed drive, a day later the same unit had failed. Leads me to believe it's some other issue.  If so, I need to consider migrating.  I know what I've been doing is ok, but I figured others may have the same type of requirement and came to some setup that may be interesting.  I don't want to get a new controller really, but RAID 6 was just starting to be available when I set this up.  It was cost prohibitive for me at the time, but storage is so cheap now...

FWIW, calling a web server the cloud is trendy, but it's not new or inovative in any way.  "Free" web storage is an option, but whether you pay for it or not, web shares are only useful while they are online.  I've seen many disapear and the content is gone.  What was the image share that ate many people's personal photo libraries a couple years back?
Title: Re: File server options
Post by: HA Dave on October 09, 2018, 11:23:35 AM
. FWIW, calling a web server the cloud is trendy, but it's not new or inovative in any way. 

You haven't been reading the posts here! Using the word "cloud" makes servers sound MUCH scarier.  :)

"Free" web storage is an option, but whether you pay for it or not, web shares are only useful while they are online.  I've seen many disapear and the content is gone.  What was the image share that ate many people's personal photo libraries a couple years back?

Nothings free! Ever!
I've ran PC's at home 24/7 for years.... that wasn't free either. Data management is a "job description". Just like landscaper, painter, mechanic, cook, dishwasher, window washer, etc.. Back-ups are VERY important! And I don't take data management lightly. But even retired.... my days still only last 24 hours each. For me.... that makes "time management" my number one job. Setting up a computer to manage/do your repetitive job of backing up files locally as well as with a professionally managed service can manage your most valuable assess..... your time.   
Title: Re: File server options
Post by: bkenobi on October 09, 2018, 02:40:50 PM
I'm thinking that something like the Drobo 5N2 and a scheduled backup to some other location would be a good fit.  Drobo was brand new and untested when I built this setup.  Since they survived, they must be doing something right.  I'll have to consider a web share of some kind or a second NAS drive located somewhere.  I suppose I might even be able to route a wireless NAS into my fire safe if I tried hard!
Title: Re: File server options
Post by: petera on October 09, 2018, 05:39:04 PM
I'm thinking that something like the Drobo 5N2 and a scheduled backup to some other location would be a good fit.  Drobo was brand new and untested when I built this setup.  Since they survived, they must be doing something right.  I'll have to consider a web share of some kind or a second NAS drive located somewhere.  I suppose I might even be able to route a wireless NAS into my fire safe if I tried hard!

Yes we used to store our QIC backup tapes in the fire safe 20 or more years ago. Definitely worked. Rotated the tapes on a five day cycle. Had a number of occasions that required restoring and they worked each time. Never a fire luckily enough.

I suppose an off site NAS could work. Probably a complete backup archived would protect the data and then some form SSD storage should you need everyday access to them.

Dare I ask. Windows XP 2. I assume you don't have that exposed to the outside world. That would be a belt and braces safety approach required.
Title: Re: File server options
Post by: HA Dave on October 09, 2018, 08:31:39 PM
…. Windows XP 2. I assume you don't have that exposed to the outside world.

It's been a long time since my retirement. But it used to be any device connected to an Internet device.... is also (by proxy permission) an Internet device.
Title: Re: File server options
Post by: bkenobi on October 10, 2018, 10:40:07 AM
I used XP as it was easier to set up at the time.  I ran Win7 on my other machines, but trusted XP at the time.  It is exposed to the lan obviously, but I have no open exterior connection through the router.  Technically it's exposed via WiFi, but everything is at that point.

I heard back from the current owners of 3Ware/AAMC/LSI/whatever.  They recommended trying a different port on the controller with a good drive.  I suppose the new drive could be DOA, but I lean towards a kinked SATA cable causing a broken lead.

I really like hardware RAID and I'm still not fully convinced BeyondRAID isn't just marketing hype for JBOD + parity bits.
Title: Re: File server options
Post by: petera on October 10, 2018, 12:48:34 PM
I used XP as it was easier to set up at the time.  I ran Win7 on my other machines, but trusted XP at the time.  It is exposed to the lan obviously, but I have no open exterior connection through the router.  Technically it's exposed via WiFi, but everything is at that point.

I heard back from the current owners of 3Ware/AAMC/LSI/whatever.  They recommended trying a different port on the controller with a good drive.  I suppose the new drive could be DOA, but I lean towards a kinked SATA cable causing a broken lead.

I really like hardware RAID and I'm still not fully convinced BeyondRAID isn't just marketing hype for JBOD + parity bits.

In technology terms 10 years is a lifetime. Something that has worked reliably for 10 years has got to be a recommendation in itself. As you say there's so much marketing hype around you'd have to wonder if that's all it is.

I'd stick with what works. It could well be just a faulty cable. Unlikely to be a DOA drive. One thing you might consider though is the actual RAID controller failing.

Did you ever consider upgrading to XP SP3. Probably not a big issue now but it gave the last gasp patches and security updates before the big shutdown. You probably had good reason not to.
Title: Re: File server options
Post by: bkenobi on October 10, 2018, 05:17:00 PM
I didn't check, but it could be SP3.  I know the installer disc is SP2, but MS pushed a lot of updates before stopping support, so I could have accepted the SP3 update.  No, it's certainly not secure enough to put online, but since it's behind my router's "firewall", it should be ok.

I think if I can verify that the controller is still good, then I'll probably opt to purchase a few new drives (SSD looks attractive) and build a second array that can eventually replace the one I have now.  I can then use those units (8 total available, 4 free currently).  Also, if I can locate a reasonably priced SSD external drive with WiFi, I'd add that inside my fire safe and schedule backups of the more critical files.  I'd prefer SSD since this will be minimal writes so it should have very little chance of failure.  HDD are much cheaper, but they have the same risk of failure as the RAID without the parity making them a poor backup media choice.
Title: Re: File server options
Post by: brobin on October 10, 2018, 07:16:58 PM
I have an XP SP3 box that I'm still using at my rarely used place (where I am now) and just got some XP updates today.  I've been getting updates regularly since I did a registry change to get security updates for XP POS computers. Here's a link on how to do that.  https://betanews.com/2017/06/27/get-regular-free-security-updates-for-windows-xp-and-vista/
Title: Re: File server options
Post by: bkenobi on October 11, 2018, 09:36:34 AM
I checked the system again this morning and it's showing all good.  I have done nothing other than let it idle for the last couple days but for some reason the drive is back online.  I found the box for the 3ware card so plan on swapping cables around this weekend.  If the card is good and the drives are good then it must be cables/cable routing.  I found that the case I selected (Coolmaster 8 bay tool less of some kind) is not exactly great for a server solution as the "tool less" trays degrade and fall apart when looked at.  If the controller is good, the drives are good, and the RAID is simply an issue due to ergonomics, I may update the PC and case to something more like a NAS.  I've done almost no research, but it appears that there are some mATX cases that have external swappable bays and have a similar form factor to the Drobo and such.

I still need to determine a good option for the second storage/backup.  The initial look at SSD WiFi drives turned out to be faulty.  They all seemed to be either WiFi and HDD or SSD and not WiFi.  I did see a couple that were both, but they were $500+ for small drives.  I thought SSD had come down a bit more than that.  I suppose I could also consider a router that can accept USB and a SSD drive or some similar variant.  Heck, a RPi + SSD might even do the trick should I find a small enough enclosure.

EDIT:
Of course, I guess I could get a fire/water proof hard drive and skip the safe  rofl
https://www.amazon.com/Fireproof-Waterproof-External-Recovery-SL1000GBUSB20/dp/B001TNR8EI (https://www.amazon.com/Fireproof-Waterproof-External-Recovery-SL1000GBUSB20/dp/B001TNR8EI)

EDIT2:
I also was wondering what BeyondRAID and RAIDZ2 were as I've seen references.  This is a good link that shows what they are:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Non-standard_RAID_levels (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Non-standard_RAID_levels)
Title: Re: File server options
Post by: dhouston on October 11, 2018, 09:57:50 AM
The initial look at SSD WiFi drives turned out to be faulty.  They all seemed to be either WiFi and HDD or SSD and not WiFi.
I have a WiFi enclosure for a HDD which might handle SSD - I'll have to check.
Title: Re: File server options
Post by: Tuicemen on October 11, 2018, 10:08:29 AM
  Heck, a RPi + SSD might even do the trick should I find a small enough enclosure.

There are other SBC options you may wish to look into like the ODROID Home Cloud 1 (https://www.hardkernel.com/main/products/prdt_info.php?g_code=G150229074080) or Home Cloud 2 (https://www.hardkernel.com/main/products/prdt_info.php?g_code=G151505170472).
They offer cases and I believe 3D images so you could print your own case
Title: Re: File server options
Post by: bkenobi on October 11, 2018, 11:12:49 AM
I just realized that it's still possible to purchase a drive enclosure and install your own internal drive in it.  I assumed that things had changed but not so.  There are a number of options for WiFi enclosures for fairly cheap.  I even found one that is a router + enclosure that can be flashed with open source firmware (OpenWRT for example).  I actually have a router/enclosure that I've never used, but it's only 802.11b, so it won't likely ever see usage.  Then again, since this is for backup and not serving, 802.11b may be fast enough and sufficient for testing.

https://www.amazon.com/SunRise%C2%AE-Streaming-External-Enclosure-BlackColor/dp/B0142JFDWY/ref=cm_cr_arp_d_product_top?ie=UTF8 (https://www.amazon.com/SunRise%C2%AE-Streaming-External-Enclosure-BlackColor/dp/B0142JFDWY/ref=cm_cr_arp_d_product_top?ie=UTF8)

Also, I just realized that the cable that may be faulty in my setup is a standard SAS to SATA cable.  I assumed it was proprietary to 3Ware and not available.  The reason it failed (assuming that's the issue) is due to a hard 90 bend to fit the drive into the case.  I can get cables that have 90 connectors, so I may be able to get my existing setup working reliably afterall.  I need to test my old "bad" drive to see if it is truly faulty.  If not, I might throw it back in and swap cables.  The NAS cases are pretty sexy though!

https://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=9SIAE7R5Y01964&ignorebbr=1&nm_mc=KNC-GoogleMKP-PC&cm_mmc=KNC-GoogleMKP-PC-_-pla-_-Cables+-+SCSI+%2F+SAS+%2F+InfiniBand+Cables-_-9SIAE7R5Y01964&gclid=Cj0KCQjw6fvdBRCbARIsABGZ-vRG7jXm4vLEBA0qkKMm4K-Ty3jyQiiy8_dkNyTvYLAwbXqoH4JvWkQaAnctEALw_wcB&gclsrc=aw.ds (https://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=9SIAE7R5Y01964&ignorebbr=1&nm_mc=KNC-GoogleMKP-PC&cm_mmc=KNC-GoogleMKP-PC-_-pla-_-Cables+-+SCSI+%2F+SAS+%2F+InfiniBand+Cables-_-9SIAE7R5Y01964&gclid=Cj0KCQjw6fvdBRCbARIsABGZ-vRG7jXm4vLEBA0qkKMm4K-Ty3jyQiiy8_dkNyTvYLAwbXqoH4JvWkQaAnctEALw_wcB&gclsrc=aw.ds)
Title: Re: File server options
Post by: dhouston on October 11, 2018, 12:05:21 PM
My WiFi enclosure looks like the one you linked to except it's bright, shiny aluminum. I never put it to use because my 6TB HDD connects via USB to my router and serves the same purpose - backup for all my PCs as well as easy file sharing between anything that connects to my router.

https://www.amazon.com/ORICO-Toolfree-External-Enclosure-Support/dp/B00GAML7OK/ref=sr_1_13?ie=UTF8&qid=1539290890&sr=8-13&keywords=orico+usb3.0+to+sata+iii+2.5%22+external+hard+drive+enclosure (https://www.amazon.com/ORICO-Toolfree-External-Enclosure-Support/dp/B00GAML7OK/ref=sr_1_13?ie=UTF8&qid=1539290890&sr=8-13&keywords=orico+usb3.0+to+sata+iii+2.5%22+external+hard+drive+enclosure)
Title: Re: File server options
Post by: bkenobi on October 13, 2018, 09:48:30 AM
I just realized that I could have an issue with drives dying, but it may also be something else.  I have a 4 HDD RAID 5 + 1 HDD for the system.  There are 2 fans, the LSI board, and the motherboard.  The following is a rough calc based on a power sizing guide on FreeNAS's forum:

https://forums.freenas.org/index.php?threads/proper-power-supply-sizing-guidance.38811/ (https://forums.freenas.org/index.php?threads/proper-power-supply-sizing-guidance.38811/)



35W x 5 HDD = 175W
30W x 2 fans = 30W
25W x 1 MB = 25W
80W x 1 CPU = 80W
6W x 2 sticks RAM = 12W
30W x CPU fan = 30W
10W x 1 LSI board = 10W
------------------------------
TOTAL = 362W
Safety factor (1.25) = 452W


Now, that's probably ok since the PSU was over 500W.  However I can't verify due to the location they put the sticker on the PSU (thanks Antec!).  However, if the PSU was 500W and over time it's lost some capability, then I might be pushing it too hard.  I also found that if I put a "dead" drive in to test it, the drive would disappear prior to finalizing the format.  I installed another "dead" drive and the system spun down and rebooted.  Maybe these "dead" drives are stuck and draw way too much power on top of the ~452W above (another 35W would still be under 500W).  I have another PSU in a dead machine that I suppose might still be able to spin the drive up.  If so, I could probably use that PSU to spin the "dead" drive and plug the SATA into the RAID system for testing.
Title: Re: File server options
Post by: HA Dave on October 13, 2018, 11:07:59 AM


35W x 5 HDD = 175W
30W x 2 fans = 30W
25W x 1 MB = 25W
80W x 1 CPU = 80W
6W x 2 sticks RAM = 12W
30W x CPU fan = 30W
10W x 1 LSI board = 10W
------------------------------
TOTAL = 362W



That's a lot of electric/energy/cost there. I had ran an old (door-stop) XP unit years ago as part of my Home Automation setup. But as the technology moved to CFL... I realized I was spending more to control lighting... than the cost of the lighting.  By the time I began moving into LED lights (and I am an early adapter) I had switched to laptops for Home Automation. Now my [Homeseer/Hometroller] Raspberry Pi... and my Amazon Echo devices.... reduces it all to milliwatts.


You might want to toy with the idea of a Raspberry Pi, flash-drive RAID server (seriously) https://youtu.be/CCISPm9KekY (https://youtu.be/CCISPm9KekY)
Title: Re: File server options
Post by: petera on October 13, 2018, 11:27:59 AM
I just realized that I could have an issue with drives dying, but it may also be something else.  I have a 4 HDD RAID 5 + 1 HDD for the system.  There are 2 fans, the LSI board, and the motherboard.  The following is a rough calc based on a power sizing guide on FreeNAS's forum:

https://forums.freenas.org/index.php?threads/proper-power-supply-sizing-guidance.38811/ (https://forums.freenas.org/index.php?threads/proper-power-supply-sizing-guidance.38811/)

When I experience weird or hard to explain hardware failures my first line of attack usually is to throw in a spare power supply. Always a high capacity one on hand. Of course plastic connectors do come loose over time

Earth shorts and loose straps on cases are another target for erratic performance.

In fairness most of the stresses are usually attributed to powder supplies. If the server is running 24/7 wear can be expected and of course powering on and off has its own drawbacks to.



35W x 5 HDD = 175W
30W x 2 fans = 30W
25W x 1 MB = 25W
80W x 1 CPU = 80W
6W x 2 sticks RAM = 12W
30W x CPU fan = 30W
10W x 1 LSI board = 10W
------------------------------
TOTAL = 362W
Safety factor (1.25) = 452W


Now, that's probably ok since the PSU was over 500W.  However I can't verify due to the location they put the sticker on the PSU (thanks Antec!).  However, if the PSU was 500W and over time it's lost some capability, then I might be pushing it too hard.  I also found that if I put a "dead" drive in to test it, the drive would disappear prior to finalizing the format.  I installed another "dead" drive and the system spun down and rebooted.  Maybe these "dead" drives are stuck and draw way too much power on top of the ~452W above (another 35W would still be under 500W).  I have another PSU in a dead machine that I suppose might still be able to spin the drive up.  If so, I could probably use that PSU to spin the "dead" drive and plug the SATA into the RAID system for testing.
Title: Re: File server options
Post by: bkenobi on October 13, 2018, 03:56:21 PM
Well, I think the power supply is definitely the issue.  The loads I listed are worst case startup and not sustained so my power bill won't see 500w year round.  But, when it cranks up for a minute, the PSU must be able to handle it.  I looked at the PSU before, but the sticker was on the wrong side.  I just pulled it and see that it's only a 380W unit.  Well shoot...

I believe the case came with that PSU and sunce it's a 8 bay case you'd think they'd include something capable.  Well, since not, I will have to bump it up.

That said, I'm not clear why it's an issue anyway.  Based on the kill-a-watt the max load I see is 160w and generally between 100-120w.
Title: Re: File server options
Post by: Brian H on October 13, 2018, 06:19:00 PM
Some power supplies and motherboards. Can suffer from the Swollen Capacitor syndrome. Getting flaky as time goes on.

You may want to look at the motherboard and see if any of the capacitors. Are swollen, the rubber seals on the bottom are starting to pop out or the tops safety vent is starting to bulge out.

Power supply is not as easy. As the primary side of the switching supply can hold a nasty shock or worse.
Title: Re: File server options
Post by: bkenobi on October 15, 2018, 07:25:24 PM
I'll check the MB but outside of leaks, they might be hard to spot.  On the up side, the server is reporting good since the rebuild completed last week.  I have a kill-a-watt on the system and its idling at 66W so not much more than a standard light bulb.  I think the PSU will need replacing, but I'm considering moving the system to a more slick box like the drobo.  There are some that include nice back planes now, so swapping drives doesnt even require opening the box (minimal benefit in reality since I shouldnt be swapping drives outside of failures).