Originally Posted by buddyboy1234;14041237
My vote would have to go for an mdraid setup. I've had one for a few years now and here's how it went:
I was a complete linux noob at the time, only installed ubuntu on a laptop once and just used firefox so.....major noob! I did about 2 weeks of research and decided to try the mdraid for my media server.
Started with 3x 1.5TB drives in a raid5 config. It was in a Pentium 4 3.0GHz box with 512MB ram in Ubuntu installed on an 8GB USB flash drive. It was a small-form-factor box so I moved it to an AMD x2 7750, 1GB ram tower. All I did was move the USB flash drive with ubuntu installed on it, move the 4-port sata card with the 1.5TB drives and powered on the machine. BOOM everything was up and running without a problem!
Ran out of space VERY quickly so I purchased another 1.5TB drive and expanded the array on the fly, no downtime, no trouble.
Ran out of space again so I added another 4-port sata card and 2 more 1.5TB drives at the same time and expanded the array, again, no downtime, no trouble.
Just for fun I tried moving the USB flash drive and the 2 SATA cards with my drives to a Pentium D 2.8GHz machine. Plugged it in, powered it up and, this time, I had to run a single command to assemble the array but it worked within a few seconds!
Recently that started to fill up again, and I read somewhere that the array could be expanded from a raid5 to raid6 on the fly so I bought 2 more 1.5TB drives, expanded the size of the array AND went from a raid5 to raid6 with ease. Because the size of the data was so large it took a little less than 2.5 days but at the end of it I had an 8-drive, 9TB raid6 array with no downtime!
Now my array has email notifications for failures (no real failures so far, just me pulling random drives for fun) and AFP shares for my Macbook and Mac Mini's TimeMachine backups (easy to setup, Mac's see it as a real AFP share!)
Within the next few weeks I will be building an mdraid array starting with 5x3TB drives, eventually expanding it to 20 drives in a Norco 4220 case. The reason why I'm gonna stick with the mdraid is because:
Its EASILY setup and managed by a linux noob (although I've learned a lot more while working with the server)
Its EASILY expandable in array size
Its EASILY expandable in raid configurations
Its EASILY moved between different hardware configurations (Amazing for semi-high-availability)
No wasting of drives (like in ZFS pools)
No downtime during expansions (degraded performance, but never down)
The metadata is stored on the drive so if my OS drive fails, I can rebuild the array relatively easily (yes, i tried this when I upgraded from Ubuntu 9 to 10). I also keep a copy of all the configuration files in my Dropbox just in case (mdadm config, samba config, email notification config, etc. just so I can get all features up and running again quickly)
Aside from being able to use different size drives I can't justify using any other raid setup considering all of the pluses that mdraid has.
I have even documented every step required to setup an mdraid array from start to finish, including step-by-step instructions on how to manage it and recover from failures. I gave it to buddy of mine who has never used linux and he was able to build his own array just by following those steps. If anyone wants a copy let me know!
I've been running a ZFS RAIDZ2 for a couple of months now using OpenIndiana b148 and Gea's Napp-it web interface. It's about as easy as they come, but again I don't have the flexibility of expanding raids like I would with mdraid.
I gave up on FlexRAID and figured mdraid or ZFS. I'm on ZFS now, but may end up switching to mdraid in the future. The thing I really like about ZFS is the checksumming and error correcting. I have a funky SATA expander in my case now that throws errors. I'm glad I have ZFS to protect and correct them as they happen.
I really appreciate all your input, and will heed your advice for the future. Thanks!