Hi everyone! I've been lurking for a while, and now I am looking for some help.
Here are my questions:
1. How long can a IDE cable (PATA) be without issues? I've seen 18", and a mention of 36"...
2. Is there any way to "combine" multiple independent PATA drives into a larger volume in Windows XP or Server 2003 without using RAID, and the loss of a drive won't destroy all contents of all drives in the group?
3. In a RAID setup, do the drives have to be the same MFG, or can you mix? Looking at RAID5.
4. Anyone know if RAID5 on the Abit AT7 Highpoint 374 controller is reliable? It would be software RAID5...
Here's my hardware:
2 file servers w/ Abit AT-7 mobo systems w/ dual RAID controllers in 12-bay cases (AT7 can do 12 drives)
2 large server cases - 6 5.25" ext., and room for 6 3.5" int drives
1 9-bay Firewire tower (http://www.censuspc.com/product.php?productid=644&cat=71&page=1)
4 workstation PCs - various mobos/drive configs
59 PATA drives between 60G and 250G
14 x 60G
14 x 80G
2 x 100G
8 x 120G
9 x 160G
10 x 200G
2 x 250G
1. Attach as much of my storage to my two file servers
2. Have some of the drives in RAID5 for protection (i.e. the 160G and 200G drives)
3. Keep the number of "volumes" minimized as much as possible - i.e. combine drives to make larger volumes.
4. Best balance of keeping costs low while trying to achive the goals as best as possible (buying all new larger SATA drives isn't an option!)
The servers are going to be for audio/video storage (music, AVIs, DVD rips, vid caps, etc) for use with a HTPC system (or two, or three...).
I'm been looking at some PATA RAID5 controllers, but without a larger server case I'm stuck with either multiple systems as file servers, or using a 2nd case and use cables between the boxes.
Sorry if this was too much for a first post.
Thanks for looking, and let me know of any ideas/suggestions/etc.