This is a long one. I've been running this system for a few years and the recent growth of data is becoming worrisome.
Supermicro SuperChassis 745TQ-R800B with a X7DWN+ mainboard running 2 quad core Xeon E5410s running 2.33 GHz with 16 GB RAM. The RAID card is a bit of a dog. It's a HP Smart Array E200 SAS Controller with 128 MB RAM and a battery backup. My initial plan was to have two arrays and volumes, one holding the host, a Win 2003 x64 server, my SBS 2003 server VM and the other volume holding a few smaller VMs. (accounting and remote desktop) I had two 3 disk RAID 5 arrays with a hotspare in place for each, for a total of 8 drives. The array cache is enabled, and accelerator ratio is 50:50. Physical drive write caches are on. (Connected to a UPS and battery on controller). The drives are all WDC WD5000ABYS-0 drives running SATA 1 (150 Gbps).
The initial plan had to be scrapped as drive thrashing was killing my system. The performance of the card is horrible. I intend to replace it, but my SBS VM is HUGE, and the time involved in moving it would be problematic. In addition, the backup for that VM is hit an miss since it's so large. I've had to become selective on backing up files which is also problematic. The final problem with this huge VM is that it takes a long time to shutdown. The power in my facility is atrocious, and everything has it's own line conditioner and UPS. It still takes a good 5 minutes to shut down, and a good 15 to come back up. WAYYYY too long.
My current thoughts are that the server is still pretty fast. It just needs a better RAID controller. I also need to lighten up the SBS VM. I was thinking of moving the shared company folders and user shared directories to a NAS of some sort. That would reduce the size of the SBS VM from 254 GB to 104 GB. (150 GB in User/Shared Dirs) There would probably be a bit more as well as some of that is client apps and the like.
So, any thoughts?
1. I need a new SAS controller. I picked up some of those Datoptic SPM393 driverless 1-5 raid controllers that smokes the HP. The only real downside to this type of controller is the lack of battery backup.
2. I need to figure out a RAID scheme for the new controller that is best suited for running VMs, in particular an SBS VM. (Exchange stores)
3. I need a stinking fast box running anything that can hold all those 150+ GB of shared/user files. It needs to have hot swap redundancy for disk failures. Linux / FreeNAS is not out of the question, I've used them. The ability to put this box on a UPS and have it safely shut down is paramount. The Norco DS-24ER looks interesting, redundant power supplies are nice, and if I use 2.5" drives cooling should be pretty easy.
4. What do you guys use for offsite backups nowadays? I've grown out of my tapes and I'm using blu-ray disks now, but this is time consuming. I need to be able to pull out files from a few years back when asked and produce a user's directory for whatever date is asked for. Keeping a tape drive on hand for each type of media is pointless as I can't even hook up half of them anymore.