rustybx

NitroAV external RAID box

Recommended Posts

I did some searching and it appears that it's made by a Taiwanese compay, Raidon Technology.

The specific model is SOHORAID SR6500.

Does this jog anyone's memory?

Any other suggestions for an external RAID5 box that connects to the host computer via SATA instead of a requiring a dedicated RAID controller?

This box also connects via USB or Firewire but I'd rather have the high speed SATA.

Thanks!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

SATA is not an effective standard for external devices due to its 1M cable length limitation.

That's bad enough when you have a card with a direct external connector. When you have a solution using an internal-to-external connection with an 18" internal cable, you may not have enough external cable length to even put the enclosure on top of a large tower case!

Add to that the unreliability of SATA I cabling, the lack of current choices and compatibility using "e-SATA" cabling, and basically, external SATA is not a useful solution.

Given that prosumer (affordable) standalone external RAID5 units tend to have fairly low performance, I doubt that you will find Firewire 400 a limiting factor in throughput.

If you can possibly do internal RAID, you're much better off with a 3Ware controller and a "4-in-3" or "5-in-3" hot swap module such as the SuperMicro CSE-M35T.

KC

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks for the comments.

I already have an internal RAID5 setup using a Raidcore/Broadcom BC4852 controller and eight 7k250 250GB drives. I need to expand and can't get more drives into the computer...I alread have 12 drives in the computer.

So I'm looking for an external RAID5 solution. Price is a concern but I'm not opposed to spending $1k or so for a box (w/o drives). I'd rather not have to build another computer and stick an array in it.

As far as SATA is concerned 18" is plenty to work in my setup going from the motherboard SATA connector to the external device. The unit above is plain SATA with the L-shaped connector...not the e-SATA.

That said would you still advise against the SATA connection?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Why not go for a cheaper option that doesn't have the raid controller built in, using the SATA II port multiplier chips? Such as: http://www.cooldrives.com/firemorasaii.html

You'd have a single SATA cable to it, and you can run software raid. Of course your serial ata adapter, has to support port multipliers, but you can get a serial ata adapter from that store that supports that.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

After spending $1600 on five 500GB drives cheaper is just relative ;)

I have not used software RAID before so I'm leery of the reliability and speed. If the program or OS crashes does the data die? Hardware RAID seems more reliable.

Also, with the hardware box the array is portable. You can move from computer to computer without installing hardware or software. Is software RAID even portable?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Software RAID is fairly reliable. Crashing programs and OS does not cause data loss. However, when restarting after an abrupt shutdown (i.e. shutdown without using the shutdown command), the system will automatically regenerate the array in background to verify it's integrity.

Software RAID is in fact more portable than hardware RAID, although not so much as an external hardware box, because it is not hardware specific. You can move the array from and to any system with any hardware, providing it has sufficient capabilities to connect the drives (e.g. IDE/SATA slots). You can even move drives across multiple controllers, and even put an IDE=>SATA converter in and change the interface, software RAID won't care. Theoretically you could even put it on a SCSI bridge or iSCSI the drive somewhere else. It'll keep chugging along as if nothing's happened.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

We've found linux software raid to be more portable and manageable than hardware raid (you don't have to deal with multiple vendors management systems and it's faster than a lot of hardware raid 5 systems). With the drives being external you can just move them to another linux box and you're back up. The OS dying could potentially cause problems whether it's hardware or software raid (writing corrupted data, or incomplete write is bad whether it's a single large volume, or a software raid)

Just my 2cents

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
http://www.storcase.com/infostation/5bay_sata.asp

i have been doing some testing with this. i have connect 4 of these to the same HBA and seen 600+MB/sec read. doesnt do raid-5 very well though so would need to do software raid which wouldnt be too good for you i think.

215999[/snapback]

I looked at those t0o and other than fit/finish and being able to rackmount two together, why spend $1000 for it, when you can get equivalents from cool drives for $350? Am I missing some feature or is my storcase pricing out of date?

Edited by foundation

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

i think your pricing is correct.

i had a look at the cool drives stuff but i dont think they come with an HBA? not sure how much the HBA runs, but i am guessing not 500 buck!

do you know where abouts i can get my hands on the HBA to work with that cool drives case?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
i think your pricing is correct.

i had a look at the cool drives stuff but i dont think they come with an HBA? not sure how much the HBA runs, but i am guessing not 500 buck!

do you know where abouts i can get my hands on the HBA to work with that cool drives case?

216042[/snapback]

Cooldrives sells SATA-II controllers with port multiplier support. But any HBA that advertises port multiplier support should work. In fact if you've been using the storcase infostation's port multiplier then you should be able to use the HBA you've been using for the cool drives. I have not yet ordered one myself, so I'm not absolutely certain.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Quick update on the NitroAV box.

It will be awhile before I can connect via FireWire or SATA. So I'm temporarily connected via USB.

First, I'm having an issue with the 2.5TB array being smaller than I anticipated. Please check this thread and let me know if you have suggestions.

The unit was easy to setup although they didn't ship a manual or management software with the package. I had to download them from the NitroAV site. The unit ships with a default password of 0000...which I took awhile to find in the documentation before I could enter the configuration menu.

The fan is a little loud. If you have a silent PC it will be annoying. My computer is pretty loud so no biggie for me.

Drive temps are a little high. The management software gives a drive temperature of about 37C. For comparison I have an external drive without a case with a fan blowing on it and it reports 31C. So roughly 6C higher than a best case scenario.

USB connectivity sucks. The connection is a breeze...plug in the cable and windows immediately finds the drve. However, I'm using a wireless keyboard/mouse connected via USB....any disk activity makes the keyboard/mouse unusable. I'm going to try connecting via a different USB channel if possible and see if that helps.

more later...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Array size problem solved....

Per tech support suggestion I rebooted the computer. After reboot Windows Disk Management showed a big unused partition. I deleted the partition I created and reformatted the entire disk as a single basic NTFS with default settings.

Now the drive shows up as 1,999,993,249,792 bytes = 1862.64 GB = 1.82 TB or about 6 MB below the NTFS 2TB limit.

Since the actual drives are 500,107,862,016 bytes (I quoted the number wrong before) the array could be 2,000,431,448,064 bytes. The difference is now only ~400 MB...or about 0.02%.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

What size is the cooling fan? 80mm or 60mm?

It could be probably replace with Panoflo some other quiet fans.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Quick update on the NitroAV box.

It will be awhile before I can connect via FireWire or SATA. So I'm temporarily connected via USB.

more later...

Hi! could you give any more feedback, eg:

1) is the Vanguard V working-out fine for you? Any drive issues? (you mentioned temps being a possible issue).

2) does it connect with SATA access well?

3) have you any reservations about the purchase?

...I need RAID5 for video work, & this unit is on my short list.

Any suggestions/etc. would be great.

Thanks!!

dave

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

1. It's been running continuously since October without fail. Waiting for summer to monitor if high temp is an issue.

2. I tried SATA but my motherboard wouldn't boot with it connected. I haven't had time to diagnose. I installed the included FireWire800 card and have been using it.

3. No reservations. There are some shortcomings but it filled the need I had for massive external storage. The unit is nicely made.

If you're doing heavy video work an external box is not for you. Ripping a DVD or clipping a scene in Virtualdub is ok. If you're doing HDTV NLE then forget it. You'll be much better served with a very fast internal card such as the Raidcore/Broadcom BC4852.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
If you're doing heavy video work an external box is not for you. Ripping a DVD or clipping a scene in Virtualdub is ok. If you're doing HDTV NLE then forget it. You'll be much better served with a very fast internal card such as the Raidcore/Broadcom BC4852.

Thanks!!

er, "heavy video work" meaning like uncompressed/etc, right?

I'm just looking for DV/HDV (25Mbit/sec), large-capacity, redundant storage. I'm working on some long-form projects, & I'm sick of worrying that drives will die & all will get hosed.

This is looking like a good answer, w/ Avid Xpress DV. Your thoughts?

tnx again,

dave

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now