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March 07, 2007


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Have you considered a DAS solution? We have an 8-drive bay unit from PC-Pitstop that we use for our video guys. It has been an excellent product. PC-Pitstop also has a 16-bay chassis:
Those are their custom-made chassis. They are also resellers for a couple other resellers.
Service from PC-Pitstop has been excellent so far. They are knowledgeable, fair, and anxious to answer any questions I’ve had.

$3499 + drives (500GB WD Drives are $174/ea; 750GB Seagate are $349)

You could get 6.83TB (7000MB) of RAID-5 storage with a hotspare for $6,283 using the 500GB Drives, or 10.25TB (10500MB) of RAID-5 storage with a hotspare for $9,083 with 750GB drives.
Realize that you would need to buy a mean SCSI card for the unit. Our X8 attaches through a VHDCI U320 SCSI cable to our Video editing workstation.

The X8 has been a dream to administer. It isn't as geeky cool as a SAN, but is a lot cheaper. It has a web interface (or RS-232) in addition to a direct panel. The web interface allows you to set it up to automatically e-mail you if there is an issue. Performance-wise, I have also not been able to max out the unit (we have 4 750GB Seagate’s). This includes using a 15K scsi drive in the workstation for a direct file copy (the 15K scsi drive was the bottleneck). The access time on the 15k scsi drives is better, but not enough to affect video editing performance.

The 8-bay model would also have enough space for your storage needs if you used the 750GB Seagate drives ($4,387 for 4.39TB (4500GB) RAID-5 w/ hotspare).

As long as the server you have it connected to has a good network connection, you should be ok;)

Hi. I have been reading your blog for some time. Most of the stuff you speak on is somewhat beyond me and the needs that I have and our church has. But I have worked with this company...


And have had pretty good luck with them. They have a whole "DYI" Raid systems. Perhaps they would be of some assistance with you. And from what I remember they have pretty good Customer Service (We haven't had to call them to often) which is a plus in my book.


2 thoughts for you on this issue...

1) Look at a Dell Powervault 220S; you can put a lot of drives in that baby and connect it right to your servers via SCSI. I know a good 3rd party provider that can get you really good pricing on one of these; let me know if your interested.

2) Also, I know how you'll first react :-)...look at FreeNAS and build your own ghetto unit. FreeNAS is a LINUX-based (with web GUI) NAS solution. It supports hardware or software RAID (obviously you'd want hardware) and is easy to install; the web GUI is how you do all configuring of it.


This is way out of my experience zone, but I did run into this interesting blog entry with a link to a free software product that turns file storage (RAID array, etc.) into an iSCSI server: http://www.technotesblog.com/?p=203 which links to http://www.nimbusdata.com/products/mysan/mysan.htm

You need to talk to your volunteer who reps for Intel and get a deal. Mark's San he built for us was cost effective yet rock solid.

The Promise M500p is DAS as well as my ghetto solution.

Never heard of PC-Pitstop ... I'll investigate that.

wiebetech doesn't go big enough for our needs

The PowerVault stuff is all expensive ... only their MD1000 uses cheaper SATA disks, but even then you're stuck not being able to use off the shelf drives.

FreeNAS - looked into it before. I'd go our ghetto way before doing FreeNAS as it's just another layer to make things complicated.

David - that link you have there is from one of our IT volunteers ;-)

The intel SAN isn't big enough unless you use a bunch of them which kills the price/GB ratio :-(

Thanks for the suggestions everyone.

I sell a lot of Cybernetics products to Universities, Churches and School Districts. http://www.cybernetics.com/ They manufacture awesome products.

Not sure where you got that price on the Dell PowerVault, but the public price is $5000 (without drives), and the Premier Accout price is $3900 (without drives).


Hey Jason,

We use an iSCSI SATA SAN device from Promise...it's a VTrak M300i:


I think we paid around $4,000 for the unit, not including the (12) 500 GB SATA drives we bought separately. It gave us 5.5 TB of RAID 5 storage, and has been rock solid for almost a year now.

We use it for "secondary storage" (d2d backups, archiving, software repository, etc). Doesn't do jumbo frames, but it works great for what we use it for.


Jason, which Intel box(es) did you look at?

Kano Technologies might be a good fit. The below is 4TB raw, comes with a multi-lane eSATA HBA as well, under $4200.


Call them, they will outfit with any capacity drive - the models on the web site are base models.

They also sell two flavors of iSCSI array that are interesting. We're currently looking at them for a larger SAN project that will involve media editing directly off the arrays.

Jason, thank you for your email. I sent you my contact information, give me a call and I'll do what I can to help you get the best RAID to meet your needs.


I have the same system Pc-pitstop sells (AR-2012) but sold by fibrenetix.com (VP-1252-U4), (seems to be an OEM product) and can vouch for the price it's an unbeatable product in terms of capacity/price, features and specially, performance.

I've run and analyzed extensive iozone tests on several RAID SATA setups: Dell's internal PERC 5i, LSI's 300-8X, CERC 1.5, etc... on similar systems (Xeon SMP sytems running FreeBSD 6.2) and it beats them all, giving very respectable figures; the only one that manages to stand up is the LSI's, but being internal is much less convenient to manage.

Feature wise, It has a very useful web console where to manage the RAID or disks and assign them to each channel (or both), sports RAID6, dual ports and the best: it's very well built mechanically, unlike others (had suffered terrible nightmares with an ultratrak RM8000 that someday will catch fire...)

Chris Baker,

just info.

freeNAS is Freebsd base not linux base

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  • Jason Powell is the Information Technology Director at Granger Community Church. The views and opinions expressed here are not necessarily those of GCC ...
    or are they? Hmm???

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