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spiggott

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I am starting to look at options for a new RAID for my mail store. I'm currently running Kerio Connect on a Mac Pro with four internal drives configured in a RAID0 0+1 array. I'm seriously considering a Promise Pegasus R6 6TB (6x1TB) RAID System connected via Thunderbolt to either a Mac Pro or Mac mini - whenever either is updated with Thunderbolt I/O.

Does anyone have any idea if Thunderbolt technology is well suited to this type of application - that is, throughput of lots of small files rather than large media files? Will a six spindle array of 7200 RPM SATA drives provide fast enough I/O for a mail store of about 200GB?
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srobson

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I've only seen one set of benchmarks so far comparing the Promise Pegasus R6 over Thunderbolt with a similar 6-drive SAS RAID. The SAS RAID still wins, but the Thunderbolt RAID comes pretty close.

http://www.barefeats.com/tbolt01.html

I'd like to see a comparison with eSATA, but it certainly blows Firewire 800 away.

What are you using now in your Mac Pro? Software RAID, Apple's RAID card, or a third party hardware RAID card?

My own plan is to get a Mac mini Server as soon as they come with Thunderbolt, but I'm also pondering going with SSD as the size of my users' mail stores isn't all that large (about 120GB total).
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My IT Indy

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I'd keep the mac pro and move your storage to an external mini-SAS array. You can either use SAS drives or SATA, but if you use SATA I would go with 8 drives to offset the slower speed.

Kerio loves disk I/O.

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My IT Indy
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spiggott

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Thanks for the replies. I'm currently using the Apple Pro RAID card with four 3Gb/s SATA WD Caviar 1TB drives (WD1001FALS) in RAID 0+1 for a total capacity of 1.82TB. I'm running OS X 10.5.7, Kerio Connect 7.2 (and the mail store) from the same RAID volume.

My guess is the hard drives are the bottleneck. I could upgrade to 6Gb/s SATA drives (WD2002FAEX) for an immediate improvement, but I'm still limited to 4 spindles and 7200 RPM drives. In your opinion, would I be better off with an external mini-SAS array? If so, is there one you would recommend? And a compatible RAID card?

Any thoughts or feedback would be greatly appreciated.
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elias

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spiggott wrote on Mon, 18 July 2011 13:32
My guess is the hard drives are the bottleneck. I could upgrade to 6Gb/s SATA drives (WD2002FAEX) for an immediate improvement, but I'm still limited to 4 spindles and 7200 RPM drives.

You'll want to measure for yourself and your particular usage, but upgrading to 6G SATA is unlikely to help in any appreciable way. Rather than saturating the SATA interface, the bottleneck is likely in the number of IOs you can get out of those drives and moving to 6G SATA won't get you any more of those. As was mentioned, the best way to improve performance is to add more drives, but if you're really limited to 4 drives, moving to 10k or 15k RPM drives is really your only opportunity to improve performance.

-Elias
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spiggott

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Thanks for the feedback, Elias. Looks like an external array is going to be my best option. Any recommendations?
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elias

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Unfortunately, we're an HP shop, so I won't be able to give you a good recommendation on what you'll want to use. We use an HP MSA50 external enclosure hanging off an HP P800 raid controller.

I have seen a number of references in these forums for the Promise VTrak arrays, but I don't have any personal experience with them.

-Elias
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My IT Indy

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VTrak is stupidly expensive if you only need a RAID array. VTrak's are for SAN environments with fiber switches and that whole environment. We sell external arrays if you want a quote. Not trying to poach a sale here, so PM me if you want more info.

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My IT Indy

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spiggot, I got your PM but cannot respond as my account is somehow messed up. Send me an email at my username <_at_> gmail.com

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My IT Indy
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p0ddie

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afair (didn't bother researching too much here) the APple RAID card in the Mac Pro also accepts SAS drives. So, if the room your Mac Pro is in has A/C, you could put 4 15k SAS drives into the Mac Pro and be a happy camper... Or just use 4 SSD drives. Either way, skip RAID 5 and go for RAID 10 for Kerio with many users... You can get 4 Hitachi HUS156060VLS600 600 GB SAS drives for a total of about 1TB storage for the mail store... that's not bad.

If you need more storage, consider getting an external SAS case (Sonnet makes decent cheap cases, the "Fusion" product line) or - if you have the budget, start building an iSCSI SAN. A decent Supermicro case/server system and Open-E storage software is a very budget oriented, yet flexible solution.
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davidh

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I'm looking at a similar setup to be implemented soon.

I would *LOVE* for a MacMini with Thunderbolt and the Pegasus unit to be up to par - what about the Pegasus R6 with 6 Sata III drives in RAID 10 ?



Prior to Thunderbolt-equipped Minis, I put together a config with 2 SSDs in a mirror for the OS (OWC Mercury EXTREMEâ„¢ Pro RE 3G SSD 50GB)
and 4 Western Digital 450 GB VelociRaptor SATA 6 Gb/s 10,000 RPM 32 MB Cache
drives

with an ATTOTech Sata 6 RAID card (ExpressSAS R644)
and the drives hooked up via a maxupgrades.com backplane adapter.
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