General discussion

DIY small business SAN server

OK, so I'm in charge of making my firm a small, low power, affordable SAN server. I'm looking for some advice here with RE to hardware, availability, etc.

I'm able to purchase all parts online and use eBay (yipee).

What I have:
32 4Gb Hitachi fibre HDDs
A Brocade 825 dual port 8Gb HBA (PCIe)

What I think I need:
fibre enclosures
fibre controllers
a server machine

I want the server machine to simply serve as the server by which I will access the storage space via Gigabit Ethernet. I was thinking of using a Linux iSCSI target. However, I understand that this is not compatible with multiple users. Having multiple users access/share the data at the same time is a must. So, would I be better off putting a Windows product on the box, and use Windows CIFS to allow shared storage across the network?

What I need on the server machine:
A motherboard that will support PCIe (only one slot required)
A motherboard that will support a low power, cool CPU
A CPU - nothing special: it's only serving a few users (Pentium 4 perhaps?)
Preferably a relatively compact box - rack mounted would be best.

I've seen HP Proliant dl380 has what I want, but it also has more than I require. I'm looking for a simple box, only to take requests in on Ethernet, and retrieve data through PCIe HBA - this is why I'd like to create my own.

As an afterthought - since the storage will only be through this rack, I do not require a FC switch. I was planning on using HP's EVA enclosures and controllers, with the controllers directly connected to the HBA. Do those controllers have the ability to present the data over Ethernet rather than going to an HBA? This would allow me to get rid of the server machine entirely. Can those controllers present an iSCSI target over ethernet?
Is iSCSI what I want?

Thank you for reading and any info you can provide.

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32 (thirty two) 4GB drives?

Something sounds so '90s here. Something's very odd with having 4GB hard drives.

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4Gbps, not 4GB

Oh, sorry, I didn't mean 4GB as the capacity.

The drives are Hitachi 450GB 15000K dual port 4Gbps Fiber Channel.
4GB was meant to be 4Gbps (bandwidth).

I'm getting the feeling this is the wrong forum I should be asking this question...? Can someone point me in the right direction?

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Ok, that's better.

Thanks for the updated info.

That sort of machine is rarely low power. When I write of low power I show my example low power server at the office which is on a P3 Watt Meter (or similar) and the external drive and netbook is under 20 Watts.

Your list may come weigh in at nearly a kiloWatt. I figure 20 Watts per drive so we're at 640 Watts just for spinning drives up and we have yet to get a server.

Try this. Call up Dell and SUN and see what servers they have that will let you use your existing hardware.

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OK thanks

Yeah, Thanks a lot for pitching in. I know that the enclosures are going to be power suckers, that's a given. But I'm looking for the actual server - on a separate unit within the rack - to be low power, because it doesn't need to serve that many people/have any other special service. It will just serve as either the iSCSI target or the Win CIFS server through which I will access the high-power-sucking HDDs.

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The actual server and it's Watts.

I went through that just last year. We tried many boxes and all come in at 60 to 100 Watts. For example a simple HP d4999t loafs along at under 99 Watts so we are talking about a 40 Watt spread from lowest to what we ended up with.

That drive array plus server makes me peg power at 640 + 100 to the server or 740 Watt budget.

Even a lower power server may nick 40 Watts off that so I think any long searches for less power from the server are not paying off here.


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OK thanks

I don't wanna argue about power.
My main concern wasn't the power consumption of the disc enclosures. My power consumption concern is the server machine itself that will be hosting the iSCSI target, or the Win CIFS share, whichever any of you may recommend here, hopefully through experience.

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Last year's work.

My work last year is now out of date. Since then we had the i3, i5, i7 roll out, new OSes and changes to how Microsoft dealt with processes in the OS. More detail (fun reading for some of us) at,2410-8.html

This means that all my choices are now out of date. This is where you call up Dell or others and see what the new stuff is.

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