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I need a cheap setup to store historic snapshots of a dataset in the 100-200GB range. These will see little use, but need to be kept online for some time (shared by Samba). The box housing the dataset is a Dell PowerEdge 750 with a PCI-X CERC 6-channel SATA controller. It has 4 SATA channels free.

I am considering the following setup. Your experience with similar solutions would be greatly appreciated.

I would add a 4-channel bracket in the free slot and connect these with ordinary SATA cables. I would then purchase a STARDOM 1U chassis or similar and use 4 ESATA cables to interconnect these to the bracket and use 4 ordinary 7200 rpm SATA disks in a RAID5 configuration using Linux software RAID because I want to be certain that I can read these disks when the PCI-X controller caves in.

Specifically, my questions are thus:

  • Will the CERC accept disks this big in legacy (or whatever it calls disks that it does not RAID itself) mode?
  • Does anyone have experience with the ST76104SU5 or similar rack-mountable disk chassis with separate power supply but no controller?
  • Is it OK to go from SATA to ESATA like this, given that there is a somewhat stricter voltage requirement on ESATA?
  • Is there any other way to produce ~3TB RAIDed rack-mounted disk for ~1000 USD?
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up vote 0 down vote accepted

I can now answer one of the questions: it appears that the CERC has no problem with a 1TB SATA disk as long as it is in "Volume" mode. I added a 1TB SATA disk to the controller and initialized it as a "Volume". The disk appears to be fully readable/writable and when moved to a different controller in a different machine, could still be read.

UPDATE: In the end, I gave up on the STARDOM JBOD chassis. I never managed to got the CERC to recognize the disks through ESATA connections.

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