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I have Googled as much as I can but really haven't found an answer that I can understand.

I'm creating a website where I want to give each user 5gb of disk space where their personal files, theme pages, and script pages will be served from.

I have looked at every host provider and decided to go with SoftLayer because they have 24HDD servers.

My idea on how I would like this to work out is

1 Web server to hold web pages for the landing portion of the site

1 Storage server where all files that belong to the user are stored

I want to mount the storage server onto the web server so that i can easily redirect users to the mounting point via php.

Now, my question is that because I am giving users 5gb of space I would need a lot of space to get a good handful of registered users on board per server. SoftLayer offers 2TB HDDs, so I was thinking of going with 12x2TB drives and having the other 12 as a raid or backup

What would be a good production environment here, they only offer RAID 0,1,10,5 at the moment. Because the I plan on seeing a high IO on the storage server I'm afraid that a disk would fail and there being days of down time in rebuilding a raid.

What are some good suggestion for my case?

Or, what would be a good solution for my storage needs

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2 Answers 2

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You seem to be confused. RAID is not BACKUP, but you use these terms interchangeably.

All your eggs are in 1 basket (all disks are on the same server) so whatever you do: I will not call it BACKUP. It saves you from a disk-failure, but is no protection whatsoever if the data-center catches fire or someone hacks into it and does a "rm -fr *" A proper BACKUP is off-site (or at least in a different fire-zone) and not accessible at the file-system level from the system that is backed up.

Raid 10 seems most appropriate. Else Raid 6: RAID 5 or 6 with that many disks means days of rebuilding if a disk fails. Most raid5 implementations by the way degrade in operational performance beyond 9 disks. At least Raid 6 will give you protection against a 2-disk failure, which is safer when you are having long rebuild times. So I would rather use 6 (if possible) than 5.

Regardless off all the above: I'm really wondering if this is all such a smart idea. Given the price of cloud storage these days it would appear it's a lot cheaper and certainly less hassle if you just would hire cloud-storage from the likes of Amazon or Google. Let them worry about the backup, redundancy, etc.

Besides: Standard solutions are easier to maintain and manage than home-brew. Don't forget: If you roll your own, you are the only one who can support it. If you sell a 24/7 SLA to a customer you are the one who needs to be on call 24/7 to handle support.

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+1 number of good points. Plus the classic RAID != BACKUP. –  Coops Jul 6 '11 at 11:20
    
I'm sorry your correct I did not mean back up and raid10 to be the same. But my backup is on a different server that matches the storage server. As for cloud storage I was told that it's not a viable solution for my needs and the IO reads would be better handles on a physical disk –  s2xi Jul 6 '11 at 11:40
    
@s2xi: If you really need the performance than cloud-storage is obviously not the answer. You have made me quite curious what sort of environment you are needing this for. It looks as if you are working on some sort of web-based remote desktop. In that case you have 2 IO bottle-necks: client to server and server to storage. In that case I would say: Either make the storage local to the server (your approach) or put both the server and the storage in the same cloud. (As long as the IO between client and server is slower as server<->storage that should be OK.) –  Tonny Jul 11 '11 at 10:49

I'd avoid RAID 0 like the plague with so many disks, just imagine - lose one of those 24 disks and you lose everything!

RAID 1 is really RAID 10 when you have more than 2 disks.

RAID 5 would worry me on an array with so many disks in, the rebuild time and exposure to array failure during rebuild gives me shivers.

RAID 6 (if you can configure this) would give you a lot of space, be more resilient that RAID 5 and perform fine for this kind of setup, especially if you're not doing >80% writes.

Certainly a RAID 10 (i.e. 12+12) setup will be secure and actually probably faster than you can serve out.

So I'd suggest either R6 or R10.

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+1 on R10, R6 would definately work - but my personal choice would be R10 –  ITHedgeHog Jul 6 '11 at 9:14

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