I work in an scientific lab with a limited budget and ever-growing need for storage. A year ago we needed ~2-3 TB storage, today we need 13+ TB which fills our current server (linux, raid 6 with 9 drives), and it will only keep growing. The files are huge - 50GB+ each.
I want to build a server that:
a) Can handle uneven disk sizes, so we can replace older drives with larger ones as they become available in the market. b) Can handle additions of disks (that are potentially larger than any of other disk) after creation of the initial "volume". Ideally, I just want to pop in a drive into a hotswap bay and make it part of the volume. b) Has redundancy and can handle multiple disk failures. d) Quick 'fscking'. Last time our current server did this it took forever to get back up.
Can I do (a) and (b) with RAID? I know I can partition equal sized raid-partitions from unevenly sized disks, but I do not want to get into the business of micromanaging partitions with multiple raid arrays. Is ZFS an option? (FreeBSD would be acceptable too.)
Performance, honestly, is not much of an issue. It will only store and serve static content to a handful of researchers. Our LAN is 1Gbit and our WAN is only 100Mbit.
Any and all suggestions welcome.