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I'm trying to build my first personal storage area network (flexible downtime, speed is not a priority) to hit 1 petabyte on a budget, and am considering a modification of the Backblaze pod as the basic unit but there are a few pieces that I don't understand. As this is my first foray, I hope you guys overlook my lack of knowledge although I did read up on the caveats of loading bare 4U with as many SAS spindles and controllers and attaching them to Linux hosts.

  1. I've always preferred software RAID over hardware RAID for desktop workstations, as I don't like the idea of scavenging eBay for a replacement if the hardware RAID controller dies. I don't see why this argument isn't true for large storage arrays as well?

  2. Given the number of PCI slots motherboards come with nowadays, is there any particular advantage of buying a 16-port, 24-port SAS card when I can just buy 4-6x 4-port cards at much lower costs?

(3. Off-topic: What else could I add to a Backblaze pod to get closer to a Tier 1 storage solution? I intend to touch it up with FC SAN, SAS spindles etc.)

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closed as off-topic by Tom O'Connor Aug 6 '13 at 22:49

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I wish I had enough money for the hardware and electricity to do something like this myself, but when I get to the requirement to store 1PB of anything, I'm gonna write a big-ass blank cheque to a storage vendor, and let them solve the problem. – Tom O'Connor Aug 6 '13 at 22:57
@TomO'Connor technically it wouldn't be a "big-ass blank cheque" as it's blank. It just better have a deep, deep bank account behind it ;) – Mark Henderson Aug 6 '13 at 22:58
Nope, I'm sending it on novelty cheque stock. Like those ones for lottery handovers. – Tom O'Connor Aug 6 '13 at 22:59

With that amount of storage traditional raid (hardware or software) just doesn't cut it. While the bit error rate dies somewhat get better with each side generation, capacity is growing faster. Traditional raid is not optimized for this.

You should instead look at filesystems that are designed fort his situation such as ZFS. Back Blaze does something similar but proprietary.

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