RAID 5 capable enclosure without disks?
August 4, 2007 7:33 PM   Subscribe

I'm hoping you can help me find a RAID 5 capable enclosure without disks, with some further requirements inside, for my in construction media server storage.

I can find things with some of the following, but hoping someone can help me find something with all. RAID 5- capable enclosure, without disks so I can just start dropping in 1TB disks as I buy them (is it even possible to expand on the fly with RAID 5 without having to break and recreate the array?). Gigabit ethernet would be neat and firewire acceptable, but a direct USB2 connection to have it mount as one big disk on my Mac Mini media server would be best. Fan noise is inevitable of course, but nothing crazy as it will be right in my TV room. The intent is to store all my HD shows, which will be loaded up by the Mini and DVI'd out to my TV.

Oh, and not 9 billion dollars.
posted by John Kenneth Fisher to Computers & Internet (10 answers total)
The Infrants can come diskless, and with USB ports, but I don't know if you can make the USB port do what you want it to do.
posted by Kwantsar at 7:44 PM on August 4, 2007

Best answer: Check out the drobo. Haven't touched one myself, but the review I saw on a while back was favorable.
posted by Steve3 at 7:54 PM on August 4, 2007

I can't speak to USB raid hardware -- most of what I deal with is higher end stuff -- but I can help you here:

"Is it even possible to expand on the fly with RAID 5 without having to break and recreate the array?"

Almost never, unless you have a volume management tool doing that for you at a higher level. If you're going to be expanding the storage over time, think about how you're going to back it up so you can do that.
posted by majick at 8:24 PM on August 4, 2007

Infrant makes NAS boxes that can automatically migrate raid levels as you add disks. My understanding is that the raid is limited by the size of the smallest disk (a raid with two 500gb disks and one 400gb disk will have 800gbof capacity. You'll access it like a fileserver, but with gigabit Ethernet it should be pretty fast. The dobro offers a similar ability to automatically take advantage of additional disks. I'm not sure if it has the same issues with wasting space.
posted by Good Brain at 8:59 PM on August 4, 2007

I love my Infrant ReadyNAS NV. I mount it on my Mac mini (with afp:// but smb:// and NFS works too). The mini's hooked to my TV and the combination is my DVD, avi, mov, mp3, etc. player.
posted by todbot at 10:14 PM on August 4, 2007

If it's primarily USB that you're after I'll have to 2nd the drobo suggestion. Personally, I wish it was eSATA because everything else about it looks fairly promising.
posted by purephase at 10:30 PM on August 4, 2007

At home we've been using a drobo hooked up to a mac mini as our house RAID. Our primary use is serving video to the XBMC machine in the living room via SMB and serving mp3 files all over the house via SMB, Appleshare and NFS. This replaced a hardware RAID 5 being driven from a Windows Server 2003 machine.

It is small, relatively quite, and incredibly easy to expand. All you do is drop a disk in and the hardware takes care of the rest.

posted by dustsquid at 10:32 PM on August 4, 2007

Is it even possible to expand on the fly with RAID 5 without having to break and recreate the array?

the infrant readynas's come with a proprietary version of Raid which allows adding disks hot and having the volume size increase without a rebuild.
posted by lastobelus at 6:05 AM on August 5, 2007

as far as I was able to determine, the infrant readynas nv+ is the quietest 4 disk enclosure available, unmodded.

I have a pc in a asus p100 with a scythe ninja whose fan generally runs at 900-1000 rpm and whose case fans are set to low -- a fairly quiet machine. My readynas, with 3 samsung spinpoint 500Gb drives, is about the same level of noise (except when it is starting up or rebooting, when it runs the fan at full)
posted by lastobelus at 6:10 AM on August 5, 2007

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