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Author Topic: Building a home server. Please help, DC!  (Read 31634 times)
40hz
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« Reply #150 on: September 07, 2011, 06:30:28 PM »

OK, forget the unraid thing.  I'll just go with a normal windows server.  I'm close guys, I'm close!!

@StoicJoker - Aw man! Now look what we've gone ahead and done. We wore SBoy out! Cry
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« Reply #151 on: September 07, 2011, 06:47:54 PM »

OK, forget the unraid thing.  I'll just go with a normal windows server.  I'm close guys, I'm close!!

@StoicJoker - Aw man! Now look what we've gone ahead and done. We wore SBoy out! Cry

Yeah, at this point I'm afraid the poor guy's close to impersonating a Ping-Pong ball.  Sad

I had to be quiet for a bit while you and Lotus went over the media stuff, as that ain't my bag.
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steeladept
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« Reply #152 on: September 07, 2011, 07:08:48 PM »

A few things to consider when going for an ESXi server configuration for purposes beyond file storage, esp. in the multimedia area:...

WRT ESXi, I only meant it for whatever "server" machine was actually used and only for this machine that is already created.  My suggestion would be to start with a VM in Workstation, for example, to get it all working virtually first.  That said, I did know about a lot of these things, so I will address a few of them, but it is good to point them out.

1. Performance - Yes, it can be hit or miss, but unless you are KILLING the machine, in a home environment these shouldn't be an issue.  I can't imagine throttling a single VM for ANY resources as it wouldn't make any sense.

2. Hardware limits - True, but again, in this particular environment it wouldn't need to be anything more.  If it turned out it did, there are other routes to go (Like V2P).

3. Graphic Card Acceleration - True.  I forgot that may end up playing a big part of any Multimedia setup.  This could be a deal breaker for permanent setup, but you can alway V2P back once everything is setup.

4. USB Pass-through et. al. - I am not sure why you would think this to be the route to take with ANY server.  It was already mentioned that the right way to handle this would be to pull/push the data from the server to do intensive multimedia manipulation on his regular machine.  This takes the USB and Blu-Ray issues out of the picture.

The lab environment doesn't give any indication of many things, but it does help to determine what he would want to look at for actual hardware.  If it works out to be a multibox setup, you can figure out how to do so.  If it were just to determine what software is needed, again it works.  Even network issues can be found this way, though that can be (read usually is) difficult to determine and I am not sure if it carries over outside of the paid versions of ESXi.  I only pointed out a great way to create a proof of concept, and if it works well in the PoC, then you can move it wholesale to another machine as is.  If not, you have options, including a V2P if performance is the only issue and you are inclined to believe that it is due to the virtualization.  It is really just a cheap way to figure out what's what.

Steeladept!!! Come up here and take a bow! Thmbsup

Before you buy anything I'd definitely give virtual a try to get a better handle on how to implement this project. No need to worry about hardware right away. They'll build plenty more by the time you're ready to buy something.

Who knows? It might even end up staying in a virtual environment if it works for you. smiley


Thanks.  That last line is the point I was making about the ESXi.  It isn't the only option, but if it works well, it is definitely the way to go.
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JavaJones
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« Reply #153 on: September 07, 2011, 09:43:21 PM »

I think one thing has become abundantly clear from this thread: if you want to implement an "ideal" solution for yourself, you need to understand both your own needs (comprehensively) *and* the technology available to meet your needs.

Now obviously you've been trying to learn about the tech by asking for options here, but the key point is this is just a *starting* point. We can point out possible options - and now there seem to be 3 or 4 on the table - but we can't really pick one "best" one for you. Even you can't do that right now, and that's because you don't fully understand the underlying tech.

I suspect that, even if you were to go with one of our recommended solutions, there would be some caveat in it, or lack of understanding of some feature of it, that would end up being an issue for you. The best way is for you to really understand all this stuff. That will take a lot of time but if you're willing to invest a lot of *money* into it, I think it only sensible to invest a similarly significant amount of *time* into learning the technology so you can make your own well informed decision.

What we've got here in this thread is a starting point for much, much more further research. When you can look at all this stuff and say confidently for yourself something like "I feel RAID is the best solution", and be saying that from a position of understanding and knowledge of the technology underlying the options, then you'll be making your best decision. Until/unless that happens, I suspect you'll keep flip flopping until you make a decision, maybe even one made more or less on a "coin toss", and so - not being fully aware of the limitations through your own deeper understanding - you may well be disappointed in what you end up with.

That being said I hope that's not the case. I hope you settle on a solution and it does everything you want it to. But I do frankly suspect this will just be the beginning and that whatever you go with, you will spend a lot of time trying to make it do exactly what you want.

That's my last "2 cents" input on the matter. Wink

- Oshyan
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superboyac
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« Reply #154 on: September 08, 2011, 09:39:57 AM »

I think one thing has become abundantly clear from this thread: if you want to implement an "ideal" solution for yourself, you need to understand both your own needs (comprehensively) *and* the technology available to meet your needs.

Now obviously you've been trying to learn about the tech by asking for options here, but the key point is this is just a *starting* point. We can point out possible options - and now there seem to be 3 or 4 on the table - but we can't really pick one "best" one for you. Even you can't do that right now, and that's because you don't fully understand the underlying tech.

I suspect that, even if you were to go with one of our recommended solutions, there would be some caveat in it, or lack of understanding of some feature of it, that would end up being an issue for you. The best way is for you to really understand all this stuff. That will take a lot of time but if you're willing to invest a lot of *money* into it, I think it only sensible to invest a similarly significant amount of *time* into learning the technology so you can make your own well informed decision.

What we've got here in this thread is a starting point for much, much more further research. When you can look at all this stuff and say confidently for yourself something like "I feel RAID is the best solution", and be saying that from a position of understanding and knowledge of the technology underlying the options, then you'll be making your best decision. Until/unless that happens, I suspect you'll keep flip flopping until you make a decision, maybe even one made more or less on a "coin toss", and so - not being fully aware of the limitations through your own deeper understanding - you may well be disappointed in what you end up with.

That being said I hope that's not the case. I hope you settle on a solution and it does everything you want it to. But I do frankly suspect this will just be the beginning and that whatever you go with, you will spend a lot of time trying to make it do exactly what you want.

That's my last "2 cents" input on the matter. Wink

- Oshyan
I agree Oshyan!  Thanks for your input so far, it's been very helpful.  What I really want to do is find someone who has already done this, go to their house, and just check out their setup.  That one guy I posted about lives in Redondo beach, which is just a few minutes away.  I'm very tempted to ask him to show me his setup, but that's "weird" in this day and age for some reason.
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« Reply #155 on: September 08, 2011, 11:51:01 AM »

What is the deal with DAS?  It sounds like something I can connect directly to my workstation, without any OS in between.  If I want to avoid all the complications from my previous setups, this is where I would start.  I understand now what NAS is, and I like SANS but even I can tell that's overkill for me at this point.  So it sounds like DAS is what I want.

Here's where I'm confused...let's say I find some box that is a DAS that will connect to my workstation.  I don't understand how it connects.  Right now, I have an external box connected with two hard drives in it.  The connection is esata.  What's annoying is that each drive needs its own esata cable.  I only have so many esata ports on my workstation, and they are currently full.  How can I put 10 drives in an external box and connect it?  I don't, nor will I ever, have 10 esata ports.  Nor do I want it.  Isn't there a way of doing this with just a cable or two?

I like DAS because it's directly attached, with no middle man OS or anything.  I'll do all my file management through my main workstation anyway, so that's fine.  As far as access from remote places, that's negligible at this point, and I've already figured out how to cleverly avoid those kinds of complications.

So my two questions right now is:
1) What is a box that is NOT a rackmount thing that will hold 10+ drives?
2) How do I connect this box to my PC using fewer cables than the number of drives (ideally one cable)?

I will absolutely not consider USB as the connection, nor will I consider firewire.  I like esata very much.  I'm hoping there's a better way with some kind of card that plugs into a PCI bus or something. 
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« Reply #156 on: September 08, 2011, 12:40:40 PM »

OK, I went back and reread this thread (ping-pong is exactly the correct term!).  But that's how I work, sorry if it's frustrating.  Believe it or not, all of this helps me a lot, and I appreciate everyone's assistance.  Good will come of this, I promise!

So I went back to some of the previous links, and the product I'm really liking is this one:

This will be my box of drives.  This box will be directly connected to my current workstation through these SAS cables (which I don't know much about right now).  But it sounds perfect.  I'll need to buy a SAS controller for that box, which are relatively expensive.  I think this is the item that a few of you here have talked about to make sure I get a business grade quality, which I want to do.  If you have any advice as to which manufacturer/model I should get, please let me know.

Next is the connection to my computer.  My computer doesn't have any SAS stuff right now, so I'm guessing I need to buy a card or something for it.  Any direction on suggested models would be appreciated.  Same goes for any cables involved, in case I have to be careful about it.

So that gets mucho storage attached to my desktop.  After that, I can experiment to my hearts content.  I'll try doing some server stuff with VM's.  But mostly I'll just use the storage directly from the desktop.

How is that?  I can't really see much overkill in this one, and it's relatively cheap.  The box and related items will run me about $1500, and then I'll just hunt around for good hard drive deals.  The ones with 5 -year warranties are my fav.
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cranioscopical
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« Reply #157 on: September 08, 2011, 01:14:12 PM »

Now I can work on the local Humane Society's website.
You must be barking mad!  Cool

Good for you  Thmbsup
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« Reply #158 on: September 08, 2011, 05:33:59 PM »

Hi superboy, have u checked the pricing on 2TB SAS drives? I think that's one important step before you commit to buying that big box.
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« Reply #159 on: September 08, 2011, 06:31:18 PM »

Hi superboy, have u checked the pricing on 2TB SAS drives? I think that's one important step before you commit to buying that big box.
Agreed, but one good point of this route is it IS backward compatible with SATA.  I don't know how WELL it is compatible, but they will work with drives at least.

I will absolutely not consider USB as the connection, nor will I consider firewire.  I like esata very much.  I'm hoping there's a better way with some kind of card that plugs into a PCI bus or something.

I don't *think* anyone ever suggested USB or firewire.  I wouldn't consider anything less than esata, I know I wouldn't suggest it unless it were *MAYBE* USB3.0, and not even likely then.  As for DAS, I believe you are right in that being something very close to what you want.  I believe most DAS solutions provide a proprietary card that connects their solution to the machine making it essentially appear as another internal drive controller.  However, I have never really researched them or even know much about them so I can't guarantee that statement.  Also, I don't know that any of them allow you to build your own out of your own box such as that. 

If you really want to roll your own SAN, there is a way to do it.  It will take a lot of time to get setup but you can do it in any form you desire.  You may even be able to build a DAS on it, I don't know.  It is using OpenFiler - a sourceforge project IIRC.  Don't know how responsive it would be compared to one you can just buy, but it is always an option if you really want to become a storage expert  undecided

On the other hand, a really nice (if somewhat expensive and otherwise potentially limited option) would be buying something like a Drobo.  They have pretty much everything from a basic 2 disk NAS up to a 24 disk rack mount SAN.  Many have multiple setup options.  I think it is probably the easiest, most elegant storage solution for SMB's in general, but that elegance doesn't come cheap, and may not be the most efficient system (performance-wise) out there.
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« Reply #160 on: September 08, 2011, 09:49:56 PM »

Hi superboy, have u checked the pricing on 2TB SAS drives? I think that's one important step before you commit to buying that big box.

Why not have the benefit of cheap SATA drives with the speed of an Multilane Infiniband connection?

eg.
Storage - Addonics Rack System (it doesn't need to sit in a rack since there's no ventilation slots on the bottom of the case.)
             1 or 2 x Addonics Multilane Bridge coupled with Addonics 5x1 SATA Port Multipliers (Each host Multilane controller could then run, conceivably, 20 HDDs.  However, I'd be looking at probably only 1 or 2 Port Multipliers per Multilane which would still give you from 14-20 HDDs that could be connected to 2 host controllers.)
PC end - 1 or 2 x Multilane 4x RAID 5/JBOD Controller (Doesn't have to be in RAID/JBOD mode.)

Going completely berserk, 2 Infiniband cables could conceivably connect you to 40 SATA HDDs.....big enough?  cheesy
« Last Edit: September 08, 2011, 10:01:51 PM by 4wd » Logged

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« Reply #161 on: September 08, 2011, 10:06:37 PM »

What's the hardware BOM and total cost of this solution for an aggregated storage space of, let's say, 20TB?

Then we can nail it down to dollars per TB and compare.
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« Reply #162 on: September 08, 2011, 10:29:04 PM »

Basing this on using 2TB HDDs, (so at least 10 of them), since they're still significantly cheaper than 3TB - the cheapest option which allows room for upgrading later:

1x Multilane 4x RAID5/JBOD PCIe 8x Controller              @ $185
1x 3M Infiniband cable                                             @ $85
1x 4X Multilane bridge for SATA storage                      @ $29
2x 5X1 Internal SATA Port Multiplier                           @ $62
1x Storage Rack DA base unit with ATX power supply   @ $355
2x Disk Array 5SA (black bezel)                                 @ $129
                                                                    ---------------
                                                                              $1036

More thoughts: If you wanted to forego the Infiniband links to start with then you could do the following:
1x Storage Rack DA base unit with ATX power supply   @ $355
2x Disk Array 5SA (black bezel)                                 @ $129
2x 5 Port HPM-XA Enclosure Version                           @ $89
                                                                    ---------------
                                                                              $791
This uses a pair of eSATA ports which are probably on the host PC already.



HDDs are a personal choice but if you use WD 2TB WD20EARS, (Caviar Green), @ $79.99 each from Newegg, then the total is approximately: $1836

If you go for WD 2TB AV-GP WD20EURS, (designed for always on streaming), @ $89.99 each, then the total is approximately: $1936.

NOTE: I don't know what kind of performance you'd get over Infiniband links but since they're used for server farms, etc, they must be halfway decent but SJ or 40hz would be more likely to have had some kind of experience/knowledge with/of them.

Also, this is still more expensive than simply building a new PC with the requisite amount of ports in a decent size case and running it using FreeNAS, WHS or similar.
« Last Edit: September 08, 2011, 10:47:13 PM by 4wd; Reason: Added links and note. » Logged

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« Reply #163 on: September 08, 2011, 10:41:19 PM »

plus a $500+ Infiniband PCI-e host adapter when you attach this to the PC?
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« Reply #164 on: September 08, 2011, 10:43:59 PM »

plus a $500+ Infiniband PCI-e host adapter when you attach this to the PC?

First item on the list.
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« Reply #165 on: September 08, 2011, 10:52:35 PM »

Quick one: how do we connect one 4x Multilane bridge to 10 SATA drives, isn't there a shortage of 6x?  smiley
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« Reply #166 on: September 08, 2011, 10:57:09 PM »

Quick one: how do we connect one 4x Multilane bridge to 10 SATA drives, isn't there a shortage of 6x?  smiley

Fourth item on the list Wink  (Will actually give you the capacity for 12 drives.)

Just for a laugh: 1 x WD 2TB SAS drive is ~$250 @ Newegg.
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« Reply #167 on: September 08, 2011, 10:59:30 PM »

Ah... makes sense... there's an onboard host SATA port. Thmbsup
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« Reply #168 on: September 11, 2011, 06:37:58 PM »

4wd, thanks for your posts above.  I have to study them this week.  But I have a question, maybe you or lotus can help:
I've read that if I get a sas controller card for whatever box I end up using, that the controller is compatible with sata drives.  Is this true, and are there any bad side effects of doing this?  I like the sas controller with sata drives because the sas controller will allow me to have fewer cables, and the sata drives are way more convenient to buy and use vs sas drives, which i'm not really interested in.  Also, the total cost in the end is not that different.  So I like the sas way, and you've posted addonics' clever sata setup.  I've always like addonics, but you're setup seems to be a little more complicated and more cable-y than what I'm picturing in a sas setup.  Any thoughts on that?
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« Reply #169 on: September 11, 2011, 08:44:51 PM »

4wd, thanks for your posts above.  I have to study them this week.  But I have a question, maybe you or lotus can help:
I've read that if I get a sas controller card for whatever box I end up using, that the controller is compatible with sata drives.  Is this true, and are there any bad side effects of doing this?  I like the sas controller with sata drives because the sas controller will allow me to have fewer cables, and the sata drives are way more convenient to buy and use vs sas drives, which i'm not really interested in.  Also, the total cost in the end is not that different.  So I like the sas way, and you've posted addonics' clever sata setup.  I've always like addonics, but you're setup seems to be a little more complicated and more cable-y than what I'm picturing in a sas setup.  Any thoughts on that?

Yes, an SAS controller can run SATA HDDs - check out the HP SC08Ge 8-port SAS PCI Express Controller.
Quote
...provides support for both 3Gb SAS and 1.5Gb SATA devices.

I have no idea whether SATA port multipliers will work off of a SAS host controller I'm going to err on the side of caution and say they won't.

Stoic' probably the best guy to ask about this stuff...him being a HP tech and all :D

Regarding the external cables: Infiniband cables are used for the connections, see Wikipedia for SASw and Infinibandw.  If you can't use port multipliers then you'll need more Infiniband cables.  If you can use port multipliers then it's conceivably one (1) cable per twenty (20) SATA HDDs, (assuming a four (4) port SATA compatible host at the PC end).

Addendum: Plus you'll need some way to break out from the storage box' Infiniband input to individual SATA connectors, so possibly an Infiniband socket to SAS plug adapter, then something like this.

OOPPSS!  To answer your final question: Number of cables will be the same or more using SAS controllers, (due ambiguity of port multiplier suitability).

Please NOTE: Nothing I'm saying in my above posts was in any way designed to push you towards Addonics products or even SATA/SAS.  Their site just happens to have all the stuff to put together what you wanted without jumping all over the place.
As I said previously, SJ, 40Hz or f0dder, (sorry if I've missed someone), are probably the best people to ask about the suitability of what I proposed.

Added addendum: If you have 4 spare Intel SATA ports on your motherboard, (or will be making a total of 4 available by moving HDDs to the external enclosure), then a slightly different setup as follows:

1x Storage Rack DA base unit with ATX power supply   @ $355
2x Disk Array 5SA (black bezel)                                 @ $129
1x 4X Multilane bridge for SATA controller                   @ $29
1x 3M Infiniband cable                                             @ $85
2x 5X1 Internal SATA Port Multiplier                           @ $62
1x 4X Multilane bridge for SATA storage                      @ $29
                                                                         ---------
                                                                             $880

You save on the cost of the controller by using the Intel SATA ports, (ICH9+ Southbridge support port multipliers IIRC).
« Last Edit: September 12, 2011, 09:23:11 AM by 4wd; Reason: Add addendum. Added OOPPSS! » Logged

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« Reply #170 on: September 12, 2011, 12:06:13 PM »

4wd has inspired me to create a similar list of things to do before my project can be ready for purchasing.  I'm now thinking more clearly about these things, thanks to everyone's help here.  So my list is posted below, and I'll continue to update it as I progress.  I'm not going to tally any price totals right now because too many things are up in the air.  My first task is to figure out what my "x" and "y" numbers are so I know how much space I need to get.  But anything with a question mark needs to be resolved before I'm done with this.
Quote
DAS

Storage estimate:
2TB currently
x TB stored on discs
y TB stored on spare drives

Total space CURRENT = 2+x+y
Future space needed = (current total x 2)
Backup --> two backup copies
total space to build for = [(2+x+y)x2]x3 (yikes!, I know)

<<Equipment to purchase>>
Storage Unit:
istarUSA storage tower
http://www.istarusa.com/r...OWER&model=DAGE840-ES
8-bay
2TB x 8 = 16TB
additional internal cables?
additional external cables?
additional controllers or cards for current desktop?

Hard drives:
SATA III
5-year warranty desired
model = ?
capacity = 2TB (will consider 3TB depending on price)
store = ? (wherever a good deal for bulk orders can be found)
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« Reply #171 on: September 13, 2011, 01:08:53 PM »

Quote
<<Equipment to purchase>>
Storage Unit:
istarUSA storage tower
http://www.istarusa.com/r...OWER&model=DAGE840-ES
8-bay
2TB x 8 = 16TB
additional internal cables?
additional external cables?

Well, it doesn't get much simpler:

Internal cables: 8 x SATA to SATA HDD cables, ie. normal SATA cables.
External cables: 8 x eSATA to eSATA cables.

You require 8 eSATA ports on the computer, one for each drive - in this type of wiring situation I'd forget about RAID if you were thinking of it, too many chances for a cable to be dislodged.

It's the same as stacking 8 separate external eSATA enclosures one on top of the other.

I don't know whether you've noticed or not but:
DAGE840DE-ES - Trayless
DAGE840-ES - The one you selected, doesn't say trayless.

Alternative using their products:
Storage end:
1x DAGE840DE-2MS - 8 bay trayless storage tower using the following as inputs, (not the ones it comes with.)
2x ZAGE-D-4SA70 - These as a replacement for whatever comes with the box.

PC end:
2x ZAGE-H-4SA70 - Adapts 4 SATA ports to one Infiniband/Multilane connector.
2x CAGE-AAMM05 - Infiniband cables: RaidAge, Addonics, etc.

You'll also need 8 spare SATA ports in your computer but you would have needed them anyway for the box you selected, so a good quality multi-port SATA controller, (there are alternatives to this, eg. SAS controller with Infiniband output or SAS to SATA adapter).

The above only requires 2 external cables.
« Last Edit: September 13, 2011, 01:13:22 PM by 4wd » Logged

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« Reply #172 on: September 13, 2011, 03:01:24 PM »

I'm liking this.  Here's a question about the cabling:
1) If I do a SATA to SAS thing, can I get away with just one cable connecting the storage tower to the desktop?

2)  Let's say I want to put the DAS in another room.  How would I connect the DAS to my desktop?  The SAS or SATA or eSATA cables are only a few feet maximum.  So would I have to connect the tower to my router, which would bring it to my desktop?  Or does that change the whole setup into a NAS and now I need to have a motherboard, OS, etc. on the tower?
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« Reply #173 on: September 13, 2011, 06:27:24 PM »

I'm liking this.  Here's a question about the cabling:
1) If I do a SATA to SAS thing, can I get away with just one cable connecting the storage tower to the desktop?

Infiniband connectors support a maximum of 4 devices, see Wikiw - under Architecture (SFF 8470).

I'm not saying you can't do it, just you probably can't using the normal Infiniband cables.  Addendum: Unless you use 2 port multipliers - then you only need 1 cable.

Quote
2)  Let's say I want to put the DAS in another room.  How would I connect the DAS to my desktop?  The SAS or SATA or eSATA cables are only a few feet maximum.  So would I have to connect the tower to my router, which would bring it to my desktop?  Or does that change the whole setup into a NAS and now I need to have a motherboard, OS, etc. on the tower?

Maximum length of eSATA is indeed a few feet, 6.6 feet or 2 metres.  SAS is a little longer.  From Wiki again:

Quote
Because of its higher signaling voltages, SAS can use cables up to 10 m (33 ft) long, SATA has a cable-length limit of 1 m (3 ft) or 2 m (6.6 ft) for eSATA.

However, remember you're trying to work with SATA HDDs, not SAS HDDs which use a higher signaling voltage.  So I'm guessing that you might have trouble trying to push it past 3 metres unless there is an active SAS host/client on the ends of the cable.

To get 10 metres from it you might have to go:

PC---SAS Host Controller---10 metre Infiniband cables---SAS Client---SATA HDDs

(SAS Client is probably not the correct terminology but it illustrates the idea of an active component rather than a simple passive adapter.)

What I suggested is:

PC---SATA/SAS Adapter---3 metre Infiniband cables---SAS/SATA Adapter---SATA HDDs
« Last Edit: September 13, 2011, 11:26:16 PM by 4wd; Reason: Add addendum. » Logged

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JavaJones
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« Reply #174 on: September 14, 2011, 03:04:34 PM »

...connect the tower to my router, which would bring it to my desktop?  Or does that change the whole setup into a NAS...

If the answer to this is not obvious by now, you need to do more research. If the storage unit is attaching to your network, it is a...

- Oshyan
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