Another Terabyte Fileserver

As Terabak was running out of space I decided to build another fileserver, this time with a raw capacity of 24 TB. In binary terabytes this amounts to 19 TiB. The case is a bog-standard Norco RPC 4016 4U 16-bay affair. Not much in terms of modding, the only thing I changed was the power to the extremely loud fans. Changing it to 7 V cost me a motherboard as the PSU made an excursion when I switched on. Running the fan battery off 5 V gives good results and keeps my PSU happy. It's still noisy though...

The biggest challenge was partitioning the large array. EXT3 only supports up to 8 TB (or 16, sometimes) so I decided to use JFS. Now this is not compiled into the CentOS 5.3 kernel. It took me awhile to figure out how to do that, but once running it was fine. Another snag that I ran into was the crappy driver for the Gigabit ethernet. Realtek does provide Linux support, but even the latest module gave issues when playing HiDef content into a 100 Mbit network. It skipped like crazy but when forcing it to 100 Mbit it was perfectly stable. Not handy, so I plonked in an Intel PCI Gigabit card and all was fine.

Remaining issue: the Samsung HD154UI disks. The Areca controller just does not like these disks. Areca is aware of it but refuses to provide a fix. It sometimes failes a disk for no reason. Actually, there is a reason: since the Samsungs are desktop disks it may be a bit slow recovering from a disk error. Nothing to worry about, but the Areca expect a zippy response which it doesn't get and promptly fails the disk. It can be fixed with a SMART command but Areca doesn't support that. I'm in the process of replacing the Samsungs for the slightly more expensive WD EADS disks, which run fine. Having a disk fail is a real pain. I have to run jfs_fsck to restore the array as it usually fails during write. Maybe it gets stable after replacing all disks, I'm about halfway now...

The hardware specs:
Mobo - MSI K9A2GM-F V3
PSU - Coolermaster 750 W Modular

CPU - AMD Athlon 64 X2 5200+
Memory - Corsair 2*1GB DDR2 PC6400
System disk - Seagate Barracuda 7200.10 80 GB
RAID - Areca ARC1280ML
Harddisks - Samsung Ecogreen HD154UI and Western Digital WD15EADS Caviar Green
Network - Intel Pro1000 PCI










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