Tuesday, October 08, 2019

Honey I Shucked Our Drive

Drive Shucking

Until recently I didn't even know there was a term for the action I'm about to describe.  Namely re-purposing a hard disk drive,  all because of Discriminatory Pricing

Setting the Scene

Marcus has been looking to purchase a new higher performance Network Attached Storage  (NAS) box for some time now.   In fact for over 2 years.  But a combination of lack of funds and lack of decently priced/available hardware has held me back.

But in October I ordered the replacement QNAP NAS and the full review will come in due course, assuming it is a success.  For the new installation I wanted something lighter, more compact, more energy efficient than the current and this has led to the proposal to use 2.5" spinning disks instead of the normal 3.5"

Rather annoyingly in the 2 year planning cycle the storage limit for 2.5" still seems to be 5TB, so well, I'm buying into a sort of obsolete, or one could say established technology :-)

Discriminatory Pricing

Due I think to the resistance of the consumer (foolishly IMHO) to invest in portable backup drives, vendors are now shipping them usually in cases with power supplies and cables et al, at well below the cost of bare drives.

In my case I've determined that the Seagate Barracuda 5TB is available as a bare drive  (for 205 GBP)  or inside a case with some extra electronics and a cable  for 109 GBP.

Can you guess which one I am thinking of purchasing?


The strategy is not foolproof.  Sometimes vendors actually use a different hybrid electronics card that terminates directly in a USB connector.  That's bad!

What you are looking for is an electronics converter card that you can remove leaving the original Hard Drive with Sata III interface that you can use directly elsewhere.

So 6 drives would result in a cost of  654GBP from Amazon and will produce probably about 22TB after Raid Configuration.

You could of course use 6, 3.5" drives of say 12TB capacity each, but I don't need 60TB of RAIDed storage right now, and although 3.5" drives might be slightly faster, cost per TB is in fact higher, as is power consumption.

I'd also make the important point that a 6 disk RAID array will easily exceed 100MB/sec thruput of Gigabit Ethernet, so unless you use a 10Gb LAN interface  (meaning end to end 10Gb cables, and Switches and interfaces at NAS and client ends) faster disks will get you absolutely nowhere!

And So

At last my new NAS is taking shape.  I've waited, oh too long.  So a slow, tested build will follow before I post a full report, because configuring systems well, for best performance and data integrity is very important to me.  

As I have commented, live by the mantra Lose No Data

I leave you with a rather wonderful 2 hour musical so you can celebrate with me