Irish Proverb: You must crack the nuts before you can eat the kernel.

A few years ago when I decided to build my first data storage RAID for the house, I didn’t have enough room in my server’s case to add four additional hard drives … so I went out to the garage, pulled one of my old computer cases off the shelf, and added four hard drives to it. I then bought some 3′ SATA cables, ran them out the back of my server and into the back of this tower to the drives, created a software RAID5, and began filling it with movies and music. I give you … Mr. Moonpie.

As you can see in the side here through the Plexiglas, there’s not much inside: four 2TB SATA hard drives, a power supply, a CD-Rom drive that doesn’t even work, and a few fans to move the hot air around.

Technology changes quickly. A few years ago they introduced much smaller external RAID solutions, and last year, they dropped the price on some of them. Last week from TigerDirect I ended up purchasing another StarTech external RAID cube. Now I have two of them, both stuffed with 4 2TB drives running RAID5.

Setting up one of these containers is a quick no-brainer. After removing the drives from the big yellow tower, all I had to do was attach these tiny handles to the front of each drive (screws included) to assist in removing the drives in the future.

With the handles attached, the drives slide into the new enclosure and lock into place.

As you can see, the new enclosure is much, much smaller than the old giant banana one. It has a variable-speed fan included, to keep air circulating. It supports firewire, USB, and eSATA connections. I’m running eSATA and hardware RAID5 and the drives are performing just as fast as they were before.

Before I started this project, all of my virtual machines (including the one that runs robohara.com) were sitting in the big yellow box. They’re temporarily being hosted on a different drive until the new RAID5 formats; then I’ll migrate them back over and be fully back in business.

These are the inside projects I tackle when it’s 110 degrees outside.

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2 Responses to “A New Day, A New RAID”

  1. Craig says:

    Y’know, in all my years of IT, I can’t ever remember coming across a banana-colored case like that one. I find it oddly appealing. Oh, and nice article. Thanks for sharing.
    C-

  2. Dave Farquhar says:

    Leave it to me to notice the stuff in the background. Do I spy an Amiga 1200 and a pair of 1571 floppies? Nifty.