[CentOS] I need storage server advice

Tue May 6 20:14:45 UTC 2008
Les Mikesell <lesmikesell at gmail.com>

Ed Morrison wrote:
> I need advice on implementing a storage server.  I really do not have 
> the $ to spend for a Dell iSCSI storage divice and I am thinking 
> trunning CentOS 5.x with ftp or FreeNAS.  Here is what I am looking at 
> and concerned about.
> Situation:
> My current storage needs are approximately 1.5 TB annually.  This will 
> increase to about 3.5 TB annually over the next 5 years (rough est.).  
> This box will just be a data archive and once it is full it will only be 
> used very infrequently if not used at all. Files are small up to 10 MB 
> but numerous.

First consider whether you can organize this into 1 TB or smaller 
partitions that are mounted separately.  If you can do that, growing the 
space is trivial - and you get the advantage that you can do raid1 
mirrors of individual drives which gives you the ability to recover data 
from any single disk.

> CentOS:
> Upgrading to the newer CentOS flavors.  I will not have the ability to 
> archive this data to tape and I am concerned about loosing the data when 
> upgrading the OS.  How best to handle this?

Don't put the permanent storage on your system drive(s) at all. Add one 
or more directories after installation and mount the additional 
partitions or raid arrays there.  Then if you do a new install, just 
uncheck the devices as disks that can be used for the system and add the 
mount points back when it is done.   But, there are lots of other ways 
to lose data.  If you'd need it after a building fire/flood or operator 
error you should build two of these and rsync to somewhere offsite.

> Storage limitation.  It is my understanding that there is a 2 TB storage 
> limitation with Linux (and windows) in general particularly for 
> stability. 

I think that's 8TB if you don't boot from it.  But that's per mounted 
filesystem - if you can have smaller separate partitions, it won't matter.

> FreeNAS
> Anyone using FreeNAS?  What is your experience?  How easy is it to add 
> new drives and keep your data?  Upgrading to newer versions?

You might look at openfiler if you want an appliance.

   Les Mikesell
    lesmikesell at gmail.com