Dell MD 1200 storage setup help

Discussion in 'Business & Enterprise Computing' started by g@z, Dec 30, 2020.

  1. g@z

    g@z Member

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    Hi,

    I'm not a server guy, so this is new to me... please be gentle !

    I'm trying to build a work unit server to donate to the fooding at home project. to be run from my work. It's and old Dell MD 1200 server with 2 external drive enclosures connected via a H800 card in the server and its about all i have that has the disk space needed.

    the server and each enclosure has 12 x 3 TB drives for 36 drives total. I need to make a drive of about 50 TB is size. Is it possible to do this with the drives across the server and the two drive enclosures? I think the drives in the server are on a different card so i'm not sure i can so i think i might end up with two. I guess i can use the 24 drives in the two external enclosures to get me enough space, but i'm not sure how to configure it all... raid 6 with hot spares? looking for advise on the best options and how to configure the raid card please! Thanks.

    Regards,
    g@z.
     
  2. NSanity

    NSanity Member

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    Do you actually need performance? Whats the use case?

    So the MD1200 is a DAS Storage Shelf - this of it as an external bunch of drives that are attached locally to the host server by the PERC H800.

    The H800 is an *external* card (referring to the connectors with regards to the host) - not an internal one, as such there is no link between the internal drives (likely connected via a different Perc controller) and the external one, that either Raid Controller can aggregate all the drives. You can get 2x shelves of 12 drives in a single array though, which in Raid 60 would yield about 60TB, however if you lose power to a single enclosure, the music stops.

    Unfortunately my brief search is that the H800 doesn't have "IT" or "Passthrough" mode (that is where the individual disks are passed through raw to the OS/Host), nor can it be flashed as such (SAS2108 chipset) - if you are prepared to buy an LSI 9200-8e and flash to IT mode, all disks can be passed through raw from the enclosure, then you can use a software-based disk aggregation solution such as ZFS, BTRFS, Storage Spaces + NTFS/ReFS, assuming you the local controller on the host can configure passthrough/IT mode (alternatively you replace that with a card that can).
     
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  3. OP
    OP
    g@z

    g@z Member

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    No idea about needing performance sorry. The spec's I was advised was 8 cores, 64 - 128 gig ram, 40 - 50 TB or storage, 1 gig internet and 18+ month commitment. Not even sure what OS yet!

    I think I worked out how to connect them and have got a RAID 6 drive with 4 hot standbys giving me 49.1 TB formatted capacity! Now I just wait to get onboarding documents to see what else I need to do. Cheers.

    Regards,
    g@z.
     
  4. wazza

    wazza Member

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    Are you talking about folding at home? If so it 100% does not require those specs - it's designed (as per the name) for home users to be able to contribute - pretty sure the CPU (or GPU) is far more important than anything else for this, the ram and storage will not be heavily used. It also breaks it into small chunks, so 1gig internet is unnecessary, they only require "broadband". It can also be done on either windows or linux.

    I think before you go any further into this you find out exactly what is required, so you don't bother throwing time (or money) at stuff that's not going to help at all.
     
  5. OP
    OP
    g@z

    g@z Member

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    yes folding at home, but this is a work unit server... a server that normal users at home will upload and download work units from, it will not work on work units itself. Completed work units I guess are stored and sent back to the folding at home systems in the US from this server. The specs were provided to me by one of the f@h team, so this is what they are asking for as minimum specs.

    Regards,
    g@z.
     
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  6. Gibbon

    Gibbon grumpy old man

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    Do you know what the actual server is? The MD1200 is just a storage enclosure - it's basically just drives, a backplane and PSUs. If the server also has 12 drives and looks similar maybe it's a Poweredge R720xd or similar?
     
    Last edited: Jan 2, 2021
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  7. OP
    OP
    g@z

    g@z Member

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    I think it's a R510. Here's a photo.

    I've got close enough to a 50 TB and a 28 TB drive, with the 50 being made out of the two enclousers and the 28 made up of the disk in the server itself. I think there are two more drives somewhere for the OS?

    upload_2021-1-3_0-26-14.png

    Once I know what OS it will run and how to get performace stats from it, I'll know if the server is good enough and if it needs more RAM, more cores, faster cores or faster disk.
    I've got a few other servers I could use, with dual 6 core Xeons + HT and 256 gig of RAM, but they are only 2.2 Ghz. Got another server with 512 gig of ram but it's only got 18 Ghz CPUS.... not sure how many cores.

    Regards,
    g@z.
     
  8. wazza

    wazza Member

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    For the 2 other drives for the OS it may have a BOSS card which is basically just an internal module with 2x SSDs on it, else it may use an internal SD card (or 2) to boot from especially if it was running VMWare or a storage server OS.
    RAM from the other servers won't fit in this one? If you look up the service tag on dell support it will show you the original specs, so you'll be able to see exactly what drive config there is for the OS and RAM types to see if they're compatible.
    How old is the server and is there any warranty left? I noticed the drives are 7.2k which generally means they're SATA (even though the stickers say SAS, usually Dell NL-SAS is 7k, proper SAS is 10k or 15k) - just be wary if it's an older server with no warranty, in terms of reliability SATA are the low man on the totem pole and usually only carry 1 yr warranty, so make sure to cater for this when you spec out your RAID - to hit 50TB RAW w/ R5 you need 18 drives and R6 is 19 so maybe run with this for a while and keep the rest as spares in case the new load makes the drives start dropping like flies.
     
  9. tensop

    tensop Member

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    r510's predate boss cards by the better part of a decade, as for the drives - sure the mechanicals are 7.2k sata but all the dual path goodies and lun locking are what makes the difference between sas and sata, they wont be in warranty as the gear will date from anywhere between 2010~ and 2013~ish

    if you're running this gear from home - just be aware that you're probably going to draw the better part of 700-1100 watts, and might be better off financially to dump it in exchange for some larger modern drives with ssd backing in just the R510 chassis alone running some sort of decent filesystem
     
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  10. Gibbon

    Gibbon grumpy old man

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    Yep, that R510 will have 2 x 2.5" internal drives as well as the 12 x 3.5".
    Nice gear actually :thumbup:
     
    Last edited: Jan 3, 2021
  11. OP
    OP
    g@z

    g@z Member

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    Not running these at home, they are running in the office. dual power, UPS etc, air conm racked.

    Yes the gear is really old, but it's free as I don't have any money to spend on this project at all! Like none. Happy to take donations though :)

    I've got about 4 drives set to be hot spares, 2 in each shelf. It's a RAID 6 setup at the moment but it's not in use yet so that can change if needed. I'm trying to not use any of the drives in the server itself, so I can have those as spares as well just in case failure rate is poor.

    Cheers!

    Regards,
    g@z.
     
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  12. Gibbon

    Gibbon grumpy old man

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    Not that old :D I still have a PowerEdge 1950 and an MD1000 with 15 x 2TB 7.2k SAS drives in it sitting in my rack.
    I don't use it any more (have replaced it with a Synology NAS), but it's still there. Can't bring myself to get rid of it (plus postage would probably be more than I could sell it for anyway)

    Love old Dell server gear.
     
  13. NSanity

    NSanity Member

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    New stuff is better. :p
     
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  14. Matthew kane

    Matthew kane Member

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    And uses a lot less power too.
     
  15. mjunek

    mjunek Member

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    I've got a pair of MD1200's hooked up to a H800 (in a C2D system) as part of my storage. Raid 50, with 2 Hot Spares. I get quite decent performance out of it. But yes, it does keep the garage a little warm :)
     
  16. OP
    OP
    g@z

    g@z Member

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    Back from a months leave!

    The system will run Debian, so I download an install image on my windows laptop and read the instructions they link to so i can copy it to a USB stick and I get to this:

    "4.3 Preparing Files for USB Memory Stick Booting
    To prepare the USB stick, you will need a system where GNU/Linux is already running and where USB is supported."

    Typical linux IMHO. Sorted by a google search to another solution, but what good are installation instructions like this?

    Regards.
    g@z/
     
  17. mjunek

    mjunek Member

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    It's fair to say that. Why should they automatically assume this is your first install, coming from Windows?
    The install instructions are basically showing you how to create a USB, on the OS that they are familiar with.

    Download Unetbootin, Rufus, or similar. That'll help you out.
     
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  18. GumbyNoTalent

    GumbyNoTalent Member

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    person and g@z like this.
  19. OP
    OP
    g@z

    g@z Member

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    I ended up using Rufus :)

    Got the system booted from that and now waiting for the F@H people to assist, thanks!

    Regards,
    g@z.
     
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