May 28

Wow, sorry for neglecting this series for so long – I got distracted by being employed! Hopefully, it’s not so long that I’ve forgotten my trail of thought.

So at the end of my last post, I had four 1.5TB hard drives in RAID 6. That would have been around December 2008, but come January 2009, I was out of space and needed to add some more. This was easy; I had 11 bays in the case, and six on-board SATA ports – I just added two drives and connected them straight up. This gave me another 3TB of useable space without any hassle.

In June 2009 I needed to upgrade again, but this time, things were a little trickier. I had no on-board ports left so had to decide how to expand. The original intention was to use 8-port PCIe cards; with space for two of these, I’d have ended up with a 22 drive maximum.

Now, I’m not sure exactly what my thought process was at the time (don’t forget this was two years ago) but I probably decided 8-port cards were either too expensive, or just wouldn’t get me enough ports in total. I ended up getting a 4-port card and four hard-drives to go with it. Great, another 6TB in the array and I was happy until October.

So what did I do next? I’d used 10 out of my 11 bays and had no more SATA ports left. [Probably] being desperate for space,  I just ordered another of the 4U cases that hold 11 drives. Seeing as how my 4-port PCIe card supported them, the cheapest way to get extra SATA ports was to use a SATA port-multiplier. I gave it a go and £40 got me 5 ports, but obviously I had to sacrifice one from the PCIe card.

The PMP was very successful, although I did have to disable NCQ to get it stable. This isn’t necessary anymore, so I won’t go into any further detail. Just to keep track, at the end of October 2009 I had 12 x 1.5TB drives in my RAID 6 array.

In the next installment, I’ll explain where the insparation came from.

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