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Modder creates 90TB plywood server

Modder creates 90TB plywood server

The home-made plywood case holds 48 Western Digital hard drives, and a lot of fans.

An enterprising modder in Russia has built a home media server with a unique distinction: it's constructed from plywood and holds around 90TB of data.

The home-brew construction, spotted by the guys over on English Russia, uses 48 Western Digital Caviar Green 2TB drives in a RAID 5 configuration to store a massive amount of data for its creator, known as CrazyHandMader.

The system is built around a pair of motherboards that provide connectivity to the SATA-connected hard drives while allowing client systems to connect over the network in order to access the prodigious amount of storage on offer. The system runs Microsoft Windows Server 2008 R2 Enterprise and includes a wide array of RocketRAID hardware SATA controllers to connect the drives.

The custom-built plywood casing features a lid constructed almost entirely from 120mm fans and another selecting in the base, both of which the designer reports run at 9V to keep noise levels to a minimum while providing adequate airflow to prevent the closely-packed drives from overheating.

The heat problem certainly seems to have been solved by the interesting design: of the 48 drives that form the heart of the system, its creator reports that only three have failed and been replaced under Western Digital's warranty in over a year. The use of RAID 5 also means that no data was lost at any time.

As well as its plywood construction, CrazyHandMader used plexiglass for the hinged door, allowing easy access to the internals while keeping airflow passing through the drives as efficiently as possible.

While a 90TB plywood behemoth with enough fans to hover its way across the Channel might be a bit overkill for most, we've covered how to build a DVD server in the past - and if you produce something on this level, be sure to let us know over in the forums.

40 Comments

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Bindibadgi 21st October 2010, 17:53 Quote
Let me be the first to say it: that's a lot of porn!
NethLyn 21st October 2010, 17:55 Quote
Well that's one way to test WD's reliability but I can barely fill the one terabyte at the minute...
Tulatin 21st October 2010, 18:08 Quote
Though impressive, this is an act in inefficiency. You can get 50 drives into a 4U rack.
dragontail 21st October 2010, 18:17 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bindibadgi
Let me be the first to say it: that's a lot of porn!
I came here for this comment. I am not disappoint.
V3ctor 21st October 2010, 18:38 Quote
God da**... it's alot of drives... What the hell is he going to save there? :D
digitaldunc 21st October 2010, 18:45 Quote
I'd like to see throughput figures -- from the look of one of the pics he's using a dual NIC on one of the boards which suggests link aggregation but surely even two aggregated gigabit links would be saturated? That's a lot of wasted potential.
SMIFFYDUDE 21st October 2010, 18:57 Quote
So, a slow week in modding news. Some ruskie knocks together a few pieces of ply to create, wait for it... a box.
tripwired 21st October 2010, 18:59 Quote
Blimey, just when I was starting to feel e-peen content with a 1TB primary (OS + Apps + games), 2GB secondary (DVD file server connected to TV) and a 2x2GB (offsite + local) backup...

Struggling to think of why any one would need 90TB though? The only thing that springs to mind is video editing, although I do that at work with a 1TB local drive which is plenty before storing on our 1TB file server.
antiHero 21st October 2010, 19:00 Quote
The link says 70TB :)

Still a crazy amount of storage!
cgthomas 21st October 2010, 19:20 Quote
told you that Skynet isn't a myth......
Oh yeah... almost forgot...

Can it play Crysis?
HourBeforeDawn 21st October 2010, 19:40 Quote
damn thats a lot of pirating...
Flibblebot 21st October 2010, 20:09 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bindibadgi
Let me be the first to say it: that's a lot of porn!
With Mankz temporarily out of the picture, others are having to pick up the slack...

I'd love to know what the power draw of that thing is - although I presume the vast majority of the drives will be spun down at any one time?
ZERO <ibis> 21st October 2010, 21:54 Quote
He is going to use that many drives with only a raid 5, you would think maybe at least raid 6 would be a good idea given the number of drives....
Fordy 21st October 2010, 21:59 Quote
45 x 2TB drives would be 90TB...

Wheres the extra 6TB going? He really using 6TB for the system? Or is all that used up by redundancy or whatever when formatting a partition as big as 90TB?
Unicorn 21st October 2010, 22:04 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by NethLyn
Well that's one way to test WD's reliability but I can barely fill the one terabyte at the minute...

My server is 4 TB of space and it's bursting at the seams at the moment ;)
Quote:
Originally Posted by Fordy
45 x 2TB drives would be 90TB...

Wheres the extra 6TB going? He really using 6TB for the system? Or is all that used up by redundancy or whatever when formatting a partition as big as 90TB?

Parity data on a 90TB array would be pretty large - I'd say that's where the space is being used.
23RO_UK 21st October 2010, 22:09 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bindibadgi
Let me be the first to say it: that's a lot of porn!

You were only saying what we were all thinking :)

Is there nothing the Russians won't make out of plywood???
Fractal 21st October 2010, 22:52 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by digitaldunc
I'd like to see throughput figures -- from the look of one of the pics he's using a dual NIC on one of the boards which suggests link aggregation but surely even two aggregated gigabit links would be saturated? That's a lot of wasted potential.

Yes they'd be saturated easily. My 6 drives in RAID 5 can saturate gigabit so many more would have no trouble. I'd say it's most likely he's limited by his internet connection speed though.
jake9891 21st October 2010, 22:55 Quote
maybe he's running his own bit torrent site....
dark_avenger 21st October 2010, 23:14 Quote
RAID5 on that many drives is a really bad idea especially when they are all the same brand/make. Should be running at least RAID6 with a hot spare.
rhuitron 22nd October 2010, 02:01 Quote
Ply wood?!
Watch it go up in to flames!
Seriously!
borandi 22nd October 2010, 02:29 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Fordy
45 x 2TB drives would be 90TB...

Wheres the extra 6TB going? He really using 6TB for the system? Or is all that used up by redundancy or whatever when formatting a partition as big as 90TB?

Google RAID 5.
The_Beast 22nd October 2010, 02:56 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by rhuitron
Ply wood?!
Watch it go up in to flames!
Seriously!

That's a common misconception, wood doesn't ignite until around 275C well below a computers operating temp.

Quote:
Originally Posted by V3ctor
God da**... it's alot of drives... What the hell is he going to save there? :D


Teh internet..........................all of it
DarkLord7854 22nd October 2010, 03:27 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by digitaldunc
I'd like to see throughput figures -- from the look of one of the pics he's using a dual NIC on one of the boards which suggests link aggregation but surely even two aggregated gigabit links would be saturated? That's a lot of wasted potential.

Considering he's using WD Green drives.. most likely not that much.
Gareth Halfacree 22nd October 2010, 08:07 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by antiHero
The link says 70TB :)
Aye - they reported it wrong in the link, it's 90TB as in our article.
Dreamslacker 22nd October 2010, 08:48 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gareth Halfacree
Aye - they reported it wrong in the link, it's 90TB as in our article.

The link says that "he combined hard disks to get a 70TB storage". Most likely, he's got 96TB worth of drives but only 70TB usable after deducting what is required for the OS and parity.

What is more interesting to note is that he's got all the drives on a single computer and it isn't the board with the Intel PT Dual port NIC!

The drives seem to be split amongst 5 HPT controllers. I don't recall the HPTs being able to create an array across controllers like the LSI/ Adaptecs so we may assume that there are 5 x R5 arrays in the setup.

Give 3 drives for the 2 systems to be used for OS and apps (single drive & a RAID 1), that leaves 5 x 9 drive arrays. Or about 80TB of redundant storage.
Scale that by the difference between decimal and binary (Manufacturers rate drives in decimal) and you get: 80,000,000,000,000 / (1024^4) = 72.75TB of actual volumes. Take away the MFT and other file system reserved space and you do indeed get about 70TB of actual usable storage.
Xir 22nd October 2010, 09:48 Quote
Why not?
Wood is a great material for a case.
Noise dampening in wood is great. ;)
Downsides: no heat radiation, and no EM-shielding.

I've made one out of an old Fireworks-box (due to the nice "Explosive" sign on the front):D and it was very silent.
shigllgetcha 22nd October 2010, 10:40 Quote
all that storage and no friends D:
lacuna 22nd October 2010, 12:17 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by jake9891
maybe he's running his own bit torrent site....


and seeding everything!
Gareth Halfacree 22nd October 2010, 12:31 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dreamslacker
The link says that "he combined hard disks to get a 70TB storage". Most likely, he's got 96TB worth of drives but only 70TB usable after deducting what is required for the OS and parity.
Nup - the guy has 90TB of usable space spread across several logical volumes. He's posted a system report from the OS. I don't know where the 70TB figure came from - the Russian sites are saying 90TB (which is right) but most English reports are saying 70TB (which is wrong.)

EDIT: Here's the system report from the OS. It reports the total usable storage space as 91423GB, or around 90TB. As I say, I don't know where this figure of 70TB has come from.
Bad_cancer 22nd October 2010, 13:01 Quote
Did i just read that system report to have "only" 10tb of free space?

What happened to the rest of it?? What the **** is he storing?
Picarro 22nd October 2010, 13:34 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bad_cancer
Did i just read that system report to have "only" 10tb of free space?

What happened to the rest of it?? What the **** is he storing?

It's Mankz Russian cousin.
kzinti1 22nd October 2010, 17:18 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by SMIFFYDUDE
So, a slow week in modding news. Some ruskie knocks together a few pieces of ply to create, wait for it... a box.

What he said.
supermonkey 22nd October 2010, 19:23 Quote
If anyone ever wondered exactly where their "trial" copies of Windows and Photoshop were hosted, now you know.
whiskers 22nd October 2010, 19:46 Quote
Last time I checked, my 3yo drives eat up about 7W each, so 45x7 = 315 watts just to keep them spinning. More for spin-up. I don't have the exact wattage for spin-up, but I imagine the lights in this guy's house dim every time he turns this beast on.

/6 drives in my machine, ranging from 250Gb to 750Gb
// could replace them all with 2x2Tb drives... but can't justify getting rid of the small-capacity drives.
Dreamslacker 23rd October 2010, 06:17 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gareth Halfacree
Nup - the guy has 90TB of usable space spread across several logical volumes. He's posted a system report from the OS. I don't know where the 70TB figure came from - the Russian sites are saying 90TB (which is right) but most English reports are saying 70TB (which is wrong.)

EDIT: Here's the system report from the OS. It reports the total usable storage space as 91423GB, or around 90TB. As I say, I don't know where this figure of 70TB has come from.

Ah.. That explains it. Well... I reckon the project was picked up earlier on by one or two english sources where he was, according to them, still experimenting with RAID 50 and such.
Perhaps the 70TB figure was an initial targeted usable space during that time? It goes to follow that any English site would then pick-up this info from the initial sites rather than the russian sites and the effect snowballs.

90TB seems like an awful lot to be storing videos though. I've personally met one fella whose goal was practically to become a movie archive (doesn't watch them all, just downloads and keeps them for fun). He buys 50 reams of 100 pack DVDs at a go but has since stopped after I told him to go for HDD storage instead since even the Dataplus from Verbatim has a halflife of 3 - 4 years at best. Now we're just waiting to convert an entire wardrobe into a hdd storage unit.

Edit: Seems like they cleared it up. The initial english source edited the title to state 90TB now.
DBA 24th October 2010, 11:03 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by whiskers
Last time I checked, my 3yo drives eat up about 7W each, so 45x7 = 315 watts just to keep them spinning. More for spin-up. I don't have the exact wattage for spin-up, but I imagine the lights in this guy's house dim every time he turns this beast on.

/6 drives in my machine, ranging from 250Gb to 750Gb
// could replace them all with 2x2Tb drives... but can't justify getting rid of the small-capacity drives.

Actually, the drives he is using only uses 6,8 watt in heavy load so that would be 326,4 watt, about the same as a reasonably powerful PC. But since he is using it for storage (and probably won't share from all the drives constantly) some would stay in idle, at which they only use 5,2 watt each.

Also I wouldn't really call the dude a modder for putting five planks of wood together. A real modder would make something like this
Snaver 24th October 2010, 15:24 Quote
Isn't that a fire hazard O_O
Evolutionsic 24th October 2010, 15:32 Quote
eh my motherboard only has like 6-7 hd lead slots, does he have super motherboard?
SuicideNeil 24th October 2010, 18:41 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Evolutionsic
eh my motherboard only has like 6-7 hd lead slots, does he have super motherboard?

"The system is built around a pair of motherboards that provide connectivity to the SATA-connected hard drives while allowing client systems to connect over the network in order to access the prodigious amount of storage on offer. The system runs Microsoft Windows Server 2008 R2 Enterprise and includes a wide array of RocketRAID hardware SATA controllers to connect the drives."

Reading the words is advisable, along with looking at the pretty pictures... ;)
BRAWL 25th October 2010, 12:32 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by 23RO_UK
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bindibadgi
Let me be the first to say it: that's a lot of porn!

You were only saying what we were all thinking :)

Is there nothing the Russians won't make out of plywood???

Dreadnoughts.... They won't build Dreadnoughts... Proper ones anyway >.<

--

OT: That's scary.
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