Need to add 10+ terabytes of storage that needs to be readily accessed locally-What is best and cheapest solution

We have about 40 pc's on a Dell server running windows 2003 server. The server has approximately 2 terabytes of storage via DAS. All the pc's are XP Pro.

I need to ramp up fast because of some upcoming jobs and we need to have in excess of 10 terabytes. This server would be used to load data on to it and then all of the computers on the network will process the data via our distributed processing software. Right now if we get a large amount of data we can only load it on in bits and then process before loading on the next piece. Also, we need to show the client that we have the capacity.

I need to make sure that whatever the solution is does not slow down the processing so the processing computers need to be able to access the data fast, process it, and then right it back to the server.

By the way, all computers are P4's with lots of memory and all have giganics running through gigaswitches.

Space is also a consideration, as is the price. I would love to get into to this for as little as possible but still get the storage and power.

Any ideas would be much appreciated.



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Lee W, MVPTechnology and Business Process AdvisorCommented:
Consider systems from Aberdeen Inc ( - They have 5U boxes with 24x400GB SATA drives running off two (or possibly 3) 3WARE SATA RAID Cards.  We used a couple at my last job and were fairly happy with them.
SATA are great  it give you good speed at low cost,

if you combine them with iSCSI

You can have super high end SAN at very low price.

I have been work with this for about year now been year and happy with both iSCSI and SATA.  

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kerznerAuthor Commented:
These options are looking good but what is the difference between the way we have it now with the dell dual processor server and a DAS.

What is the speed that the data can be accessed? Which of the above solutions is faster for the processing computers to read and then rewrite the data?

If we get a NAS that plugs in by itself to the network. So it is not as fast to retrieve the data as have the scsi DAS on the server.

I guess I just want to know the fastest data access and cheapest solution.

How does the 5u work different that the NAS, DAS, or just a server with large HD? Isn't SATA capped at 150 megabytes per second?

I am just learning so any help is really appreciated.

<How does the 5u work different that the NAS, DAS, or just a server with large HD? Isn't SATA capped at 150 megabytes per second?>

We must not get MB and Mb confused. Yes the drives will peak at 150MB/PS but you network is only capable of 1000Mb/PS.
hi, Kerzner

I would look into solutions there are more scalable like fibre channel I know you might think price, but think what you can gain with the right solution.

The Dell/EMC CX500 is a versatile, rack-dense midrange 2Gbps Fibre Channel 120,000 I/Os per second; Over 760 MB/s sustained throughput.. 28.4TB

Dell/EMC Fibre Channel CX300
Entry-level RAID Array 13.4TB
Over 680MB/s: 50,000 cached IOs per second
Lee W, MVPTechnology and Business Process AdvisorCommented:
Before you think expensive fibre channel, make sure the vendor will continue to support and provide upgrade paths to the newest (theoretically compatible) disks - we bought a Dell Fibre solution and 2 years into our ownership they cut us off - no support for large disks (146 GB) and no more expansion units sold.  This caused us a major headache that's still going on today.  I think Fibre channel is great - highly reliable stuff - but if you spend $75,000 or more on a fibre channel solution and then 2 years down the road they tell you sorry - spend another $100,000 on this new system if you need more space - that's not a good investment.
kerznerAuthor Commented:
Thanks guys. It comes down to how much we can get for how little we can spend. But all of your solutions obviously could work. It just depends on who has to pay for it.

Thanks again.

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