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Old 5th January 2012
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Question SAS Expander

Hey all,

I'm in the process of choosing hardware for a new FreeBSD desktop/file server at home.

As part of this build I am considering a long term storage solution. The idea is a SAS enclosure with a ton of SATA disks that only gets spun up about once a month as data is shuffled back and forth and file indexes are generated.

What I need are recommendations for the SAS expander card that works flawlessly with FreeBSD. No RAID needed as I intend to use ZFS for everything.

From what I've been reading a SAS expander is a better solution than something like an sata multiplier.

If anyone has suggestions on the enclosure it is also well appreciated.

Cheers.
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Old 5th January 2012
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SuperMicro AOC-USAS2-L8i 8-port SATA controller supported by the mps(4) driver in FreeBSD 8.2-STABLE onward. Uses multi-lane cables with either SFF-8087 connectors (for plugging directly into hot-swap backplanes) or SFF-8087 breakout cables (4x SATA connector on one end) for plugging directly into drives. Works beautifully with ZFS. And you get dedicated bandwidth to each drive (whereas an SAS expander/SATA PM splits bandwidth between multiple drives on a single channel).
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Old 5th January 2012
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Thanks phoenix.

I had considered multilane too but between those, multipliers, expanders I was lost in a sea of choices.

The Supermicro card looks good, I know from your previous posts that you're well used to storage setups so I'll take this as gospel advice!

Do you have any experience with enclosures? The idea was that I would keep a few drives in the main desktop for "live" content and downloads, etc... with moving files I don't use that often to the main archive. This way I don't have to have every drive I own receiving power and spinning when the desktop is turned on. If that makes sense. Saving cost basically, hopefully!

E.g.: Addonics Raid Tower IX

A butt load of drives but only really used once a month or when needed to shuffle data around or when I drag it to a hackerspace/conference.
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Old 6th January 2012
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Sorry, I have no experience with external drive enclosures. Currently, all our storage servers are multi-bay rackmount chassis (12-bay, 16-bay, 24-bay).
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