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I am using the TerraMaster D5-300C with an Unraid install on my Intel NUC: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B06ZY6DK8N/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_api_i_pJWjFb6ZQG68Q
It’s a 5 bay USB 3.0 enclosure with a type C connector. Most importantly it let’s you turn off raid and use it in single disk mode.
Oddly enough I bought this a few years back for my PC/WIndows setup, but moved it to my M1 now. In case you are curious here is the enclosure I use. It was cheaper when I bought it (around $169).
I have a similar setup with an external drive array and btrfs, though I use RAID1 and not RAID5. I haven't had any troubles with the btrfs side of the array.
I picked this array because I could set it to single mode, so the OS sees each disk individually. I can reconstruct the array inside a real server later if I need (right now it's attached to a NUC). I've added drives to it a couple times now. It works pretty good, except that if the power goes out, I have to go physically restart it.
I'd recommend getting NAS drives if you're going to have more than a few drives, for vibration reasons. I managed to shuck a big 14TB seagate enterprise drive, but the rest are WD Reds (CMR, not SMR). /r/datahoarder and can probably answer questions better about that.
n terms of snapshotting, I don't bother on that array. I snapshot on my main system (I btrfs everywhere), but for stuff on the array, it doesn't do me much good to go back in time to old copies. I'd run out of space, in any case.
I've got all of my data stored on a five bay drive enclosure by Terramaster. The Plex app on my iPad is up to date, though I haven't checked my iPhone. I'll turn off transcoding and see if that helps.
I have a setup sort of like what you are describing and it works really well with about 10 users.. here is the USB enclosure I use... TERRAMASTER D5-300C USB3.1 (Gen1) Type C 5-Bay RAID Enclosure Support RAID 0/1/Single Exclusive 2+3 RAID Mode Hard Drive RAID Storage (Diskless) https://smile.amazon.com/dp/B06ZY6DK8N/ref=cm_sw_r_apan_glt_fabc_EQ6WGVKK2ZRM4YC0T62P?_encoding=UTF8&psc=1
Local server (Mac mini). Direct play on wireless.
local storage, 5 bay direct attach storage with 16tb drive in each bay (https://smile.amazon.com/dp/B06ZY6DK8N/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_api_glt_fabc_75AM1VWQPE1GR4VFWBZC)
everything is in single drive mode (no need to wait for a drive failure rebuild this way)
everything backed up to Backblaze unlimited plan. (I do have 1gbps home line though)
This is the cheapest LOCAL setup with backups IMO. You get to keep all your storage too since no redundancy.
13 drives: 5x 16tb, 3x 14tb,2x 12tb, 3x 8tb
10 of the drives are in two of these, which work like a charm. The remaining three (the 8GBs) are plugged directly into a powered USB hub (they're external drives). One of the enclosures is plugged into the hub as well. The other is plugged directly into the Pi.
I use something similar, it works fine, I don't have to tape off any pins for the drives to work. My biggest complaint is I wish it was quieter, the drives just weren't as loud when they were in externals, I think the metal case just amplified sound of something.
Also updating the firmware on it was pretty wild as I had to take the thing apart and then use a very not customer facing tool to upgrade it, but they gave me good instructions and it enabled sleep mode on my drives which helped limit the noise a bit. (I only stream to myself so I don't care to spin the drives all the time)
I had a terramaster device, not the cpu version, just the raid. I bought it along with 5 x 14TB disks, linked it up via usb3 to both a Mac and 2 Linux boxes.
One of the drives turned out to be dodgy, which was a blessing in disguise. I couldn’t get any of the three machines to initialize the software raid (using the device in JBOD mode). The disk would drop off the USB bus after about 4 hours of heavy use when calculating the parity values, and the entire RAID5 array would go down, no matter which machine it was connected to.
I tried putting all the disks (including the dodgy one) into a spare PC chassis and made a RAID5 array using Linux mdadm. The dodgy disk failed as expected, but when connected via SATA cables to the motherboard, only the dodgy disk was lost. The RAID5 array continued on just fine.
I returned the Terramaster and the dodgy disk to Amazon, if a RAID enclosure can’t sustain the loss of a disk, it’s no use to me. I’m assuming they’ll have a similar driver in this housing, if you’re going to connect with USB-c, so ... buyer beware.
I continue to use the disks in that chassis, connected with 10G Ethernet to the rest of the network (also mainly 10G). The disks perform very well. The enclosure, not so much...
I hate telling this story because it makes me feel bad getting such a good deal, but I traded a Surface Book 2 for all 8 of them outfitted with 250GB NVMe drives. It was a right-place-right-time thing. I would never have spent the money on them for a hobby.
The storage was a problem though. They can each hold a single NVMe + 2.5" drive, or 2x NVMe. I wasn't going to spend the money on a Synology and I didn't want something large, loud, or unsightly, so I searched Amazon and : found this thing for $200: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B06ZY6DK8N/. It does native/normal RAID-1 or RAID-0 using the first two bays (or you can have them show as separate drives) and then treads bays 3 through 5 as normal drives. I have 2x 8TB WD Red drives in 1 and 2 as RAID-1, 2x 6TB drives in 3 and 4 as a ZFS mirror, and a single 10TB for media in bay 5. So 38GB total, 24GB functionally. Eventually I'll change the RAID-1 to a ZFS mirror now that I know how easy it is, but for now it all works great.
I run a Synology Nas.. and an Asustor Nas.. both are sweet but overkill for Plex.
Bought one of these about a month ago:
Its been awesome.
No issues at all. Its full of 50gig remuxes etc that stream perfect.
USB 3.1 is nice.
That's cool, I got my start on all this when I was in high school as well. Switching to Linux might be a bit of a learning curve for storage stuff, but it will be very rewarding and can open a lot of job opportunities in the future if you end up liking it. The ability to tinker can be quite addicting :)
Since I doubt you're quite ready to switch fully to Linux, it would be best to have a dedicated computer for your storage stuff. The reason is because Windows/MacOS won't be able to read the drives when formatted to ZFS, and thus your data will be inaccessible there when you're not booted into Linux. However, if you have a dedicated box for your storage, you can turn it into a NAS and share its storage with your other computers on the network, and thus they wouldn't need to understand ZFS. Such a dedicated machine doesn't have to be fancy, an old PC or laptop that you're not using would do just fine. If you don't have one, it might be worth spending some of that money on an old server from eBay, or even a cheap NUC-like machine that you can attach your drives to.
If the computer you end up using can't have all its drives directly attached, I would recommend getting a better drive enclosure like this one. It has some enhancements like UASP that can prevent the sorts of issues you might run into from lesser USB enclosures when subjected to heavy access like you'd get in a RAID, and is also really fast/attractive.
Software-wise, I'd recommend one of a couple choices:
Let me know what questions you have about any of this. I'm happy to help, though my responses may be a bit delayed. Work has me pretty busy lately.
I have one of these in the box that I'd trade for the US-24 if you're interested: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B06ZY6DK8N/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_search_asin_title?ie=UTF8&psc=1
I went with this:
TERRAMASTER D5-300C USB3.1
it's been perfect.
I have a 2 bay mediasonic thing but dont trust it..
Upvote for Terramaster. I've been running a DAS (Direct attached server - USB3) for over a year now. Mine is a 5 bay where the first two slots are RAID and the next three are independent drives, so it's identified as a 2 + 3. It's a D5-300C and it's on Amazon for $199. It's not everyone's taste in storage, many people want NAS with a CPU, but I just wanted simple storage for a budget price. I can also confirm that they have great customer service... quick and responsive. I had question during set-up and they were answered within an hour. Happy hunting!
Would this be a good raid drive?
Thank you for your detailed and thorough reply, I really appreciate it.
I checked Synology and QNAP and they’re all 400+$. I found this one on amazon, what do you think?
I could pair it with Seagate HDD or WD reds and that’d be a good build right? Got some speed in there and the option to have some disks under RAID 1.
There’s this storage solution I have had on my list for a while and I get really mixed opinions about it. Do you mind sharing your thoughts about it?
I think it could suit my needs; relatively cheap, a lot of storage and read/write speed goes up to 360 MB/s, meaning 1 TB of my SSD would take 45 min to transfer which would be ideal.
I’ve been told it’s a great bang for my buck and the speed is really good, and I’ve also been told the opposite...
I'm currently using a 5-bay Terramaster D5-300C
So far, so good with a 3-data-disk 2-parity-disk SnapRAID setup