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15 January 2015

Disk expansion


A persistent problem that I encounter with hard disks is the capacity limit. If only hard disks could expand like the Tardis.

My current setup at home involves a HP Microserver. It has four drive bays carrying two SSDs (for home directories) and two Western Digital RE4 2TB drives for bulk data storage (photos, source tarballs and other things that don't change often). Each pair of drives is mirrored. I chose the RE4 because I use RAID1 and they offer good performance and error recovery control which is useful in any RAID scenario.

When I put in the 2TB drives, I created a 1TB partition on each for Linux md RAID1 and another 1TB partition on each for BtrFs.

Later I added the SSDs and I chose BtrFs again as it had been working well for me.

Where to from here?

Since getting a 36 megapixel DSLR that produces 100MB raw images and 20MB JPEGs I've been filling up that 2TB faster than I could have ever imagined.

I've also noticed that vendors are offering much bigger NAS and archive disks so I'm tempted to upgrade.

First I looked at the Seagate Archive 8TB drives. 2TB bigger than the nearest competition. Discussion on Reddit suggests they don't have Error Recovery Control / TLER however and that leaves me feeling they are not the right solution for me.

Then I had a look at WD Red. Slightly less performant than the RE4 drives I run now, but with the possibility of 6TB per drive and a little cheaper. Apparently they have TLER though, just like the RE4 and other enterprise drives.

Will 6 or 8TB create new problems?

This all leaves me scratching my head and wondering about a couple of things though:

If anybody can share any feedback it would be really welcome.

tags: promote