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I purchased the Dell MD1000 15 disk Direct Attached Storage Array in November. The enclosure itself is a JBOD system (Just a Bunch of Disks) because the controller inside does not support RAID. The RAID functionality of the system is achieved through implementing a PERC 5/e or 6/e controller in the server itself. The MD1000 can be daisy-chained for a total of three units supporting 45 disks. The MD1000 has dual controllers and dual power supplies for redundancy – something that should be expected in an expensive (albeit inexpensive in enterprise terms) product.

I have it hooked up to a PERC 5/e dual SAS (x4-type external) controller that supports RAID 0, 1, 5, 10, 50. Dell says you can configure the controller through pressing CTRL-R after the BIOS, but the tools are lackluster at best. Be sure to download Dell’s OpenManage system.

Below is my final configuration for my database and file server.

  1. 1 – “hot-spare” 73GB (SAS 15K Seagate)
  2. 4 – RAID 10 – 73 GB (SAS 15K Seagate)
  3. 10 – RAID 10 – 750 GB (SATA 7.2K Seagate)
  4. 2 – “cold-spare” 750 GB (SATA 7.2K Seagate)

Why not RAID 5? I don’t want the write-penalty that RAID 5 comes with, especially on a database server with the 4 SAS drives. The SATA array is cheap enough at $160 CDN per 750GB drive.

Overall I am satisfied with the system. The main concern was reliability. When a friend of mine brought up the fact that he could have done it less expensively with a computer in a large case and a bunch of drives, I agreed. With the MD1000 you get dual controllers, dual power supplies, and the ability to connect to two servers, which also helps if you are in a cluster. If you need network storage, definitely get a SAN array (not to be confused with NAS).

I have a decent crop of benchmarks of the test system before I finalized my configuration. I’ll post it later today once I get to a computer with Excel (or OpenOffice) to do some graphs.

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2 Responses to “Dell PowerVault MD1000 Direct Attached Storage”

  1. Jack

    I’d like to know if it’s possible to grow an array (assuming you don’t fill all drive bays at once) by adding same-size, single drives at a later date?


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