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Construction Details

RAIDzilla front view
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Figure 1: RAIDzilla front view

Figure 1 shows the front view of the server, which is the only part you'll see when it is installed in a rack. Most of the front is taken up by the 16 hot-swap drive bays, with a little space left on the top for the floppy, control panel, and CD-ROM.

A case of 400GB drives
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Figure 2: The carton of hard drives

Figure 2 shows a freshly-opened carton of 20 400GB Seagate Seagate Barracuda 7200.8 disk drives. It is important that all drives be identical, down to the revision of the drive and firmware, for the best RAID performance. The best way to ensure that is to purchase a case lot from the manufacturer.

Hard drive cooling fans
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Figure 3: The hard drive cooling fans

In Figure 3, a view of the top of the chassis (with the cover removed), you can see the three large cooling fans that pull air in across the disk drives and then exhaust it out the back of the case.

The motherboard and power supply
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Figure 4: The motherboard, CPUs, and power supply

Figure 4 shows the back part of the case, where you can see the motherboard with two CPUs mounted (under the black plastic covers), and the triple redundant power supply on the right.

Expansion cards
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Figure 5: The expansion card area

In Figure 5, you can see a close-up picture of the expansion card area. The two 3Ware controllers are prominent in the center of the picture, with the disk cables exiting in a coil to the right. The wavy flat red and gray cables on the controllers connect to the 16 individual drive activity lights visible from the front.

At the bottom of the picture are the custom orange and white Ultra-320 SCSI cables which connect bulkheads on the back of the chassis to the two internal SCSI channels. These are used to attach devices such as DLT tape drives.

The memory
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Figure 6: 4GB of memory

Figure 6 shows a close-up shot of the two 2GB DIMMs. For someone who has been in the computer industry as long as I have, this type of density is amazing. The first memory board I purchased new (in 1978) was 16 inches square and a half- inch thick, held a whopping 8KBytes of memory, and cost $22,000. And that was considered a major accomplishment!

Added 5/3/1007 The Cost

RAIDzilla's cost breakdown is shown below. Keep in mind that these are 2004 prices and that the cost of some of the components has come down since then and others have been discontinued. Note that cable costs are not included, but were not a major factor.

Qty Component Price Notes
16 Seagate ST3400832AS SATA drives $2,384 (current price)
2 3Ware/AMCC 9500S-8MI RAID controller $ 769 (2004 price)
1 Ci Design SR316 case $1,234 (2004 price)
1 S2721-533 Tyan Thunder i7501 Pro Mobo $524 (2004 price)
2 KVR266X72RC25/1024 RAM $ 222 (current price)
1 BX80532KE3066D Xeon 3.06GHz Processor $ 309 (current price)
Total $5442  


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