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Comment Here's our solution. (Score 2, Informative) 574

We (The Binghamton University Computer Science Department) employ 2 debian raid servers. They make use of a 3ware ATA 12-port card and their (3ware's) hot-swap enclosures (whoever said hot-swapping with ATA is not possible is incorrect, we do it).

It uses a 9 external 5.25 bay case (enlight) with an Antec 550W power supply to handle the 12 drives (plus a seagate system drive in the internal 3.5" bay). This has worked very well.

We use Maxtor 300GB drives in one machine (RAID55) and have lost 5 of 20 drives we purchased in 6 months. The other uses Western Digital 200GB (RAID5), and we've lost 1 of 12 in a year. Manufacturer DOES matter. WD replaced our drive in days, Maxtor makes you jump through hoops and tries to deny the problem for a while, just to finally decide to replace the drive, then take 5-7 mroe days to get it to you.

All in all, these machines cost us under 7K each and perform very well. However, if I bought one today, I'd get 3ware's SATA card and Seagate's new 400GB SATA drives instead. Whoever said ATA cables are a pain was NOT wrong, and these drives would give much better performance.

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