Need more storage

A customer’s server has a raid 5 config that keeps filling up. I’ve added drives and rebuilt the array several times. But I’m at the point now that I think I should just add a huge external drive to combat this.
What are your thoughts. Suggestions?

Seeing as you have no budget or constraints listed I would go with the TrueNAS M Series. They are great!


Something under a grand.
I was thinking of just adding a DAS so that I wouldn’t have to configure the device much.
It will be connected to a hyperV host with a hyperv domain controller and hyperv terminal sever hosted in it.

Jeez. I installed FreeNas as a vm and it’s not very user friendly. Not sure if this is for me.

Check out Synology

Thanks Tom.
I was thinking of just adding a DAS like the WD duo or Buffalo duo to the file server.
Btw, your youtube channel is great!

Please don’t. A much better solution would be to get a storage shelf, like DS4243. You’ll get a 4U shelf, with 24 HDD drive bays, redundant power and so on. Buffalos are terrible as file servers, avoid using them long term in production.


Thanks. I think I’m going to go with Synology.

The Buffalo stuff is pretty crap, I have one at work I use for backing up a single PC to and it’s not fun to use or performant.

I’ve setup 2 Synology boxes as NVRs and from using them they were solid. The biggest complaint previously was bad internal PSUs, which is fixed now that they’re using external bricks. You can link the Synologies to Active Directory if that’s in play as well.

Using USB drives on a server as main storage is asking for trouble down the line, better to use the Synology and have proper SMART reporting. With SHR (Synology Hybrid RAID) you can start with 2 disks and add more as you need more capacity without losing any data, no need to backup and rebuild to expand.

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Personally we have no more RAID 5 in use anymore certainly for last 4 years or so. Anyone with large storage requirements long ago stopped using it. You should be asking yourself if you are having to change out drives and rebuild array, then you are delaying the inevitable and I hope you have a very reliable backup solution both on and offsite.

In short USB storage no way…In many respects adding a NAS or TrueNAS box is way to go if you can’t add a proper storage array direct to server.

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How many drives and of which capacity are in the array?
I would suggest getting the equal amount of drives in at least 2x the capacity and swap them 1 by 1.
This way you have doubled the capacity and can expand the volume later on.
Not knowing the rest of your network, makes it a bit difficult to suggest an external drive/array, since this can be counterproductive.

There are 5 sas 15k drives at the moment.
They are only 300gb each.

They are in a Dell Server 2012 which is a hyper-v Host for 2 hyper-v machines. One is a 2012 Domain Controller with AD and is the file server. The other vm is a 2012 terminal server.

Should I add more drives or add a NAS and move the data to the NAS?

Move the data from the file server over to a good NAS like Synology. Would that recoup enough space?

Once that’s done, you may want to look at shifting over to a RAID6 or RAID10 (you’d need 1 more disk), either are more preferable than RAID5. You could swap over to 600GB 15K drives for not that much, just make sure to get Hitatchi / HGST drives and not Seagates. The Seagate 15K Cheetas has a pretty horrid failure rate IIRC.

Not sure what controller you have, but check if the following is an option: 8x 1TB SSD in RAID 6. You will have 6TB of storage space. Or use a mirror set for each hyper-v machines and the remaining 4 SSD’s in raid 5 for host boot and storage. Personally I use desktop drives, less expensive than the enterprise disks. And keep some spares around with the change.

Would you recommend adding drives or adding a Synology NAS?

The controller is “Perc H730”.
So I suppose I backup the VM’s. Then pull out the old drives. Install the new drives. Rebuild the array, Re-install Windows Server, then restore the VMs. Correct?

That would be the best way, how many drive bays do you have and what form factor? I’m guessing this is a newer dell based on the H730? Something among the RX30 or RX40 line?

The best answer would probably be to do both, but baring that budget, Synology. You’d gain a few things

  1. You alleviate the storage constraints on your File Server
  2. Your AD server can just do AD functions and not deal with File Server roles
  3. If you build a decently specced Synology with say 10g you can use iSCSI to add it to your hypervisor as additional storage in the event if an issue. (Assuming 10g on the hypervisor)

It’s a Dell PowerEdge T630 with Perc H730.
There are currently 6 SAS 15k drives 300GB.
I have more drives that I can install.

Could I replace all these with larger SSD drives?
Should I do RAID 10?

Is this the 8 bay or 12 bay variant?

If possible I’d go RAID10 SSDs for the hypervisor. If you can only do 1 or the other, I’d go synology.

I 800GB SSDs have fallen in price for the most part, picking up a set of 6 or 8 SSDs in RAID 10 would be ideal.