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SCSI Disk Farm

I volunteer assistance at several local schools in our rural district
and we have been very successful in setting up debian linux-based
servers that employ apache, squid, netatalk (for mac file sharing), and
samba (for windows file and printer sharing).

This success has lead us to experiment with 'electronic portfolios' in
which kids create a multimedia record of things they create over the
school year. We are just starting to burn CD's for each of them so they
can take their portfolios home (and we can archive their work).

However, it looks like we need to allocate .5-1 GB per kid for working
storage...2500 kids in 7 schools...200-1000GB per school...

Additionally, we have set up a very successful film/video/animation
program at the high school which is expanding there and being introduced
at lower grades - it has higher per student working storage

At any rate, we want to pilot a debian-based disk farm at the high
school, particularly to support the video program in the fall.

I am thinking of building a system based on a dual PII BX motherboard,
e.g. Supermicro, and then stringing a lot of SCSI disks on it, I guess
in 1 or 2 separate enclosures... I would like to use RAID 5, maybe with
the raidtools package (?). The system will NOT be used for video
capture, instead students will work on local machines and use the server
to store and retrieve their current work. I will tweak the network
infrastructure accordingly with switches and 100MB links. I'd like this
system to handle 100-200GB.

Does anyone have any pointers or words of wisdom about this? We are
always looking for the cheapest alternative, but management time is
expensive and this data is valuable, so I am preferring a BIG SCSI
server solution over the herd of smaller IDE-based servers we currently

Michael Laing

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