NUC DC3217BY with 16GB Ram
Windows 8.1 with iTunes (yes, I have had iTunes since the beginning)
Thunderbolt daisy chain >> LaCie 5big with 5x3TB drives >> LaCie Little Big Disk with 2x32GB Intel X25E SSD's >> Apple Thunderbolt to Gigabit Ethernet Adaptor
We have done a lot of interesting things with NUC's over the years at my work but this recent addition to my home was a fun exercise using leftover "bits" from around the office. We never found a use for the LaCie 5Big because Mac's have given up on Raid 5. The 5x3TB Hitachi drives were left over after we upgraded our NAS to 4TB drives. The Little Big Disk was my travelling editing drive. The two old (and once VERY expensive) Intel X25E 32GB SLC SSD's have been gathering dust for what seems like ages.
For those of you who have never used Microsoft Storage Spaces, now is probably a good time to start. With the release of Windows 8.1 (and Server 2012 r2) Microsoft introduced the concept of using SSD’s as write-back cache which has improved the write performance of their Parity Spaces considerably. All I had to do was use the Storage Spaces GUI to combine all seven drives into one space. Then I used the following PowerShell command to create the Virtual Disk:-
New-VirtualDisk -StoragePoolFriendlyName iTunesPool -FriendlyName iTunesLibrary -UseMaximumSize -ResiliencySettingName Parity -ProvisioningType Fixed -NumberOfColumns 5 -WriteCacheSize 30GB
(Update: Please ensure that you open PowerShell using "run as administrator" or you will have permissions issues)
Microsoft then automatically finds the two SSD’s for the write-back cache and combines the 5x3TB drives to give me 11.2TB of parity protected high speed Thunderbolt-attached space on my tiny little i3 NUC.
Over the past 24 hours I have been using iTunes HomeSharing to transfer my current work iTunes Library (on an old Mac Pro – with Raid 5) consisting of just over 8TB of content to my new NUC based home library. For most of the time, the transfer is limited by the network pipe running at around 90MBytes/sec but every so often it drops to 20MBytes/sec for a short while. During this time the poor little NUC i3 runs at 100% CPU while (I have now determined) Microsoft flushes its write-back cache to disk.
If Intel had only had the foresight to continue with a Thunderbolt port on my new i5 NUC’s, this probably wouldn’t have been a problem.
So when is my new Thunderbolt 2 i7 NUC being released?