So, i have been thinking about building a ZFS powered SAN, and today i started thinking about using USB keys and drives… Why? SATA controllers with more than 4 ports are not cheap!

So, the way i was thinking was as follows (If anyone knows about ZFS and SANs, tell me if this is completely off the wall!)

  • Buy a basic Board and Chip, some RAM and a couple of PCI Express or PCI USB controllers
  • Stick in 2 Western Digital Raptors (i have 2 Spare 74Gb 10k drives here) and use them for ZIL storage. Or split them so one is for ZIL, the other for Cache
  • attach some USB Drives to the machine. I was thinking 16 x 32Gb USB Keys, but realized i can get a 500Gb external drive that takes no external power for about the same price…

In theory, when writing and reading, the external drives would be slower than expected, but with the ZIL and Cache Drives, things should (in theory…) be faster… Any thoughs?