Voice File Storage (aka “storing a metric crap load of MP3s”)

We record every call we take for quality control reasons, and to protect our operators against nuisance callers etc. Anyway, everything is recorded by a rather ghetto (but very workable) system which records each call onto the soundcard of the workstation that’s taking the call. It’s then pushed into a queue on our main file server as a WAV file, the filename of which contains the ‘tag’ of the message for future matching up.


Then there’s a processor server than converts all these WAV files into MP3’s and dumps them onto a larger file server in this kind of fashion:


\bigassservervoicefiles200951thisfilename.mp3


This larger file server is currently running out of space however. It’s also used for our backup, and the 1.5GB/day of voice recordings is starting to take it’s toll.


So how should I store all these MP3s? The server doesn’t need to be fast at all. It probably writes 1gb day and reads maybe 100mb / day so it’s hardly stressed at all. Uptime isn’t an issue either. If it goes down, things just get queued up. The data however is quite ‘precious’. You certainly couldn’t replace it. The data is also incredibly unwieldy, you can’t just keep a 99% copy offsite easily.


A NAS device is probably the way forwards, but they come in so many flavours it’s difficult to know how to approach it. With a requirement of around 3TB of storage, there’s a few options available. I could buy an expensive single NAS, put my faith in RAID5 and cross my fingers that the device itself won’t break. I could buy a pair of cheap 2 bay NAS devices, run then with no RAID on at all and mirror the data across the boxes. This takes away the potential of the device breaking, but means that the devices WILL fail and at some point I will have to rebuild from the other box. Or you could spend even more cash and do a hybrid of those. A decent RAID5 3TB box, and a cheap 3TB non RAID mirror. 


Option 1 – ‘High End’ NAS device


NetGear ReadyNAS 1100 4x1TB Rackmount Network Storage (NAS) RNR4410-100EUS  – £1,566.99 inc vat


Pros:  Plug and play, 3TB of RAID5 storage, should work fine.
Cons: Could dump the data if the box goes pop or the RAID volume goes pop


Option 2 – 2 x low end NAS devices


2 x NetGear ReadyNAS Duo + 4 x 1.5TB drives  =  (£205 + £200)  x 2 = £810 inc vat


Pros: Protected against device failure.
Cons: A drive failure (which WILL happen) will take the whole device down


Option 3 – 1 x medium and 1 x low end


NetGear ReadyNAS NV+ 4 Bay + 4x1TB  = £459 + (4 x £80) = £779
NetGear ReadyNAS Duo + 2 x 1.5TB drives = £405
total of £1184 inc vat


Pros: Protected against device failure AND disk failure on primary device. Can spec 4 bay with 1.5TB drives to get an extra 1.5TB of unmirrored space.
Cons: Little bit more pricey than option 2, more work to admin than option 1. 


So which option would you go for, and why?


If money was no object I’d have one of these by now…..


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