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Data Storage

What NAS To Buy? 621 621

An anonymous reader writes "Currently, I'm running an old 4u Linux server for my private backup and storage needs. I could add new drives, but it's just way too bulky (and only IDE). For the sake of size and power efficiency I think about replacing it with a NAS solution, but cannot decide which one to get. The only requirements I have are capacity (>1.5TB) and RAID5. Samba/FTP/USB is enough. Since manufacturers always claim their system to be the best, I'd like to hear some suggestions from you Slashdot readers."
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What NAS To Buy?

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  • by scsirob (246572) on Monday June 30, 2008 @10:40AM (#24000411)

    ... then you will end up with another Linux box. Not necessarily bad, but NAS devices in your range are what you already have. Just packaged a bit nicer, with a customised web gui.

  • by Anrego (830717) * on Monday June 30, 2008 @10:41AM (#24000425)

    .. but unfortunately all the pre-built NAS cubes I`ve seen are way over priced. They usually end up costing about as much as a home built file server _without_ the drives.

    The way I look at it, by building your own, at least you can also use it for other things (if it's just a personal file server). I have a 3 TB file server that I also host virtual machines on. Even in software raid, with many drives, there is not much resource usage. If you buy a NAS cube, you are paying the same price or higher, and _just_ getting a file server.

  • Re:ReadyNAS NV+ (Score:3, Insightful)

    by TubeSteak (669689) on Monday June 30, 2008 @10:47AM (#24000565) Journal

    I'll recommend the NV+. ... 4 bays expand up to 4TB.

    Is there any practical reason why the hardware is limited to 4 x 1 TB?
    Would it have cost them extra to code in support for 4 x 2 TB?

  • by Lumpy (12016) on Monday June 30, 2008 @10:59AM (#24000799) Homepage

    My new NAS box uses less. But then I used a Via based board that uses 5W of power.

    Honestly, build a freeNAS right and you get a cube AND low power use. My old Netgear NAS worked as a space heater and used 120Watts of power.

    Cripes motherboards with a 1Ghz C7 processor are dirt cheap, stuff it in a cheap cube PC case and shoehorn in 4 drives and you are golden.

  • TrueCrypt? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by scorp1us (235526) on Monday June 30, 2008 @11:03AM (#24000881) Journal

    I'd love a NAS that supported TrueCrypt drives!

    Anyone know of any? The problem I have is the small NAS stuff is portable, and I can leave it somewhere or, on occasion, has grown legs and walked.

  • by rtilghman (736281) on Monday June 30, 2008 @11:07AM (#24000955)

    The fact that the USB port that the share uses throttles your data access to a crawl... I'd call that "crappy".

    The current drobo is not a purchasable unit for network service, period. If you like the Drobo wait for the 2nd gen, which will undoubtedly have native gigabit ethernet support.


  • by hagardtroll (562208) on Monday June 30, 2008 @11:17AM (#24001159) Journal
    She's a hardware pimp. Try getting references from someone who isn't being paid to pimp their products.
  • by street struttin' (1249972) on Monday June 30, 2008 @11:24AM (#24001335)
    With any of these RAID methods make sure you pay attention to your disk controllers as well. If you have a controller go out and all the disks on that controller go with it, what happens to your array? Things to keep in mind...
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 30, 2008 @11:26AM (#24001373)

    P4 was never the best chip. Netburst was an abomination.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 30, 2008 @11:38AM (#24001613)

    RAID6 allows you to lose *any* two drives.

    With RAID10, if you lose two drives that happen to be mirroring the same stripe, you lose data.

    OTOH, you can lose half of your drives if they're the right half.

  • by CharlieHedlin (102121) on Monday June 30, 2008 @11:40AM (#24001657)

    Agreed. At BEST raid protects against some (most common) hardware failures, but it doesn't protect against ANY software or user failures.

    And you are still vulnerable to fire, flood, lightning, or anything else that can take out the entire array at once.

    Never let RAID replace backups. NEVER!

    We use RAID 10 extensively on our main server, but we need every bit of both write and read performance for the database. We have 12 smaller drives in order to get the most IO operations per second.

  • by umrguy76 (114837) on Monday June 30, 2008 @01:00PM (#24003109) Homepage

    .... and the only problem with that is with DELL, there is no warning when the drives fail. I made the mistake of using a DELL enterprise solution: DELL servers only check for drive failure on boot up.

    I don't know which Dell "enterprise solution" you are talking about, but our hundreds of PowerEdge servers here at work happily report any hardware problems through SNMP (which is tied to Dell OpenManage).

    I currently have a dead enterprise server with two failed drives.

    I would recommend hiring a sysadmin to manage your enterprise server.

  • Re:ReadyNAS NV+ (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 30, 2008 @01:10PM (#24003321)

    I'll second this. I've got their Duo model (only two drives, and some "corporate" features removed but otherwise equivalent) and love it. Root shell access is provided by the company - no hacking required - but I can't say that I've ever really needed it.

    It's a tad under-powered, for example, when listing a 5000 song iTunes (Firefly) library, but the TCP/IP offload engine they're using keeps file transfers nice and quick.

    RAID-X, as they're calling it, worked beautifully when I upgraded from the single disk to a mirrored volume.

  • Re:ReadyNAS (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Fallon (33975) <Devin@Noel.Gmail@com> on Monday June 30, 2008 @02:12PM (#24004409) Homepage Journal
    I've got a ReadyNAS NV+ (formerly Infrant, now Netgear) and really like it. I'll happily recommend it to anybody. Prices after the Netgear buyout went up a bit, but it's still a decent option if you can afford it.

    Their forums have lots of good technical moderators who interact a lot. It runs Linux under the hood, and they will happily tell you how to tweak things that can't really be officially supported. Netgear hasn't seemed to mess up the good support and online community Infrant got started from what I can tell.

    I had the power supply die, and they RMA'd it quickly. When I got the replacement back I had some issues with getting it to recognize my old disks (OS version for the new NAS was lower than the one from the old NAS, and you need the disks in the NAS when you upgrade it as things get written to flash and the disks).

    It's very quite and doesn't use nearly as much juice as a real PC, and can be officially or unofficial setup to serve HTTP, SSH, pull BitTorrent, serve streaming media & piles of other stuff.
  • Re:FreeNAS (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Kjella (173770) on Monday June 30, 2008 @03:13PM (#24005297) Homepage

    Funny how upset some people can get when their free (in both ways) software doesn't come with an official warranty or technical support.

    And that last part - he seems to think you're fighting for his patronage as if he was a customer. Ungrateful little...

    If you want to be an asshat, why are you hanging out in a troubleshooting forum responding to someone that asks for help? I can take a RTFMing if I've deserved it, silent ignorance as in "not my problem" or "try paid support" too, but if you're just there to berate me rather than try helping me you can just FUCK OFF. Yes, I know I come asking for help and can't demand anything, but when you start out that samba is perfect and it MUST be something else wrong you're worse then useless since he's wasting his time and mine. And yeah, I didn't pay anything so right then I thought "free and USELESS - well at least I got what I paid for" and considered nuking the Linux server in favor of Windows too, that I'd maybe listened to too much slashdot bullshit about how good Linux was supposed to be. Good thing I came over that, but I certainly understood where the "Linux? Bunch of hippie zealots, claim it's fucking fantastic but it's only shit and even basic stuff doesn't work and they just get nasty if you tell them" crowd comes from. Patronage? I think he was insulted at the possibility that there might be a bug in the holy Product and not a PEBCAK.

  • by pyite69 (463042) on Monday June 30, 2008 @03:15PM (#24005327)

    I don't want to nitpick too much, but RAID 5 is faster for most garden variety storage needs, and for any sort of read access. Obviously you would never want to use it for a database or a swap file if you can avoid it - it is much slower any time you are writing out data in sizes that are smaller than the block size (and some controllers just suck, too).

    I prefer RAID 10 though, but not for performance. And of course you must remember that RAID helps with failover, not backups.

  • Re:ReadyNAS (Score:2, Insightful)

    by peas_n_carrots (1025360) on Monday June 30, 2008 @04:03PM (#24006197)
    $900 seems a bit steep for home users. For half that price, one could buy a used low-power laptop with Gigabit Ethernet. Most laptops sold in the last couple years have GbE built in. Use either USB enclosures, or for eSATA enclosures buy a PCMCIA eSATA card. Run whichever OS you like (Windows, Linux etc) and remotely log into it to administer. That'd be alot more flexible than a limited NAS CPU/OS, and power consumption should be low enough.
  • Re:FreeNAS (Score:4, Insightful)

    by cbreaker (561297) on Monday June 30, 2008 @04:06PM (#24006231) Journal

    Saying "Get a SAN instead" is like telling someone to "Get a LAN instead" when they're asking what web server to use.

    And really, a SAN Storage device such as a Clariion is pretty much the same as a NAS except the interface is different - and in the case of iSCSI, the interface is actually the same.

    The line between "SAN Storage" and "NAS" is really blurred these days.

  • Re:ReadyNAS NV+ (Score:2, Insightful)

    by cheddarlump (834186) on Monday June 30, 2008 @04:21PM (#24006481)

    Not bad, unless write performance isn't an issue.. I've got the newest firmware, jumbo frames on, and a Gig-E interface, and I can't get more than 8MB/sec to the stupid thing. Granted, I'm runnig a RAID 1 setup, but 1TB drives are capable of SO much better. Read performance is decent, however, at around 40MB/sec.

  • Re:TrueCrypt? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by photomonkey (987563) on Monday June 30, 2008 @05:38PM (#24007725)

    Not trolling, as this is a serious question:

    What data do you have that is so important as to require TrueCrypt, and yet is something that would be carried around off-site?

  • by AmiMoJo (196126) <mojo@worl[ ]net ['d3.' in gap]> on Tuesday July 01, 2008 @03:14AM (#24012655) Homepage

    A lower power PC is ideal for this sort of thing, for a few reasons. An underclocked and undervolted Sempron is ideal, and will only use maybe 40-50W including the HDDs so should only cost a few pounds a month to run at most (try []).

    I use Windows XP for mine. I connect other PCs and an XBOX via Samba, but of course FTP/NFS etc are also possible. Windows has the advantage of NTFS, which is robust and supports Unicode fully. Performance over gigabit is descent, up to 60MB/sec.

    I can also run other useful stuff on the box, including BitTorrent, Tor and weekly anti-virus scans. It's handy to have an always-on general purpose box. Admin is via VNC.

    The only real down side of using Windows is that power saving for HDDs sucks. Ideally they would spin down when not in use, but with Windows it just doesn't work. If you want mounted volumes on the drives, periodic access (even with crap like System Restore and the Indexing Service disabled) prevents them from staying spun down for more than a minute or two.

  • Re:ReadyNAS NV+ (Score:2, Insightful)

    by qrwe (625937) on Tuesday July 01, 2008 @03:26AM (#24012717) Homepage Journal
    ...and uses their homebaked "X-RAID", which allows automatic expanding when adding larger drives with single drive failure protection. I've tried it, works fine! The drives are not Netgear specific, but can be added from any SATA-manufacturer.
  • by turbidostato (878842) on Thursday July 03, 2008 @02:03PM (#24047823)

    "Personally, for a file server I wouldn't touch sata drives at all if I could help it. Ruddy unreliable pieces of metal. Sas is a much better option. Shame its so damn pricey"

    I can say I use extensively both of them (well, not so extensively, in the dozens) and I can't see any significant differences in reliability (both are quite reliable and awesome per 5-10 years ago standards). SAS is so much fast on typical filesystem usage (not that surprising since I use 7500RMP big 500/750GB SATA against 10000RPM 75GB SAS) but not more reliable.

    Of course there *is* a difference between disks -both SAS or SATA, within the server room and those -again, both SATA and SAS, out of the server room but, again, that's expected.

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