Help me with storage/server solution

Discussion in 'SSDs & Data Storage' started by mattchapman, Oct 3, 2011.

  1. mattchapman

    mattchapman Gawd

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    Hi
    I currently have about 3Tb (and growing) of media (movies, music, pics) on internal hard drives in my main PC. I have a separate HTPC which accesses these files using the HomeGroup functionality in Win 7. I have to keep my Main PC on all the time so that my HTPC can read the data as needed so I'm thinking some kind of separate storage solutions is needed. I also have a laptop and it would be nice for that to be able to access all these files.

    From my research I think a NAS is needed. I see a lot of "NAS boxes" for sale online but the prices vary from a couple of hundred to up to $1000 and I'm not sure of what the key differences are.

    I also have read a few articles about building your own NAS box and using FreeNAS. I like that idea as I enjoy building stuff (I built my HTPC) and it's often cheaper.

    - I have about $300-$400 to spend on the solution (obviously less is better).
    - I'd need at least 4Tb storage with option to increase later.
    - I don't currently use RAID but perhaps I'm missing a benefit there.

    Any advice appreciated.
    Thanks
     
  2. drescherjm

    drescherjm [H]ardForum Junkie

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    I would buy 2 3TB 5400 RPM drives and call it a day. Although this depends on how much data you want to backup and if you want to relieve your win7 box of its server duties.
     
  3. Silenus

    Silenus Limp Gawd

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    Ok but...300-400 will barely get you 4TB worth of drives themselves, let alone the rest of the system. Not that you need much to make a competent nas but still, you might need to budget a little more. Unless you plan on using some of the drives you already have? What do you have (specifically)?
     
  4. Trepidati0n

    Trepidati0n [H]ardForum Junkie

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    I know you have a tight budget...but you are near the point of ignoring reality.

    If you want to spend $300-$400 including drives I would recommend just getting a new router that supports a 2x USB drives and attach the drives there. Performance will not be good, but it should be good enough to stream. Moving files will be painful (10 Mbyte/sec or less).

    If you are willing to spend $300-$400 + drives, then something like a HP MIcroserver running FreeNAS or ZFS will work. Buy 3x3TB drives and run them with a parity drive. This solutoin will run you ~$700 (if you get the drives on sale).

    A way to make it better would be to put two 3TB drives in the microserver (no parity) and two more in your main rig. Keep all files on the microserver and use something like syncback once a week (or at night). That way you at least have a fairly recent backup for not much more more cost. This will cost about $800. Add back in the parity drive and you have $900.



    The HP box has fairly good expansion (you can get up 6 drive running with a bit of elbow great (5 is easy). However, if using something like ZFS/FreeNAS and want to keep the pool as a single vdev, you will most likely have to rebuild it. This won't be bad since you have the soft backup on your main machine.

    Cheers..
     
  5. mattchapman

    mattchapman Gawd

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    As I already have 2x2Tb Samsung F4 drives in my main rig I can simply move those into the NAS box. So, no need to spend on drives.

    So, is my budget enough to build a NAS box?

    edit - sorry i posted this just before I saw Trepidati0n's response. I'll look into that.
     
  6. Trepidati0n

    Trepidati0n [H]ardForum Junkie

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    I assume you already have data on those drives. You just don't simply move the drives to another machine and magic happens in most cases. File systems are not universal between OS's. Have you taken that into account?
     
  7. mattchapman

    mattchapman Gawd

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    Hmm...no I had not accounted for that. Clearly my ignorance is showing :)
     
  8. ChrisBenn

    ChrisBenn Limp Gawd

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    So, including drives the cheapest I could put together a resonable NAS for is 430 - which is pretty close to your budget


    APEX MI-008 Black Steel Mini-ITX Tower Computer Case 250W Power Supply
    Item #: N82E16811154091
    $49.99

    HITACHI Deskstar 0S03230 3TB 5400 RPM SATA 6.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive -Bare Drive
    $129.99 each QTY 2

    Crucial 2GB 204-Pin DDR3 SO-DIMM DDR3 1066 (PC3 8500) Laptop Memory Model CT25664BC1067
    ($12.99 each) QTY 2

    ASUS AT5NM10T-I Intel Atom D525 (1.8GHz, Dual-Core) Intel NM10 Mini ITX Motherboard/CPU Combo
    $94.99

    Subtotal: $430.9


    You are giving up expandability - 4 SATA headers only on the motherboard, and only room for 3 drives in the case (or 2 drives and a cd )

    Otherwise should be plentry performant and able to cap out a Gbit ethernet connection.

    At 2 disks you can run the 2 3TB drives in raid-1 for 3TB of fault tolerant storate, or in JBOD mode for 6TB of storage.
     
  9. mattchapman

    mattchapman Gawd

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    Great, thanks.
    I presume I would simply partition off a small part of one of the drives for the OS (FreeNAS).


    Lastly, what am I getting buy building this instead of buying say one of these:
    http://www.tigerdirect.com/applications/SearchTools/item-details.asp?EdpNo=149536
     
  10. Dangman

    Dangman Ninja Editor SuperMod

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    The only problem I have with that build is the fact that case uses an Allied PSU. Allied is well known for making really shitty power supplies. So just to be aware of that if an issue crops up with that build.
    Significantly better performance. Longer warranty. More flexibility with OS choice.
     
  11. ChrisBenn

    ChrisBenn Limp Gawd

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    Re: PS
    Yep, acknowledged on the PSU - it's just one of those gotchas - it would be a place you could upgrade immediately or in the future. The case itself is also pretty mutable - I just picked a random one that looked decent - really any case will work, and if the OP has an old one hanging around that's an option.

    Re: DNS-320 d-link
    Pretty much what Danny Bui covered. Performance is going to be a biggie. You should be able to hit ~100Mbyte/sec read/writes with the atom setup, the D-link setup you are more likely to get 20-30MByte/sec.
    Here's a review of a faster version of that (DNS-325 - ~200)
    http://www.smallnetbuilder.com/nas/...ter-network-storage-reviewed?showall=&start=3

    You can also do more with the DIY build - and you have more potential expandability.

    What it really comes down to is what do you need - if 2 3TB drives will keep you set for the forseable future, and 20-30MByte sec is sufficient speed then the Dlink would be a reasonable choice.

    If you think you might want to expand in the future (which would probably impact case choice as well, though you could go esata), if you want more performance, or you want the ability to do other things with your nas (itunes server, vpn, etc.) then the diy solution pulls ahead. But performance is the biggie, you typically have to get into the 600-700 range to get full wirespeed from a decent (Read QNAP/Synology) nas.
     
  12. ChrisBenn

    ChrisBenn Limp Gawd

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    I would boot off of a USB drive or a random 2.5" laptop drive. I would (were I doing it) keep the 2 3TB drives in a raid-1 mirror.

    If you really aren't worried about disk failure and loosing all your data you have more flexibility in partitioning, etc. though.
     
  13. mattchapman

    mattchapman Gawd

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    This is helpful thanks.

    Finally, are 3TB drives considered stable/reliable? It seems 2TB was the new tech only recently.
    I worry a little with brand new tech. That said, with Raid 1 there is some built-in comfort.
     
  14. Silenus

    Silenus Limp Gawd

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    How about this idea then:

    Fractal Design Core 3000

    Antec Earth Watts 380 watt

    Asus E35M1-M Pro board

    Kingston 4GB DDR3 x 1

    Seagate 160GB 2.5" Boot drive (for ZFS system such as Open Indiana, Solaris Express, Nexenta)

    Samsung EcoGreen F4 2TB x 1 (adding to the 2 you have already, RAIDZ1).

    Total = $380

    PROS:
    - 4TB to start with RAIDZ1
    - 3 extra empty drive carriers in the case for expansion. This would require another SATA controller but by adding any cheap SATA card, perhaps a BR10i or M1015, for more sata ports you can throw 3 more 2TB drives in, make a second RAIDZ and expand pool to 8TB.
    - Very good NAS performance. If ZFS then also robust data integrity features above and beyond consumer NAS's.
    - Well within your starting budget
    - Should be cool and fairly quiet

    CONS:
    - You MUST offload your current data to some other place in order to incorporate your existing drives into a new nas you build. Borrow some space from a friend perhaps?
    - There is space in the case for expansion but would probably require adding additional SATA controller later (there is ONE free SATA in the above config)
    - Mid tower case is not the smallest case around but it does have free space for more drives later.
     
  15. Aesma

    Aesma [H]ard|Gawd

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    Can't you just put drives in your HTPC ?

    Also, RAID is not backup. Rather have no RAID but a real backup than the opposite.
     
  16. mattchapman

    mattchapman Gawd

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    No - HTPC is small and cool/quiet. Want the storage somewhere else.
     
  17. PointandClick

    PointandClick Limp Gawd

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    I don't think his budget is that unrealistic. His requirements seem to be pretty basic, sharing media to HTPC.

    I built my ZFS box for $500 including 3 2tb drives. It's not the best, but with an X4 it's still overkill.

    I think the best option would be to find an old machine with enough sata ports and slap FreeNAS on it. If down the line your needs expand or you want to add more functionality you'll have some time to save up a little more and do some research.
     
  18. Trepidati0n

    Trepidati0n [H]ardForum Junkie

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    USB enclosures....they tend to run cool and quiet and USB cables I think can go quite afew feet. Same result...just near the HTPC. Now, if you proudly display your equipment...then your point stands.
     
  19. mattchapman

    mattchapman Gawd

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    After some research on smallnetbuilder I found the QNAP TS-219P+ for only $299 may do the trick.
    It's a toss up between that and building my own thing which may be overkill for my needs.
     
  20. Trepidati0n

    Trepidati0n [H]ardForum Junkie

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    If you spend $299 on that box...that is your choice. However, that sort of comment is somewhat of a troll since you specifically said:

     
  21. Silenus

    Silenus Limp Gawd

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    But for only $80 more according to my build you are getting something hugely more capable, expandable, AND starts with double the storage (4TB) as opposed to the 2TB you'd get with the Qnap (assuming you did RAID 1). The only downside is of course the tower case I mention is quite a bit larger than the Qnap. But as long as you have some place to put it that shouldn't be a big problem.
     
  22. mattchapman

    mattchapman Gawd

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    What I realized is that there are 3TB drives which will allow me to go up to 6TB!
    Thought I was limited to using my existing 2TB drives.

    I think I was gung ho about building but came to realize it may be more complicated than my skills allow! I saw this box and thought that would be a quick,easy (plug n play) and tidy solution (but more expensive). 2Tb is not enough so I think I'd forego RAID and simply use JBOD.

    Appreciate all the advice, I will keep you posted.
     
  23. ChrisBenn

    ChrisBenn Limp Gawd

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    The QNAP is certainly a viable solution, and as long as you stick with QNAP or Synology for your NAS then you should get a quality product.

    What you are giving up is expandability, flexibility (run other software packages - qnap and synology have some limited ability to do this to), and speed. That said if the speed of the 219p is sufficient, and the lack of expandability and reduced flexibility aren't of value to you then there is no point in paying for them. And there's also something to be said for buying a ready to go device.

    I do think going JBOD is a big mistake though - are you really willing to potentially loose half (or all if Raid-0) of your data on your nas? If you want to go the NAS route there's a synology 4 disk unit for 359 at newegg - http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16822108066

    Also consider 2 3TB drives are 240 bucks for 6TB of JBOD (or 3TB of single disk fault tolerant)
    2TB drives are can be had for 60 each - which gives you 8TB for 240 JBOD, or 6TB usable in a raid-5 setup with single disk fault tolerance.

    So basically for the same price in drives you get single disk fault tolerance and the same usable space.
     
  24. Silenus

    Silenus Limp Gawd

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    Well perhaps you just need some encouragement. :) It wasn't that long ago that I knew basically nothing about a NAS...let alone the DIY kinds with fancy open solaris or FreeBSD based OS's. I'm sure many others here were the same way. Let me tell you...it's not as hard as it sounds! There is a lot help to be had here. Also there are step by step guides out there like Gea's guide to install Napp it on Nexenta/Open Indiana/Solaris. It's really not too bad and it's very rewarding to do everything yourself. If you have some old machine around you can try some practice setups before you buy any hardware. Alternatively there's always something like FreeNAS which should be even simpler.

    I'd also second ChrisBenn's comments that having no form of redundancy is more than a bit worrying with the amount of data your talking about. Indeed if you have JBOD (or RAID 0) AND no backup of that data (assuming it is at all important) that is a scary place to be! If you don't ALSO have a backup having drive redundancy via RAID is at least something, though it is not a replacement for a backup!