NAS vs. DAS vs. other

Joined
Jan 30, 2003
Messages
3,222
I've been tentatively exploring the idea of setting up a NAS or other type of mass storage device, and would value some input. Majority of the storage would be used for my home media collection. My current setup (combo HTPC / Plex server) is -

Dell Optiplex 9020 SFF PC
i7-4790
24gb RAM (non-ECC)
2gb R7 250 video card
250gb 850 EVO SSD boot drive
2x4TB USB externals
4x5TB USB externals

I've got all but ~5TB of the above full, and each time I've added a new USB drive, I've thought a bit more about how a more elegant solution may make sense.

Given the specs of the above system, I think that I could get away with something pretty simple from a server perspective and let the existing PC continue to do all the required transcoding etc for Plex. I'm considering a few options -

1 - pick up a cheap server, drop in my own drives, set up as a basic NAS. Something along the lines of a Dell T20, Lenovo TS140 or TS440 - these go on sale pretty often and probably fit the bill. I like the TS440 over the other two because I'm not maxed out at 6 drives.
2 - build a custom NAS from ground up and load something like FreeNAS on it to run. More customizable, but more work and potentially not as cost effective as waiting on a deal on one of the above configs.
3 - set up a DAS instead of a NAS. It appears the Lenovo ThinkServer SA120 can be picked up for a few hundred dollars on ebay. This has slots for 12x 3.5" drives, would fit in my home theater setup, and could connect to existing PC with a SAS adapter
4 - pre configured NAS like a Synology or Qnap. Easy to set up, seemingly less bang for the buck
5 - other suggestions?

3 seems like an interesting option given I have a pretty powerful PC that is already acting as a server, and there are just so many drive bays on that thing... but what does [H] think?

Thanks.
 

Bookmage

Gawd
Joined
Sep 2, 2004
Messages
673
Option 1 & 2 are close enough to the same thing that it's just a matter of your time vs your money... Those servers are cheap enough and enterprise reliable enough, you might not want to spend the time/effort to building your own server. For a gaming/performance PC then possibly, but for a server to sit there for a number of years, I'd just pick up a cheap server now and then add a SAS HBA later and expand with a DAS enclosure.
I was looking at hte Lenovo SA120 since it seems to be pretty cheap on ebay... Could also be useful for upgrading an existing array w/o swapping drives one at a time...

A NAS like QNAP or Synology is a good network solution which would allow you to shut down your main computer... I've got a QNAP for some VM testing and being used to share some USB enclosures. But it is not good $/TB... Easy to setup, but Option 1/2 are more cost efficient
 

izx

Limp Gawd
Joined
Jul 30, 2007
Messages
308
If your HTPC is always on AND if it's extremely stable (no dodgy overclocking, etc.) AND you don't envision a dedicated server doing any secondary tasks, the simplest plug-and-play solution is (3). Fairly cheap and not at all time-intensive.

Remember that server chassis like the SA120 can be pretty noisy, so you may need to mod/replace the fans and/or situate it out of the way. Fortunately, SAS cables can be quite long.

The other question is drive capacity: what are you going to do with the existing externals? "Shuck" the drives and put them in the DAS? Get all-new 6TB drives? What happens when the SA120 is full and you need more room -- cascade it to another SA120?
 
D

Deleted member 88227

Guest
I was in a similar situation. My HTPC was still plenty powerful enough to handle the Plex Server, but instead I built a similar NAS using a case that could hold a lot of HDDs and be quiet. Loaded it with 3TB drives and now I've got a NAS running Plex Server and over 21TB worth of storage with room to add more drives later.

Specs of my HTPC and NAS are in my signature.
 
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