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Drjones
07-24-2011, 13:16
Hi guys.

I need more storage space.

For about 3-4 years, I have been running a Netgear ReadyNAS Duo and I have absolutely no complaints; it's a great little unit.

I also have one here at my office that I maintain for a buddy & his office that they access remotely, and it works well for them too.

I'm about at capacity on mine, though, and have been looking at my options.

What's largely responsible for rapidly eating my space are movies. I also have around 30 or so DVDs that I'd like to rip, compress, and store on my NAS so I can get rid of the physical discs.

My duo can only hold 2TB total (2x2TB drives mirrored). I just checked and it will not support the new 3TB drives.

I really have my eye on the Netgear Ultra 6, which is a 6-bay device that DOES support the new 3-TB drives.

But again, I'm weighing all my options and have given some thought to building my own NAS using FreeNAS.

My main goals are reliability and performance. I'm a little concerned with FreeNAS that it will (obviously) be a much more involved process, and I just don't know if I want the bother, especially when I'm probably only saving $2-$300 over the Ultra 6.

I was thinking that I have several old PCs sitting around, so I could just convert them into NAS, but the reality is, with the capacity that I want, I'll have to get a purpose-built case that can hold up to around 8 drives, and of course will need a Mobo with at least 6 SATA ports, etc. etc. etc....you see where I'm going with that.

The PC's I have are pretty old (P4, not much RAM) but most important, have IDE only....so, as I've been thinking this out more, it becomes more clear I'd really have to build something from scratch to get what I really want, which is a high-capacity (and high potential for expansion) and high-performance unit.

All my stuff in my office is gigabit with Cat6 cables, yet the best my little Duo can muster for file transfers is around 30mb/sec - it's just at the limits of its hardware. It streams HD video to my TV media player just fine, though.

I also have taken a brief look at Windows Home Server as an option - any thoughts there?

I guess I'm really leaning towards the ReadyNAS because I'm already familiar with them, I've sold several to clients and they work well for them, and they are simple. Expansion and replacement of failed drives is a snap; just pop in new drives, let it sit, and expansion/replacement happens automatically.

I guess I'm kind of making my own decision here; I'm really leaning towards the ReadyNAS Ultra 6....it's $800 without any drives. Seems to me that I couldn't build a NAS for less than about $500....not sure if the potential headaches (and at the very least, time spent learning the new system) are worth saving a few hundred $$$.

Anyway, just wanted some more input.

Thank you!! :wavey:

tous
07-27-2011, 05:42
If you have a spare $25,000, get a rack-mount 24-terrabyte direct-connect NAS.
Or, for a mere $75-100,000, a SAN might be what you're looking for.

:supergrin:

Good luck.

:wavey:

Pierre!
07-27-2011, 06:56
Well, if you got the $25K, you can build THREE of these!

How to build your own 135TB RAID6 storage pod for $7,384 (http://www.extremetech.com/computing/90634-how-to-build-your-own-135tb-raid6-storage-pod-for-7384)

Does that get me 'free storage for life'???

Should be enough for your needs... :supergrin:

JimmyN
07-27-2011, 07:05
And if 24 terrabytes will not be enough storage space for your NAS you could install FreeBSD or FreeNAS on a 64bit CPU and use the ZFS 128bit file system with virtual drive pools (zpools). Each zpool can hold up to 256 zettabytes, and you can have 2^64 zpools.

That would allow you to store and access 256 quadrillion zettabytes. You could also store single files as large as 16 exabytes, provided you are under the age of 30 and would live long enough to transfer such a file. :kidding:

IndyGunFreak
07-27-2011, 07:37
You can probably come in under $500 on a FreeNas box, if you shop wisely. It's only limitations will be your wallet.. :)

To me, the savings would be worth learning. FreeNas isn't *that* difficult.

Look at it this way, if it doesn't work out, you'll have a PC to install Linux on.. :rofl:

JimmyN
07-27-2011, 11:14
What's largely responsible for rapidly eating my space are movies. I also have around 30 or so DVDs that I'd like to rip, compress, and store on my NAS so I can get rid of the physical discs.

I currently have 128 DVD's, 22 Blu-ray's, my daughters iTunes collection, and 78 music CD's of my own stored on my FreeNAS here. Plus a crapload of stuff recorded from TV, and I haven't reached 40% of capacity yet. When it does I'll just add more drives or replace existing ones with larger capacity.



My main goals are reliability and performance.

The three FreeNAS boxes I've built have an accumulated run time of over 7 years now, not a minute of downtime, no file or disk errors, and the UNIX (UFS) filesystem automatically defrags itself as it works so there's no maintenance. I consider the FreeNAS version of FreeBSD to be 100% reliable.

The PC's I have are pretty old (P4, not much RAM) but most important, have IDE only....so, as I've been thinking this out more, it becomes more clear I'd really have to build something from scratch to get what I really want, which is a high-capacity (and high potential for expansion) and high-performance unit.

All of mine were built from Gateway P4 computers with 256 megs of ram. I've never seen more than 35% CPU utilization even when streaming two movies at the same time and even though I set up a small swap file when I install FreeNAS it's never used it. 256megs of RAM has been sufficient.

I had to add a 1gig NIC and a SATA adapter since the old Gateway's were also IDE only. But you only need a CD drive to install the OS. Once it's installed you can remove it. And you can use a CF adapter plugged into one of the IDE controllers for the OS, that will leave all your drive spaces free for data drives. You should be able to come up with 8 or more spaces even in a midtower case.

All my stuff in my office is gigabit with Cat6 cables, yet the best my little Duo can muster for file transfers is around 30mb/sec - it's just at the limits of its hardware. It streams HD video to my TV media player just fine, though.

Testing network speed with iperf, so it's a RAM to RAM transfer and you're not measuring read/write drive and controller limitations I get over 840Mbps transfer between my FreeNAS and the Windows boxes, and I still have Cat5 cabling. Streaming DVD requires about 10Mbps, and Blu-ray needs about 30Mbps or more.



Here is a FreeNAS traffic graph, while streaming a DVD to the media PC in the den, and a Blu-ray movie to my desktop at the same time.
218012


And this graph again shows the DVD and Blu-ray streaming, plus the green was three 25meg files I copied to FreeNAS from a third PC, all at the same time. The movies still play perfectly with no pauses or stuttering. Not bad for a PC that's well over a decade old with a P4 processor and 256 megs of RAM.
218013

Tackle
07-27-2011, 11:50
I know that this is my first post. But, have you ever looked into Openfiler for your NAS software?

I've compared it against other free nas/san software and have found it to perform better than the others.

We have 2 SAN's where I work (I'm a Sys Admin) running it. I don't have any details on performance or even a comparison to the other san software available. But it may be worth a look. Each san has 16 slots for drives. Currently we have 750GB drives, will be upgrading when the budget permits.

At home I have an old p4 box with 2gb ram setup with Openfiler and it connects to my ESXi server. I never have any issues with performance.

Currently I use iSCSI, but am looking at switching to NFS so I can mount the drives locally.

jasonvp
07-27-2011, 19:04
Anyway, just wanted some more input.

I built my own NAS using 4 1.5TB drives (hotness at the time) in a software RAID10 configuration. For the OS, I just used a plain-jane CentOS 5.x server install, trimming out a LOT of the cruft that I don't need. It was a very manual process to set up, but not difficult at all; I've been using Linux since the early 90s.

Pros:

Inexpensive. Probably spent more on the 4 drives than I did on the rest of the server.
I can run whatever drives I want without any limitation.
The OS is something I have complete control over.
Can run whatever RAID level I want to, as long as Linux supports it.

Cons:

No cutesy point-click-and-drool user interface to drive it. All CLI, all the time. (I like this, others may find it a problem)
Didn't build it with hot-swappable drive bays. Oh well.


I did consider various commercial NASs. The two at the top of my list were Thecus and QNap. The problem was that while both run a flavor of Linux, each had built-in, and quite stupid IMHO, limitations. For instance, Thecus wouldn't allow you SSH/CLI access to the box. QNap wouldn't support nested RAID, like RAID10. Both were somewhat pricey for essentially a box I'd get annoyed at quickly. In the end, it was just easier for me to build my own.

I kicked around some of the FreeNAS-like distros, but I found them either broken, annoying, or just not interesting enough. So I stuck with CentOS since it's an enterprise-level version of Linux.


bane# mdadm --detail /dev/md0
/dev/md0:
Version : 0.90
Creation Time : Mon Dec 14 15:30:09 2009
Raid Level : raid10
Array Size : 2930271744 (2794.52 GiB 3000.60 GB)
Used Dev Size : 1465135872 (1397.26 GiB 1500.30 GB)
Raid Devices : 4
Total Devices : 4
Preferred Minor : 0
Persistence : Superblock is persistent

Update Time : Wed Jul 27 21:03:26 2011
State : clean
Active Devices : 4
Working Devices : 4
Failed Devices : 0
Spare Devices : 0

Layout : near=2
Chunk Size : 256K

UUID : 627bde2a:421f8a14:4ddd579d:b46dcc4b
Events : 0.180

Number Major Minor RaidDevice State
0 8 17 0 active sync /dev/sdb1
1 8 33 1 active sync /dev/sdc1
2 8 49 2 active sync /dev/sdd1
3 8 65 3 active sync /dev/sde1


jas

srhoades
07-27-2011, 20:34
The one thing I do like about the newer Netgear Ready NAS's is that they run XRAID, which means you can host swap larger disks to increase the size of your RAID both horizontally and vertically.