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Topic # 160267 30-Dec-2014 16:57
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Following on from my data integrity thread I'm looking for a good NAS or similar system. My requirements are:
 - Min 4 disks, 6 would be nicer
 - Must have/support a file system that has error checking / correction such as ZFS or BFRFS
 - Pretty good performance - top top speed not required. I expect most should be able to saturate gigabit ethernet, which is about the speed of a hard drive
 - Should be relatively light on power usage as it will be on 24/7 - NOT an old PC
 - Slight preference for a prebuilt unit in a nice small case rather than a big PC.
 - Should ideally support having two disks in ZFS RAID 1 (mirrored) plus other disks just using ZFS outside of the RAID set. This is because some data I want well protected but other data I can tolerate the loss of from this device - I will have offsite backups too.
 - Clients will be Windows PCs and XBMC on R.Pi.
 - I don't need super fancy features like online backup, apps running on the box, etc. Just good performance and reliability.
 - I'm very technical so I can do just about anything, but prefer simplicity - tends to be more reliable that way too.

Budget ideally below $600, but $1000 would be absolute maximum as I still have to buy disks and I have to get agreement from the wife. I liked the prebuilt unit the FreeNAS website recommends but at US$1000 it's too expensive. I may be able to get a small case, server grade motherboard, ECC RAM, etc, but it sounds like a hassle - I do generally build my own PCs though.

Already browsing QNAP (few people have said to skip in other threads) and Synology units. Their prices are at the upper end of my budget, and then only if imported - shipping could make them too expensive. Not really interested in DROBO units. 

Replies may be a little slow but I will be back to read the thread :)




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  Reply # 1206174 30-Dec-2014 19:00
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I can't say off the top of my head that it fits ALL your criteria but after procrastinating for over a year I recently bought a Synology DS414 from Computer Lounge NZ.

I have to say it has by far exceeded my expectations and I am stoked with it. Had it about 2 weeks now. I have 2 x 2TB WD RED drives in it, will get another 2 after xmas.

Highly recommended.







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  Reply # 1206182 30-Dec-2014 19:16
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Synology made the best NAS units around. Period.

I only have a 213air which I picked up at recent PB Tech sale for 1/2 price and it was a true bargain.


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  Reply # 1206222 30-Dec-2014 20:24
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If you want to just pick up a NAS and put drives in it then the Synology DS412 would be a good choice. You will be paying closer to to $1000 once you add drives though.

FreeNAS is cool (i use it at home) but the Synology software is very very hard to beat. It's got so much flexibility and is dam easy to use.

If you were go to the FreeNAS route I would just look at any old motherboard with a couple PCIex16 slots for RAID (or just plan SATA) controllers and whack some drives in a box.



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  Reply # 1206230 30-Dec-2014 21:08
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Thanks for the thoughts so far all. The DS414 looks interesting, but it seems it uses EXT4 not ZFS or similar.

Wondering if FreeNAS would suit me better? I don't mind it being a bit of a project, but I do want rock solid reliability. FreeNAS says to use server class motherboard, Xeon CPU, ECC RAM, which all sounds pretty expensive and power hungry. However this guys says don't worry about it  and says why here. He's posted a recommended config here and a budget config here. Full config US$400, budget US$220. They could easily be extended to work with 6-8 drives. It'd cost more here no doubt.

Chevrolux, can FreeNAS do what I said, with some disks RAIDed and some not?

Can't read or post too much where I am but interested to hear thoughts.




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  Reply # 1206428 31-Dec-2014 13:36
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TBH (having read your other thread as well) I think you've become a little too obsessed by wanting a file system with error checking.




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  Reply # 1206432 31-Dec-2014 13:42
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sbiddle: TBH (having read your other thread as well) I think you've become a little too obsessed by wanting a file system with error checking.



Thanks for your opinion. No harm having it, slight speed and space overhead, significant potential benefits, so I'll likely keep it as a requirement.




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  Reply # 1206482 31-Dec-2014 14:17
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A pre-built NAS with ZFS are not that common  (other than the ones by ixsystems), some of the linux based systems use Fuse to run a ZFS module but the performance is pretty bad (REALLY bad).

I think IXsystems use the Supermicro Atom boards for their systems, like the Supermicro A1SRi-2758F, a really good board if you can handle it taking the lions share of your budget (8 cores, ECC support, lots of GBe ports, decent amount of SATA ports, and nice low power use!)
As to ECC .. go with ECC, you'll be swearing blue murder if in 6 months down the line things get munched .. is your data valuable to you ? :-)

If you want to get clever, you could put VMware ESXi onto the system and run a virtual FreeNAS, also allows you to fire up other VMs for other work as well :-)

Other things to think of ..

Skip hardware RAID controllers - ZFS for starters likes direct access to the disks and if the controller dies it's harder to find the same/compatible controller, doing RAID in software means you can move the disks to another computer and just import the config.
Skip encryption, just slows things down and makes it nigh on impossible to get your data out if your have a disaster.
Skip deduplication for anything other than large file shares (pointless for video, music and photo data)
Don't enable "internet access" to your NAS, you'll just get lots of "friends" trying to get in to it.
Have a backup/replication system in place .. make sure anything irreplaceable (family photos for example) get backed-up and sent somewhere else or replicated to another site.






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  Reply # 1206763 1-Jan-2015 10:36
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That board looks pretty awesome, not too badly priced, but with ram, case, psu etc may go over budget. Any similar but cheaper ideas? Good idea to visualise but think I'd stay simple at least to start with.

Ecc I'll have to consider more carefully. After a few days of burn in I'd expect errors to be very very rare. Given everything on the raid bookings will be backed up and some disks may be other file systems it may be a risk I'm willing to take. Depends on price really.




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  Reply # 1206813 1-Jan-2015 12:12
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timmmay: That board looks pretty awesome, not too badly priced, but with ram, case, psu etc may go over budget. Any similar but cheaper ideas? Good idea to visualise but think I'd stay simple at least to start with.

Ecc I'll have to consider more carefully. After a few days of burn in I'd expect errors to be very very rare. Given everything on the raid bookings will be backed up and some disks may be other file systems it may be a risk I'm willing to take. Depends on price really.


They do a few other models of varying specification :

http://www.supermicro.com.tw/products/motherboard/ATOM/

ASRock and Gigabytealso do motherboards based around the Atom C2750, probably cheaper than Supermicro.

RAM errors are quite common, I've an array at work with a bad DIMM waiting on replacement, and had a few other arrays over the years complain as well.

I think I read a report from Google a few years back on the subject, will see if I can dig it up.

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  Reply # 1206833 1-Jan-2015 12:50
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The most important hardware component when implementing ZFS is RAM this is the message from all the storage experts.
The more RAM you give ZFS it the happier and faster it is and it should be ECC where possible.


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  Reply # 1206836 1-Jan-2015 12:52
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I prefer my Thecus





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  Reply # 1206840 1-Jan-2015 13:11
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nakedmolerat: I prefer my Thecus


They are pretty good for home (I have an N4200Pro), the build quality inside is not so great mind but mine has been running for 3 years and apart from having bad SATA cables (which were replaced for free) it's done well .. got one drive complaining at the moment but I'm planning on swapping the 2TB drives for 4TB drives this year so if it fails
3rd party software support is excellent, lots of useful apps get ported to it but a small cadre of developers, but Thecus software support is a bit shonky, hit n miss if they help or not.
Bonus though it is one of the cheaper brands out there.

I'm tempted to take the plunge and work out how to get FreeNAS onto it :-)



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  Reply # 1206843 1-Jan-2015 13:20
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Mark: ... got one drive complaining at the moment but I'm planning on swapping the 2TB drives for 4TB drives this year so if it fails ...


Do it NOW! smile

Any "complaining" drive should be replaced immediately - unless your data is disposable.

/nag




Sideface


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  Reply # 1206854 1-Jan-2015 13:55
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Sideface:
Mark: ... got one drive complaining at the moment but I'm planning on swapping the 2TB drives for 4TB drives this year so if it fails ...


Do it NOW! smile

Any "complaining" drive should be replaced immediately - unless your data is disposable.

/nag


You mean practise what I preach at work ? ;-)

I know .. just it's still going and the credit card is already complaining about Christmas! One day I'll win that Lotto!



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  Reply # 1206870 1-Jan-2015 15:31
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Mark:
Sideface:
Mark: ... got one drive complaining at the moment but I'm planning on swapping the 2TB drives for 4TB drives this year so if it fails ...


Do it NOW! smile

Any "complaining" drive should be replaced immediately - unless your data is disposable.

/nag


You mean practise what I preach at work ? ;-)

I know .. just it's still going and the credit card is already complaining about Christmas! One day I'll win that Lotto!



It's still going unti ...




Sideface


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