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Storage Homebuilt NAS?

Discussion in 'Hardware' started by GeorgeStorm, 24 Apr 2012.

  1. Andre_B

    Andre_B Minimodder

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    GeorgeStorm, please listen to these guys. Some of them learnt the hard way and don't want you to make the same mistake. You're getting VERY good advice. I recommend you take it.
     
  2. Shirty

    Shirty W*nker! Super Moderator

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    Good advice in this thread.

    Personally I have a 128GB SSD backing up directly to a 250GB hard disk, this contains my OS.

    Then I have 2 x 1TB drives in RAID1 which contain data/installs. These are backed up to an external 1TB drive which is stored offsite.

    I also back up my most cherished media to the cloud (photos mainly), partially for security and partially for ease of access away from home.

    Finally, I have a spare 1TB drive with which to rebuild the RAID1 array should a drive fail.

    Although many more option exist, and NAS is quite a popular option, I think my setup is pretty sound for a home user.
     
  3. 3lusive

    3lusive Minimodder

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    Then why don't you just backup the really important stuff that you'd be bothered about losing to an external 1TB or a pair of 1TB drives (and the really really important stuff on other forms of backup like online or usb pendrives).

    If you have shed loads of media that you've just collected/torrented but don't use on a regular basis, just either get rid of it or don't back it up if you're really not bothered about it.
     
  4. Pookeyhead

    Pookeyhead It's big, and it's clever.

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    Thank you. I'm not just being a pedantic arse here. I genuinely want you to make the right choice here. You are amassing large amounts of irreplaceable data. Once it's gone, it's gone. Sure, spending cash on a nice RAID system is desirable. You see benefits immediately.. it's sexy and fast and gives you e-peen. Back up? That's just dead money right? You spend cash (quite a lot in your case) on HDDs... and never seem to actually USE them for anything... they just back up data.... the same data you already have... they give no immediate reward.

    They will one day save your irreplaceable data and you will get on your knees and thank the common sense that you (possibly years ago) decided to invest in buying and maintaining a back up system.

    I no longer lose data, and I'd have to be HUGELY unlucky to lose any now. That wasn't always the case though. I have lost data, and depending upon what that data is, it can be genuinely heartbreaking. Please listen to us. Shiny fast things.... or insurance against data loss.. simple choice really. Drives fail with alarming regularity. If it hasn't happened to you yet, you've been lucky. Luck runs out though... it's the nature of luck.
     
  5. spolsh

    spolsh Multimodder

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    What 3lusive said, get a cheap external drive to back up your pics etc. (that you can never get back). 1TB will hold a lot of personal pics etc. that you'd never be able to get hold of again. Most other things music/films/games etc. you can always replace, so you don't really need to back these up (unless maybe it is rare or no longer available). If you want you can always get a fireproof box to keep it in, but then remember to manually back up when you've got a new batch of photo's or whatever ready on the PC. You could even burn DVD's or blu-rays of your really precious stuff - i include photo's in this - if you've got pics of the kids or whatever, you really would be gutted if you lost them.
     
  6. Pookeyhead

    Pookeyhead It's big, and it's clever.

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    If you're not creating proper drive images, and just backing up files and folders, then AllWay Sync is amazing for this. It can be scheduled using Windows' own schedule service, and it's never yet let me down. I use it to mirror my main server.

    Free to download and use up to a data limit, then needs purchasing, but well worth the cash.
     
  7. GeorgeStorm

    GeorgeStorm Aggressive PC Builder

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    Haven't read all the responses yet, but I'm not ignoring the advice, I haven't said I won't go for backup.

    Don't like the tone of some of the posts, I'm not retarded, I'm just struggling with the idea of spending so much on HDDs, I'm not made of money, and it's a serious decision.

    Edit:
    Right, having read through the replies properly, I'll reiterate.
    I haven't made my mind up either way, so I'm not ignoring advice, I only suggested RAID in the first place since a friend suggested it, and I've no idea on the subject, so I thought I'd ask here, get opinions from people who've used it etc, and I've got the opinions, and then some replies have been a little rude in my opinion.
    It's fairly rare I come here to ask questions, but the community can really come across badly :/

    So as I've asked before, are there any consumer solutions, like drobo, except purely for backup? (so won't cost as much hopefully :p)
     
  8. Pookeyhead

    Pookeyhead It's big, and it's clever.

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    If you're not going RAID, then almost any NAS box will be fine as a back up device. All you'd be looking for is enough drive bays to allow the space you need for back up. They all have other features such as being able to work as a torrent box, and have sync ability etc... just read specs to check what each has, but for back up, they'll all work reasonably well. Just ensure it has a gigabit Ethernet connection, not 100Mb Ethernet, as backing up at 10MB/sec is painful!.. as is 100Mb Ethernet. You need gigabit... BUT... there's another factor to consider here... do you have a gigabit router? If not, no matter what you do, ANY network attached storage will be limited to the speed of your router. If you have a 100Mb router, then everything on your network will be gimped to 12MB/sec tops!

    Something like this will do or a Drobo FS. They come without HDDs though obviously. Cheaper Drobo boxes are USB and Firewire only.. so make sure that the NAS you choose is gigabit ethernet capable so you can have the NAS box away from your desktop and hidden away somewhere to make theft less likely should someone break in. Also.. USB 2.0 and Firewire will only net you around 12MB/sec transfer rates.... which is too slow for back up.


    Most NAS boxes allow you to run in RAID1 and RAID5 also. If the NAS is JUST being used for back up and not as storage of this data, then having it configured as RAID is not a bad idea, as it's your BACK UP that uses RAID. What we're all saying to you is don't RAID all your current disks and then use them as you are doing now.. as storage... and not have any disks left for back up. Having redundancy built into your BACK UP is a different matter. This is why a NAS box is a good idea. You could for instance just throw 3x 3TB disks at it, and run it JBOD for a single 9TB back up device, or RAID5 it and have 6TB of back up space with redundancy. If something goes wrong with the NAS, then you haven't lost your data... you've lost your back up. However.... just build or buy something to RAID your disks and then just continue to use it as storage as you are now, then your data is still in one place, even if it is RAID5... and is NOT backed up.

    Also... RAID5 from a NAS box will NOT be fast... especially when writing. For fast RAID5 you need a dedicated RAID controller... a hardware one with a dedicated processor for parity calculations. Software RAID and NAS boxes are usually pretty pedestrian in performance in RAID5. To give you an example. I have two RAID5 servers: One is storage and streams to to the desktop machines, and for back ups of those machines, and the second RAID5 server is purely a mirror of the first.. that's all it does - a back up of the back up. Both RAID5 servers are using the same HDDs, but server one is a proper PC (albeit a very low power one) with a proper, reasonably high end RAID card, the mirror server is a Thecus N3200 Pro NAS box. Both servers use the same drives remember. The main server can be written to directly at over 250MB/sec. he NAS box can be written to at 20MB/sec. That's the because the RAID card in the main server is dedicated to this task, and is faster. The NAS box uses (in the Thecus's case) a small AMD Geode processor for parity calculations. Others use a Atom processor... but they'll always be a shared processor that's running a a OS of some kind, AND doing parity calculations for RAID. A dedicated hardware RAID card however, will have a more powerful processor designed to do just one thing: parity for the RAID.

    Just remember though, when deciding how much performance you want... the back ups will be over ethernet if you are (sensibly) hiding the back up server away somewhere. Therefore, you are capped at a theoretical 112MB/sec over a gigabit connection. In reality, my back from my desktop, to my main server over ethernet runs at around 90 to 100MB/sec (there's always some overhead even if you're the only traffic on the connection).. but will still obviously be only 25MB/sec over ethernet to my NAS. So even over a gigabit connection, backup to a NAS can be too slow if configured for RAID5.

    I hope that helps, and I hope you don't consider me as coming across rude, but watching someone ignore advice on back up like this when you KNOW one day they'll lose their data is painful. We all, even the ones losing patience here, are trying to get you to get a back up system first rather than RAID. Although having a back up system that IS RAID is not what we're against.... it's RAIDing your current storage, and just continuing to use it as storage and having no back up.
     
    Last edited: 25 Apr 2012
  9. Taniniver

    Taniniver Minimodder

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    I agree the tone of some of the replies got a bit harsh, but they are only doing it because they hate to see people treating RAID as if it's a backup. Perhaps it would help if some users here share their personal horror stories of how RAID has failed them?

    I'll share mine for starters - I had 4x 500 Gb Western Digital disks in a RAID5 array. It was using the Intel chipset RAID, ICH9R southbridge, but the performance was fine - 200+ MB/sec read and write. I can't even remember what caused the reboot, if it was a power interruption or BSOD or what, but it doesn't really matter.

    What matters is that after an unexpected reboot, the array was in degraded status whilst it needed to verify itself - nothing new there, that had happened before. What was new though was that the verification processed stopped at 23% and the drive became inaccessible. Rebooting found it still inaccessible. Rebooting again caused the verification to start from 0% again (with the data accessible again), but again it stopped at 23%. And again. And again. At this point I decided I needed to get the data off there. Luckily it was still available (in degraded state) for a while before it got to 23% verification and locked up each time. I bought a big drive and copied the data to it.

    The day after, whilst I was still trying to fix it (but having got the data off at this point) it went to the 23% verification again and then just stopped there, not able to access the drive. It wouldn't respond to the command to re-verify the array, it wouldn't restart the verification process, nothing. The data had become inaccessible.

    Lucky for me I had managed to get the data off before it became totally unreadable, but I learned my lesson. Now I backup once per month to a regular hard drive (I bought an internal one, didn't bother with an enclosure) which I connect via eSATA to update the backup, then it lives off-site at work when I'm not using it.

    Sure it costs me more, since I effectively have to buy twice the capacity, but I've got about 1800 Gb of data. Truth be told not very much of it is irreplaceable, I could probably get away with only backing up less than 500 Gb of really essential stuff, but it would be a heck of a lot of time and effort to restore the rest if it was lost, so I bite the bullet and pay the price.
     
  10. GeorgeStorm

    GeorgeStorm Aggressive PC Builder

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    They were the kinda replies I was looking for.

    I'm not bothered about having RAID really, based on what people have said etc, I mean, unless the same drive dies at the same time in both my backup and main PC, then I should lose any data.

    Something I've had the thought of was combinging my backup with the family media pc I was intending to make for them over the summer.

    So every couple of months I'd have a big backup of everything, and then I'd backup photos etc to a local backup more regularly.
    This would help offset the cost, since I'm already intending on building them a PC with a bit of space for recording etc, and this way they'd have access to my media collection aswell.

    The issue with going for a NAS solution is the cost, since it would probably be £500+ just for the drives and the NAS. Whereas if I could combine my backup with the family media PC, then hopefully would be a better use of monies.

    Not sure how much power I'd need for a media pc which could be used to view 1080p films etc though
     
  11. IvanIvanovich

    IvanIvanovich будет глотать вашу душу.

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    You don't need much of a system really. An Atom/Ion or E350 is enough to handle a media server nicely. I have a Zotac H67 with Pentium g620 which does the job for me. I chose that board since it was one of the very few mitx that has 6 sata ports and wanted to keep the pci-e slot free incase I needed gpu better than the intel hd2000.
     
  12. GeorgeStorm

    GeorgeStorm Aggressive PC Builder

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    Yeah, Parge is selling some stuff in the marketplace which I'm tempted by.
    Will just be running XBMC I reckon, so could run it from a usb drive, then have room for 4 3tb drives, which gives me a nice amount of potential expansion.
    Then would just have to pick up a half decent case, and a TV card, then I'll have killed 2 birds with 1 stone so to speak.
     
  13. GeorgeStorm

    GeorgeStorm Aggressive PC Builder

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    A HP Microserver has been suggested in my wanted thread.
    Don't know why I hadn't thought of it before, would work quite well as a backup machine no? And when I take the cashback into account, would be cheaper than a dedicated NAS device.

    If I were to build my own NAS, what case would people recommend?
     
  14. Fingers66

    Fingers66 Kiwi in London

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    I have two NAS', one a Synology DS211j (2 x 2TB RAID 1), another a home built S775 (4 x 1TB RAID 5). I backup the Synology to the home built OpenMediaVault NAS using rsync.

    All data for the PC's in the house resides on the Synology. I use a registry tool to make the Windows 7 public folders reside on a share on the Synology.

    It serves my current purpose but once I have built a new shed outside with power & ethernet, the home built NAS will go out there and I will probably look into a third option (e.g. Dropbox etc) as well.

    The Synology was the best purchase I have ever made, an awesome piece of kit.
     
  15. GeorgeStorm

    GeorgeStorm Aggressive PC Builder

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    So you would recommend an off the shelf product rather than a home grown solution so to speak?
     
  16. Fingers66

    Fingers66 Kiwi in London

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    I bought the Synology simply because it was smaller and quieter than any home built NAS I could build, not to mention the awesome DSM O/S.

    I already had a FreeNAS home built rig but I was sick of backing that up via USB and wanted to redirect the public folders on all PC's in the house (as mentioned before) to a NAS I could leave on all the time. I didn't want to leave the FreeNAS rig on all the time.

    I now only start up the home built NAS (replaced FreeNAS with OpenMediaVault) when I backup the Synology which is usually once a day.

    The only minor regret I have is that I didn't buy a four bay Synology to give me an upgrade path but to be honest, I only have just under 1TB of data on the Synology and can always go to 3TB or 4TB drives in future if needed.

    Did I mention the awesome DSM O/S? You can try it out here for yourself online.

    I paid (I think) £150 for the Synology DS211j, without HD's and I got the 2 x 2TB WD drives before the price rise making the total cost around £250.

    At the moment, the largest chunk of cost for building a NAS will be the HD's and what you buy will depend on your storage requirements.

    Just make sure you factor in a backup strategy/system for any NAS you build and rely upon to store irreplaceable data.
     
  17. GeorgeStorm

    GeorgeStorm Aggressive PC Builder

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    Fair enough, it is indeed a very nice system, currently I'm definitely leaning towards getting a microserver, since it seems pretty much perfect, both in terms of price, being a good £50 cheaper than other 4 bay NAS solutions, and also having more power than most, so gives me a little more to play with :)
     
  18. MSHunter

    MSHunter Minimodder

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    Has any tried the new 4 TB drives in the micro server? I know it can handle 3 TB drives but what about the new 4 TB?
     
  19. Fingers66

    Fingers66 Kiwi in London

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    If you want something that you can use for more than a NAS, home built is the way to go, it gives you more flexibility in future.
     
  20. phuzz

    phuzz This is a title

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    Doing a full backup is expensive, so perhaps look at what data you want to backup (as already suggested a couple of times here).
    Sort your data into category's, Stuff you absolutely can't afford to lose (eg family photos), stuff that would be a pain in the arse to loose (old coursework, hard to find media, save games), and stuff you can just re-download (most video and music, Steam games).

    Work out a backup strategy for the really important stuff first, even if it's just a USB disk you plug in once a week, then when/if you can afford it, you can add the less important data to your backups.

    Don't forget there's a variety of online storage providers, such as Dropbox, Mozy, GDrive etc which will probably give you enough space to backup at least some of your most important data.

    And remember, test your backups from time to time, there's nothing worse than finding that the file you accidentally deleted is also corrupt on your backup drive.
     

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