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Hardware How to build a NAS box

Discussion in 'Article Discussion' started by Sifter3000, 23 Jul 2010.

  1. phuzz

    phuzz This is a title

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    Well, I can guarantee that the DFI LANParty UT nF3 250Gb boots without an AGP card in, and I'm sure I've tried another board that worked as well, (and obviously most boards designed to go in servers work too).

    If I just used DAS then my computer would have to be on when ever anyone needed access. Also, having a bit of physical distance between my desktop, and the server theoretically makes my backups more secure (although having it in the next room doesn't make much difference I suppose).
    The advantage having a more general purpose computer doing the serving is to allow stuff like DNLA streaming with transcoding, or an itunes library share. Sure, some appliance NAS's offer some of these services, but only for a price. Also, your FreeNAS can be upgraded to add support for new services (eg bit torrent).

    Not sure why you insist that it's not a 'proper' NAS if it's "if the file sharing management/replication/backup system is not integrated into a dedicated hardware ASIC", all the professional NAS's I've ever used have just been standard servers with lots of disks attached, our old one at work was a Dell 1U server, running w2k3 storage edition, with four 160Gb sata disks. (ok, that was a cheap one). Things like redundant PSUs are complete overkill for home use, it's not like it costs you anything if you can't view your holiday snaps for 10 mins while you swap in a new PSU.
     
  2. Iorek

    Iorek New Member

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    Boards i've seen work without a dedicated graphics, have all had onboard in one form or antoehr (ATI Rage ones often in servers) but i'll believe some exist that boot without graphics :)
     
  3. Dave_M

    Dave_M New Member

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    A lot of people might be disappointed with network throughput for NAS samba file sharing. If running gigabit ethernet, the best speed upgrade comes from changing the OS from windows xp or linux to windows 7. There are test documented on small net builder, but that is the gist of it.
     
  4. Pricester

    Pricester New Member

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    It's worth mentioning there are a couple of fairly decent Windows GUI clients for Transmission - as well as Mac and Linux variants - which connect to the "transmission-remote" service, and make it extremely convenient to use; ".torrent" files are associated with the app, so clicking a link on a website can automatically open the file and start the download.

    I actually use an NSLU2 running Debian (because I could follow the NSLU-linux install instructions for it) - so far, it's been great, but I've had two external drive caddies fail over the last two years!
     
  5. Iorek

    Iorek New Member

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    I've never noticed any serious problems with file sharing from Samba, if anything I've noticed the opposite and Samba actually quicker than Windows.
     
  6. Chimel

    Chimel New Member

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    Right, but a NAS system is also a computer that needs to be on 24/7, no difference there.

    Well, according to wikipedia, a NAS unit "is not designed to be a general purpose server." I agree that for home purpose, you need something more multi-purpose, but then this has nothing to do with NAS.

    It seems to me that "NAS" applied to home usage is just a fancy word, at least for the type of computer described in this article: That computer case was never meant for hot swappable drives or even easy access/maintenance of hard drives, it's just a plain file server. Using FreeNAS does not qualify it as a "NAS" system. It's even worse, since you have to build a whole new rig each time you need to add storage.

    Totally, I was not talking for home use, but about features you can find in "real" professional NAS systems. Wikipedia also mentions the importance of integration and redundancy.
    Home users typically don't have spare PSUs, so it would take me more like 2 days to get a replacement, but I agree.
     
  7. r0z|3o0n

    r0z|3o0n New Member

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    I've tinkered with both FreeNAS and OpenFiler.
    OpenFiler's driver support, particularly for a lot of embedded RAID controllers and NICs, has been pretty woeful.
    FreeNAS was better on the driver front (still fails miserably with, for example, the msk0 driver) but throughput is apparently pretty rubbish. I had one set up with a 2.4ghz P4, 1gb DDR-400 and 2 SATA2drives in a hardware RAID0 with Intel Pro 1000 NIC. Was acting as an iSCSI target.
    The best performance I could get out of it from ATTO was ~50mb/s. A single local SATA drive outperforms that with ease.
    FreeNAS still strikes me as a bit of a novelty.
     
  8. dark_avenger

    dark_avenger Well-Known Member

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    Running unRAID on a Dual-Core 1.6 with 2GB of RAM
    Dlink gigabit card and a adaptec 4 port SATA controller card
    2x 2TB
    2x 1.5TB
    1x 400GB

    OS on a memory stick inside the case, been running 24/7 for about 2 months now without a problem.
    Only thing i've got left to setup is "ushare" which is for sharing content with xbox/ps3
     
  9. Guest-16

    Guest-16 Guest

    I did want to use unRAID but their site is down and looks as if it has been for a while :(
     
  10. wuyanxu

    wuyanxu still wants Homeworld 3

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    http://www.lime-technology.com/

    it's not down, must be you hitting great firewall of china?

    dark_avenger, is paying for registration fee worth it? i've considered building one around unRAID, but free version only allows 3 drives, it seems.
     
  11. Alekoy

    Alekoy Ostekake!

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    Have been running a FreeNAS-box since January, except for the network card forking up about every fourteen days, and some times every fourteen minutes, it works great.

    I am about to make a new box thou, or, rather install it on some professional server-hardware in my rack.
    The computer is a "old" Proventia-firewall that will be connected optically to a 16 bay SATA-raid. (Jetstor 416F, for those interested)

    A little tip when using FreeNAS as a seedbox, you can set up Transmission to look for new torrents in a folder, just download the torrents to this folder, and transmission automatically starts to download ;)
     
  12. Guest-16

    Guest-16 Guest

    Taiwan is not China! :p:p

    Well, great, they've fixed it now I've finished the damn article FS.
     
  13. bechau

    bechau New Member

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    I'm building one. Would really appreciate insights from those who have already done it or the author:

    Objectives:
    1. Fast transfer rate: now I'm getting 10MB/s from PC to NAS on a Gigabit network
    2. Store photo, video and music fiels
    3. Act as media server:
    - Squeezebox Server for my Squeezebox Duet (music only)
    - Twonky or any other for WDTV Live (dlna compliant) for all media streaming
    4. Bittorrent at same speed as done on PC
    - My LinkStation Quad is getting only 10% of those run on PC.
    5. FTP server so I can transfer file to/from my office
    - LinkStaion can do this but at a very slow speed
    6. 4 x 2TB drives & RAID 5 (hot-swappable)

    My questions are:
    1. Windows Home Server or FreeNAS?
    2. What kind of transfer rate (write) in MB/s are you getting? 30MB/s too much to ask for?
    3. In the article, RAID controller is used. With that, is FreeNAS RAID setting done on a Hardware basis?
    4. Hot-swap available with FreeNAS?
    5. Auto-RAID check scheduling and waring?
    6. I saw a post on problem with FreeNAS on streaming. Any details?

    I will be buying new components for this. So far I have decided on:
    1. AMD Athlon II
    2. 2GB RAM
    3. Hitachi 2TB drives x 4

    Thank you in advance for your insights.
     
  14. Cthippo

    Cthippo Can't mod my way out of a paper bag

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    I built my NAS box around a Via C7 mini-ITX board and used a CF card for the OS drive (FreeNAS). The drives are set to power down after 10 minutes or so, and when they're not running the only moving parts are the fans. I could invest in a fanless mobo and CPU, but with it sitting in my closet the noise is hardly noticeable, and certainly can't be heard over the desktop. The advantage is that I don't feel bad about leaving it on 24-7 like I would with a full sized machine since the power draw is minimal. Currently it's been up for 36 days, but that's only because I took it down to put in a gigabit NIC in a while back. Before that it was up for over four months without any problem.

    I picked up a free Shuttle case and PSU and when I can find the ambition I'm going to move the guts over to that and wall mount it.
     
  15. swin70

    swin70 New Member

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    Been looking into either getting a 4-bay NAS (i.e QNAP etc.), or building one of these myself. I like the idea of the Mini TXT Chenbro case mentioned in one of the first comments and an ITX M/B.

    I have four 1.4TB drives, and I have been mulling over the idea of buying a server case with room for expansion in the future, but I think it will be a while before I use up the current space. I do own an Adaptec 5045 card which could utilise SAS backplane, although running more than 4 drives from this would require a SAS Expander - you end up looking at a lot off money outlay. I suppose a mini-tower might do with many 5.25" bays that could then be filled with 3.5"HDD enclosures - I also have one of these, an Icydock 4 drive unit, which is quite good.

    Storage is mainly going to be for media (movies/ TV) so I have been considering unRAID, although a striped down Win 2008 server has also crossed my mind. It would be intersting to see some camparision for these systems as NAS units against something off the shelf, or something that utilised a proper RAID card.

    Still, if I go for the ITX solution, does anyone know of a MB that incorporates 2 x GB Ethernet ports?
     
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