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Storage NAS Advice

Discussion in 'Hardware' started by Spigsy, 26 Nov 2014.

  1. Spigsy

    Spigsy Member

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    After wasting far too much time backing up data using a USB 2.0 external hard-drive, I've decided I'd like to get a NAS. It will be used primarily for backing up our photos, my work files and hopefully for streaming video to the kid's tablets and the wife's laptop; at least when I finish converting all of our media to MP4 or something similar. It would be nice to back up the Steam collection too, as our internet speeds are pretty awful.

    I've read around a little but was just hoping I might ask for some of your experience; I'm undecided whether to buy an off-the-shelf unit or build my own. I have been considering a AMD 5450 system (It's been nearly a year since I built a system of any sort and I have the sweats!) but from what I've read about the RAM requirements of programs like freeNAS this may be a lot more expensive.

    I'm looking to get about 4tb of storage to start with room to expand, so room for 3-4 3.5" drives should be adequate. Budget (with storage) is around £400 but savings are always welcome!

    Thanks for any advice you can give!
     
  2. Cookie Monster

    Cookie Monster Well-Known Member

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    A lot of people on here run HP Proliant servers, they have the capacity for 4 3.5" drives (OS must boot from one). You can run it just like a normal PC with Windows or Linux (i think). I picked mine up in the Marketplace here (you'll need 75 posts to access it) for about £100 then add the cost of the drives, though I already had mine.

    I then hacked it with some Russian BIOS so it runs 6 drives, (1 x SSD boot drive, slim line DVD drive and currently 4 x 2Tb WD Green's).

    There's a thread here someplace.
     
  3. Anfield

    Anfield Well-Known Member

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    Buy an oldish low power office pc /server (lowend c2d, 2GB Ram and integrated gpu will be fine) from marketplace / ebay /wherever, then add a pci-e sata controller card if necessary along with harddisks to taste and install freenas.

    Much cheaper that way than buying a proper nas as pretty much anything sold as a nas will have a huge premium pricetag if it allows fitting a decent number of disks.
     
  4. IvanIvanovich

    IvanIvanovich будет глотать вашу душу.

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    If it was me I would just up purpose that htpc build to include NAS duties. You already have it, just add more disks to it, as it has adequate specs otherwise. NAS dosen't need a lot of memory in general and most of the commercial prebuilt units don't come with more than 2GB, it's only if you want to use something like ZFS when memory requirements climb.
     
  5. Chunkers

    Chunkers Meat Popsicle

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    I like purpose built NASes (in my case Synology NASes), they can be bought for reasonable prices both new and second hand (a four bay one with new hard disks installed for much less than your budget).

    Search for "4 bay NAS" and check the 'Used' box. I also don't agree that they are expensive, certainly more expensive than an old PC but some barebones NASes are quite cheap. A bit of research could no doubt find a good budget option.

    I originally went down the old PC route, then a custom build with FreeNAS and had a lot of fun fiddling about. (I imagine like a lot of people on here) I am always looking for an excuse to mess about with hardware!

    In the end though, as I use my NAS to store the family photos and backups I realised I wanted it to be rock-solid, simple to use and secure. My custom units were not as robust and trouble free as I wanted so I bought a Synology DS210j, which is still going strong and have since also bought a DS214+.

    In the end it depends how you want to play it. Purpose built NASes tend to be low-power, relatively trouble free and have a small footprint. A custom built one or re-purposed one may or may not have any or all of those features.

    Personally I wouldn't rush into a custom build without doing some research first unless its just for a bit of fun.

    o7

    Chunks
     
  6. Anfield

    Anfield Well-Known Member

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    Once you deduct the number of drives required to provide redundancy a four bay nas won't exactly leave much possibility for future expansion though and going for a six or eight bay one quickly escalates the costs beyond reason which is why I prefer the cheap pc with freenas route.

    Of course a purpose built nas has its advantages as well and I'm certainly not going to stop you from buying one.
     
  7. edzieba

    edzieba Virtual Realist

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    Another vote for the HP Microserver. You can easily fit in 5 drives (6 if you include the eSATA connector and put one on top, or use a 2.5" drives in the 5" bay with another drive).
    I have one running NAS4free, with some 3TB drives in a 5-drive RAIDZ2 array. 9tb of failure-redundant (1 drive failure + 1 extra parity in case of a bit error during resilver) storage.

    If you can find a good deal on a Microserver (~£100-£150) then go for that, nothing else will come close in performance or flexibility. You will barely be able to assemble a second hand system for that much, and it probably won't be as small, quiet and solid. dedicated proprietary NAS boxes aren't worth bothering with at the consumer end of the price scale (<£1000).
     
  8. Chunkers

    Chunkers Meat Popsicle

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    They are a great deal and the fact that you can install Synology DSM OS on them would clinch the deal for me as I think its great.

    C
     
  9. Spigsy

    Spigsy Member

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    Thanks for all the advice!

    I wanted to steer away from using an old system because of the power use and also the footprint. I don't really want to use the HTPC as it doesn't have room for additional drives and we have it on the entertainment unit, but I figure I can work out a way of tucking away a dedicated NAS as it doesn't necessarily need to be located in the same place.

    I'll take a look at the Proliant and the Synology models and get myself educated!:thumb:
     
  10. Cookie Monster

    Cookie Monster Well-Known Member

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    There's one for sale in the Marketplace for £120 plus £35 per 1.5Tb drive (or £110 for 4) if I remember right.

    I'm not sure how this goes with the rules as you require 75 posts to gain access to the marketplace, if a mod sees this and I'm being naughty feel free to delete it and spank me. :naughty:

    I've posted a link in there to this thread, it would now be up to the seller to contact you if they are interested in taking a chance on selling you it with you being under the post count and being a "risk". Personally I don't see the problem selling you it, the problem would lie with you potentially being an unreliable seller, making users get to 75 posts usually weeds most of them out.
     
  11. spazmochad

    spazmochad Active Member

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    Thanks cookie :) here's the ad I listed in case you're interested:

    The Microserver is great, small footprint, low power, but excellent file transfer speeds which you wouldn't get from a NAS.
     

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