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What NAS To Buy?

CmdrTaco posted more than 6 years ago | from the to-busy-to-build-your-own dept.

Data Storage 621

An anonymous reader writes "Currently, I'm running an old 4u Linux server for my private backup and storage needs. I could add new drives, but it's just way too bulky (and only IDE). For the sake of size and power efficiency I think about replacing it with a NAS solution, but cannot decide which one to get. The only requirements I have are capacity (>1.5TB) and RAID5. Samba/FTP/USB is enough. Since manufacturers always claim their system to be the best, I'd like to hear some suggestions from you Slashdot readers."

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well (2, Funny)

stoolpigeon (454276) | more than 6 years ago | (#24000261)

definitely not the kind that has been doing all that warrantless wire-tapping. Make sure it is the kind that makes your car go really fast.

FreeNAS (5, Informative)

Ded Bob (67043) | more than 6 years ago | (#24000319)

Something such as FreeNAS ( may work for you, if you purchase your own hardware. A quick rundown of what it provides:

Re:FreeNAS (1)

grub (11606) | more than 6 years ago | (#24000761)

I'll second FreeNAS. I have it running with 4x 750 GB drives and it's been rock solid. SMB to the Windows machines and NFS to *nix and my media tank.

Re:FreeNAS (5, Funny)

anaesthetica (596507) | more than 6 years ago | (#24000897)

Actually, I much prefer Illmatic [] . Don't know what the rest of you are on about...

Re:FreeNAS (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24000991)

I had a small qnap 4 drive 1u system I got off ebay for $60 (no ide drives)

Re:FreeNAS (2, Interesting)

Leadmagnet (685892) | more than 6 years ago | (#24001103)

those are nice and cheap if you get the older blue ones, hotswap drives, gig ethernet, (4) 1TB ide

Re:FreeNAS (4, Informative)

Firehed (942385) | more than 6 years ago | (#24001075)

What are your experiences with the speed of FreeNAS? The couple of times I've dabbled with it, it was unusably slow by my standards (ie, 100Kb/s over a gigabit connection); no fault of the hardware, which currently serves at speeds of 20+MB/s using the disgusting but functional standard Windows file sharing.

Re:FreeNAS (5, Informative)

LWATCDR (28044) | more than 6 years ago | (#24001105)

OpenFiler is also a good choice. Get that with a low power AMD cpu and you will have a nice inexpensive NAS.

Re:FreeNAS (5, Informative)

mitgib (1156957) | more than 6 years ago | (#24001117)

Also in the home brew camp would be OpenFiler [] which I have a few I've built. Tyan has a nice 1U case with 4 hot swap bays that is reasonable, then their S2925 motherboard will support the Phenom (overkill on a NAS) but a nice X2 4000 is super cheap, and the board supports cheap RAM, add in a 3Ware 9650 for sata raid, or I've really started liking the Adaptec 3405 for SATA/SAS.

I personally don't use Samba for anything, like your cleaning lady, I don't do Windows, but I've at least tested it and seems to work fine. LDAP is supported as well as NT4 and Active Directory for authentication. I have 4 boxes setup using LDAP and backup 300 servers between them and I simply never have to do anything except define new shares when I need one.

personal storage servers (5, Interesting)

goombah99 (560566) | more than 6 years ago | (#24001131)

At one time I got myself a brand new $200 P4 (back when it was still the best chip) at a grand opening of an Office max, plugged in a whole pile of drives and set up a software raid 10.

Then I did the math. the power bills to run this thing 24/7 were going to be more than the cost of the computer. My disks would be pretty much spinning all the time even though for home usage i'd say I actually hit non-local disks maybe a few times a week at most.

So I sold it and went to external (firewire) disks and attatched them to computers I was already using. This makes so much more sense as a backup system. It actually cost less both in terms of chassis and power for a small system.

Even better is that I can detach the disks and take them offsite (my office desk at work) and rotate in new disks. my big fear is not losing my last week of stuff but losing say all my family photos or long term bussiness records, manuscripts etc. So really an always-on raid is not as big an issue to me as off-site storage. Because I rotate the disks I still have duplicates of everything.

The other nice thing is that since I have a wireless G network, when I want fast access to the disks I can move them from my desktop to my lap top.

Now some people say well, those external disks are more expensive because of their chasis and interfaces or that they are slower. But not really. with the dedicated server solution you have the computer and interface cards to buy. Probably a separate screen and keyboard as well. The power consumed is far more. And for low duty cycle usage you don't have to spin the disks all the time.

RAID5 is stupid, RAID 10 or no RAID (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24000351)

As a person who's suffered a RAID-5 failure and dealt with the poor performance I can say that RAID-10 is significantly better performance and significantly better reliability that is well worth it.

Don't make the RAID-5 mistake.

Re:RAID5 is stupid, RAID 10 or no RAID (5, Informative)

Anrego (830717) | more than 6 years ago | (#24000555)

I don't know why AC got modded troll... it's good advice. I built my file server as raid5 and am regretting it. It's the most economical, and you do get some redundancy.. but if I had to do it all over again, I'd totally go raid10.

With Raid5 .. two drives fail and your done. Unless you buy every drive at a different time from a different manufacturer, chances are under the same wear conditions, two will fail around the same time. With a raid10 .. you put all one brand on one side, all of another brand on the other side... possibly on a separate controller. Raid10 can withstand a much larger failure... and you also get some serious performance++.

Re:RAID5 is stupid, RAID 10 or no RAID (5, Informative)

4D6963 (933028) | more than 6 years ago | (#24000707)

With Raid5 .. two drives fail and your done

Then go with RAID 6. Takes 3 failures (out of 4!) to lose data. By the way, is there any sort of setup out there with more than 2 parity drives?

Also, if you've got 4 drives in your RAID 10 setup only two drives need to fail for you to be screwed, plus you only get (theoretically) twice the performance of a single drive, as with a RAID 5 setup for the same amount of drives you get 3 times the performance.

Re:RAID5 is stupid, RAID 10 or no RAID (4, Interesting)

Snover (469130) | more than 6 years ago | (#24001069)

Um, no, try again. RAID-6 is n+2 redundancy, not n+3. RAID-10 is n+2 on a good day but you are really only guaranteed n+1, since if both mirrored disks fail then you are screwed.

Re:RAID5 is stupid, RAID 10 or no RAID (5, Informative)

Cecil (37810) | more than 6 years ago | (#24001161)

Using RAID 1+0, you get almost 4 times the performance for reads, and 2 times for writes.

Using RAID5, you get maybe 3 times the performance for reads (if you're lucky), and writes can be slower than a single drive due to parity calculations.

Clearly, 1+0 is the preferred choice for performance (and yes, I have used both, for years)

I would still recommend RAID5, as it's worked quite well and been very economical for me, but performance-happy it is not.

Re:RAID5 is stupid, RAID 10 or no RAID (2, Informative)

Amouth (879122) | more than 6 years ago | (#24000561)

raid 10 is a waist of disks and power

raid6 is the way to go

Re:RAID5 is stupid, RAID 10 or no RAID (1)

Bandman (86149) | more than 6 years ago | (#24001097)

If only everything supported RAID6. Maybe eventually, but until that happens, RAID5 with at least one hot-spare or RAID10 with a hot-spare on devices that don't support RAID6

Re:RAID5 is stupid, RAID 10 or no RAID (3, Informative)

joeytmann (664434) | more than 6 years ago | (#24001209)

uhhhhh RAID6 [] will only support the loss of up to two drives....just like RAID10. RAID6 on the other hand doesn't use as many disks as RAID10.

Re:RAID5 is stupid, RAID 10 or no RAID (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24001037)

What's the deal? Are you planning on never replacing a drive or something? The failure rate of the drives will be the same, and the failure rate of the raid as a whole is about the same -- two drives at once and you lose everything.

Re:RAID5 is stupid, RAID 10 or no RAID (1)

Bandman (86149) | more than 6 years ago | (#24001041)

You're right, it's significantly better, at the expense of pretty big loss of usable data.

On top of that, lots of devices don't use RAID10 yet. RAID5 with hotspare(s) is acceptable for most applications, especially with disk speeds anymore.

NAS: Western Digital MyBook World Edition II (5, Informative)

dtremblay (700638) | more than 6 years ago | (#24000355)

I've got the WD MyBook WE 2 TB drive a few weeks ago. I haven't installed any of the MioNet software on my computer because I heard complaints about it. I've got it set up in RAID 1 mode (mode 5 needs a lot more drives). Performance is good so far. Powere consumption is around 20W, as opposed to a desktop PC at around 150W. Since it's running OpenLinux, I was able to add SSH and do more configuration of the SMB server this way. The linux partition is 2 GB; the Arm processor is somewhat underpowered for most other applications.

Re:NAS: Western Digital MyBook World Edition II (4, Funny)

4D6963 (933028) | more than 6 years ago | (#24000521)

I've got it set up in RAID 1 mode (mode 5 needs a lot more drives).

Sure, if by "a lot" you mean 1

Re:NAS: Western Digital MyBook World Edition II (1, Flamebait)

voxelz (954860) | more than 6 years ago | (#24000861)

I recommend staying away from the Western Digital My Book. It has many bad reviews online. Also, refer to Western Digital's list of files types that you cannot share online [] . This is a big turn off for many users. They claim "Due to unverifiable media license authentication" you cannot share files with certain file extensions including AAC, MP3, MPG, OGG, WMA, WMV, and even TMP.

Re:NAS: Western Digital MyBook World Edition II (4, Informative)

jassuncao (1303017) | more than 6 years ago | (#24001189)

The restriction on media files sharing only applies when using the built in Mionet client. I think the reason for the bad reviews is the slow speed. Although it has a gigabit interface, the processor doesn't have the required processing power. The greatest transfer rate I can achieve using FTP is ~7MB/sec for reads and ~5MB/sec for writes. But for it's low price and low power requirements I can't ask for more.

Re:NAS: Western Digital MyBook World Edition II (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24001039)

The WD is fine if you do not care about speed. It tops out at about 4mb per sec in speed. The GB interface is a marketing gimmick.

It will take you about 4 days or more to fill that up. Think about it.

Re:NAS: Western Digital MyBook World Edition II (1)

Bandman (86149) | more than 6 years ago | (#24001133)

Interesting. How are the user administration tools for that? What kind of security controls does it provide, and does it support NFS?

Build Your Own (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24000359)

Using Solaris Express with ZFS. There is an extensive set of articles on how to do this at Simon's blog []

ReadyNAS NV+ (5, Informative)

mrgreenfur (685860) | more than 6 years ago | (#24000397)

Since you didn't really say much about other requirements, I'll recommend the NV+. I just got one on ebay and it's awesome. It just works. Shows up on the network immediately, has lots of blinking lights and a nice web config interface. 4 bays expand up to 4TB. Plus, it's a shoebox and not a gigantic 4U rack.

Re:ReadyNAS NV+ (2, Insightful)

TubeSteak (669689) | more than 6 years ago | (#24000565)

I'll recommend the NV+. ... 4 bays expand up to 4TB.

Is there any practical reason why the hardware is limited to 4 x 1 TB?
Would it have cost them extra to code in support for 4 x 2 TB?

Re:ReadyNAS NV+ (5, Informative)

pyite (140350) | more than 6 years ago | (#24000999)

Is there any practical reason why the hardware is limited to 4 x 1 TB?

This used to be true. The new code version (free upgrade) supports volumes up to 64 TB. See here [] . From that page,

With RAIDiator 3, you were limited to a data volume of 2 terabytes. With four 750 GB drives, accounting for RAID and other overhead, you're roughly at 2 TB. However, with the latest 1 TB drives, usable space with 4 drives are around 2.8 TB, so you'll need RAIDiator 4 to take advantage of that extra space. RAIDiator 4 supports up to 64 TB, so you will be happy to know that your investment will be good for quite a number of years, especially with the way the ReadyNAS capacity is able to grow with X-RAID.

Re:ReadyNAS NV+ (3, Informative)

Snover (469130) | more than 6 years ago | (#24001113)

Using 32-bit unsigned integers gives a maximum of 4GB of addressable space. It had been 2GB until their recent firmware update. Also, there are no disks larger than 1TB currently on the market, so 4TB is also a practical limit.

Re:ReadyNAS NV+ (1)

Firehed (942385) | more than 6 years ago | (#24001207)

What sort of transfer performance do you see out of it? I had looked into one for the longest time, but had always heard mixed things about performance out of it (and most other 'shoebox' NAS devices, since they all have crappy processors and often a poor network chip that can't encode/decode the data fast enough).

If those are your requirements.. (4, Insightful)

scsirob (246572) | more than 6 years ago | (#24000411)

... then you will end up with another Linux box. Not necessarily bad, but NAS devices in your range are what you already have. Just packaged a bit nicer, with a customised web gui.

Re:If those are your requirements.. (4, Informative)

millia (35740) | more than 6 years ago | (#24000701)

And it should be noted there are still plenty of IDE drives out there in the larger sizes. If you really want to go with SATA, then get an adapter card.

Lack of performance? Not an issue, since I've yet to see a NAS that- at the lower end pricewise- was competitive in this regard, anyway.

Or, keep the server, and drop in a new $100 mobo/chip combo that allows for better power management. Regardless, I've found things are much better with a home server than they ever were with a NAS, and my DNS, DHCP, Samba all work better, plus I now can run squeezebox.

Having just seen terabyte drives at $169ish this past weekend, the flexibility of adding storage also makes it a better solution, too.

Vector Linux and Western Digital hard disk (1)

phoneteller (1261402) | more than 6 years ago | (#24000415)

Try Vector Linux and with Western Digital 1 TB hard disk. Its very good. I'm planning on getting one myself.

I understand why you`d want to go pre-built (3, Insightful)

Anrego (830717) | more than 6 years ago | (#24000425)

.. but unfortunately all the pre-built NAS cubes I`ve seen are way over priced. They usually end up costing about as much as a home built file server _without_ the drives.

The way I look at it, by building your own, at least you can also use it for other things (if it's just a personal file server). I have a 3 TB file server that I also host virtual machines on. Even in software raid, with many drives, there is not much resource usage. If you buy a NAS cube, you are paying the same price or higher, and _just_ getting a file server.

Re:I understand why you`d want to go pre-built (4, Interesting)

tgd (2822) | more than 6 years ago | (#24000543)

The price difference may disappear quickly with the difference in power usage.

According to my Kill-A-Watt, my old NAS box (old P4 desktop with two 750 gig SATA drives) costs me almost $20 a month in electricity more than those two drives in a USB enclosure hanging off my Airport Extreme.

When I was using a rack-mount HP server, it was costing me twice that!

Re:I understand why you`d want to go pre-built (1)

Yvan256 (722131) | more than 6 years ago | (#24000781)

Can you use a USB hub at the Airport Extreme to connect more than one drive? What would also be cool is built-in RAID support in the Airport Extreme, but I'm probably asking for too much.

I must not be the only one with too many media files, why isn't Apple selling a media server of some sort? Or maybe something the size of the Airport Express with a 3.5" drive in it, stackable, in addition with a firmware update for the APE?

Re:I understand why you`d want to go pre-built (2, Insightful)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 6 years ago | (#24000799)

My new NAS box uses less. But then I used a Via based board that uses 5W of power.

Honestly, build a freeNAS right and you get a cube AND low power use. My old Netgear NAS worked as a space heater and used 120Watts of power.

Cripes motherboards with a 1Ghz C7 processor are dirt cheap, stuff it in a cheap cube PC case and shoehorn in 4 drives and you are golden.

Re:I understand why you`d want to go pre-built (1)

Sarin (112173) | more than 6 years ago | (#24000769)

software raid can be a lot of work to fix under linux.
My readynas has a light showing which drive fails - replace it and let the device do its thing. Then it works again - saves me a lot of hours looking up info on the internet and praying it works.

Re:I understand why you`d want to go pre-built (1)

Anrego (830717) | more than 6 years ago | (#24001101)

Well, convenience will always be a commodity. It's like how web hosting companies will sell domains at $30 a year for the convenience of not having to learn how domains work.

In all honesty, with mdadm.. repairing a broken raid array is very simple. Most of it is automatic. You replace the drive, add it into the array, and it does most of the work for you.

If your just a regular computer user, chances are the pre-built click-n-drool NAS cube is worth the extra money. But if your tech savy, it's probably worth it (and fun) to learn how software raid works. And of course knowledge is always a good thing.

I've tried four different solutions, and.... (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24000439)

Before everyone tells you to go use FreeNAS or Openfiler, be aware that I spent weeks trying to get those to work.

If you want my advice on what to actually buy, do NOT go for anything from netgear. I bought a lemon from them which was advertised as a NAS solution, but was in fact a very wierd SAN implementation.

Consider trying an Airport Express basestation, with a big external USB drive. Yes, it's apple, so the feature set is "straightforward", but nothing beats having a working system instead of hundreds of dollars of useless gear.

Alternatively, I have tried a Lacie Ethernet Disk, but they used embedded xp on the damn thing and it kept borking itself every month or two. Since their software to recover the OS wipes ALL data, I don't endorse them at all any more. Waste of over $1k USD.

Final thought: buy reliable, and keep your receipts.

Drool over Drobo (4, Informative)

mlawrence (1094477) | more than 6 years ago | (#24000443) [] Automatic RAID, hot-swappable and you can use any type/size/configuration of SATA drives. Upgrade as the price of drives go down. I've been using one for two months now and am very happy with it. I can watch a streaming movie while I yank out an 80GB to replace with a 500GB, and the movie doesn't even stutter once.

Re:Drool over Drobo (1)

rtilghman (736281) | more than 6 years ago | (#24000653)

The Drobo only works as a USB device... the network unit (which is a $200+ addon) connects via USB, and has horrible throttling problems as a result.

Long story short, the Drobo looks great but is a total rip-off, and it is a non-starter if you want network access to your data. Their next generation may be worthy, but this one isn't.


Re:Drool over Drobo (1)

joecasanova (1253876) | more than 6 years ago | (#24000877)

It's not rack-mountable and it has that USB throttling issue.

drobo + drobo share (0)

t35t0r (751958) | more than 6 years ago | (#24000451)

drobo [] and add to it the drobo share []

Re:drobo + drobo share (1)

Shrubbman (3807) | more than 6 years ago | (#24000669)

Cali Lewis says it better: []

Re:drobo + drobo share (1)

t35t0r (751958) | more than 6 years ago | (#24000787)

the only crappy thing about it is that it doesn't have additional buses like eSATA.

Re:drobo + drobo share (2, Insightful)

rtilghman (736281) | more than 6 years ago | (#24000955)

The fact that the USB port that the share uses throttles your data access to a crawl... I'd call that "crappy".

The current drobo is not a purchasable unit for network service, period. If you like the Drobo wait for the 2nd gen, which will undoubtedly have native gigabit ethernet support.


Re:drobo + drobo share (2, Insightful)

hagardtroll (562208) | more than 6 years ago | (#24001159)

She's a hardware pimp. Try getting references from someone who isn't being paid to pimp their products.

Not ReadyNas (1)

dj245 (732906) | more than 6 years ago | (#24000457)

I had an Infrant (now Netgear) ReadyNas. This is not the unit to buy. The processor is slow so it can't handly plugins very well without bogging down completely. Transfers are pretty slow compared to the compeditors. Its a nice little unit, but I'm much happier with the Windows Home Server I set up. Its much faster and more responsive. And I only put a Geode in the thing.

Windows Home Server might not be your thing, but the ReadyNas definitely is not the one to buy.

Even after being aquired by (eech) Netgear... (1)

sardaukar_siet (559610) | more than 6 years ago | (#24000463)

... Infrant ReadyNAS [] ! Expensive but oh so cool... :D

Figure out your requirements... (1)

tgd (2822) | more than 6 years ago | (#24000469)

Storage and backup are mutually exclusive requirements. RAID is about providing high availability to a storage system or about providing high performance. It doesn't keep your data any safer, since corruption is replicated immediately anyway.

If you need storage, figure out how important speed is, and high availability. Hanging a USB drive off something like an Airport Extreme may be enough for you. If you need high availability, use mirrored drives unless speed REALLY isn't a factor (I've found that in virtually all NAS systems, RAID5 cuts throughput by 75% or more because virtually none of them do it in hardware!). If you need high speed, stripe them. If you need both, pony up and buy four drives and mirror them and stripe them (RAID 1+0)

However, none of that provides any backup capabilities. For that you need to have a copy of the data that is NOT updated immediately.

I solved that problem personally using an older NAS box that is far too slow even without using RAID for real-time use and it essentially rsyncs nightly from my "fast" server.

Just remember the mantra: RAID is not a backup solution.

D201GLY2A (1)

Dwedit (232252) | more than 6 years ago | (#24000479)

I bought the Intel D201GLY2A Motherboard with preinstalled Processor, a 1GB stick of ram, two serial ATA hard drives, then re-used an old computer case.
Then I installed Ubuntu on it. I also installed BackupPC on it as well.

Re:D201GLY2A (2, Informative)

DJProtoss (589443) | more than 6 years ago | (#24000633)

Good idea, but skip the D201GLY2A and get a D945GCLF instead - afact its the same board approach, but its the atom version so only ~2.5W and a proper intel mobo chipset instead of the via chipset on hte D201GLY2A for the same sort of money. Not that the D201 is bad ( I have one at home and its great ), but it seems the D945 should be a better choice.

Re:D201GLY2A (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24001091)

agreed - the D201GLY MBs use a less popular chipset, and you may find certain challenges that the D945GCLF won't have with it's intel chipset. The Atom CPU is 64 Bit, offers hyperthreading, and as previous poster said, it uses little power. It only has 2 SATA 2 ports on-board, but a 4 port PCI SATA card could be added for about $30-40.

A board like this could run almost any X86 OS well enough to use as a NAS device. Even Solaris with a ZFS array if you like...

Re:D201GLY2A (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24001145)

I had also good experience with Alix1c and one PCI SATA card in it. It has got CF slot and 44-pin IDE connector for installing Your favorite OS (Linux, Windows, BSD,... ).
PCI SATA controler can take up to 4 disks plus one IDE channel, so I'm very satisfied with it. Total cost was something about $150, plus disks.

DNS323 (5, Informative)

VMaN (164134) | more than 6 years ago | (#24000485)

Get a d-link DNS323 and toss in 2x1TB drives, and you are set.

The firmware hasn't really matured until now, with FTP/iTunes/samba server, and the latest addition is a torrent client, for all your 24/7 downloading needs.

It's quite hackable, with an USB port for printer sharing, or storage with a bit of hacking.

I had horrible firmware problems the first ½ year i had it, but now it's smooth sailing

Re:DNS323 (1)

trickno (1227142) | more than 6 years ago | (#24001215)

I currently use one of these as well, and auto mounting my network drive to /etc/fstab was cake in ubuntu 8.04. Throughputs are fairly fast. Again, it isn't a backup solution by any means, but does offer high availability. I am currently looking at building a FreeNAS setup with an intel atom setup though, so if Raid 1+0 or Raid 10 was your ultimate goal, I would probably go that route myself.

MyBookWorld? (1)

Nadaka (224565) | more than 6 years ago | (#24000503)

I recently purchased a western digital MyBookWorld. And I am happy with it. It may be a little below your requirements, but the price is really hard to beat.

Mine came with a 1tb drive and supports USB external drive additions. There are 2tb versions of the drive as well. The standard connectivity software is less than ideal. But it runs on linux and with a little hacking can do run just about anything that you can run with linux.

Dealing with the same issue myself... (4, Informative)

rtilghman (736281) | more than 6 years ago | (#24000517)

I've been using an old desktop with large HDs for years, always looking for that perfect, small NAS with minimal RAID that I could put in a corner. Unfortunately I was always frustrated since the majrotity of units were directed at business and ran over $1k (that's just too much to pay when a desktop is so cheap).

However, recently there has been a real surge in the market, with a number of more home directed products available. These often include streaming services, in some instances are OSS friendly or even hackable, and have small form factors with RAID1 or RAID5.

The best reviews I've found are at very thorough, always show the boards, etc. The best units I've found (or at least the ones that look the most interesting for my needs) are the following:

Synology DS207+
Looks like a great unit, with lots of control over the drives (RAID0, RAID1, and other drive configurations). However, it's a little pricey for a BYOD NAS ($350+). The support for NFS in external USB drives is nice, and the reviews are excellent. The fact that it doesn't have slimserver support (or not natively) is another weakness... I've been eyeing adding a squeezebox or other player to my stereo, and would like the option. One thing I can't figure out... is it worth going with the "+" unit, or is the old 207 adequate? It's a lot cheaper...

Netgear ReadyNAS Duo
This is obviously the most expensive option, and is about on par with the Synology unit from a performance perspective. I like the fact that it has Slimserver as a native option... seems very well rounded. Also has internal NFS support, which both the other units lacked. Negative seems to the weak photo sharing app (requiring a local install) and the lack of drive controls (RAIDX being the only option). The fact that the 1TB unit costs $600+ also sucks (that's with just 1 1tb drive)... I want a 1 terabyte x2 setup, and I can get a nice 1TB drive for a hell of a lot less than the $275+ (that's the difference between the 500gb and 1tb versions of this sucker). Basically means the 1 drive is a throw-away for me, which I have a hard time swallowing...

Hard choice to make... but I think I'm going to go with the Synology and two 1tb WD caviar drives I can get for $160. Total cost around $650... a little more than I wanted to spend, but this should be good for years to come.


Follow-up... (3, Informative)

rtilghman (736281) | more than 6 years ago | (#24000573)

To reply directly to your reqs (kind of lost track of the thread there) both manfacturers have other versions of those drives that are RAID5 (the NV+ line from Netgear, other Synology units).

As for services, both can be used as FTP servers, web servers, or anything else (I think both are LAMP, I know the Synology is). The Syn unit also supports bittorrent natively.


Re:Dealing with the same issue myself... (0, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24001191)

Newegg has a great deal on the ReadyNas now - [] - the extra 1TB drive is very cheap. Or you can get the ReadyNAS 500GB and buy two 1TB drives for cheaper and sell the 500GB on ebay or something.

NAS *AND* tape backup (1)

OzPeter (195038) | more than 6 years ago | (#24000549)

I was thinking of of a similar question for my home/office requirements. 1 to 2TB of NAS in some sort of Raid configuration to protect against drive failure, but the additional question I have is what would be a good tape drive to pair it with so I can easily do off site backups of the complete system?

Are there any cheaper yet reliable tape backup systems? Or is it still going to be in the $1-2K arena for the tape system?

Re:NAS *AND* tape backup (1)

scsirob (246572) | more than 6 years ago | (#24000779)

For these requirements it is easier to team up with a buddy and use rsync to copy files back and forth through a VPN tunnel. Off-site, no handling, nothing to forget, fully automated.

Look here for a step-by-step guide: []

Re:NAS *AND* tape backup (1)

Southpaw018 (793465) | more than 6 years ago | (#24001081)

Double that at least [] if you're looking for 2TB backup. (+ tapes, remember)

Re:NAS *AND* tape backup (1)

Southpaw018 (793465) | more than 6 years ago | (#24001137)

Oh, and that's compressed capacity. You're probably looking at around 1TB stored on each tape with random data that doesn't compress very highly.

Cheap solution? (1)

camperdave (969942) | more than 6 years ago | (#24000551)

I would think that adding a SATA card and a bunch of drives to the machine, or possibly upgrading the motherboard with a SATA rich one would be cheaper than buying a NAS box and then populating it, no?

good question (1)

larry bagina (561269) | more than 6 years ago | (#24000603)

I bought a NSLU2 for fun last year -- ARM based, 266 mhz, 32 meg ram, 2 usb ports -- and promptly installed debian. Those specs are better than my desktop from 10 years ago, but I would prefer more ram and spu cycles. I've been looking at the QNAP 209/II [] (500mhz arm, 128/256 meg ram, 3 usb, 2 sata) and the the Thecus 2100 [] (600mhz arm, 128 meg ram (upgradable to 512), 3 usb, 2 sata). I'm not sure how well debian currently supports the qnap 209 though.

BlueArc (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24000613) [] - Hands down the best I have seen. We use it here at $GOVFUNDEDLAB, pound the living snot out of it, and it keeps on going without issue.

Re:BlueArc (1)

t35t0r (751958) | more than 6 years ago | (#24000875)

he said private NAS, not enterprise NAS that starts at $100k.

Re:BlueArc (1)

Roskolnikov (68772) | more than 6 years ago | (#24001059)

having had extensive experience with BlueArc devices I can say that when they work they are great, when they don't its a big CF and at one point I was walking their support folks through what to do next; great product but not for home, and really not for traditional enterprise, GOV/University/Video/Weapons labs great, large HA/DR environment? bad. Back on topic, my vote is for Infrant, as someone else noted its proc is its limit, netgear is fixing that with the new series (core 2 duo should speed that along) mine is happy storing my photos and acting as a media server for my PS3; Keep this in mind though, its a linux box with a fancy gui, if your clever you can build a linux box that will beat it in all regards except size for less.

Linksys NSLU2 (1)

Jellybob (597204) | more than 6 years ago | (#24000629)

If you can cope with the limitation of having your drives in USB enclosures, the Linksys NSLU2 can make an excellent NAS appliance.

You can reflash it with assorted flavours of Linux, it's got very low power consumption, and the only noise it's going to make is when the disks spin up.

Thecus 5200 (1)

RManning (544016) | more than 6 years ago | (#24000635)

I went through this same search a little while back. There are a lot of good solutions out there, but I ended up going with a Thecus 5200 [] . It's got tons of room, lots of RAID options, and the user interface doesn't suck. The only complaint I have is that it's very loud. But, it sits in a room I rarely go into, so that doesn't really bother me.

ReadyNAS (5, Informative)

UserChrisCanter4 (464072) | more than 6 years ago | (#24000647)

Netgear's ReadyNAS line of products (originally made by a small outfit called Infrant before Netgear bought them out) strikes the best mix of NAS characteristics outside of rolling your own.

The RND4000 retails for $900 diskless, although you can occasionally find it a bit cheaper. It has four SATA inputs and uses a "drive cage"-style design to eliminate wires and allow for hot-swap; it's 9" x 8" x 5". It has gigabit ethernet interface and 3 USB ports. You can set it up as a print server, interface to a UPS, set it up to auto-copy out to a USB HDD on a particular schedule, or set it to auto-copy in from USB flash card/drive to a particular partition.

All the interface is web-based, and in addition to the usual NAS features it supports FTP and HTTP sharing of files, Active directory integration (if that floats your boat), user quotas, and other fun little stuff. The system supports automatic power-on and -off at scheduled times, a journaled file system, and spin-down of drives when not in use. My model states that it uses 60W spun down and 130W at full tilt.

It supports RAID-5 and a RAID 5-based system that Netgear/Infrant call X-RAID. X-RAID allows for dynamic expansion of capacity, which is a very nice selling point in a NAS box. Got 4x250GB drives and want to upgrade to 4x750GB? Just pull one drive at a time, wait for rebuild, and repeat until all four have been replaced. Netgear/Infrant has never gone into the specifics of how it's done, but I'm guessing the drives are partitioned and the partitions are then RAIDed to ensure drive-level failure can't cause a problem. I know I've seen people do the same thing in software on x86 machines (in LVM, maybe?), so I'd guess that's what they're up to.

I have an older Infrant ReadyNAS (the X6 ver. 2 model), and have been very pleased with it. I have heard grumbling that after the Netgear buyout the support channels have gotten a little more irritating. I haven't personally had to deal with it, so I can't vouch either way, but I do notice that the latest system update (which had been in beta a few months ago when I checked) is now listed as a proper release on their downloads section, so they appear to be maintaining the normal release schedule.

You will hear some /.ers recommend rolling your own, and they'll definitely have good arguments. $900 diskless goes a long way in small, quiet, cool PC gear. If you want a NAS system, though, I've found this to be one of the best mixes of features (particularly the dynamic expansion) available short of a full-on PC.

I like the buffalo (3, Informative)

skiflyer (716312) | more than 6 years ago | (#24000649)

I used to set up my own linux fileservers... then someone else asked me to do one for them, then someone else... and so on.

So I bought a couple of the Buffalo NAS TeraStations. Slightly pricier, but worth their weight in gold for 5 second configuration.

Re:I like the buffalo (3, Interesting)

joecasanova (1253876) | more than 6 years ago | (#24000785)

I'm having hiccup problems with my Buffalo Pro II Rackmount... VMWare doesn't like accessing VMDK's off of the NAS because it apparently hiccups every 1 to 5 hours, which dumps VMWare to the floor. That and the speed degrades over the course of several weeks and I have to bounce the box. And thirdly, Apache on another box won't even start if a path to a share on the buffalo is referenced in the .conf file... and the apache box has full rights to the share and the NAS... I triple checked and had 3 buddies do the same.

SnapServer & ASA Computers (2, Informative)

Swampcritter (1165207) | more than 6 years ago | (#24000671)

Adaptec/Overland Storage offers the SnapServer (, which range from 250 gigabytes to well over 88 terabytes of storage space.

There is also ASA Computers ( which is dedicated to offering Linux-supported hardware and they have many storage and iSCSI/NAS solutions as well that reach into the 30 terabyte range. (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24000723)

See They review NAS devices regularly. As well, they have a set of NAS charts with benchmarks.

Last time I looked... (2, Informative)

grangerg (309284) | more than 6 years ago | (#24000753)

I decided to get a Thecus (N5200B) over a Netgear ReadyNAS NV+ (also a diskless). The Thecus is the fastest while the ReadyNAS appears to have the easiest method of expansion. It's been about a month, so things most likely have changed a bit. Up until recently, [] has been the most informative source I've found.

You'll note that the 2 boxes are about $650 and $850, respectively, so you're easily in the range of a cheap computer. The reason I'm leaning towards these is power usage, size, and ease of use.

If you want cheaper, you can do it. If you don't mind power/heat and a larger size, its very easy to accomplish.

FreeNAS (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24000757)

I am one of the hated Microsoft people that everyone rags on. But for a personal NSA, FreeNAS is hard to beat. I used it until 3 of the 4 hard drive fried due to external reasons. Very simple to setup and can communicate with a lot of various systems. It is based on a very light version of BSD.

SS4200-EHW (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24000795)

An Intel SS4200-EHW [] . They're brand new - only out for a few months. They support 4 SATA hard drives up to 1 TB each, RAID 1+0 & 5. We've set up a couple and they pretty well rock.

They also have an "E" version that has a pre-installed OS.

Media Vault (Pro) mv2100 (1)

mandark1967 (630856) | more than 6 years ago | (#24000811)

Hate to sound like an advertisement, but this unit runs Linux and gets pretty darned good reviews.

If I get another NAS unit, this will be the one I buy.

Drobo (1)

aitala (111068) | more than 6 years ago | (#24000837)

While technically not an NAS (without the extra bit), I really like my new Drobo...


Unfortunately, I suffer from feature creep... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24000849)

because I WANT those home server options, too. Run Squeezeserver, scan the NAS with AV software, have RAID 5 or 6 (implemented with hardware). I'm pinning a lot of hope on boards based on the upcoming VIA nano or intel atom with a PCI-e slot for the RAID card...

TrueCrypt? (1, Insightful)

scorp1us (235526) | more than 6 years ago | (#24000881)

I'd love a NAS that supported TrueCrypt drives!

Anyone know of any? The problem I have is the small NAS stuff is portable, and I can leave it somewhere or, on occasion, has grown legs and walked.

Illmatic (2, Funny)

JakeD409 (740143) | more than 6 years ago | (#24000901)

In most peoples' opinion, you can't do any better than this [] .

Nexenta Stor (1)

GuyverDH (232921) | more than 6 years ago | (#24000911)

Along the lines for freenas, except that it has the current forerunner for the best filesystem available today, ZFS.

direct link... []

Re:Nexenta Stor (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24001121)

I'll second that ZFS is the only filesystem I'd want to run for NAS, but instead of Nextnta Stor, I just use OpenSolaris 2008.05 [] for private use.

Try a distributed filesystem (1)

elronxenu (117773) | more than 6 years ago | (#24000915)

The first thing you need to know about RAID5 is that it's pretty unreliable; if you lose one device (and subsequently replace it) then the array has to read every sector from every other device in order to rebuild the data. Any unrecoverable sector error on any device will result in a corrupt sector in your rebuilt array.

RAID1 duplicates devices, although your storage requirement is now 2x the quantity of data being stored (as opposed to say 1.25x), the chance of error on rebuild is a lot smaller.

However, all inexpensive RAID solutions suffer from the problem that your devices are on a single server - they're a single point of failure, and if, for example, your server's power supply fails and fries the parts in the case, all copies of your data may be destroyed.

To mitigate that problem you could try a distributed filesystem. Your files would actually be distributed among multiple servers and the filesystem would ensure replication. MogileFS [] is one such, although it does not provide a POSIX filesystem view it is nevertheless pretty easy to use. There are various distributed filesystem projects around, including Ceph [] , Kosmos [] , and Venti [] .

Although these projects are at varying stages of completeness and you may need to be a bit brave to trust them with your important data, the promise of distributed filesystems is high availability and extensibility.

Skip raid 5 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24000931)

Raid 5 is a joke. It doesn't buy you anything other than a buzzword.

If you REALLY want data integrity, just use rsync to another set of disks. Crypto checksums are a LOT better than simple parity. And the problem with RAID 5 is that you can't determine which version went bad; only that something's not right.

If you want reliability, use mirroring. But one of the problems with RAID is that disks tend to be purchased from a single lot. That is, there's a very good chance that both disks will go bad together. Which blows your mirroring solution out of the water unless you act real fast.

So just skip RAID. It's more of a buzzword than a real solution. Except maybe for mirroring and striping.

Slug time! (1)

RJCantrell (1290054) | more than 6 years ago | (#24000957)

If you need your solution to be cheap and customizable, you might think about picking up an NSLU2 and a few 1TB HDDs. [] []

It's basically a usb-to-ethernet bridge which you can flash with customized firmware or a trimmed-down debian install. Plenty of people use it as a lightweight server for FTP, NTP, DAAP, etc.

Don't use a NAS device (4, Interesting)

Bandman (86149) | more than 6 years ago | (#24000995)

Let me say this, as someone who runs a small network which has something like 10TB of total storage, don't use a NAS device if you want anything more complex than a samba server with (probably) no security. Use a server with either attached storage, internal storage, or SAN storage.

NAS devices suck. Either that administration is tedious and incomplete or nearly nonexistent.

Are you hoping that your NFS permissions work right? They won't, at least without massive configuration on your part. Are you relying on the data always being available? It won't be, because even the semi-expensive ones use junk hardware. Wanting high availability solutions? Don't even think about a NAS device. Most of them don't have hot-swappable power supplies, hard drives, or anything else.

They're essentially toys, overpriced, underpowered, hard to configure toys that break far too often.

Use a dedicated fileserver. Do yourself a favor. I've got 2 snap machines (one with expanded storage), an IOMega StorCenter, and they're all crap. The other one's I've investigated are crap. Use a real machine.

nuttin' wrong with growin' your own (1)

psbrogna (611644) | more than 6 years ago | (#24001027)

I've gone through the exact same decision making process you are and made the same decision you did; build your own: 4U rackable box, 750W p/s, dual capable but single CPU Opteron MB w/4 GB RAM, 8 Ch SATA 2 (3 Gb/sec) LSI logic controller, 4x 1TB SATA II drives, 1 Intel Pro dual Gb NIC, OpenSuse 10.3, total $4,000. This box out performed commercially available solutions (closer to network/IO wire speed @ lower cost). This choice always surprises us with its performance and we have lots of options as far as growing the box over its life time.

Hate to Jones in on the thread... (1)

gfxguy (98788) | more than 6 years ago | (#24001057)

I've been thinking about this for quite some time; the one thing that bothers me is having a system on 24/7, but if the wattage was low enough then I think it'd be OK. I'm getting ready to repurpose a desktop and was thinking about doing this, but the power consumption (and noise, even though it's not near anyone's room) bothers me.

Anybody use any online solutions? Any recommendations? I have web hosting with 150GB (way more than I need); I frankly haven't tried using Windows Explorer/Nautilus using FTP to access them. I know I don't get the convenience of SMB or NFS with this account.

Any thoughts? TIA.

I second FreeNAS (1)

jimbo-nally (655135) | more than 6 years ago | (#24001077)

I can second FreeNAS. Give it a spin on a test box to make sure you like it (it's pretty easy to configure it you're comfortable with Linux). The school system I work for has built a couple of 4.4 TB NAS boxes for under US $2200 each to be used at different schools and plan to build more. Here are the current usage stats on the one we built about 4 months ago:

co-nas:~# uptime
8:08PM up 133 days, 1 min, 2 users, load averages: 0.00, 0.00, 0.00
co-nas:~# df -h
Filesystem Size Used Avail Capacity Mounted on
/dev/ad8s1a 97M 54M 35M 61% /
devfs 1.0K 1.0K 0B 100% /dev
/dev/ar0p1 4.4T 630G 3.4T 15% /mnt/conas

Synology CS-407 (4, Informative)

De Lemming (227104) | more than 6 years ago | (#24001095)

I heard a lot of good from friends of mine about the Synology Cube Station CS407 [] , and that's the one I have on order now. I like the fact it's expandable, I'm e.g. planning to run a Squeezebox server [] on it. It has good support, and a large user community.

Others I heard about: Intel SS4200-E [] (Helena Island). It exists in two versions, one with an embedded OS on a flash and one without any soft. The one with software included has not that much possibilities and is not expandable, it's in the category "it just works." For the other version, I heard installing Linux or Windows Home Server on it is a PITA...

The ReadyNAS [] by Infrant (recently bought by Netgear) also gets good comments.

Commercial Solution (1)

HogGeek (456673) | more than 6 years ago | (#24001219)

I tried working with the free NAS solutions, but the biggest issue I ran into was connecting to disk (SAN) that I already had, and integration with Active Directory.

Trying to find a nice solution that meet our heterogenous environment was the biggest challenge.

You might checkout the RELData [] 9240 gateway. It allows us to bind into AD, use Quotas/ACLs, and ties nicely into our iSCSI and Fibre SANs...

  They also have complete NAS solutions, but I haven't used them.

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