Beta
×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

Entry-Level NAS Storage Servers Compared

samzenpus posted more than 2 years ago | from the line-them-up dept.

Data Storage 182

snydeq writes "InfoWorld's Desmond Fuller provides an in-depth comparison of five entry-level NAS storage servers, including cabinets from Iomega, Netgear, QNAP, Synology, and Thecus. 'With so many use cases and potential buyers, the vendors too often try to be everything to everyone. The result is a class of products that suffers from an identity crisis — so-called business storage solutions that are overloaded with consumer features and missing the ease and simplicity that business users require,' Fuller writes. 'Filled with 10TB or 12TB of raw storage, my test systems ranged in price from $1,699 to $3,799. Despite that gap, they all had a great deal in common, from core storage services to performance. However, I found the richest sets of business features — straightforward setup, easy remote access, plentiful backup options — at the higher end of the scale.'"

cancel ×

182 comments

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

one-page version (5, Informative)

larry bagina (561269) | more than 2 years ago | (#37769098)

here [infoworld.com]

Drobo? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37769150)

Drobo wasn't compared? That's a fairly big deal in the SMB market.

Re:Drobo? (1)

Kenja (541830) | more than 2 years ago | (#37769416)

Drobo is nifty, got one myself. But its a proprietary "RAID" system that they would have had to devote a fair amount of time to explaining and can not be well compared to systems that use more standard RAID 0/1/5 setups.

Re:Drobo? (1)

VJmes (2449518) | more than 2 years ago | (#37770920)

The Drobo's are a pretty big NAS player, I'm looking at ordering myself a Drobo + 10TB of storage myself, though I thought Drobo also supported RAID 0/1/5/6? Surely they could've done a piece comparing just those features alone.

Synology is nice (5, Informative)

SirMasterboy (872152) | more than 2 years ago | (#37769192)

I have a DS1010+ 5-bay model and absolutely love it. It's got 10TB in it right now but I may replace the drives with 3TB models eventually. With a dual-core 1.6GHz atom and 1GB DDR2 ram it easily reads and writes at 100+MB/s via a RAID5 array on my simple home gigabit network.

Also the new NAS' that are Intel-based can run most CLI linux servers and programs which is great. You may need to add more RAM if you run lots of heavy servers or have lots of concurrent users but most have spare ram slots.

The best thing I find about Synology is their every updating and cutting edge Web GUI. They are already using HTML-5 features to support things like dragging and dropping files right into your web-browser to upload files to the NAS remotely.

Re:Synology is nice (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37769276)

+1 from a DS1010+ owner as well. The iSCSI support is awesome, and of course DLNA for streaming to my Xbox360 :)

Re:Synology is nice (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37769380)

Sorry...not HTML-5 features...just Ext JS (http://www.sencha.com/products/extjs/).

The Synology UI is one of the best use-cases for Ext JS - its very well done.

Re:Synology is nice (1)

SirMasterboy (872152) | more than 2 years ago | (#37769706)

Yeah, they have used Ext-JS for awhiel now, but HTML-5 support and features is new in DSM 3.2
http://www.synology.com/dsm/index.php [synology.com]

Re:Synology is nice (3, Interesting)

sortius_nod (1080919) | more than 2 years ago | (#37769656)

I did have a NAS a while ago, but I got rid of it in favour of building up a linux server. I found that NAS performance is slow at best, abysmal at worst, even with 1gbps networking & a decent controller. Unless you go corporate style you're always going to suffer from speed problems.

Having 3 network cards and enough space for 15 drives makes up for the few hundred extra dollars you pay for a DIY NAS. Plus, a DIY NAS has a lot more flexibility than the consumer grade NAS.

Re:Synology is nice (2)

afidel (530433) | more than 2 years ago | (#37770386)

And the homebrew NAS also costs more in time to setup, has no support, and uses probably anywhere from a few dozen to a few hundred watts more power. Basically the majority of the people interested in the tested solutions would not consider a Linux box with some storage to be a viable alternative to those boxes.

Btw I'm very surprised at the performance of the StorCenter px6, considering before the device launched they used it at EMC World to boot 100 VDI machines in like a minute and a half with SSD's I have to assume the performance limitation was the bundled drives. I wonder why EMC/Iomega crippled the retail bundle with such low performing drives knowing it would be benchmarked against the competition like this?

Re:Synology is nice (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37770856)

Costs more in power?

That is a bunch of nonsense, you can buy exactly the same atom based hardware that is used in a NAS and build a server out of it.

Re:Synology is nice (1)

afidel (530433) | more than 2 years ago | (#37770922)

Not all of those are atom based, and even the ones that are probably are using embedded optimized designs not general purpose desktop boards, and they have correctly sized power supplies. Can you build a similar project by sourcing the same components? Sure you can, but for cost and availability reasons most home NAS systems that I have seen are just desktop boards thrown in a midsized tower case with a desktop PSU.

Re:Synology is nice (1)

MrLizardo (264289) | more than 2 years ago | (#37770884)

I'm curious as to *why* you think a DIY NAS will use more power?

Re:Synology is nice (1)

lucm (889690) | more than 2 years ago | (#37771202)

I did have a NAS a while ago, but I got rid of it in favour of building up a linux server. I found that NAS performance is slow at best, abysmal at worst

I would agree with that. However the best scenario I've tried with a Linux machine is using a software raid (or LVM) on a bunch of disks and then setup a iSCSI target, especially convenient in a virtualized environment. Network cards are cheap so it's easy to add custom multipath.

Re:Synology is nice (1)

cthulhu11 (842924) | more than 2 years ago | (#37771370)

Reading about Linux's disappointingly lame MD system gave me new respect for Synology's devices, especially for the SOHO environments for which they're suited. For a larger / business application, ZFS totally rocks, but Oracle has decimated Solaris' visibility, so one is left with no good options.

Re:Synology is nice (2)

rikkards (98006) | more than 2 years ago | (#37769826)

Totally agree. I originally picked up a Seagate BlackArmor 400 as the price seemed good. It sucked. Performance was crap, took 12 hours to build the array and ended up bricking after the latest firmware update. Took it back (this was only a day or two after buying it) and got a Synology DS411 which blew me away. I am getting 50MB up and 100MB down on a single nic. I could have built my own but decided I didn't want another computer I have to manage. I wanted something relatively turnkey.

Re:Synology is nice (1)

larry bagina (561269) | more than 2 years ago | (#37769846)

My ARM based QNAP NAS runs debian and therefore most linux software. The only advantage an intel has in that regards is cases where the source code isn't available or that depends on specific intel features (virtual box, some of the virtualization kernel mods).

Re:Synology is nice (1)

Icyfire0573 (719207) | more than 2 years ago | (#37770002)

Am I the only one that finds the Synology GUI the worst piece of crap ever? Maybe the experience is tainted by the fact that I always work with them over an RDP connection, but it loads a huge freakin image, I have to drag and click stuff with terrible responsiveness. Sometimes I have to click twice, its always laggy and the UI never fits the resolution I'm working with.

That being said, it has a ridiculous flaw in its email implementation that conflicts with the CRM software my company uses, it always sends the email FROM the same address it is sending TO, really... how hard is that to be user configurable and why would you make your TO your FROM, isn't that just a red flag for spam

Re:Synology is nice (1)

ElectricTurtle (1171201) | more than 2 years ago | (#37770540)

I've had two Synology NASes of different models, and I've used both DSM 2.x and 3.x, and I'll agree that the DSM 2.x interface can be rather slow at times, but the DSM 3.x interface really impressed me. It's very responsive. Neither are as bad as some NASes I've had to contend with, such as shitty Buffalo units.

I haven't tried the email features, but is your problem consistent across updates to the DSM? I find it a bit hard to believe something like that would go uncorrected for very long, and Synology updates their DSM constantly and their model support is rather long. That's what convinced me to stay with them when I got another NAS, they actively updated the first NAS I had for around three years, even adding features along the way.

Re:Synology is nice (1)

Icyfire0573 (719207) | more than 2 years ago | (#37770682)

I can't say what version of the DSM we are using, however, these were synology boxes purchased in the past 6 months.

As far as the email feature, it is consistent across versions. We opened a case with synology and they said that this is the expected behavior at this time. There are unsupported hacks that involve logging in to console and modifying it. But in the future they plan to correct this.

Re:Synology is nice (1)

unrtst (777550) | more than 2 years ago | (#37770754)

Blame your CRM system. What email system isn't capable of whitelisting an IP, or bayesian learning those messages are not spam?
Sure, it seems simple to blame the cheaper system for lacking a feature that seems easy to add, but an email with same TO and FROM is not uncommon (I do it all the time to send myself notes from my phone, as do many people).

And if it's slow over RDP but fast if going directly, blame the RDP implementation. Ex. Dell DRAC is also incredibly slow, but I don't blame the bios.

Disclaimer: I've never used a Synology NAS. If these are the biggest complaints, I'm going to consider getting one though.

El Cheapo here. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37769228)

I got that, er, 2 bay NAS from those, uh, Netgears guys or something.
Got'er real cheap too.
Let's just keep this between us: you sure get what you pay for!

But really, its okay for personal uses. I'm sure some even turned them in to web servers with some of that hackery dackery doo magicks.
Nicely built, tough frame, strangely tough at that, were they aiming at the ARMY or something?

Trying to remember the name of it, pretty sure they seemed to have cancelled it now through some googling.
Man, this thing must have been *really* bad, even for them.
Maybe it wasn't Netgear now... can't be anyone else... do I even have a NAS? Who are you, what are you doing on my internet, go away, calling the cops.

price (1)

Tumbleweed (3706) | more than 2 years ago | (#37769252)

The price of the two best ones, the Netgear and the QNAP, on Newegg, for the diskless versions, are about $230 apart - about a quarter of a difference. I think I'd go with the Netgear based on that.

The problem with these things is that Thunderbolt is almost here for everyone else (not just Macs), and with SSDs getting less expensive all the time, I think I'd rather wait for a Thunderbolt-connected version for the sake of future-proofing. Plus a version intended only for 2.5" drives would be sized better for those of us who want one of these for our desktop.

Still, if you want one now, these things have matured quite a bit.

Re:price (5, Funny)

failedlogic (627314) | more than 2 years ago | (#37769352)

Quick and easy tip to increase storage space on a budget: buy the 3.5" model and punch a hole in the top corner. When the first side is full flip over the disk and use the other side. You will need to periodically flip the disk over and make note of what side contains the data you want.

Re:price (1)

Tumbleweed (3706) | more than 2 years ago | (#37769410)

Quick and easy tip to increase storage space on a budget: buy the 3.5" model and punch a hole in the top corner. When the first side is full flip over the disk and use the other side. You will need to periodically flip the disk over and make note of what side contains the data you want.

Ha. I'm old enough to remember doing that to 5.25" diskettes for my Apple ][.

Re:price (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37769672)

Yes, that was the joke. Thanks for telling us that you got it.

Re:price (1)

superflit (1193931) | more than 2 years ago | (#37769790)

LOL

Me too.. I used to have a machine to make the right holes.

Re:price (1)

dvdwholesale3 (2432850) | more than 2 years ago | (#37770088)

wholesaler movies dvds p90x [slashdot.org] is an extremely intense program.Sheer will and determination may get you to the finish line,but to achieve the best results,youâ(TM)ve got to have the proper quality and quantity of nutrition.We make these supplements optional,so you have a choice.But know that P90x supplements were designed for this program and will supply your body with the necessary nutrients to give you added strength energy,and stamina for each workout. As you may notice from the math on the following pages, wholesaler movies dvds p90x [slashdot.org] is not bulit around adaily âoecalorie deficitâ for weight loss like the general Beachbody plans found in Power 90,Kathy Smitsâ(TM)s Project :You!Type 2,and Slimin 6.Itâ(TM)s important that you understand why ,so you have the right training mentality with this program ,with the right expectations.

Re:price (1)

whoever57 (658626) | more than 2 years ago | (#37769574)

The problem with these things is that Thunderbolt is almost here for everyone else (not just Macs), and with SSDs getting less expensive all the time, I think I'd rather wait for a Thunderbolt-connected version for the sake of future-proofing

How is Thunderbolt going to provide a N[etwork]AS?

Re:price (1)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 2 years ago | (#37770084)

The PCIe spec is flexible enough that, in theory, you could probably network with it(directly, that is, not just by hanging a gig-E chipset off each host, which would be the sane thing to do). PCIe switches are supposed to be used for fanout of a limited number of host lanes to support more peripherals; but you could likely put one in a separate box, with thunderbolt bridges for communication off-board.

It'd be damned expensive, and I'm sure all sorts of horrible things would happen, given that host-host links aren't a design consideration for most gear, so you'd probably need custom-blessed firmware and software for everything involved(or, alternately, you could attempt to use Thunderbolt as a freaky nonstandard interconnect for ATCA boards, if you are sick like that).

An utterly terrible plan, given that cheap and standard network attached storage is already here; but it could probably be done as a stunt(rather like firewire can actually be used for comparatively complex networking, not just glorified crossover-cable usage, only much less supported and probably a worse idea)...

Re:price (2)

networkBoy (774728) | more than 2 years ago | (#37770152)

I made a network link using SATA and a SAS HDD.
Two PCs, each with a single eSATA link to the SAS HDD.
Turn one link on and the other off, dump data on the drive, turn the first link off and the other on, read data from the HDD.
did it just for giggles. Actually was faster than my ethernet connections, but temperamental is inadequate to describe the setup.
-nB

Re:price (1)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 2 years ago | (#37770436)

Given that, in the context of ethernet, "Jumbo frame" usually implies a whole 9000 bytes, I'd say that the HDD-based system does have the clear upper hand in potential frame size...

Pity about the latency and the being half-duplex...

Re:price (1)

atamido (1020905) | more than 2 years ago | (#37770888)

If you'd been a decade earlier, you could have done it with a SCSI drive and two host controllers, all assigned to different IDs. Then you could have had both drives able to access the drive at the same time. I have no idea how you would have avoiding trashing the file system or poisoned file cache, but I'm sure there's a way.

Re:price (1)

rrohbeck (944847) | more than 2 years ago | (#37771312)

Haha. Great minds think alike.
Since we're only talking block transfers for IP the file system is not a problem at all.
Actually the disk would thrash from the bidirectional transfers so two drives would work better. Then you could use each as a FIFO and have all the goodness of its streaming transfer rate.

Re:price (2)

rrohbeck (944847) | more than 2 years ago | (#37771282)

With parallel SCSI you don't even switch. Just access the HD from both hosts at the same time.
I did that between a PC and a MicroVAX once :P

No mention of SMB2 support (4, Insightful)

Trongy (64652) | more than 2 years ago | (#37769278)

The newer SMB2 protocol in post Vista version of windows is much more efficient in network usage. Samba 3.6 now has SMB2 support, but the article doesn't say which (if any) of these devices support the newer protocol.

Re:No mention of SMB2 support (1)

Junior J. Junior III (192702) | more than 2 years ago | (#37770750)

It might be listed under Doki! Doki! Panic support, that's what it was originally called in Japan.

Re:No mention of SMB2 support (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37771012)

Videogame Trivia Win

Wow. (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37769308)

Holy cow! $1,699 to $3,799" for "10TB or 12TB" of storage?

Case with 8 internal bays: $40
600 Watt Power supply: $35
MB with 8 SATA3 ports: $115
2.5gig dual core processor: $73
8 2TB drives: $800
1 Gig of RAM: $30

Total: $1093, for 16TB of storage. Yeah, yeah, you need one of them as a spare drive for redundancy, and you need an OS. You also need a few minutes to assemble and install. But for that price? Why pay twice as much? Hell yeah, roll my own, baby!

That PSU is to cheap and more ram can help as well (4, Informative)

Joe_Dragon (2206452) | more than 2 years ago | (#37769386)

That PSU is to cheap at least get a $50+ one and don't just go for high watts.

get 2-4 GB ram mini should only be about $50-$60 for good 8 GB DDR 3 you want at least dual channel ram.

8 sata ports you may want to get a pci-e raid card / sata card. Maybe even SAS.

redundancy you may want raid 6 on a raid card and not on board fake raid and most south bridges only have 6 ports any ways.

Also some low end MB only have 10/100'.

Re:That PSU is to cheap and more ram can help as w (1)

gman003 (1693318) | more than 2 years ago | (#37769970)

That PSU is to cheap at least get a $50+ one and don't just go for high watts.

Uh, what? I can understanding criticizing a specific PSU brand as being too unreliable or low-quality, but come on! Just saying "any PSU less than $__ is crap, you need to spend at least $__" makes you sound like a classic Conspicuous Consumer.

get 2-4 GB ram mini should only be about $50-$60 for good 8 GB DDR 3 you want at least dual channel ram.

This is a NAS, not a server. Half a gig would be sufficient, honestly - I've run some with 256MB. One gig is plenty, unless you want to keep files on a RAMdisk.

8 sata ports you may want to get a pci-e raid card / sata card. Maybe even SAS.

When you're just building a home/small office NAS, you don't need a high-performance RAID card - software RAID is more than enough. Especially considering the price of those things.

redundancy you may want raid 6 on a raid card and not on board fake raid and most south bridges only have 6 ports any ways.

8 hard drives is not enough to justify RAID 6, unless they're EXTREMELY unreliable drives. Especially since that cuts down your storage capacity down to 12TB - not that good.

RAID 6 is only needed when it's possible for a drive to fail, and then for another to fail while the array is still recovering. There's no point in doing it with only 8 drives.

Also some low end MB only have 10/100'.

True. But then again, how many switches and computers are still only 10/100? Maybe you don't, but I still work daily with stuff that maxes out at Fast Ethernet.

Plus, a $115 mobo isn't "low-end", at least by my definition. It's a fair assumption that if it has 8 SATA ports, you're going to have 10/100/1000 Ethernet.

Re:That PSU is to cheap and more ram can help as w (1)

Joe_Dragon (2206452) | more than 2 years ago | (#37770156)

That PSU is to cheap at least get a $50+ one and don't just go for high watts.

Uh, what? I can understanding criticizing a specific PSU brand as being too unreliable or low-quality, but come on! Just saying "any PSU less than $__ is crap, you need to spend at least $__" makes you sound like a classic Conspicuous Consumer.

ok but don't cheap out.

get 2-4 GB ram mini should only be about $50-$60 for good 8 GB DDR 3 you want at least dual channel ram.

This is a NAS, not a server. Half a gig would be sufficient, honestly - I've run some with 256MB. One gig is plenty, unless you want to keep files on a RAMdisk.

ok but for $30 you can get 2gb ram

8 sata ports you may want to get a pci-e raid card / sata card. Maybe even SAS.

When you're just building a home/small office NAS, you don't need a high-performance RAID card - software RAID is more than enough. Especially considering the price of those things.

maybe but not all boards have 8 ports and some that's 6 chipset and the other from a add on sata chip also the build in software / fake raid likely will not work across 2 different chips like that. And even with 8 ports you still need 1 for the OS disk or you can mix the OS with the data drives.

redundancy you may want raid 6 on a raid card and not on board fake raid and most south bridges only have 6 ports any ways.

8 hard drives is not enough to justify RAID 6, unless they're EXTREMELY unreliable drives. Especially since that cuts down your storage capacity down to 12TB - not that good.

RAID 6 is only needed when it's possible for a drive to fail, and then for another to fail while the array is still recovering. There's no point in doing it with only 8 drives.

8 drives in raid 0 is a major risk. Raid 5 uses less space.

Also some low end MB only have 10/100'.

True. But then again, how many switches and computers are still only 10/100? Maybe you don't, but I still work daily with stuff that maxes out at Fast Ethernet.

Plus, a $115 mobo isn't "low-end", at least by my definition. It's a fair assumption that if it has 8 SATA ports, you're going to have 10/100/1000 Ethernet.

The case needs to have room for 8 HDD's + a os disk and good cooling.

Re:That PSU is to cheap and more ram can help as w (1)

gman003 (1693318) | more than 2 years ago | (#37770266)

ok but for $30 you can get 2gb ram

Yeah? For $30 I can also add a nice SD/MicroSD card reader. And it would be just as beneficial to the system. Just because RAM is cheap, doesn't mean you need to cram absolutely everything full of it.

maybe but not all boards have 8 ports and some that's 6 chipset and the other from a add on sata chip also the build in software / fake raid likely will not work across 2 different chips like that. And even with 8 ports you still need 1 for the OS disk or you can mix the OS with the data drives.

Once X79 comes out, you'll have 10 ports, naturally. In any case, software RAID, at least under Linux, can handle disks on any widely incompatible set of chipsets. As well as separating the OS onto a disk partition on just one drive.

8 drives in raid 0 is a major risk. Raid 5 uses less space.

That would be relevant, if we were talking about RAID 0. RAID 5 and 6 are identical save for the number of disks used for parity, which in turn affects number of simultaneous failures it can recover from and the efficiency of space utilization.

The case needs to have room for 8 HDD's + a os disk and good cooling.

Again - how is that relevant to the section you were responding to?

You can find large cases easily. I found one in under a minute with 8 internal bays for $40.

Re:That PSU is to cheap and more ram can help as w (1)

Joe_Dragon (2206452) | more than 2 years ago | (#37770566)

X79 is the high end chip set that needs a i7 cpu that likely $280-$300 + a $200-$250 MB also the cpu has quad channel ram so you may want to have at least 2 ram sticks maybe even 4 also may need a low end pci-e video card as x79 has no build in video so the system may or may not boot up with out one. VS say a lower cost CPU and MB + a hardware raid card at about $300 is about the same (You do not need a i7 for that and with the lower end board on board video is ok) and hardware raid makes so you don't need a high end cpu or MB.

and for like the cost of 320GB or Smaller HDD you can have the OS on it's own and not have to have be part of the data disks.

Re:That PSU is to cheap and more ram can help as w (1)

broken_chaos (1188549) | more than 2 years ago | (#37770168)

RAID 6 is only needed when it's possible for a drive to fail, and then for another to fail while the array is still recovering. There's no point in doing it with only 8 drives.

It's also extremely useful if you run into an unrecoverable read error while trying to rebuild the array.

A lot of standard mechanical drives have an unrecoverable read error rate of about 1-in-10^14 bits (or 1-in-~12TB), meaning you're getting into some pretty nasty chances of hitting an URE on at least one of your disks when you're trying to rebuild the array after a disk failure with a decently-large array. This issue is alleviated when you have storage with an URE rate of 1-in-10^15 or higher (such as some SSDs), but this won't come cheap for a comparable amount of storage.

Of course, RAID isn't a backup solution. But I'd personally rather lose a little more storage than have to restore from a backup (which, while you should have, doesn't have to be convenient) on short notice.

Re:That PSU is to cheap and more ram can help as w (1)

swalve (1980968) | more than 2 years ago | (#37770186)

That's why you have cron do a raidcheck once a week. You'll know if you have a drive starting to go TU before it completely fails.

Re:That PSU is to cheap and more ram can help as w (1)

unrtst (777550) | more than 2 years ago | (#37770832)

BAH! Sure,that's not bad to do, but if one drive does go tits up, then you (home user) order a replacement, wait, get new drive, try to rebuild, what's the chances just one in 7 of those remaining 2tb drives has just one read error? If so, raid array rebuild fails.

We're approaching the per-disk capacity and failure rate where raid 5 isn't enough (there's an EXCELLENT article on this somewhere - looked it up... I think this was it: http://www.zdnet.com/blog/storage/why-raid-5-stops-working-in-2009/162 [zdnet.com] )

For comments about backups... my only real plan on using some consumer level external raid array would be for backup purposes. I should have a backup for my backup, but then it's turtles all the way down.

Re:That PSU is to cheap and more ram can help as w (1)

afidel (530433) | more than 2 years ago | (#37770414)

No, RAID6 is the only useful level of RAID for any 7200 RPM drive over ~1TB other than RAID10. The bit error rate and time to rebuild are too high for anyone who cares about their data to use anything else.

Re:That PSU is to cheap and more ram can help as w (1)

randallman (605329) | more than 2 years ago | (#37770836)

The only real advantage "real raid" has over "fake raid" is the battery backed cache, so if it doesn't have that, you're probably better off with "fake raid". Your system CPU is faster than the CPU on board (plenty fast for parity calculations) and with "real raid", you have yet another OS (the board's firmware) to keep updated and hope doesn't crash and take our your file system.

I'd rather have the OS handle the disks so there's no mystery disk format and I have complete control from the OS level. ZFS and BTRFS are the future and make more sense than using separate MD and FS layers. Still, a battery backed write cache is a nice thing to have and it would be cool to have those built into the disks.

Re:That PSU is to cheap and more ram can help as w (1)

clarkn0va (807617) | more than 2 years ago | (#37770934)

you may want raid 6 on a raid card

You just added hundreds or thousands of dollars to a $1000 NAS and locked yourself to a specific piece of esoteric hardware in one swoop. BIOS-based RAID is a little too pedestrian for serious storage, yes, but there's nothing to be ashamed of in a true software RAID setup (ie, mdadm), even if it means adding SATA ports through a card.

Re:That PSU is to cheap and more ram can help as w (1)

MoreDruid (584251) | more than 2 years ago | (#37771364)

get a cheap HP ML110 server with a few GB of RAM, load it up with disks. Get a bigger housing if the case is too small. Benefits: remote management (very basic ILO), server grade chipset/CPU if you get the Xeon specced model. I got one of these in a special offer and it runs my linux server very well. 1.6TB RAID 1 (mdraid), off the shelf disks, bought half a year apart so I don't get bitten by some bug that's in one firmware and not the other. Enough CPU/RAM/disk overhead to run the occasional test VMs. I absolutely love it. The power consumption is also quite modest at around 75W when idle. I know the NAS solutions eat half of that at most but they aren't as flexible and the Atoms in them get absolutely blown away by the performance of my quad Xeon.

You get what you pay for (1)

steve-san (550197) | more than 2 years ago | (#37769452)

This isn't about raw storage; it's about an appliance that *just works* (for a long time, in my case). I've had my ReadyNAS NV (pre-Netgear, Infrant version) up and running 24/7 since March of 2006. It never, ever crashes. Administration (when rarely required) is quick & brainless. It cost 700 bucks back then (no drives). Along with my IBM Thinkpad, that's the best computing money I've ever spent.

If I would have built a DIY version, it probably would have needed rebuilding (software-wise) 3 times by now, largely due to my own propensity to keep messing with it.

Oh, I have got plug the ReadyNAS proprietary "X-RAID" feature, too: slap in an extra drive, and the array auto-expands to fill that drive. Zero-config, instant upgrades!

Re:You get what you pay for (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37769692)

I dropped my DNS-323 earlier this year for a home rolled linux solution. I had an old big case laying around. New PS, MB CPU & RAM. Ended up going i3 2100 because it draws so little power when idle. I think all in was around 600 CAD for 6TB raid 5. The array has 400MB/s bandwidth and saturates my GigE home network without even trying WHILE recording a couple of HD channels with the MythTV backend running. I may plug the DNS back in as backup for pics/docs but that damn thing is so slow, sustains around 15MB/s over GigE. Good for backups, not for HD recordings.

Re:You get what you pay for (1)

rikkards (98006) | more than 2 years ago | (#37769858)

The DNS is notoriously slow. One of the reasons I discarded them before I decided to go with a 4 bay rather than 2 bay

Re:Wow. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37769780)

Can you work up something with RAID (redundancy, not striping) on a $200-300 budget? (Right now I just use an external USB2 drive for backups; 1TB will do just fine for my needs).

Re:Wow. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37769922)

200 - 300 dollars?

You must be smoking crack dog.
The two hard drives are going to cost you prob 150 dollars, the mb another 50 and then the ram and processor will finish that last hundred off.

Then you need a case, and power supply. Then none of that includes shipping or taxes, so you might be able to get away with 4/5 hundred. That is unless you want windows, in which case just tack another hundred on there.

Man can someone work up a brand new car for me for only 2 grand?

Re:Wow. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37770036)

The 500 was obvious: $1093 - 6/8 * (8 2TB drives: $800) = $493.

But I'm looking for something *a lot cheaper* than that. SW raid into two external drives (e-SATA or USB) would clearly work for less than $150 total.

Surely there's a middle ground? (150+500)/2 = $325. Are there no hardware e-Sata 2:1 mirroring ports? If not, why not? I think there would be a HUGE market for them in the price $50-100 range.

FreeNAS (1)

bagofbeans (567926) | more than 2 years ago | (#37770388)

I got a Fractal Design Array R2 Mini-ITX NAS Case which is gorgeous, takes 6 HDD in a small case. MB is Sapphire Pure Fusion Mini E350 AMD Dual Core E350 which is very low power, 5 x SATA III + 1 eSATA II, USB 3, GbEthernet.

FreeNAS 8 supports the hardware, and ZFS filing system is reliable.

Not enterprise level, but excellent for home use.

Re:FreeNAS (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37770430)

Google tells me that's $170 for the case+power supply, and $170 for the MB+CPU.
So $340 + RAM + hard drives?

Sounds nice, and very relevant to the low-budget discussion. I just wish it was in my budget.

Re:Wow. (1)

ElectricTurtle (1171201) | more than 2 years ago | (#37770586)

Synology DS211j $200

Hitachi 1TB $65x2 = $130

$330.

Re:Wow. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37771344)

Thanks. This is exactly the type of thing I wanted to see. :)

Re:Wow. (2)

Charliemopps (1157495) | more than 2 years ago | (#37769806)

You obviously haven't been involved in enterprise level purchases before. It may seem silly to your average techy but the people buying this equipment need someone to blame when it fails. If you're the head of IS in your company and the little server your suggesting goes down for 24hrs because of some obscure hardware incompatibility, what are you going to say? You built it, you maintained it, now the company has 50 people that sat at their desks pointlessly for 8hrs while you dicked around with drivers. You'll be out the door before the end of the day, irrelevant of weather it's your fault or not. It HAS to be someones fault, and without a service contract, that someone is you.

Now you go with one of these pre-packaged deals and a service contract... the VP comes down "So what's up with the servers?" and you can say "I've got a ticket open with QNAP, they're next-day airing us a replacement." and the VP says "Well good, at least it's they're on top of things." Never mind that it didn't get fixed any faster. As far as the person responsible for the purchase is concerned they have someone else to blame and upper managed "Feels" like things are under control.

Re:Wow. (1)

swalve (1980968) | more than 2 years ago | (#37770198)

That's why when you home-brew, you have redundant equipment. If you have extras of everything, on the shelf and ready to go, no need for any of that BS.

Re:Wow. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37770200)

weather?

Horrible article, No Metrics (4, Insightful)

bigdady92 (635263) | more than 2 years ago | (#37769344)

There is no mention of speed, performance, file copy replication, the ins and out of each solution, just a list of features they all share and how the author went about determining them at his whim. Without metrics this article is just a sales blurb for links. Other websites do it better: Storagereview for one, Smallnetbuilder is the other.

Another wretched sales brouchure disguised as a review by Infoworld.

Re:Horrible article, No Metrics (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37769602)

Did you read the article? Look at pages 4 and 5, there are some "metrics" for your viewing pleasure Mr. Cranky

Re:Horrible article, No Metrics (1)

chrb (1083577) | more than 2 years ago | (#37770094)

The metrics are a bit useless since he hasn't even used the same RAID configuration - three use RAID10, and the others RAID2 and RAID5.

Re:Horrible article, No Metrics (1)

bryan1945 (301828) | more than 2 years ago | (#37770744)

Well, there were some metrics.
But you're right, when I went to the review, Ghostery popped up 15 or so trackers. Don't think I ever saw that many on one page.

Whatever happened to Snap servers? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37769382)

They lead in this market a couple years ago.

Overland storage bought them but are they worth it anymore?

Cheap storage (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37769526)

Get an hp micro server ($300) and 5 3tb drives. Fits in a tight space (about the size of a 4 slice toaster and runs about 55 watts. I run VMware on mine and I also run free as in a vm. Works great and a whole lot cheaper than dedicated nas device.

Re:Cheap storage (1)

rikkards (98006) | more than 2 years ago | (#37769892)

Whole lot cheaper if your time is worth nothing. I have spent maybe a total of 20 minutes getting my NAS set up. I would rather spend my time doing other things than configuring a server.

Re:Cheap storage (1)

Nursie (632944) | more than 2 years ago | (#37770220)

And this is why you'll never be as good as the people that really know their systems because they actually enjoy learning about and tinkering with them, setting things up and gaining a little extra insight every time.

Re:Cheap storage (1)

afidel (530433) | more than 2 years ago | (#37770440)

And the small and midsized businesses that are the main audience for these devices don't care, they don't want to be good at fixing obscure problems with LVM, they want a device to hold their data which requires the least amount of staff time to setup and care for.

unRAID (3, Interesting)

jtownatpunk.net (245670) | more than 2 years ago | (#37769568)

It's definitely more work to set up than a pre-built appliance and I wouldn't use it in a production environment but it has some advantages and works well as my media server. I particularly like that multiple drives developing a few bad sectors won't render the entire array unrecoverable. That's a bit of a concern when combining multi-terabyte consumer level drives. I currently have 20tb of fault-tolerant storage with room for another 6tb before I run out of ports. With more ports and a larger case, I could go up to 40tb.

Re:unRAID (1)

bigdady92 (635263) | more than 2 years ago | (#37769630)

I own this solution. It's downright amazing with the support of the community and the sheer vastness of hardware supported. you cannot go wrong with unRAID.

Re:unRAID (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37770096)

look into ZFS. It kicks the shit out of this unraid nonsense. ZFS is an enterprise level FS. unraid doesn't hold a candle to its feature set nor its stability.

Re:unRAID (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37770178)

That's nice. When I have a VP of Porn to report to, I'll worry about whether my system is enterprisey enough.

Re:unRAID (3, Informative)

afidel (530433) | more than 2 years ago | (#37770452)

The other nice thing about ZFS is L2ARC and ZIL, throw in one or two cheap SSD's and your TB's of cheap storage start to perform like a 5-6 figure array =)

Re:unRAID (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37770074)

sounds like ZFS just not as good

Re:unRAID (1)

jtownatpunk.net (245670) | more than 2 years ago | (#37770212)

OMG! There's something else that's better than what I'm using! My choice is flawed and I should dismantle my array immediately even if it does everything I need! :rolleyes:

Re:unRAID (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37770438)

ah good you're learning. there might be hope for you yet. I'm rooting for you!!

Re:unRAID (1)

gorbachev (512743) | more than 2 years ago | (#37771274)

Big fan of unRAID as well.

I set up a box for home this summer. 20-drive max capacity, currently running on 6.

The extensibility of the system was the biggest selling point for me.

What is this crap? (1)

dnaumov (453672) | more than 2 years ago | (#37769572)

I built a 500$ Atom NAS over 2 years ago and it had better performance then that shown in the charts of that article. And these rigs are over 1000$ today? WTF?

Re:What is this crap? (1)

juventasone (517959) | more than 2 years ago | (#37769760)

Same here. Intel Desktop Board with integrated Atom. I installed XP with most services disabled, no AV, just some IP cam software. It only has LAN access (no Internet). Runs fast and has never gone down. My favorite part is the power consumption--measuring at the wall with activity was 18W.

Re:What is this crap? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37770644)

XP on a server, are you mad, linux is perfect for the job!

Re:What is this crap? (1)

juventasone (517959) | more than 2 years ago | (#37771244)

Not when the IP cam software only supports Windows.

Pretty weak writeup... (1)

sdguero (1112795) | more than 2 years ago | (#37769590)

The metrics were using different raid types from one solution to the next, some say RAID10, some RAID2, etc... The "Intel file copy" test was basically unexplained and it doesn't make sense that a file copy (sequential write/read operation) would have less throughput than random reads/writes (and wtf does he talk about 256k block size in teh legend instead of how big the read/writes are?) as the other test claims to be. Also, the author calls RAID-10 and RAID-6 as modes for someone with more technical knowledge that wants to "dig in." Ugh. Lame article on several levels. I couldn't read the whole thing because it was making me stupider.

IOMega software is bad (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37769618)

Got one and mounted it in Windows. The volume stopped working one day. Logged into the firmware and it's stuck and can do nothing more than tell you the name of the device and the time. Any operation/reboot/or total firmware wipe (even if I tried to lose my data completely) fails "due to the state of the device" I called up IOmega support (paid $50 to talk to someone because it wasn't business hours yet) and they said my data is fine but their firmware is in a bad state so I have to send it back in order to get a new one. We couldn't get to the screen to view logs because "that operation failed due to the state of the device" I didn't bother, just left it in the rack as a decoration. Even if I had gotten a new one, the best that I could end up with would be another IOMega nas device with awful firmware and no robustness or debuggability.

Another bad thing about the IOMega devices. Many of them have their firmware/storage OS on the hard-drives themselves (so that's right, you can't take them out and replace them with your own disks.) I ended up with QNAP which is more expensive but at least ships with the firmware in the device so I can at least pick my drives. etc.

Just sharing my experience.

Real file servers are just about as cheap (1)

dbIII (701233) | more than 2 years ago | (#37769632)

Something with some CPU power to take requests and get them out there plus a card that can do RAID6 and still saturate a gigabit network connection (with enough drives) doesn't really cost a lot more than some of those underpowered things.

Yes, you can get a Dell for this price (3, Interesting)

bigtrike (904535) | more than 2 years ago | (#37769924)

A Dell T710 is $900 and can take 16 2.5" drives or 8 3.5". If you're not a fan of linux software raid, toss in a PERC controller ($599) and bump the ram up to 4GB ($65) and 8 1.5TB disks at $520 and you're at $2084 for 12TB of storage, in any type of RAID you want.

one nas (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37769714)

And one NAS shall bind them all. http://www.drobo.com/ [drobo.com] If I could have afforded it I would have bought a drobo. I ended up with a Thecus (strange name) instead. Don't get me wrong it's a nice little unit but the documentation is horrible and the KB is not much better. Shoehornjob

Re: one nas (1)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 2 years ago | (#37770272)

Unless you are absolutely phobic about exposure to harrowingly technical terms like "raid5", you should approach the drobo with notrivial caution.

They are quite pricey for their size and performance, which has historically been pretty tepid. Probably worse than that(which is a set of vices shared with quite a few other underpowered NAS units), is that their "BeyondRAID" system makes up for some powerful features by being Just Fucking Weird in some annoying ways.

Perhaps my least favorite is the ghastly hack that they use to make automatic array expansion 'easy'. To quote from their getting started guide:

"- Volume size does not represent how much actual storage space is available on your Drobo/Pro/S. It represents virtual storage space. For example, your Drobo/ Pro/S may be loaded with 2TB of hard drive space, but you can create a volume of 8TB. What this enables you to do is add more capacity to your Drobo/Pro/S (by inserting an additional drive or replacing a smaller capacity drive with a larger capacity one) without having to format an additional volume. The additional capacity becomes part of the same volume you formatted originally. - Your operating system may show the virtual space you have available on your Drobo device, as defined by the volume size."

Yup. Unlike traditional RAID, you don't have to break and re-create the array to enlarge it, which is nice; but only if you initially create the volume to appear as large or larger than the expanded array. So, either you ignore the handy expansion feature, or you have a volume that your OS thinks is larger, possibly substantially so, than it physically is(just like a counterfeit fleabay flash drive...) Nothing bad can possibly come of having your OS and filesystem capacity numbers being based on lies, with the only true capacity report being through the proprietary dashboard application... Their oddity and heavy dependence on nonstandard host software is also an issue with their higher end iSCSI-supporting products. "- You can purchase an add-on gigabit Ethernet adapter card for your computer if needed. Note, however, that a regular network adapter card is required, as Data Robotics, Inc., does not support iSCSI-specific cards, or HBA (host bus adapter) cards."

Hooray, pay the substantial premium for an iSCSI model vs. the equivalent NAS unit, and don't even get HBA support...(an 8 bay NAS, for example, starts at $2,500. 8 bays of SAN, $3,999...)

I'm not saying that they are a terrible product; but you really have to hate the limitations of normal RAID or make strong aesthetic demands of your storage arrays before it becomes worth looking.

Ditch the hardware or software RAID (1)

Dishwasha (125561) | more than 2 years ago | (#37770390)

Use GlusterFS http://www.gluster.org/ [gluster.org] for redundancy spanned across one or more JBOD machines for a much easier hardware and data upgrade path. Use oVirt for easy set up http://www.gluster.com/community/documentation/index.php/GlusterFS_oVirt_Setup_Guide [gluster.com] . Mount GlusterFS directly to your clients or export via iSCSI target, fibrechannel target, FCoE, NBD, or traditional NFS for a more advanced shared storage solution. And you can still run more of a NAS type setup with CIFS, WebDAV, or the like.

HP N36L (1)

itr2401 (873985) | more than 2 years ago | (#37770518)

HP N36L - 4 bay, non hot swap + space for 5th hdd in CD Drive bay space. If you want to use 2.5" drives, can swap that out for a 4 in 1 unit for 8 drives.
This server + low profile PCIe SATA expansion card running NetxentaStore Community (ZFS + DeDupe) accross 5 drives (3TB, ~15TB with ~12TB usable) + 2.5" boot drive + SSD gives me ~97MBytes read / write when exporting via iSCSI to VMware, NFS / Samba shares.

Performance SUCKS on those devices! (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37770582)

Around pg 4, he shows some performance graphs. Meh.

My $130 external array connected to a weenie desktop running Linux Software RAID gets 200+ MB/s reads (206.58 MB/sec) with a tiny bit of /sbin/blockdev tuning. Obviously, HDDs not included in that price.
(4) 4 yr old Seagate 7200rpm SATA HDDs - nothing special, using the internal SATA ports on the motherboard. The downside is this array only supports 4 HDDs.

Had a Promise RAID card, not fakeRAID, it was slow. Only supported a 2 yr old kernel.

Writes to a single 7200 Black drive are between 65-73MB/s doing nothing special using SMB. I see this daily over a GigE network at the house.

These devices appear to be a major rip off if you care about performance. If you do, check out AoE and spend your money where it matters.

A few yrs ago, you could get a rebranded Dell 8 drive iSCSI device for $5K. Similar devices seem to be $15K these days.

I'm thinking I"m in the wrong business. Building an 8 drive OpenFiler or FreeNAS device with a few GigE ports, software RAID, and iSCSI, NFS, SAMBA, CIFS, FTP, .... seems like $2500 would be 50% cheaper than the competition and it would cost me about .... $250 + (8 x 100) = $1000. The $1500 would be my time to create branding icons. Could probably put the OS on a RO-flash card so the HDDs are all available for storage. There must be things I'm missing or everyone would do this.

addonics.com has parts.

Internet Small Computer System Interface (2)

Gothmolly (148874) | more than 2 years ago | (#37770746)

I stopped reading the slide show when they not only spelled out a definition for ISCSI, but got it wrong. Horrible article. Zero details, all fluff.

Not worth it (1)

jcfandino (2196932) | more than 2 years ago | (#37770816)

At least for entry level. I recently bought a LianLi EX-50 enclosure, it allocates up to five disks and supports all the common RAID modes. And is cheaper than these NAS servers.
The difference is that it connects to the eSata port (newer version supports USB3), as I have a little server (just an old desktop pc) I simply had set up the nfs service.

No one cares about your server (3, Interesting)

Lifix (791281) | more than 2 years ago | (#37771060)

Dear Slashdoters. I know that you can build a better, faster, cheaper NAS that will perform fellatio over SSH and wipe your ass for you. But, I don't care... at all. According to you, I overpaid for my two NAS devices, a Drobo FS (serving media) and a Synology DS211+ (photo backups (profoto)). But I'm exceedingly happy with them. Transfer speed is sufficient on the Drobo to serve 1080p content to 2 tv's and an iPad simultaneously, and the Synology keeps up with my image editing software just fine. I've upgraded the drives in the drobo once so far, and just like their videos claim, everything just worked. The Drobo survived a drive failure last year, in the middle of 'movie night,' and video playback from the drobo was unaffected. - I'm glad that these NAS devices were reviewed, but I can't imagine why so many have come to this thread to post their server builds. The people, like myself, buying these NAS devices are buying them so we don't have to build our own servers.

Re:No one cares about your server (1)

Lifix (791281) | more than 2 years ago | (#37771070)

Went back through and actually read the OP. The comparison is absolute shit, there's no mention of input/output speeds on any of the devices, and no clear methodology for handing out scores... advertisement disguised as reporting.
Load More Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?