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Home Network Data Storage Device

CmdrTaco posted more than 8 years ago | from the what-do-you-recommend dept.


It happened again- a machine on my home network died. Taking with it tons of data. It's mostly backed up. No huge loss. But I finally think it's time to get some sort of network raid disk. A unified place to safely store data accessible to the numerous machines on my home lan. So now I pose to Slashdot readers- what are your recommendations? I'm looking for something with RAID and SMB sharing. At least a quarter TB, probably a half, but with some room to grow. What have you used? What works? What fails?

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The Poor Man's RAID Array (5, Informative)

eldavojohn (898314) | more than 8 years ago | (#14485243)

As CmdrTaco, I'm sure you have money coming out of your ears that you've harvested from the pseudo-religion that is Slashdot.

But for those of you with fewer fiscal resources, I will tell you the stories of my friend and me, a.k.a. The Master Rebaters.

My story is a simple one. I love music. I have over 1,000 CDs and have spent a lot of time meticulously ripping them with my friend CDex [] . So, I have some 350-400GB of data that I would like to archive. There are a multitude of possibilities but, since I'm short on cash, I opted for a simple $13 RAID 1 controller [] ... I know, I know, I'm going to catch hell for using such a crappy generic product. And I know many people who will tell you that VIA is crap when it comes to RAID controllers. Maybe you're one of them. If you are, I hear that the brand Promise provides excellent RAID controllers, you'll just pay a whole lot more for them. A couple of these babies [] in RAID 1 [] and you're set.

My friend, however, opted for a huge and expensive RAID 6 array controller made by Promise. Then he waited and waited until there was a 250 GB Maxtor rebate at CompUSA [] or Outpost [] and went in and bought five with cash. Then he filled out the rebates for relatives and played the waiting game. Huge initial investment but he received a lot of money back slowly. Result, a 1.1 ~ 1.2 TB RAID array. He got a lot more storage and more efficient use of the disks since a RAID 6 with striping allows for drives to be rebuilt in the array.

What he wasn't planning on was the logistics of what he would have to do to his Antec case as a result of all these drives. Fans. Airflow. Heat. These all became huge issues for him--especially in the summer. I'm not sure what your situation is with a case but I made no alterations to my case.

Now, there's a lot of things I skipped over that you can take into consideration, like SATA or ATA? 7,200 RPM or 10,000 RPM? 8MB or 16MB buffer? Striping size? etc. Honestly, those issues aren't worth my time to mess with. Sure sure, I'm losing precious ms seek/read time on my disks but I'm not that motivated.

In the end, if you're only looking for half a TB, do what I did. Those 500 GB drives will only get cheaper and if one blows, just pop another in. And if you really need that room to grow, grab the nice RAID controller that supports RAID 0-6 and just use two 500GBs leaving the other three slots open for the future when you might buy them and RAID 6 it.

What fails? The old IBM Deathstars. Beware!

Re:The Poor Man's RAID Array (1)

PunkeyFunky (522484) | more than 8 years ago | (#14485337)

Well, I'm similarly poor, so went with a el cheapo "RAID1" controller. Thats what it said on the packet, but, FreeBSD see's it as a plain old IDE controller. Not to worry, 4 x 120Gb drives, and then use gmirror to create a coupla metadrives with mirroring. Cheap? Yes. But, it works.

My Mrs looks over my shoulder to read my email, but ignores /. Go figure.

Re:The Poor Man's RAID Array (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14485392)

All you did is use software raid, you could of done that with a normal ide drives.

Re:The Poor Man's RAID Array (4, Funny)

harrkev (623093) | more than 8 years ago | (#14485486)

You can do it even cheaper. Check out this page: []

That guy uses floppies in a RAID setup using a macintosh.

So, my guess is that you do not even need any raid cards. Just a 2nd hand iMac, and about 150,000 USB floppy drives. Of course, you might have to stack a USB hub or two in there.

If you can get your hands on old USB Zip drives, you should only need about 2500 of those.

Who says I don't know how to save a buck. Who needs expensive RAID cards?

Let me know how it turns out.

Re:The Poor Man's RAID Array (1)

stecoop (759508) | more than 8 years ago | (#14485399)

What fails? The old IBM Deathstars. Beware!

WTF, you had such a good first post and blew it with the last line. Old Deathstars are not the only ones that die. Now, lets correct your typo:

What Fails? Hitachi Deathstars regardles of age. Beware... Be-F#%!ING-ware.

Re:The Poor Man's RAID Array (3, Informative)

mlg9000 (515199) | more than 8 years ago | (#14485448)

First of all... almost nobody sells RAID 6 devices. I'm aware of only one company that does and it's not Promise. It's an odd ball configuration and I can't see where it would be all that useful. The common RAID configurations are 0, 1, 5, 0+1, 10, and 50.

Second Promise can never be considered a "nice" controller. It works, it's fairly cheap, but it's consumer grade stuff.

I wouldn't bother with a cheap RAID controller. Go with md raid in Linux. It's free, you never have to worry about finding the same controller again if the one you have dies, performance is decent (almost always better then cheap RAID cards), and it works really well all around. You might need a PATA or SATA controller to add more drives but those are cheap. High end stuff where performance is critical you get a high end RAID card.

Re:The Poor Man's RAID Array (4, Insightful)

timeOday (582209) | more than 8 years ago | (#14485522)

Why go with RAID at all? Hear me out.

Whatever you do, you MUST be protected from accidental deletion and corruption. That means you need a backup, which RAID is not. Now assuming you maintain a separate backup, why waste disk space on a separate "hot" backup, which RAID (not 0) provides? If this is home use, you don't care about the downtime required to restore from background in event of a disk failure.

If you're like me, you don't want to buy a bunch of identical disks at once for home use. Instead, you have a range of larger newer disks, and smaller older disks. . This means the disks you want to use are NOT all the same size, as required by RAID (AFAIK). Instead, you can use LVM [] with linear mapping to combine smaller drives into one larger one, even if the physical drives are mismatched sizes. Create one logical volume for live, and one for backup, and do nightly updates of the backup. You probably don't want/need to compress the backup if the bulk of your files are already compressed media files.

Linux? What else do you expect slashdot to say? (4, Informative)

ResQuad (243184) | more than 8 years ago | (#14485246)

First I'd recomend using a size formating in your question that better fits your situation like "At least 250GB, probably 500GB, but with some room to grow".

On to solutions. Buy yourself a big case (you can do rackmount or regular "large" ATX cases) and stick a decent computer in there. Add Gigabit NIC. Add an 8 port 3ware SATA Raid controller (configured to RAID5). Add 4 120GB 7200RPM SATA Drives (or what ever you can find cheap, even 200GB drives are relativly cheap these days). Install Linux, share your harddrive using Samba. Done.

You have 4 extra ports to expand your RAID if you need too, or you could get bigger harddrives. I think 3Ware cards can support up to 2TB of HD space - so that gives you some expandability. Plus you have a RAID5 which has fault tollerence built in.

Re:Linux? What else do you expect slashdot to say? (1)

CerebusUS (21051) | more than 8 years ago | (#14485328)

At one point, 250GB SATA drives could be had from newegg for about $120 each. That's pretty cheap.

Re:Linux? What else do you expect slashdot to say? (1)

MrPeavs (890124) | more than 8 years ago | (#14485402)

I used a similar method, though not raid and not gigabit nic. I decided I needed a centralized storage place for my media. I took an old PIII Celeron I had laying around with on board video and lan. I then bought a 4 port Promise SATA card and two 250 GB Seagate SATA hard drives. I installed slackware, stripped it down while making sure it had NFS support and LVM support and finally configured it. I got it down small enough to run off of a 64 MB flash card, that was just a fun side project. I went with LVM since it would be easier to manage, plus I wanted my data to all be on what seemed to be one drive. I didn't want to have to have a bunch of directories that I would have to drill down in. I don't have the money currently to setup a RAID setup with integrity support. LVM appealed to me because I can add and remove drives very easily. I can also swap drives out very easily. I don't have all that much experience or knowledge with RAID, but it just didn't seem like it would be as easy. Now this computer is on a 100 Mbit network. I have been able to stream movie, DVD quality, to my HTPC and Roku PhotoBridge with out any problems. Obviously, music and pictures are fine since video works. I am currently sitting at 1.5 TB, with only 11 GB left. It is a Jerry ridged case, al though I plan on custom building one (to save money) to house all the HDDs and fans to cool them. LVM only goes up to 2 TB from what I have read, but that shouldn't be a problem as 8 drives take up a lot of space and require a descent power supply. I will just start the project all over again after I add drives 7 and 8. Though, I am unsure how I am going to migrate all the data to look as one big directory. It has been up and running strong for almost half a year now. Obviously minus the times it had to be shutdown to physically install the drives. I got a large portion of my DVD collection archived to it along with CDs and my photos. Has worked out very well for what I needed it for. I just need a house now with a place to have a rack-mount to hide all this crap. The fiancée isn't a fan of computers laying all over the place and being in the room, although, surprisingly, it isn't that loud.

Thumbs Up for 3Ware Escalade RAID, 7200 RPM SATA (1)

LazloToth (623604) | more than 8 years ago | (#14485494)

Between home and work, I've done three setups like this. One has the optional battery backup module, which I think is worth it if you have the extra $100/US. All have been solid as rocks. I use Lian Li drive drawers and Silverstone black aluminum cases for eye candy. The drawers are a nice touch. Thus far I've used Windows 2000 as the OS, AMD processors, Seagate drives (5-year warranty!)and Abit NF7-S mainboards. Lots of bang for the buck, and nice to look at as well. At some point, I want to see how the 3ware cards do under Linux - - I hear that they are fully supported, just haven't gotten around to trying it yet. On the 8-port cards, I use a mirror for the OS and the remaining six ports for a RAID5 setup. The fans should be of good quality, as the heat is substantial. You can use multiple 3Ware/AMCC Escalade cards in one installation for really big storage.

Simple answer. (4, Informative)

MikeFM (12491) | more than 8 years ago | (#14485253)

Tera Station []

Everything you need probably. I saw a 1TB version for $700 at Fry's the other day.

Re:Simple answer. (2, Insightful)

CerebusUS (21051) | more than 8 years ago | (#14485283)

I believe has the 1TB version (~700GB usuable in a RAID 5 config) for about $700 as well.

I just convinced my boss to buy 2 of these for backups

Re:Simple answer. (1)

billysara (264) | more than 8 years ago | (#14485315)

Yeah - seconded. The terastation is nice and probably cheaper than you can build your own box. Not the most configurable of beasts, but it'll give you a terrabyte of storage (or 750gig in RAID5) and is expandable via external USB drives if you want.

In the UK - dabs were selling the 1 terrabyte versions for about 500 pounds.

Re:Simple answer. (1)

doofusclam (528746) | more than 8 years ago | (#14485352)

I bought a couple of Terastations at work in lieu of a 'real' file server that i'd have to patch/look after etc. They're nice but a bit slow. This isn't a problem for most media file serving (which is generally serial in nature) but you might have problems writing to the RAID array on the thing while reading (as you might want to do on a networked Mythtv setup, like I do at home)

Nice boxes, but i'd rather pay £50 extra for something with a little faster CPU.

Re:Simple answer. (4, Informative)

Dausha (546002) | more than 8 years ago | (#14485523)

ReadyNAS [] is reported to be a better choice than Buffalo. There is a Tom's Networking review on ReadyNAS 600 [] that compares the two fairly well. It costs a bit more (~1100) for the same amount of storage, but it's worth it if the quality is that much better. Also, I've been told you can have two of them where one remotely backs-up the other . . . which allows for disaster recovery where the physical location of the original is destroyed.

RAID (1)

wmelnick (411371) | more than 8 years ago | (#14485256)

A linux box with a 3ware RAID card.

Re:RAID (2, Informative)

The Qube (749) | more than 8 years ago | (#14485366)

Maybe these are too big for your needs, but EcoByte [] makes very nice black-box storage boxes based around Linux and 3ware controllers. They offer excellent performance, SMB etc file sharing, web configuration etc etc. We use them at work and they are great. I guess initially you could just buy an empty box and populate it with the hard drives you need and then expand it further as you need more storage space.

recomdation (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14485259)

i reccomend you eat myy ass

Re:recomdation (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14485412)


Wow! Research! (5, Funny)

Foxxz (106642) | more than 8 years ago | (#14485262)

There are dozens of products out there to do this. Linksys alone makes several. You obviously didn't search slashdot, google, etc. The fact this article got accepted... Words fail me.


Re:Wow! Research! (5, Funny)

xlr8ed (726203) | more than 8 years ago | (#14485294)

"The fact this article got accepted... Words fail me."

I think he has a bit of pull with one of the Editor's...

Re:Wow! Research! (2, Insightful)

SuiteSisterMary (123932) | more than 8 years ago | (#14485316)

What's wrong with somebody looking for user testimonials and advice about actual installation and use from a tech site?

Re:Wow! Research! (1)

jenkin sear (28765) | more than 8 years ago | (#14485419)

especially, when, ya know, it's HIS [] website...

Re:Wow! Research! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14485355)

Uuhhh.. the guy created Slashdot.

Re:Wow! Research! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14485375)

The fact this article got accepted... Words fail me.

      No kidding! What's sad, is that your statement of "Words fail me" is so painfully stupid that....words fail me :P

Re:Wow! Research! (1)

SydShamino (547793) | more than 8 years ago | (#14485378)

I don't think CmdrTaco submits his entries on his own blog to other editors for review.

That said, I think he specifically wants the latest and greatest from the slashdot crowd, probably because he values the opinions of those here greater than those off the random internet as a whole.

Personally, I bought an lower-grade PC a few years ago, stuck a big drive in it, installed Xandros 2.0 (because I wanted to try Linux, and Xandros was easy for this hardware-not-software-not-computer-tech engineer to install). Plus I discovered that Samba works so much better than Windows 2000 file sharing! Our home computers (5 at one point, not including the server) could only sporatically see each other on the network via filesharing, but they can all see the Samba machine all the time.

My next attempt will probably include raid and Kubuntu, when I get around to a free weekend or three. But I'll see what else is posted here and if I can follow it without being a Linux guru.

Re:Wow! Research! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14485408)

>You obviously didn't search slashdot, google, etc. The fact this article got accepted... Words fail me.

That's too funny. What, you think Taco submitted this in the queue and then accepted it himself?

WTF are you complaining about -- this is an interesting question and I'm looking forward to the resulting discussion.

Two Words: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14485265)

Raid 0.

first post (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14485266)

first post

2.5 Terabytes of storage (4, Funny)

Steev (5372) | more than 8 years ago | (#14485269)

If you have the funds, this looks promising.
LaCie Biggest F800 1.6TB RAID Storage 300943U [] (USB 2.0, Firewire 800).

It's only CAD $2,599.99, so that's like US $100 :)

Re:2.5 Terabytes of storage (1)

Steev (5372) | more than 8 years ago | (#14485322)

There is also a 2.0 TB version, but I couldn't find it again.

NetGear SC101 SAN (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14485270)

I haven't tried it out yet... but I'm looking at the NetGear Storage Center SC101.

Wait a minute... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14485273)

Who wrote this? Why aren't there any of those lovely italics?

You know, we wanted you to add nofollow, not take credit away altogether... ;-)

Died again? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14485284)

To take a wholistic view, first, tell me more all-encompassing details about your previous cheap-n-shitty hardware purchases...

easy answer (1, Funny)

circletimessquare (444983) | more than 8 years ago | (#14485311)

you can download all of that porn you lost from the usenet. think of those binary newsgroups as an always on, multiply redundant network backup of all of that porn you lost

How??? (4, Funny)

DAldredge (2353) | more than 8 years ago | (#14485318)

How can you dupe so many stories yet fail to dupe your own data? :)

Re:How??? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14485387)

Priceless comment!

Re:How??? (1)

sycotic (26352) | more than 8 years ago | (#14485517)

I know this is a pretty good stab at making a pun but when CmdrTaco says "It's mostly backed up. No huge loss." I get the impression he *had* duped his own data... :-)

Don't wait to grow. (1)

CyricZ (887944) | more than 8 years ago | (#14485325)

You might as well start big right away. Digital media is sure to explode in the near future, even more so than it already has. Soon enough you'll find that .5 TB is nowhere near enough capacity. You may be requiring 500 to 600 TB in even just two or three years.

While you'll want to leave yourself room to grow, of course, don't underestimate your future needs. You will need more disc space, that is almost guaranteed. Set your target very high.

Re:Don't wait to grow. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14485478)

> Digital media is sure to explode in the near future

Of course, it already does and the share of it he had just did, that's why he needs a new RAID array!!! ;)

NAS with RAID (4, Interesting)

sterno (16320) | more than 8 years ago | (#14485335)

I've been looking on-line trying to find this sort of possibility and the only prefab system I've found that has configurable RAID in a consumer NAS is the Buffalo Terrastation [] . I've seen lots of NAS devices but basically they are all just a single hard drive with a network connection.

I have not used one of these and do not know if it's any good, but like I said, I haven't seen any other options for a prefab system. I've priced out what it would cost to roll my own system like this and it ends up being only a tad more expensive to get a prefab device. Actually, I think the price dropped on the terrastation so I'm not sure that's true anymore.

Also, if you get something like this, you should seriously consider upgrading to gigabit Ethernet if you haven't already. I have a network mounted share for most of my files and it works pretty well, but when I try to do things like synchronize my ipod against it, it totally crawls. Having a networked file server works better if it doesn't feel like your files are on a network.

It's Time my Son (4, Informative)

william_w_bush (817571) | more than 8 years ago | (#14485339)

My condolences on your recent loss.

Couple questions:

1. SMB only? NFS is faster and plain better, but only for mac/linux.
2. Noise/size/power constraints.
3. Price.

SMB only, moderately cheap, quiet and small, go for a teraserver from buffalo networks. Easy to setup, runs decently, 4x250 drives that can be raid-5'd into a 750 array. Costs about $800.

A good midlevel solution is an nforce4 motherboard, with 4 250 sata drives, total cost around $600 w/ cpu mem, etc. You need a decent case though, and it will be noisier and louder. Plus side is better performance, full customization, and ability to use it as a router or such. You will have to configure it yourself, and likely throw windows on it because the nforce raid support is tricky on linux for a novice.

I use a heavier 2tb solution myself with a HW raid card, but for most purposes a sw raid is better, and the performance difference is almost never noticable. Personally I recommend the buffalo if you don't need nfs, just for the size, quietness, and convenience.

Re:It's Time my Son (4, Informative)

wiggles (30088) | more than 8 years ago | (#14485411)

NFS is faster and plain better, but only for mac/linux.
Faster? Yes. Better? Yes. Only for Mac/Linux? NO [] !!

Re:It's Time my Son (1)

undeadly (941339) | more than 8 years ago | (#14485467)

SMB only? NFS is faster and plain better, but only for mac/linux.

NFS only for "mac/linux"? What about Solaris, *BSD and Microsoft Windows?

NFS faster? That depends very much on your setup.

NFS is better? In what way? NFSv3 is a security hole, whilst NFSv4 is best implementented on Solaris.

Quite simply, you know even less than me.

Re:It's Time my Son (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14485473)

"You will have to configure it yourself, and likely throw windows on it because the nforce raid support is tricky on linux for a novice."

I don't think he's a linux novice.

Xbox does the trick (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14485340)

Recipe for xbox raid network storage:

Add 1 Xbox ($130)
Add 1 mod chip ($30)
Add 2 250 GB HDDs ($250) -- you can either disconnect the CD-ROM or follow instructions on adding a second hard drive, but disconnecting allows everything to be internal
Add 1 Linux for Xbox ($0)
Stir in Raid 5 set-up and samba

And you've got yourself a headless quarter terabyte raid 5 network server for a low-budget of $410.

An XBox is not necessary. (1)

CyricZ (887944) | more than 8 years ago | (#14485364)

It's quite easy to find used, tiny 700-1000 MHz Celeron PCs for a fraction of $130, and you do not need to bother with a $30 mod chip.

Re:An XBox is not necessary. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14485471)

Yea, but I bet you can't play Halo 2 or Tony Hawk Underground on that Celeron.

Re:An XBox is not necessary. (1)

dextromulous (627459) | more than 8 years ago | (#14485506)

I bet you can't either with the CD-ROM disconnected ;-)

What's your data worth? (1)

ErikTheRed (162431) | more than 8 years ago | (#14485341)

Figure out what your data's work, come up with a budget for protecting it, and go from there. Without a reasonable budget, nobody can intelligently recommend specific solutions.

For myself, I'm using a VIA Epia motherboard (quiet, extremely low power consumption) with an Areca 4-channel SATA RAID controller w/ four Seagate 7200.9 250MB Drives in an hot-swap enclosure with extra cooling - configured in a RAID-5 array (all of my data), and two WD 160 GB drives on the IDE channels in a RAID-1 configuration (OS, programs). It's running Fedora Core 4 and SAMBA (and a bunch of other stuff). The performace is reasonable - I can saturate a 100Mbit LAN connection, which is all I really care about.

For off-line backup, I use Mitsui Archive Gold DVD-R disks - supposedly they're good for 300 years. I'll believe this 300 years from now if my discs still work, but it's the best available right now. I'd love to hear some feedback from people with more knowledge than myself in this area.

The most important thing - discipline. Store important stuff on the array, use rsync or whatever to synchronize with your PCs and laptops, and backup on schedule!

Watch out with those DVD-Rs. (1)

CyricZ (887944) | more than 8 years ago | (#14485409)

After the recent debacle involving even high-end CD-Rs only lasting five or so years (even though they were claimed to last 100 years), you should be careful about trusting those DVD-Rs. Do you take care to store them in cool, dark places?

Re:Watch out with those DVD-Rs. (1)

ErikTheRed (162431) | more than 8 years ago | (#14485490) should be careful about trusting those DVD-Rs. Do you take care to store them in cool, dark places?
You're right... I'll have them buried with me when I die. In seriousness, yes, of course they are. And once I get a bigger home, the words "media-grade fire safe" come to mind.

Lightweights.. Try 3.5+ TB (2, Informative)

freelunch (258011) | more than 8 years ago | (#14485344)

I record a lot of concerts at 24/96 and also have a large collection of music in FLAC format. Current archive is 3.5TB and rapidly growing. It mostly consists of 320 and 250GB S/ATA WD drives.

I have good enclosures and run all my drives cool, 25-29C. Two 120mm case fans, one front, one rear.

I am guessing there isn't anything that can compete with the price-performance of just building another Linux box with 7 or so drives. Is there?

After you buy your disks... (1)

grub (11606) | more than 8 years ago | (#14485350)

... buy an LTO2 or LTO3 tape drive. LTO2 can be had for ~US$1.5K and can hold 200GB per tape before compression. We have a 14 tape LTO2 library here and it makes my backup work a cinch.

Re:After you buy your disks... (1)

eric76 (679787) | more than 8 years ago | (#14485539)

I'm very seriously considering buying an LTO 2 tape drive. I need to figure out if it runs under OpenBSD, first.

I'm thinking of getting a rackmount server chassis, installing a RAID 5, gigabit ethernet, ..., and the LTO drive. (3, Informative)

alanw (1822) | more than 8 years ago | (#14485351)

As seen on Saturday over on RootPrompt [] , Inventgeek [] is running an article The Poor Man's RAID array [] , written by Jared Bouck. It's built out of SCSI drives and a RAID controller card. The appliances that the company I work for ships use dual SATA drives, the Linux MD driver and LVM2 though. I still haven't worked out whether that rumours that SCSI drivers are better built and have a greater MTBF are true - they certainly cost a lot more for smaller capacities.
What self-respecting geek doesn't get the warm fuzzies at the mere mention of the RAID. With the rising GB to Dollar ratio, we felt it was a good time to feature a project that takes Pure Geekieness(TM) and mixes in a good helping of do it your self. Where else are you going to store all those MP3s (legally obtained, of course)? On a single 200 GB Drive? Or a RAID 5 Array? Take you pick, I know where I will be storing mine.

As Linus says (1, Redundant)

thewldisntenuff (778302) | more than 8 years ago | (#14485358)

"...real men just upload their important stuff on ftp, and let the rest of the world mirror it " :)

A very basic rule (4, Informative)

darkwhite (139802) | more than 8 years ago | (#14485362)

Never trust your data to any one box.

As for the solution, the cheap and easy option nowadays is to simply use stock motherboards - most will accomodate 4 SATA drives and up to 4 PATA drives with no extra work - and run Linux with software RAID on them. It's still a problem to boot from a RAID disk, so one can be set aside for that purpose. Motherboards have GigE nowadays, so speed is not limited by the network link. 300 GB drives are cheap, making a 1.5 TB server affordable if you acquire it piecewise over the course of a year or two.

Now duplicate this setup into 2 boxes and you're good to go.

Re:A very basic rule (1)

darkwhite (139802) | more than 8 years ago | (#14485383)

Oh, and make sure you have a good power supply to run those drives. And a properly ventilated chassis (a fan in the front should work).

Re:A very basic rule (1)

Sloppy (14984) | more than 8 years ago | (#14485458)

It's still a problem to boot from a RAID disk, so one can be set aside for that purpose.
The nice thing about software RAID (which I haven't seen any hardware RAIDs do) is that you can mix'n'match on the same disks. Use a fairly small quartet of partitions as a RAID1 root (which Linux can easily boot from), and then if you really wanna use RAID5 for the big stuff, then use another quartet of big partitions for that.

Of course, given how cheap disk space is these days, it's tempting to just RAID1 everything and forget about using RAID5 anywhere.

Re:A very basic rule (1)

c_fel (927677) | more than 8 years ago | (#14485529)

That is what I done. Each computer on my network is backed up on another one, using rsync on a cron job. All you need is twice the space for your data (shouldn't matter). For the first sync, I unmounted the hard drives to get the files copied faster, but for all the subsequent sync, only the differences of files are sent to the network, so you can get your machines backed up each night.

Personally I love this setup and I don't worry anymore.

I've got a server... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14485365)

looking for good SATA RAID controllers with external ESATA ports, and good external hard drive cases to match. Hard drives bought with rebates will fill the cases cheaply.

RAID with parity (at least 5) is mandatory. RAID 1 is just daft these days. Cheap, fast but very stupid.

If you don't try to cram all the drives into one case, you avoid many of the heat and power problems....

RAID != backup (5, Insightful)

undeadly (941339) | more than 8 years ago | (#14485367)

It happened again- a machine on my home network died. Taking with it tons of data. It's mostly backed up. No huge loss. But I finally think it's time to get some sort of network raid disk. A unified place to safely store data accessible to the numerous machines on my home lan.

RAID could help with downtime, but is not a substitute for backup, really. Tape backup is still very expensive (high inital cost), and DVD's are limited in both quality and storage capacity. Well, I use both, but then my storage needs are slight since I burn my most important data to a DVD-RAM disc every night.

What OpenBSD thinks about RAID: []

RAID (Redundant Array of Inexpensive Disks) gives an opportunity to use multiple drives to give better performance, capacity and/or redundancy than one can get out of a single drive alone. While a full discussion of the benefits and risks of RAID are outside the scope of this article, there are a couple points that are important to make here:

* RAID has nothing to do with backup.
* By itself, RAID will not eliminate down-time.

If this is new information to you, this is not a good starting point for your exploration of RAID.

Re:RAID != backup (1)

pdbogen (596723) | more than 8 years ago | (#14485469)

Assumably, machine dying means it's main/only hard drive failed, thus the questions about redundant storage.

No, RAID is not backup- but RAID does let you not need your backup (read this carefully before you flame me for saying you don't need backups; if your computer explodes and takes out all the drives in your RAID array, you're SOL without backups, but if you are reverting to backups because one hard drive failed, RAID will/would have fixed your problem.)

What I've done (1)

Grey Ninja (739021) | more than 8 years ago | (#14485376)

I have the same situation. At least one of my hard drives dies every year. They just get worn out. So what I've done is build a server out of an old Pentium-233 I had laying around. It's not a speed demon, and only has UDMA-33. But my network is only 100mbps anyway. But it does the job perfectly fine for things such a subversion repository/samba server. It runs Ubuntu 5.10 without an X environmeny, and has a single 300GB hard drive that I fully intend to beef up with an identical drive in RAID-1 at a later point in time (I have a RAID controller, but the motherboard is too old to support it, and I lack funds anyways).

My laptop and my desktop both use the server for things such as music and video, and I rarely have an issue with speed. Samba is stupidly easy to set up via SSH, and it honestly does everything I need it to do at this point in time. At a later date, I might beef up the server with a new motherboard/CPU, and turn it into a media server, with a LOT more storage, and hook it up to my TV. But that's a task for another time, when I have more money.

But for what it does, my server functions absolutely beautifully. I've even built a similar box for my girlfriend, and she uses it also for sharing things with her friends via FTP.

Re:What I've done (1)

Professor_UNIX (867045) | more than 8 years ago | (#14485514)

It runs Ubuntu 5.10 without an X environmeny, and has a single 300GB hard drive that I fully intend to beef up with an identical drive in RAID-1 at a later point in time (I have a RAID controller, but the motherboard is too old to support it, and I lack funds anyways).

Better yet, put another 300GB drive in it and DON'T use RAID. Just setup a cron job every 6-12 hours or so that runs rdiff-backup against your source drive and backs it up to the spare 300GB drive. You'll have the benefit of version control and an identical copy of your source drive's data all online at the same time. Why is that important? Ever done rm -rf /archive accidently? Probably not, but it only takes once and voila.. your 300GB RAID-1 setup is toast and you're looking for file recovery software. If you really need more granular backup than that then setup special directories that get backed up every 10 minutes or something and put important stuff there. Everything else can be backed up once a day.

Requirement definition (1)

HaloZero (610207) | more than 8 years ago | (#14485377)

The requirements need to be a bit clear-er. Do you want something that sounds like a small mouse? A rider lawn mower? How about a two-story jet engine turbine fan? Are you willing to spend 500$? 1000$? Important things to consider.

My SAN box has some particulars: 1.1GHz CPU (Intel celeron, I think...), 1x MegaRAID controller card (SATA) [RAID 5 is a requirement], 4x 200GB SATA drives, 1x 30GB IDE hard disk (Operating System), 512MB RAM, 1x Gigabit PCI Ethernet NIC, and a nice beefy PSU, something that can handle a lot of strain. Since this is a home network devouice, it doesn't necessarily have to be snappy, unless you're particularly anal like that (3 or 4 sec / mp3 isn't so bad, in my opinion).

I would reccomend Seagate disks, and definately the MegaRAID controller. I would also reccomend some of those hard disk cooler fans. They take up a bit more space, but I'm convinced that they're the reason my SAN box has continued to run on rather warm days. You'll also want to make absolutely sure that you use SATA and not IDE, incase you ever have to rebuild a disk on the fly. IDE takes _forever_, especially if your controller card doesn't have a lot of buffer memory (PS: Get a controller card with an onboard memory module).

Buy a computer (3, Interesting)

Sloppy (14984) | more than 8 years ago | (#14485379)

You need a computer with a bunch of hard disks. Duh?

The only non-obvious thing (i.e. a lot of people are telling you to do the wrong thing) is that you should use software RAID instead of hardware RAID. The cheapest CPU that you can buy, will still be 99% idle.

A less non-obvious thing (but some people still forget it) is that you want a well-cooled machine, because heat is what kills hard disks. Get a nice case; pretend you're building a machine that you wanna overclock like an 31337 h4xx0r, but then of course, don't really overclock it.

Oh yeah, and keep an eye on /proc/mdstat -- when your first disk dies, you want to know it happened, instead of finding out a year later when your second disk dies. (I use a lil' python script that displays the array status on a VFD using lcdproc. But there are lots of other ways to deal with it. Just make sure you deal with it somehow.)

A PC with a RAID controller & Linux (1)

pyite69 (463042) | more than 8 years ago | (#14485384)

I use a 3ware 7810 and 4 250GB IDE disks in a RAID 5 configuration. The controller can be had for $200 or so on Ebay and works quite well (though you may want to use a 7850, somewhat better RAID 5 performance).

Ubuntu does a great job as a server.


buffalo (1)

MoFoQ (584566) | more than 8 years ago | (#14485393)

Buffalo makes a product called "Terrastation" (or something similar in naming).
It can do RAID5, and can expand using USB2.0.
The only problem is that it uses Western Digital hard drives, which are in my experience proned to sudden death syndrome, more suddenly than newborns. (I've had about 9 out of 17 WD drives die, mainly when the partition table mysteriously disappears....of course, IBM deathstars have the all-time record....7 out of 9 and not just partition table death....but entire drive death)

I dunno if Buffalo sells it empty so you can use your own drives like the 500GB Seagate (the ones in it are 250GB WD's).

Poor Man RAID Array (1)

setirw (854029) | more than 8 years ago | (#14485394)

copy C:\*.* D: Done!

Re:Poor Man RAID Array (1)

dwayner79 (880742) | more than 8 years ago | (#14485438)

I think it was:

xcopy c:\*.* d: /s

else you would only get your autoexec

Re:Poor Man RAID Array (1)

TERdON (862570) | more than 8 years ago | (#14485474)

copy C:\*.* D: Done!

unless you store all files in the root directory, I think you should consider researching what the command xcopy does instead.

SATA Multichannel with software RAID 5 on Linux (1)

_am99_ (445916) | more than 8 years ago | (#14485400)

I have used a Promise and 3Ware controllers on server setups (and they worked great), but now that software RAID has matured in Linux, I plan to save some money for my home setup and use software RAID.

I found an external case for 4 drives, without hot swap (which I'm told doesn't work that well with Linux software RAID anyways) for like $150. A 4 channel SATA controller is like $60, and the Multichannel bracket the external case's output back into 4 single SATAs is like $80 or so.

Once I confirm that I am happy with the RAID performence and reliability, I am going to pull the trigger and get some 7200.9 Seagates in the 300GB range. With RAID 5, I'll get 900GB storage and no more drive crashs causing data loss.

I will not ever use a Maxtor again. The only drives that I have had crash that weren't Maxtors were IBM Deskstars. Seagate has 5 year warranty on their drives.

Sharing to Windows is easy with Samba, and I have also configured rdiff-backup on cygwin to backup the local drives to UNIX.

Saw this the other day @ CompUSA - Netgear Storage (1)

mergy (42601) | more than 8 years ago | (#14485403) []

It is basically a network appliance (no TM) box that allows you to put your own IDA drives in to make your own storage device. Seemed like a good idea for the newbies out there.

Avoid the Netgear SC101 (4, Informative)

Experiment 626 (698257) | more than 8 years ago | (#14485405)

Recently I was also shopping around for a storage solution. At the store, I saw a promising looking device called the Netgear SC101. You pop any two IDE drives into it, plug an Ethernet and power cable in the back, and you have yourself a NAS. Because you can pick out your own drives, you can even do a terabyte in a cheaper and much smaller unit than 4 x 250 GB units like the Buffalo Terastation.

Unfortunately, where this device failed for me was that it doesn't just share the stuff as a SMB share like a real NAS box does. It uses some weird proprietary protocol, and only machines with the right drivers installed can talk to it at all. Such drivers aren't available for Linux, or Mac, or BSD... even versions of Windows that are old (98, ME, etc.) or 64-bit won't work. It has to be a 32 bit version of Win 2k3, XP, or 2k with the right service pack level for the drivers or no data for you.

No self-respecting geek would want a device with such limited compatibility. If a piece of network equipment only lists Windows in its compatibility, that normally means the manufacturer only officially supports Windows, or maybe you need Windows to set up and administer the thing. When even many versions of Windows can't access the device, it's a junker. I took it back the next day, and will start researching hardware purchases more carefully in the future.

In short, Netgear's short-sighted decision to use some strange proprietary protocol instead of SMB turns this unit from something I would have strongly recommended into that gets a definite thumbs down.

Re:Avoid the Netgear SC101 (1)

CyricZ (887944) | more than 8 years ago | (#14485445)

Perhaps the problem was dealing with Netgear in the first place.

I have relatives who ran into many problems with routers from them. Linksys was no better. They found that items from D-Link were perhaps the best consumer-level products available. Many of the other brands were pure shite, even if they cost the same as the equivalent D-Link model.

Infrant ReadyNAS (4, Informative)

MisterFig (29842) | more than 8 years ago | (#14485413)

Infrant Technologies [] has two great products, the ReadyNAS 600, and the ReadyNAS X6. The difference is that the X6 does all of the configuration for you and the 600 is more user controlled.

I own the X6 and love it.

- It's GBE is very fast.
- It supports raid-5 with up to 4 drives. (mirroring on 2 drives)
- You can just keep adding bigger drives. so it'll be highly expandable down the road.
- Supports SMB, NFS, FTP, etc.

It's $600 for the unit with no drives.

Check out the toms networking review, it's linked from Infrants site.

New device (2, Funny)

joe 155 (937621) | more than 8 years ago | (#14485417)

I discovered something the other day which sounds perfect, you can expand it almost infinately to hold as much data as you want, although on the downside the upload takes a while... Still, it never crashes - not even in a thousand years.

the sales guy said it was called "paper"... strange thing

What are you trying to protect against? (1)

Richard_J_N (631241) | more than 8 years ago | (#14485418)

What exactly are you worrying about - and will RAID protect it all? I think maybe not. Some things RAID will *not* help with:

1)Theft of the machine
2)PSU failure in the machine (this happened to me, and fried every single drive with 240V on the 12V rail!)
3)Lightening (could kill every machine in your house)
5)HDD failure.
6)Catastrophic OS failure (filesystem corruption, conveniently mirrored), or a worm/trojan/virus.

RAID does give you convenience, slightly better performance, and ease of repairing the most common fault. But it sounds to me as though reliability and backup safety matter more to you than a few hours of downtime. My suggestion:

1)Don't use RAID; use separate machines. [Maybe mini-itx ?]
2)If possible, put one of them somewhere else.
3)Rsync + SSH - see here: / []
4)Offline Backup (CD ROM, or external HDD) in safe place (eg bank) for really important documents.
5)If you have remote backups, make sure you encrypt them. If you dispose of old CD-Rs, destroy them first. Likewise old HDDs.

P.S. I've had a lot of HDD failures over the last 5 years (Mainly IBM Deskstars). 2 years ago, I switched to the Seagate Barracudas en masse. So far, so good :-) At least Seagate give a 5-year warranty, which suggests you might reasonably get a 5 year MTBF.

Re:What are you trying to protect against? (1)

winwar (114053) | more than 8 years ago | (#14485518)

You forgot point 6) Deliberately overwriting data
                      and 7) Deliberately deleting data

As others have stated, RAID is not for backup.

Where to put them? (1)

Namlak (850746) | more than 8 years ago | (#14485421)

This [] is what you should put those drives in

5 SATA bays, hot swap, fits in 3 5.25" bays, dedicated fan that will pull 100% of it's air past your drives. Oh, and it comes in black, too.

And use a RAID controller that allows automatic rebuilds using a hot spare as well as online capacity expansion. I've had good luck with Raidcore/Broadcom controllers. For 500GB, use RAID-5 with three drives, hot spare in the 4th bay, and room to add another in the future.

As far as cost - auto racers have a saying: "$50 helmet for a $50 head" - what's your data worth?

start small... (1)

BoraSport (702369) | more than 8 years ago | (#14485434)

I had a similar situation last year and decided to use a NAS appliance that supported USB2.0 expansion. This way I can start with the internal 160gb drive and grow with in expensive USB2.0 external drives. Additional drives are hosted by the NAS functions transparently giving easy expansion through the years. My cost for the NAS with 160gb was ~$230.

In contrast my brother-in-law just built a file server with four 250gb SATA drives configured in RAID-5. He bought all new equipment, motherboard, processor, gig of ram, drives, power supply case, etc... He spent considerably more then my $230 (over $1100) but he now has a terabyte at home. It was important for him to have not only the file storage but a location for server type applications to run.

I could have purchased a terabyte NAS for $870 or so but I didn't see the need. The only downside I have found with a NAS is with my laptops. At home they can connect up to the NAS and get access to my photos, music, documents, etc. On the road however, they are not very useful. I've now had to start classifying what information I need with me at all times, and what things I can live without. If you have a VPN solution that will allow you to access your home network at a decent speed this may not be an issue for you.

Having data on a central server also has implications with the software you use. For example you will need to decide where iTunes stores downloads, local or on the NAS? If it is on the NAS then you can only download new music when you're connected to your home network. My best recommendation to you is to look at how many people access the same data in your household and use this to identify who would be effected if they didn't have their data with them all the time.

One more option is using your NAS primarily for backup. This reduces most of the concerns above.

Software Raid + Good Airflow (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14485435)

I found that a four hard drives in a RAID 5 worked well in Fedora. If you get a board that has four SATA connectors on it, you can use them for your RAID 5 and have n/(n+1)=3/4 of the hard drive space available. You can then also use PATA for the OS drive and keep the RAIDed storage physically seperate. I used the built-in software RAID in Fedora.

You can use less drives for storage, but then your RAID 5 becomes less cost effecient. With two drives, you only get 1/2 the space. With 3 drives, you get 2/3 of the space. I found 3 or four drives is a nice compromise.

Power was one issue. You need to have a good power supply to be able to spin up all those drives at bootup.

The other issue was heat. I like the Antec Super LANBOY cases for airflow. They have 120mm fans for the front and back, and the air travels right over the hard drives. The hard drives also get mounted with the the longest edge parallel to the front of the case, which makes it easy to get at the connectors.

I combined this with samba (also acting as a primary domain controller) and it serves our small office.

What I'd do (1)

Pitr (33016) | more than 8 years ago | (#14485447)

My file server recently kicked the bucket. The good news, I had a mirrored array. The bad news, it was the raid card that died. (Thank you promise!) So My ext2 partitions got thouroughly gnarfled. Needless to say, I didn't get 100% recovery, but I did get most of the important stuff back.

That having been said, a decent RAID card and a motherboard with RAID onboard are about the same price. Now a chip and other hardware for that board will cost more, but you can still get a really good RAID-5 system for ~ $500, excluding hard drives (my preference is the A8N-SLI Premium). Add to that a few hard drives (any size you like, I'd go with 300Gigs or bigger) and maybe some swap kits for easy maintainence, and you're good. The swap kits usually have the benefit of fans, but make sure you don't go cheap, otherwise the fans are basically for show (not to mention LOUD!)

Re:What I'd do (1)

nizo (81281) | more than 8 years ago | (#14485527)

Yeah I always worry about that too: if your RAID card dies, it could hose the disks attached to it as well (not likely, but possible). For a cheap solution I simply use a drive in an external drive case (something like $30 at CompUSA) and connect it via USB. Just mirror what I care about, the hard part being that I need to remember to bring the drive home (I leave it at work normally) and mirror now and then.

LInksys NSLU2 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14485455)

It's around $70-$80. Uses external usb2 drives. Doesn't do raid but you can get an extenal raid disk if you want that.

Hard drives? RAID? A Jedi craves not these things. (1)

Control Group (105494) | more than 8 years ago | (#14485461)

Easy. Just get yourself a basic box, connect it to the internet on a 100Mbps pipe, and get yourself a free 7TB of storage [] , with no risk of data loss due to your drives failing!

another to try (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14485465)

I built a 1TB storage device(Software RAID5), using linux, a shuttle box and 5 usb enclosures (250G each)

  • Your favorite linux distro. (I used RH EL4 since i just had finished RHTS class and had a licnese for support)
  • an old PC with USB 2.0 , additional controller cards help. (I used a shuttle bare bones kit and extra card)
  • some usb enclosure (Belkin makes awsome ones, with fan and built-in powersupply)
Install the OS.
Attach your drives
mdadm and lvm2 get familiar with them, you will use the man pages and google.
The only quirky thing will be the scsi emulation for usb under linux will send a REPORT_LUN command, that causes some enclosures to puke. Google REPORT_LUN usb resets or check this link for the basics to disable lun checks scsi-scanning []

ZFS (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14485481)

While you're out slapping drives into beige boxes to stuff in a closet, think hard about checking out ZFS running on OpenSolaris.

You're a smart guy that knows how to use Google to look up the fuzzy bits, but if someone dropped 250-500G in my lap, ZFS lets me manage it in a much more dynamic way, and more simply, than most other solutions.

just get drives (1)

penguin-collective (932038) | more than 8 years ago | (#14485489)

I use external USB2 drives for backup and archiving. You can easily get them up to 400G these days. SATA drives and bus-powered USB2 drives are other options.

I think network attached storage just isn't worth the hassle.

Diskless boot (1)

lethalwp (583503) | more than 8 years ago | (#14485492)


I'm looking to make a full diskless desktop client. That shouldn't be much of a trouble for linux. But how should i do it for windows?

I plan to do it over a Gbit network, but no windows terminal server, it 'must' be some virtual network C: drive, so i could benefit of all video acceleration.

I'm thinking to some kind of linux disk server, i've read about iSCSI & iBoot, but i'd like to have a free & software (linux?) based solution.

Any recommendation?

Dear CmdrTaco (2, Funny)

this great guy (922511) | more than 8 years ago | (#14485493)

It happened again- a machine on my home network died.

Dear CmdrTaco, I am sorry to have to announce this to you, but honestly I just don't care.

Love, this great guy.

Poor Man's RAID (1)

alexjohns (53323) | more than 8 years ago | (#14485503)

From Inventgeek. [] Seems like it would do the trick.

and to solve your next issue now... (1)

holden caufield (111364) | more than 8 years ago | (#14485520)

You may also want to consider offsite storage of this array. It's one thing to loose a disk but what are you going to do in the case of (fire | flood | other natural disaster).

Maybe you could set up a cooperative type situation with another geek friend and rsync your arrays to each other's house. That would be solving two data storage issues at the same time.

ReadyNas X6 (2, Interesting)

phalanx (94532) | more than 8 years ago | (#14485530)

ReadyNas X6 [] is very nice. It has support for upto 4 SATA drives and can grow the raid array if you want to only start with 2 drives. I would recommend this with the SATA 400GB western digital raid drives.

My setup in progress (1)

starman97 (29863) | more than 8 years ago | (#14485535)

I went with a 3ware 7506-12 PCI-64 card.
It supports up to 12 parallel IDE drives.
For drives, I did the rebate thing, kept buying Seagate 300GBs over a few months
whenever Frys or some other shop had them for under $100. (they can be had for that now without rebate)
I have a Dual A2200 Motherboard , Tyan Thunder K7 S2462 with 64bit PCI slots.
Right now I've got a 6 drive array that dupes all my individual drives, I'm testing
the system for reliability and stability before I move live data to it.
I will have to move this to a bigger case when I add the 2nd set of 6 drives.
The controller can only handle 2TB per array, so I'll have 2 RAID-5 arrays on it.
I'm going to get a Coolermaster Stacker, it will fit 12 IDE drives using 3 of their 4 drive modules. Each module has a 120mm fan for cooling.
For power I'll upgrade to a Dual 12V Ultra 550 supply. It has 2 12V supplies of
17A each, enough to spin up 12 IDE 7200 drives and run the CPUs. If that supply
gets too hot, I can put in a 2nd ATX supply in the Stacker. I havent seen any sort of failover supply option for ATX from facter, that would be nice.

For OS.. well, right now it's XP, mainly because that's what the system was running before I put in the RAID card. But it does have a few things in it's favor.
It will network well with my other Win32 machines.
It works the the OSX machine as well.
I figure now that I have the hardware faults mostly covered with the RAID5, my
biggest risk is filesystem corruption. The tools for XP recovery are well developed
and several vendors offer file recovery tools. For Linux EXT3? what happens if
something blows up the filesystem? I dont want to be picking around in a 2TB drive array, trying to pull files out one node at a time.

The XP will of course be severely neutered, no Media player, no IExplorer.
This system wont have direct access to any outside network.
I'm thinking of setting up a 2nd network of Gig-E links on a different IP range
just for mass storage. Most systems/users will only have read access since this
is archival and media storage.

/dev/md support works for me (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14485536)

Although I've only got a pair of 80 GB spindles, its supported out-of-the-box by debian and redhat... And last I checked you could put 4 x 200 GB spindles in a single standard case... Sounds like 400 or 600 GB to me (raid 1 vs raid 5)...

Maybe you'd like to try that with Ubuntu [] ?

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