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Best Home Network NAS

CmdrTaco posted more than 6 years ago | from the everyone-wants-one dept.

Data Storage 802

jammerjam writes "My WD 120GB drive got its MBR scrambled so it no longer mounts in my W*ndoze box (I can recover the data so I know that's intact). But now that's made me realize I need to implement my data backup plan. Scouring the Internet I can't find a reliable resource for home NAS solutions. For every positive review I can find a negative that refutes it. My first choice from what I found starts at $1200...I've got $500. Anyone have a suggestion? I'm not looking for enterprise-level storage here — but I do want reliability."

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802 comments

OpenFiler (5, Informative)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 6 years ago | (#21434761)

Buy a couple of 500 GB SATA HDDs. You can build a box with a SATA RAID controller for probably ~$200 or so and throw OpenFiler [openfiler.com] on it. You still won't do this under $500, though. Probably under $750, though, for sure, if you're careful.

As for the botched MBR, boot an MS-DOS or even a FreeDOS boot disk and do a fdisk /mbr. That should fix it.

Re:OpenFiler (1)

w0ss (530552) | more than 6 years ago | (#21434781)

I second openfiler. With 500gb drives at 99$ you should be able to get a box with 2-3 drives together for under 500$

Re:OpenFiler (0, Troll)

Joe The Dragon (967727) | more than 6 years ago | (#21434947)

Get a real raid card not a software one good hard ones cost $250 - $1000

Re:OpenFiler (5, Funny)

Rogerborg (306625) | more than 6 years ago | (#21434971)

If your maiden aunt asked you what a good cheap commuter car would be, you'd recommend a Porche, wouldn't you?

Re:OpenFiler (4, Informative)

kryptkpr (180196) | more than 6 years ago | (#21435069)

Why add the additional point of failure? Or was I supposed to buy 2 identical RAID cards for when one failed and it turned out the array it built isn't compatible with anything except the exact same device with the exact same firmware revision?

With software (Linux) RAID the actual RAID set is just partitions on the physical drive, not the whole entire drive. My /boot and root partition is mirrored on all of my drives, so even if the array completely disappeared I can still boot up. To gain access to the rest of my data (RAID5), any recent kernel with RAID support will do..

Hardware RAID controllers may have made sense 10 years ago when commodity hardware was much slower (and so a dedicated CPU for RAID was a must), but unless I'm missing something they no longer make sense today.

Re:OpenFiler (3, Informative)

dberger (44485) | more than 6 years ago | (#21435083)

That depends on your priorities. "Real" RAID cards lock the raid meta-data to a specific vendor (sometimes to a specific line). So if your card dies, you're forced to buy another one. If you want to upgrade (more ports, better RAID processor), same story - you're vendor locked.

Software RAID is slower (though a reasonable system doing just software RAID has no trouble outperforming a cheap "real" RAID card) but you can move the drives into another system running the same software and have access to the data.

cheapo walmart linux box (4, Insightful)

freedom_surfer (203272) | more than 6 years ago | (#21434769)

I'd get one of those cheapo walmart linux boxes...stick it in a closet....then just use rsync or rdiffbackup....with a real box you'd have the luxury of being able to add additional storage easy...you can even setup a software raid for extra protection...

On the cheap (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21434775)

If you have a left-over computer you can slap Linux on, you can install the iSCSI target software. It works rather well. Of course, this means you have to have another machine on... and potentially learn a new OS (depending on your skillset, of course).

Re:On the cheap (4, Informative)

Skinkie (815924) | more than 6 years ago | (#21434897)

If you do it with OpenSolaris and ZFS, you make it very simple for yourself. The amount of administration needed using Linux and *iSCSI is huge. While OpenSolaris provides iSCSI/NFS on the fly. Including snapshots of snapshots. So you can have 'raw' volumes, and managed data. I'm using OpenSolaris now to boot my Xen Linux Nodes now from OpenSolaris NFS. Yes I know xVM exists, but it is not as mature as the Linux version. Use the best tool for a problem.

RAID 0 (2, Informative)

spyrochaete (707033) | more than 6 years ago | (#21434779)

For $500 you could buy a whole PC with a pair of 7200RPM 500GB SATA2 drives. You could configure a mirrored RAID 0 array and back your stuff up over the network. For many dollars fewer you could upgrade your power supply and stick those drives in your current PC, assuming your motherboard supports software RAID.

Re:RAID 0 (1)

fitten (521191) | more than 6 years ago | (#21434907)

a pair of 7200RPM 500GB SATA2 drives. You could configure a mirrored RAID 0 array


A mirrored RAID-0 array with only two drives? Besides... he specifically stated that he wanted reliability so RAID-0 probably isn't in the picture (increased failure rate proportional to the number of drives).

Re:RAID 0 != Mirrored! (2, Informative)

Chas (5144) | more than 6 years ago | (#21434975)

RAID0 = Striping
RAID1 = Mirroring
RAID5 = Striping with parity
RAID0+1 = Mirrored Striping
RAID10 = Striped mirroring

Re:RAID 0 (0, Redundant)

tomknight (190939) | more than 6 years ago | (#21435027)

Mirrored RAID 0, WTF? And what has a motherboard got to so with soaftware RAID?

Have I got the wrong end of the stick or are you talking nonsense?

Okay, my answer:

  • Buy a cheapo PC
  • Put in two hard disks
  • Install FreeNAS (www.freenas.org)
  • Find some way of backing this data up....
I don't know if this will come in at under $500, but you have a chance!

Re:RAID 0 (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21435113)

How come all you /. folks are pushing the BSD filer software. I thought you would all be into openfiler, this being a linux community. BSD is dead right? Guess not from the looks of this thread.......

Re:RAID 0 (0, Flamebait)

tomknight (190939) | more than 6 years ago | (#21435163)

Is that meant to be funny? I don't give a fuck that FreeNAS is BSD, I just know it works. OS zealots can just grow up or fuck off, I don't care which.

Re:RAID 0 (1)

spyrochaete (707033) | more than 6 years ago | (#21435213)

By software RAID I mean using a motherboard with a chipset that handles RAID arrays with the help of a software driver, as opposed to using a Promise card or other hardware RAID controller. This puts more stress on the CPU and southbridge but is a very economical solution.

And by RAID 0 I mean RAID 1, naturally.

I've got the DNS-323 (3, Informative)

ThatDamnMurphyGuy (109869) | more than 6 years ago | (#21434789)

Last year I ditched the file server at home for the DNS-323. With the current firmware, it's been rock solid for me. At the time, it was $300 for the unit and two 250GB drives. It's iTunes server works well enough for me as well.

As a bonus, it's debian based, so you can hack the OS as well to server up things light lighttpd, upgrade samba, or run subversion.

Re:I've got the DNS-323 (1)

jmahler (192217) | more than 6 years ago | (#21434955)

Thank you for mentioning that system - the iTunes server functionality intrigues me. I'm looking into getting one for my house now.

Re:I've got the DNS-323 (1)

cityhunter007 (796688) | more than 6 years ago | (#21435047)

This worked great for me as well. It costs around $500 for the unit + two 750GB drives in RAID 1.
It has a great set of features including power-saving, RAID 0,1,JBOD and etc.
I had an extra PC that I could've used with openfiler or FreeNAS but I wanted a small and QUIET unit - yes, DNS-323 runs VERY QUIET.

Re:I've got the DNS-323 (1)

uidude (1109183) | more than 6 years ago | (#21435135)

ditto. I just bought an d-Link DNS-323 and really like it. $200 for the unit and another $130 for two 150GB SATA drives. My only wish were that the d-Link supported SSH or SFTP so I could tunnel securely through my router from the outside world and access the unit as a file share from anywhere (without having to go through the hassle of a full-blown VPN)

Build / buy a Windows Home Server (1, Informative)

Richthofen80 (412488) | more than 6 years ago | (#21434811)

Build / buy a Windows Home Server.

$169 on New Egg for the OS (based on windows server 2k3). Backs up ten PCs with incremental backup, optionally allowing you to flag files / folders as 'important', so the OS silently stores the data on more than one disk. Also allows you to back up from either full images, or step through incrementally to see individual versions of files. Acts as a remote access point to your windows machines, and offers file sharing and media streaming.

Re:Build / buy a Windows Home Server (4, Funny)

didde (685567) | more than 6 years ago | (#21434913)


You must be new around here, right?

Re:Build / buy a Windows Home Server (2, Funny)

Richthofen80 (412488) | more than 6 years ago | (#21434939)

Either that or I was a beta-tester for Windows Home Server, during which it saved my bacon when I accidentally blew away my Quicken data files.

Re:Build / buy a Windows Home Server (2, Insightful)

Nos. (179609) | more than 6 years ago | (#21435137)

You've added $169 to his base cost, and haven't really given him a solution. The various open source products out there will more than likely compete just fine with your Windows software, and not cost the $169. On a budget of $500, if you're spending almost 1/2 that on software, you're not getting much for hardware.

Re:Build / buy a Windows Home Server (3, Insightful)

BlowHole666 (1152399) | more than 6 years ago | (#21435227)

It sounds like this guy is a noob. So how long will it take for the OSS to be setup and configured correctly. When the Windows software is probably point and click. Some of the $500 is going to hardware but I am sure some is also going to keeping his sanity when setting up and maintaining this system.

Re:Build / buy a Windows Home Server (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21434935)

Build / buy a Windows Home Server. $169 on New Egg for the OS

HAHAHAHAHAHAHA. Buy the OS. Next you'll be telling me to obey the speed limit, stop borrowing books from the bookstore, and keep my hands off small children.

Re:Build / buy a Windows Home Server (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21434991)

I'd second the comment, but it probably isn't realistic when dealing with a 1337 snob that can't learn to spell Windows properly. W*ndoze - give it a rest.

Re:Build / buy a Windows Home Server (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21435181)

Windoze Home Server? WTF? Are people really going to buy this crap?

Airport and USB drives (4, Informative)

dhartshorn (456906) | more than 6 years ago | (#21434817)

$179 for an Airport base station, $321 for three 500GB USB drives and a USB 2.0 hub. Should be enough for a serious porn collection, and you get wireless N for free.

Drobo? (4, Interesting)

Old Man Kensey (5209) | more than 6 years ago | (#21434819)

Without knowing what you've looked at, it's hard to give you an intelligent reply, but a friend of mine just bought a Drobo [drobo.com] and loves it.

Re:Drobo? (1)

gEvil (beta) (945888) | more than 6 years ago | (#21435067)

I've heard very good things about the Drobo. Plus it's got lots of purty blinkenlights. I'm sure there are probably better DIY solutions, but this is likely one of the quickest/easiest.

Re:Drobo? (1)

jamstar7 (694492) | more than 6 years ago | (#21435161)

Looks cute, but doesn't say a damned thing about initial drive capacity. For $500 I wanna know how much it'll hold before I buy it.

Re:Drobo? (1)

gEvil (beta) (945888) | more than 6 years ago | (#21435229)

Read up a bit on it. At this point it's very clear that it'll take 500GB drives with no problem. A simple search should be able to confirm 750GB and 1TB drives. Considering it's SATA I/II it should take any drives that come out in the next few years. Not to mention it's firmware upgradable.

Re:Drobo? (1)

K8Fan (37875) | more than 6 years ago | (#21435201)

I'll second this. It would be difficult to create a RAID 3/5 solution that would compete with this one. The unit is tiny and quiet. The hard drives are inserted and removed easily. The software is slick and solid.

In theory, most Slashdot readers could build a box that would do the same thing, but that box would produce a lot more noise and heat and would be larger. If your time has value, this device might well be cheaper as well.

Re:Drobo? (1)

Mal-2 (675116) | more than 6 years ago | (#21435217)

Although I think the video is a bit misleading (if you fail two out of three drives, and they're not a bunch smaller than the survivor, you're NOT going to get these great results -- also this couldn't be the first time he'd inserted that drive, stuff just doesn't copy that fast), this does look like an incredibly useful device. So much so, in fact, that I just fired off a message to our company's IT department because they need some sort of expandable storage system, and they need it in a hurry. This may save them from having to do something considerably more painful. They'll still need two of them, one for the office and one for the disaster site, but they would have to have two of whatever solution they choose.

Mal-2

Freenas (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21434821)

Try the freenas server. It works great.
I use a old beat up computer with 3 500 gig external usb harddrives in a raid 5 which gives me a terabyte of storage :)

www.freenas.org

The 90s... (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21434835)

my W*ndoze box


The 90s called... they want you back. The cool kids kind of grew out of things like M$, Windoze, etc. so it isn't cool anymore.

cheap PC (1)

peas_n_carrots (1025360) | more than 6 years ago | (#21434845)

Get a super cheap, low power PC, hook up internal and/or external drive(s) and run any software you want on it to perform backups.

Old box laying around? (1, Redundant)

didde (685567) | more than 6 years ago | (#21434851)


Usually people have older hardware laying around doing next to nothing. If this is the case for you, have a look at FreeNAS [freenas.org]. It's really robust and works well for me.

Internal drives are cheap these days.

Re:Old box laying around? (1)

dwrobert (78091) | more than 6 years ago | (#21434915)

Go find a Buffalo Linkstation or terrastation, lots of Linux firmware for it is available, nas-central.org

For the record... (4, Insightful)

Applekid (993327) | more than 6 years ago | (#21434867)

... you'll always need backups. Even the most reliable systems will eventually fail. Routine backing up is essential.

You don't need enterprise storage solutions: great. That means that you probably don't need to do nightly backups.

The lesson in you losing your data is not that you needed NAS, but you needed to make better backups.

Define "reliable" (4, Insightful)

jimicus (737525) | more than 6 years ago | (#21434889)

Try and work out exactly what you're protecting against before you worry about solutions.

Do you want data to survive a hard disk failure? RAID. (Though I make no guarantee that any of these things have implemented RAID terribly well, particularly if a disk fails 2 years later and the replacement you plug in has totally different geometry).

Do you want data to survive your own mistakes? Then use the NAS as a backup for your own PC(s).

Do you want data to survive poor implementation in the firmware? For best results, you'll probably need two totally different devices and some means of keeping them synchronised. (Though a number of Buffallo's Linkstation products can support a separate external USB disk for backup of the NAS itself).

Do you want data to survive a house fire? If you've got immense quantities of data, you'll need a unit you can take offsite. If not, perhaps a subscription-based internet backup provider is the way to go.

How many computers? (2, Informative)

Nimey (114278) | more than 6 years ago | (#21434891)

If you've got data on only one computer, don't bother with a NAS and get a USB (or Firewire, which would be better since FW doesn't hog the CPU) hard drive. SyncBack isn't a bad free backup program for Windows, but the free version can't copy open files.

Even if you've got two or three computers, a good external HD will be cheaper and probably more reliable than a NAS box, simply because there are fewer parts to break on a USB drive than a NAS, which is typically a power supply, network card, some RAM, an OS in ROM, drive controller, and one or more hard drives. The only thing you won't get from an external HD is RAID, but you can fake that with software if you get more than one per computer, and RAID only means that the data's still accessible if one drive dies (assuming you're not stupid enough to use RAID 0), so it's probably not important for you.

If your data is valuable, burn the most important stuff to DVD periodically and stick it in a bank's safe-deposit box.

Re:How many computers? (1)

Rogerborg (306625) | more than 6 years ago | (#21435119)

If your data is valuable, burn the most important stuff to DVD periodically and stick it in a bank's safe-deposit box.

Is that one of those magic boxes that stops the disk from degrading within a couple of years?

Online backup (1)

kriss (4837) | more than 6 years ago | (#21434923)

While it doesn't fit everyones taste, backup up to an online service is a fairly cheap way of getting it done. Depending on your needs, amount of data and bandwidth it might be more or less reliable/useful for you than using local disks, but I'd suggest at least looking into it.

Mozy [mozy.com] does the job for me. There's oodles of others, but Mozy was the only one I found with a decent Mac client.

Inexpensive backup (4, Funny)

Caltheos (573406) | more than 6 years ago | (#21434927)

Go to office Depot or Staples or whatever the local office supply store is, buy out their entire stock of paper and number 2 pencils. Proceed to copy down bit for bit the content from your hard drive. If you write really small, you might be able to fit it in under $500 worth of supplies. For even greater redundancy, you can use clay and chisels, but thats just too time consuming for the average user.

Re:Inexpensive backup (5, Funny)

rubycodez (864176) | more than 6 years ago | (#21435041)

now that's just stupid, by writing hexadecimal instead of bits you can only use 1/16 the paper.

Buffalo Terastation (1)

ArcadeX (866171) | more than 6 years ago | (#21434941)

I love my Buffalo Terastaion. I got it to backup my file collection going back about 15 years that's made the trudge from system to system. I like that I don't have to worry if my motherboard dies and the raid controller changes, it doesn't care what OS I use, etc. About a year and a half ago I paid 700 for a 1tb version, they have cheaper versions, and the price has come down. If you look at tigerdirect or other sites that send me crappy magazines, you can find generic nas raid enclosures for under 400, just with no hdd's, but I like Buffalo.

Re:Buffalo Terastation (1)

sonicman (1167803) | more than 6 years ago | (#21435037)

I have a Buffalo NAS as well and had nothing but problems with it. The firmware updates are behind from those released overseas, and I have to reboot the thing every day to be able to access it.

W*ndoze? (0, Offtopic)

davidoff404 (764733) | more than 6 years ago | (#21434953)

Sweet tap-dancing mother of Christ. Haven't we gotten past the stage where we need to refer to "W*indoze" or any similarly retarded variation thereof?

Admittedly, it's a small point, but it's a revealing one nonetheless.

linksys nslu2 (2, Informative)

nsupathy (515587) | more than 6 years ago | (#21434957)

I run a slug [wikipedia.org] with a 500GB WD essential drive attached to it. There is one more 250GB WD essential drive (my old one). The two combined together is more than enough to backup all the machines and laptops. It runs OpenslugOS/SlugOS 3.10 [nslu2-linux.org]. It's reliable and a cheap solution. You can implement software RAID if you want.

Re:linksys nslu2 (1)

Shabbs (11692) | more than 6 years ago | (#21435131)

I've got an NSLU2 as well with two 500GB WD drives attached. It's great to have that space for backing up my files etc... but to be honest, I've been pretty disappointed in the performance of it overall as far as I/O goes. Moving files back and forth is not exactly quick. I think I'd rather just setup a dedicated PC with a ton of drives in it.

I may have to look at slug'ing it with nslu2-linux to see if that can improve the performance.

Cheers.

Some options (1)

Cerberus7 (66071) | more than 6 years ago | (#21434959)

I'm currently considering one of these little boxes for non-NAS backup:

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16817716028 [newegg.com]
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16817392017 [newegg.com]
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16817716051 [newegg.com]

Or this puppy, which looks fricken sweet, on-line array expansion, and does NAS as well as direct-connect:

http://www.tigerdirect.com/applications/SearchTools/item-details.asp?EdpNo=3143432&Sku=D162-1000 [tigerdirect.com]

Just add hard drives.

MyBook World Edition 2 (2, Informative)

armer (533337) | more than 6 years ago | (#21434965)

I just got a 1 terabyte WD MyBook World Edition 2 from Costco for 390 canadian. And it seems to work well. Of course I had to upgrade my router to gigabit to get decent network access. It also is software hackable(http://martin.hinner.info/mybook/) and user servicible. One of the problems I have is that it doesn't spin down the drives after inactivity. I didn't use the supplied software. I also had a Netgear SC101. It is nicknamed the toaster, not only for its looks, but the heat too. It did spin down, but you needed to install the Zetera drivers to access it. It wasn't really a nas, but a SAN. It is now collecting dust...

Nexenta (1)

timezra (1049352) | more than 6 years ago | (#21434973)

Would this satisfy your software need: http://www.nexenta.com/corp/ [nexenta.com] ?
It combines the OpenSolaris kernel with the Debian package manager. Personally, I have been using Nexenta on my desktop at home for the last 6 months and have been very satisfied, but the bulk of the dev effort in the community for a while has been on server-side support, so I would bet this latest release is also high quality.

DI 624S (1)

aproposofwhat (1019098) | more than 6 years ago | (#21434993)

You could try a D-Link DI-624S [dlink.com.au] - I have found a UK price of around $100, and add a couple of external USB drives to it.

If I'd known that I could have bought one of these, I'd have not bought my 2640B :-(

Re:DI 624S (1)

axle_512 (199903) | more than 6 years ago | (#21435133)

I built my own home file server. Total cost was around $650. I used OpenSolaris (solaris nevada b75), and created a zfs mirror. Now I have things like snapshots, compression, quotas, and reservations. It took only a few minutes to create the mirror once I had the machine put together and the OS loaded.

Parts included:
1 80 gb hard drive for my root drive
2x500 gb hard drives for the mirror
asus motherboard with nvidia chipset, included 4 SATA headers
65watt AMD athalon x2
2gb ram
1 dvd-rom

Been said a lot already, but... (2, Interesting)

Penguinisto (415985) | more than 6 years ago | (#21435001)

I have an old Celeron box with four 500GB hard drives in it running Fedora Core 7. It has RAID 5 (software RAID), two network cards (I get one NIC, and my wife gets the other one), Samba, and NFS (for my Mac and Linux machines - much faster than Windows sharing). The whole wad was made from spare parts, and the biggest cost was the drives (but w/ ~1.5 TB of storage space, no problemo).

I run Bacula [bacula.org] (it's not just for the enterprise, folks) and back up all the important data to the disk array.

I think I peek in there once a month or so, mostly to check disk space and see to patching. The box has zero Internet connectivity, so no probs there.

/P

Was in your situation... (1)

locokamil (850008) | more than 6 years ago | (#21435009)

... and I built my own software RAID solution.

Ingredients:
- Cheapo processor/mobo/case combo, $100. Make sure it's a low power, or you'll have a very noisy box. Ensure that the motherboard has onboard network and at least four SATAII connectors.
- RAM: 512MB will do just fine, $20.
- HDD's: 3x500GB, shouldn't run you more than $250 for the lot. I like Seagate drives, but you can get cheaper ones if you wish.

Instructions:
Install your linux distro of choice on one drive and create a software RAID5 using the mdadm tool. Fast enough for network storage, and you end up with about 915GB of usable space.

Toss it into a closet and enjoy!

Linksys NSLU2 (3, Informative)

powelly (70306) | more than 6 years ago | (#21435017)

I'm using a Linksys NSLU2 [wikipedia.org] as a NAS. I've wiped it of the original Linksys firmware and installed the officially supported ARM version of Debian Linux on it. Debian is installed on a 2GB USB Memory Stick, and I have a 500GB External USB HD attached via a tiny USB hub. I also have an HP F380 Printer/Scanner attached.

I'm using the box as a Samba server for file sharing, SANE server for remote scanning, CUPS server for remote printing and a Twonky Media server for steaming audio and photos to my XBox 360. It all works really well.

Not a bad NAS (or really a complete Debian Linux box) for about $250 for the NSLU2 and the Harddisk.

Depends on what you need (vs. want) (1)

dberger (44485) | more than 6 years ago | (#21435021)

I had data across a couple of software-raided drives under linux and a couple non-raided external USB drives, and I knew that eventually I was going to either run out of space, or a drive would fail and I'd lose data.

I started looking, and talking to friends, and decided that what I really wanted was a ReadyNas NV (http://www.infrant.com/products/products_details.php?name=ReadyNAS%20NVPlus) from Infrant (now Netgear) - I knew four satisfied customers. Trouble was cost - about $1100.

So I decided to try it on the cheap, and picked up an NSLU2 (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/NSLU2) which can run a customized linux distro (http://www.nslu2-linux.org/) and do software raid across attached drives.

I experimented with some drives I had on hand and discovered that while it would technically work, it was really only going to be useful for network backups (and fairly slow ones at that). It wouldn't replace the direct attached storage for doing photo storage (and editing) as it's only 100Mb Ethernet attached, and a fairly underpowered processor that mostly keeps up doing raid, as long as it's just mirroring. It is, however, functional, and more reliable in theory than non-RAIDED drives.

The total cost is in line with your budget - NSLU2s can be had on ebay, and then it's just drives (500GB drives are just over $100), drive enclosures, and some time.

For me, however, the experiment cost me under $100, and made it clear to me that if I wanted good performance, there was a price tag attached - either in dollars or in dollars and space (i.e. build a bigger dedicated raid server). So I resold the NSLU2 and started watching for a good deal on the ReadyNAS.

I found it a month or so ago - at the moment (Q3 of 07), if you spend the $1100 on a ReadyNAS with 2x500GB drives, they'll throw in a 3rd 500GB drive as a purchase incentive. That made it 1TB usable storage for about $1/GB. Still more than raw disk, certainly, but enough to convince me to give it a go.

I've had the ReadyNAS for a month, my home directory's living on it, as are all our digital photos, and media - it "just works." I started with 2x500GB drives, added the third and it grew the volume. I can add one more 500GB drive, which lowers the effective $/GB before the chassis is full. If 4x500GB isn't big enough one day, I can replace each drive, one at a time, with larger drives and the volume will expand to fit once all drives match.

Selected models (1, Informative)

olip (203119) | more than 6 years ago | (#21435039)

For the usual Home/Soho NAS with SATA/software RAID :
- Thecus (2 bays - 700$ ; 4 bays 950$)
- Synology (2 bays - 750$ ; 4 bays - 800$)
- QNAP (2 bays - 650$ ; 4 bays 1250$)
- Netgear (4 bays - 1300$ ; 2 bay model seems sub-par to me)
Prices are for 2x750GB and a few weeks old.

Check the specs and reviews for what is important to you.
My criteria are : Media protocols capability, BT client, rsync, throughput, software maturity, webserver : I'll go for the Synology DS207+ , that is - unless this discussion leads elsewhere.

I suggest Synology (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21435043)

I've done the home Linux RAID thing a couple times. It will work, but it's not the easiest, and the hardware you end up purchasing is overkill for the job unless you have a spare computer laying around.

Last year I opted for a Synology CS-406. It's small, quiet, embedded linux, regular BIOS updates, room for 4 off the shelf SATA drives, supports SMB, AppleTalk, SSH, FTP, UPnP, and NFS.

One of their CS-XXX models is probably overkill for you. They have DS-XX models that run a mirrored RAID with 2 disks. Even smaller then what I have.

I'm a big fan.

Iomega (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21435049)

I have had nothing but great experience with this 1TB Iomega 1TB StorCenter. You can hotswap the SATA harddrives, all RAIDd out, and has a great power saving feature to reduce power consumption.

Just get a networked hard drive (1)

hlimethe3rd (879459) | more than 6 years ago | (#21435081)

As others have said, you could build a cheap PC with some 500GB drives. For me, that's too much work (admittedly it isn't much), and I don't want to configure it. For $400, go for this: www.lacie.com/us/products/product.htm?pid=10953

My $0.02 (1)

sootman (158191) | more than 6 years ago | (#21435085)

Like everyone else here will probably say, you can build a pretty basic NAS with any old PC. I like the old corporate Compaq Deskpros--those things last forever. Load it up with a distro you are familiar with (I used to use RedHat, now I use Ubuntu, others will probably suggest FreeNAS) and two big drives. My old one has two 120 GB drives--one has the OS and data, it runs rsync each night to copy /home/ to the other drive.

The computer you buy will be dictated by how much space you need--if you want multiple 500s, 750s, or 1 TB drives, you'll need something newer. AFAIK the Everex that WalMart now offers [slashdot.org] has two SATA connectors. If I were to build one today I'd go that route. A comment on the product page [walmart.com] describes using one as a FreeNAS server and booting from a USB thumb drive.

Fixing that scrozzed MBR (1)

franknagy (56133) | more than 6 years ago | (#21435091)

I have an XP system that likes to zap the MBR/partition table on one of my external USB drives on a semi-regular basis. I fix it by booting a Linux LiveCD and using fdisk to reset the partition table since I know the drive has/had a single NTFS partition, I just create a new single partition of type 7 (NTFS) and voila, the disk re-mounts in XP and all is well again (actually this hasn't happened for awhile now but I have done it a number of times in the past).

The best NAS...maybe not for home (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21435093)

EMC Celerra FTW!

Backup Options (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21435101)

When considering a backup plan, make sure you consider the amount of data that you would care to have saved should the worst happen (you house burns down, or some such). You should consider backing up this data remotely. A number of providers offer remote disk space that you can access via scp, rsync and sometimes even smb/samba (I recommend rsync based hard-linked snapshots, not difficult to setup (Google knows of a number of good tutorials) and pretty flexible).

If your vital data is not more than a few Gb then it'll only cost you a few $ per month. "bqbackup" is the only provider name that spring to mind but I know there are several out there with reasonable reputations so google for more options. You could even set it up yourself with a cheap VPS from a good provider, but that will be more hassle and will likely cost more for the same amount of space (if you go for a not-ludicrously-over-sold provider).

You could backup your entire 120Gb drive that way, but that it probably not be practical as most of your data will be static and would be better (or at least much cheaper in the long run) backed up to a second hard-drive or DVDs (more than one copy, and refreshed every now-and-again, to allow for disks degrading over time, maybe with par2 recovery volumes (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Par2) for extra paranoia) and held at a friend's house.

I had exactly the same question... (1)

chelidon (175081) | more than 6 years ago | (#21435107)

..last year, and after a lot of research, settled on the D-Link DNS-323 GigE NAS box with a pair of mirrored 500GB SATA drives. After that was full (of archived digitized Hi-8 video footage, not porn, no really), I bought a second box and put a pair of 750GB drives in it.

My requirements were -- hardware RAID 1 (mirroring), using a standard (non-proprietary) format (ext2), standard OS (Linux), and GigE connectivity. The DNS-323 has all of these things, and comes bare so I can drop whatever drives I want into it. It's also a breeze to install and configure, and does most of the bells and whistles if you like (iTunes music server, etc). At the price point I got, the whole thing including drives was well under $500, and has the advantage of being simple and small, and in my experience, reliable.

Why a NAS. Go further. (1)

houghi (78078) | more than 6 years ago | (#21435109)

I would just put extra HD's into my PC. I just bought an extra IDE card to add all the IDE cards I have.

However if you want to have it cheap and ONLY for NAS/Backup, then I would buy a cheap PC via Ebay that still works, put any Linux distribution I like on it and put as much HD in it as I can lay my hands on. Connect it to a network and done.
The only connection you need is a network card and even if it is not on the mobo, a cheap 100MB card will be enough for any homeuse.

Alternatively, if you like to do much more with it for more PC's and have it as a multimediaserver, then http://plutohome.com/ [plutohome.com] might be a good distribution. Based on Debian, it can do all of your domotica. Why stop at NAS if you can have so much more for the same price.

Wireless router with USB (1)

ubergeek65536 (862868) | more than 6 years ago | (#21435121)

For under $200 you can pick up a number of different wireless routers with USB ports for printers or drives. The Linksys WRT350N is an example.

NSLU2 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21435125)

The NSLU2 from Linksys is great. Mine runs debian on a memory-stick, so it's quite energy-efficient. Community-Support is quick, friendly and helpful. You can attach a USB hub and USB-Drives. And you can hack it (Serial console, free more USB-ports, upgrade the RAM etc.)

W*ndoze (1, Offtopic)

Turn-X Alphonse (789240) | more than 6 years ago | (#21435127)

I read as far as "W*ndoze" and then just gave up on the article. If the submitter cannot act like an adult and not a 12 year old using 'witty insulting names' (ahem) for things then I really can't be bothered to waste my time on him. This is Slashdot, a public forum full of people from all walks of life, this is not a playground, we expect at least some sort of maturity beyond the level shown in this article.

Re:W*ndoze (1)

Catbeller (118204) | more than 6 years ago | (#21435223)

Windows fails, and fails often, to do the simplest tasks. That is why the disgust, the loss of market share (excluding monopoly abuse forced installation on all boxen), and the mockery. Fix Windows, fix the mockery.

Windows is, was, and will be, broken.

Have you looked at the LaCie ED Mini? (2, Informative)

MajikJon (661494) | more than 6 years ago | (#21435145)

I hate to pimp for the company I work for, but these are actually pretty good, and I don't see a lot of breakdowns with them. $200, 500GB. You don't get blazing speed, but you're not likely to find that in any prepackaged NAS system. It's certainly cheaper than you could build a box (with equivalent capacity) for. http://www.lacie.com/us/products/product.htm?pid=10844 [lacie.com] If you need more capacity, there's also the 1TB ED Big Disk ($299), though that's a two-drive unit, and somewhat more prone to breakdowns. http://www.lacie.com/us/products/product.htm?pid=10882 [lacie.com]

ReadyNAS from Netgear (was Infrant) (2, Informative)

Sarlok (144969) | more than 6 years ago | (#21435159)

I've been using a ReadyNAS NV from Infrant (company bought by Netgear) for a year and a half, and have had no troubles with it at all. It just works. When I wanted to increase capacity by adding another disk, I just hot-plugged in the drive, and it rebuilt the RAID array and increased the capacity automatically without any intervention other than a reboot after a couple of hours. And it sent me an email to let me know when to do that.

Synology (1)

Pete (big-pete) (253496) | more than 6 years ago | (#21435211)


I have a CS407 [synology.com] from Synology [synology.com], and it really is very good and very flexible with handy features including an iTunes server, printer sharing, website hosting, etc and it will run torrents as well, so you don't need to leave your PC on overnight, just the NAS box.

It does look like it's a bit out of your range though by the time you buy disks, but they proide smaller NAS boxes with the same software - I wanted RAID-5 though, so had to pay for the larger model that could take 4 disks. I haven't had any problem with it, and I strongly recommend you take a look if you're in the market for NAS boxes for the home.

Cheers,

-- Pete.

Buffalo is the way to go (3, Informative)

squarefish (561836) | more than 6 years ago | (#21435219)

The DriveStation Quattro [buffalotech.com] is in your price range and provides you with 750GB of storage using RAID 5 and it's in your price range.

I just got a 2TB buffalo terastation pro II [buffalotech.com] for 1K and it's awesome. Here's [trustedreviews.com] a review of the 1TB model. They offer other options, but this seemed like the best one for me based on price, capacity, and reputation. True reliability means you probably want RAID 5 and that means 3 or more drives. If you don't want to fight with raid cards and configuring it from scratch, then this is a great option.

personal experience: ximeta (3, Informative)

psbrogna (611644) | more than 6 years ago | (#21435233)

I've had good luck with the two Ximeta NAS devices I've bought in the last couple of years. They have a proprietary architecture that allows you to put a standard low cost, high capacity drive onto your home network for file sharing via either Cat5 or USB (through a PC). The network connection provides superior performance. I've used these drives in Windows & Linux environments succesfully. I believe you can pick up the external enclosure (that only needs a drive; already contains power supply and interface hardware) at Radio Shack for ~$60 and then put whatever compatible drive you want in it. Read more at: http://ximeta.com/ [ximeta.com]
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