NAS Hardware

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NAS Hardware

Postby Sabindeus » Tue Apr 17, 2012 10:04 pm

So I'm pretty damn fed up with my Drobo and want to migrate to a proper NAS. I see two options before me:

1. Buy some premade box like from Synology or someone similar
- From all reports, the Synology 411j has shitty build quality and you need to screw stuff in and really in this day and age if I don't have at least tray loading HD bays, then fuck that noise

or

2. Buy a bunch of hardware and install FreeNAS
- Need to find a small enclosure that can fit comfortably on my desk, support 4+ drives (without having to screw them all in individually god what is this the stone age here), and not be some sort of overpowered beast that draws umpteen gazillion watts and makes infinity noise.

Does anyone have any experience with ANY of this? Seriously I am coming into this with barely informed opinions and the internet is of little help (besides Drobos are for suckers which I have since learned myself)
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Re: NAS Hardware

Postby Aubade » Tue Apr 17, 2012 11:07 pm

what's NAS and Drobos?
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Re: NAS Hardware

Postby JoeBravo » Tue Apr 17, 2012 11:45 pm

Sabindeus wrote:So I'm pretty damn fed up with my Drobo and want to migrate to a proper NAS. I see two options before me:

1. Buy some premade box like from Synology or someone similar
- From all reports, the Synology 411j has shitty build quality and you need to screw stuff in and really in this day and age if I don't have at least tray loading HD bays, then fuck that noise

or

2. Buy a bunch of hardware and install FreeNAS
- Need to find a small enclosure that can fit comfortably on my desk, support 4+ drives (without having to screw them all in individually god what is this the stone age here), and not be some sort of overpowered beast that draws umpteen gazillion watts and makes infinity noise.

Does anyone have any experience with ANY of this? Seriously I am coming into this with barely informed opinions and the internet is of little help (besides Drobos are for suckers which I have since learned myself)


I'm running a synology 211 in my livingroom. easy to install, even with the screwing, and works like a charm. The noise it makes is hardly ever audible for me, as my pc makes more noise.

Then again, I wouldn't know what to do with a tray loading device, as I have more than enough storage space as is, so can't relate to that. I do know the ready made NAS' that do have it tend to be quite a bit more expensive.
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Re: NAS Hardware

Postby Fetzie » Wed Apr 18, 2012 1:53 am

Aubade wrote:what's NAS and Drobos?


As far as I know, a NAS box is a box with lots of hard drives in it, usually in some kind of RAID configuration, that you can use to access via your home network.
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Re: NAS Hardware

Postby fuzzygeek » Wed Apr 18, 2012 2:08 am

Right now I've got 4x2.5TB drives in a RAID5 in my primary machine. This isn't ideal. One NAS solution I've bookmarked for when I get around to building a dedicated NAS is http://lime-technology.com/

There's a sizeable following for unRAID on various home media fanatic forums; I don't have links to the more impressive builds anymore, sadly.

I haven't built one myself yet, but when I outgrow what I've got, this is probably the direction I'm going to go.

What do you not like about the Drobo? I've got a guildie who swears by them, but it seems a bit overpriced to me.

Another thing I've seen recommended highly is a HP device -- yeah, I'm shocked too. I think it was this thing, if you're looking for something smallish that'll fit on your desk.
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Re: NAS Hardware

Postby JoeBravo » Wed Apr 18, 2012 2:11 am

Aubade wrote:what's NAS and Drobos?


NAS: Network Attached Storage

drobos: http://www.drobo.com/products/professio ... /index.php ?
looks like an advanced external usb drive
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Re: NAS Hardware

Postby Sabindeus » Wed Apr 18, 2012 6:53 am

fuzzygeek wrote:Right now I've got 4x2.5TB drives in a RAID5 in my primary machine. This isn't ideal. One NAS solution I've bookmarked for when I get around to building a dedicated NAS is http://lime-technology.com/

There's a sizeable following for unRAID on various home media fanatic forums; I don't have links to the more impressive builds anymore, sadly.

I haven't built one myself yet, but when I outgrow what I've got, this is probably the direction I'm going to go.

What do you not like about the Drobo? I've got a guildie who swears by them, but it seems a bit overpriced to me.

Another thing I've seen recommended highly is a HP device -- yeah, I'm shocked too. I think it was this thing, if you're looking for something smallish that'll fit on your desk.


Thanks for the info dude. I've looked at unraid but I feel like if I'm going to build a box I'll use FreeNAS. The HP box scares me because they don't tell you what's actually inside.

The Drobo is super convenient but the OS X management software blows, and the speed is abysmally low compared to... anything, really. It's just fucking slow.
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Re: NAS Hardware

Postby fuzzygeek » Wed Apr 18, 2012 11:21 am

I looked at freeNAS and other ZFS-derivatives when I was noodling around, but my hangup is over dynamic expandability. Like, currently I can't embiggen my RAID by any other means than wholesale drive replacement.

One reason unRAID appealed (and the Drobo device, before sticker shock) is that you can slot in larger drives as they get cheaper, and swap out smaller drives as they obsolesce.

I'm also more likely to have a device-in-the-closet that'll serve all the various HTPCs in the house, which is why I didn't keep the miniserver research links around. Some of the unRAID builds on a HTPC forum I ran across were monstrous. Like, a dozen large SSD drives in a rack mounted monstrosity. The photos were droolworthy, but I don't seem to have the bookmarks anymore.

Anyway. I'd be curious to hear if anyone has built a solid, expandable NAS without resorting to a purchased product.

For the slowness of the Drobo -- is it just lousy on file transfers? Does it struggle to serve media files over a wire?
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Re: NAS Hardware

Postby Sabindeus » Wed Apr 18, 2012 12:04 pm

fuzzygeek wrote:I looked at freeNAS and other ZFS-derivatives when I was noodling around, but my hangup is over dynamic expandability. Like, currently I can't embiggen my RAID by any other means than wholesale drive replacement.

One reason unRAID appealed (and the Drobo device, before sticker shock) is that you can slot in larger drives as they get cheaper, and swap out smaller drives as they obsolesce.

I'm also more likely to have a device-in-the-closet that'll serve all the various HTPCs in the house, which is why I didn't keep the miniserver research links around. Some of the unRAID builds on a HTPC forum I ran across were monstrous. Like, a dozen large SSD drives in a rack mounted monstrosity. The photos were droolworthy, but I don't seem to have the bookmarks anymore.

Anyway. I'd be curious to hear if anyone has built a solid, expandable NAS without resorting to a purchased product.

For the slowness of the Drobo -- is it just lousy on file transfers? Does it struggle to serve media files over a wire?


It was my understanding that ZFS can in fact dynamically expand the way Drobos do. Is that not so?

Drobo's speed annoyance is twofold: 1. when the device wakes up after sleeping (i.e. I want to watch a movie and haven't been touching the filesystem in a while) it takes a long time to perform the initial seek. 2. Read/write speeds are distinctly lower than any RAID configuration. There are tons of benchmarks showing this. I have never had trouble reading big movie files to play them, that's a fairly low impact issue. What I DID have to do though is change my Torrent D/L directory to a normal HD on my machine because the Drobo couldn't keep up with my torrent client writing out partial files.
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Re: NAS Hardware

Postby fuzzygeek » Wed Apr 18, 2012 12:42 pm

Sabindeus wrote:It was my understanding that ZFS can in fact dynamically expand the way Drobos do. Is that not so?


From the freenas faq page http://doc.freenas.org/index.php/FAQs
A. You can add drives to a volume, but not to a RAIDZ group. For example, if your volume is a 3 drive RAIDZ, you can add another 3 drive RAIDZ in the future, giving you a RAIDZ+0. But you can't change it to a 4 drive RAIDZ. This a limitation/feature of ZFS.


I understood this as no dynamic reallocation; someone please correct me if I'm wrong.

Hmm. The initial read on the Drobo would be irritating, but not a gamebreaker. I wonder if it would talk to the WD TV Live Plus device I have in one of the rooms?

I'm not surprised many small writes to a drobo would be horrible; I have an isolated machine running torrents, so poor performance on that front doesn't kill it for me either. Just the Drobo hardware for a 5-bay device is $700. That doesn't seem horribly unreasonable anymore. And it amuses me greatly that your opening the thread complaining about the Drobo has me taking a second look at the damn thing and not being as repulsed as I was in the past.

Well, when 3TB drives hit the hundred dollar mark again, maybe I'll take another look.
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Re: NAS Hardware

Postby Sabindeus » Wed Apr 18, 2012 1:21 pm

fuzzygeek wrote:And it amuses me greatly that your opening the thread complaining about the Drobo has me taking a second look at the damn thing and not being as repulsed as I was in the past.


Well it certainly LOOKS nice, that's why I bought one! Having actually used it for a few years now, I have to say that I am ready to move on.
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Re: NAS Hardware

Postby gibborim » Sat Apr 21, 2012 10:19 pm

I think NAS is starting to generate more mainstream appeal and is starting to see higher quality development and competition as a result.
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