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post #1 of 9 Old 01-03-2008, 07:52 PM - Thread Starter
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I hope this is the right section for this...

I've been looking into getting a NAS, but there a lot of options with mixed reviews. Hopefully, someone can point me to the right direction. Perhaps there's an extensive list comparing all the (major) NAS products?

1) I'd like a NAS that accommodates 4 3.5" SATA-II harddrives. I currently have 3 750GB harddrives, but I'd like to upgrade to a 4th in the future. I'm also not sure a 3-bay NAS is offered either.

2) So this also assumes I won't have issues having more than 2TB installed.

3) It has to be diskless unless it's (somehow) cheaper with disks installed; this also depends on the product. Some NASes with disks may be better than diskless NASes.

4) I'm not so sure about RAID. It'd be convenient if my drives showed up as a single drive, but it can show up as 4 separate drives. I have a question about this as well; I do plan to install my current 3 drives that are already full of data. Will I have issues with this?

5) I don't want to have to install extra (proprietary) programs just to get it to work. Minimal programs that perhaps I have to install on first use is fine, but having to install a program on all PCs just to access the NAS is not so great.

6) I'd like for it to be in the $500 range; preferably under.

7) Gigabit ethernet is preferred, but I'm not so sure I need for my particular case.

Hopefully someone can point me in the right direction. Thanks!
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post #2 of 9 Old 01-03-2008, 08:32 PM
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I am currently working on setting up a NAS based on FreeNas, which is a stripped down version of FreeBSD, just for NAS use. It is so compact that the entire OS will fit on one 32MB CF card. There should be no additional software on the client side. I am not sure what your use is, but with that amount of data, I don't think I would settle for less than GB ethernet. Google will yeild much more info. If you want more info on where I am going with mine just ask.

If you want all the disks to show up as one, that is RAID JBOD (just a bunch of disks). I am not so sure about adding drives that already have existing data.
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post #3 of 9 Old 01-03-2008, 08:55 PM
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Have you looked into the HP media smart servers. They run the new Windows home server OS and are really impressive. If you have a multiple Windows PC's it really is the best option right now. There are a lot of addins out right now that support things like Utorrent, Antivirus, Remote backup and a ton of others. Also you it acts as a terminal serviced server so you can access any of your PC from any where. The prices are right in your range and it support all of the features you are looking for.
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post #4 of 9 Old 01-03-2008, 08:57 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by afx View Post

I hope this is the right section for this...

I've been looking into getting a NAS, but there a lot of options with mixed reviews. Hopefully, someone can point me to the right direction. Perhaps there's an extensive list comparing all the (major) NAS products?

you might want to try the HTPC forum here... lots of knowledgeable folks there
Quote:
Originally Posted by afx View Post

1) I'd like a NAS that accommodates 4 3.5" SATA-II harddrives. I currently have 3 750GB harddrives, but I'd like to upgrade to a 4th in the future. I'm also not sure a 3-bay NAS is offered either.

not sure many really support sata II at this point?
Quote:
Originally Posted by afx View Post

2) So this also assumes I won't have issues having more than 2TB installed.

don't think that is an issue anymore...
Quote:
Originally Posted by afx View Post

3) It has to be diskless unless it's (somehow) cheaper with disks installed; this also depends on the product. Some NASes with disks may be better than diskless NASes.

infrant (net gear now) makes nice units that can be had bare...
Quote:
Originally Posted by afx View Post

4) I'm not so sure about RAID. It'd be convenient if my drives showed up as a single drive, but it can show up as 4 separate drives. I have a question about this as well; I do plan to install my current 3 drives that are already full of data. Will I have issues with this?

most definitively... doesn't matter what you do, they will get formatted... back them up first?
as for RAID/JBOD

JBOD just pools all the storage space from all the drives - one drive letter/etc, but if any drive fails good luck getting any of the data from any of the drives back...

RAID 0 splits the data up evenly over all drives - very fast, one drive letter, but even less chance of getting any of your data back if one drive fails...

RAID 1 Two 750GB drives = one 750GB, if one drive fails, you have a duplicate/backup, RAID 1 is generally called Mirroring...

RAID 5 kinda sorta like RAID 1, but uses 1 drives worth of space for parity, if any one drive fails, just plug in a new drive and press the "rebuild button"... - this is what I do, not really as good as a 'real' backup... but good enough for me...

Quote:
Originally Posted by afx View Post

5) I don't want to have to install extra (proprietary) programs just to get it to work. Minimal programs that perhaps I have to install on first use is fine, but having to install a program on all PCs just to access the NAS is not so great.

most work like that... install a setup program somewhere on the network once, set it up, and you are done... most have built in web servers also...
Quote:
Originally Posted by afx View Post

6) I'd like for it to be in the $500 range; preferably under.

not sure what the Infrant NV+'s go for, but they are very easy to use and setup...
Quote:
Originally Posted by afx View Post

7) Gigabit ethernet is preferred, but I'm not so sure I need for my particular case.

standard feature nowadays...

NOTE: As one wise professional something once stated, I am ignorant & childish, with a mindset comparable to 9/11 troofers and wackjob conspiracy theorists. so don't take anything I say as advice...
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post #5 of 9 Old 01-03-2008, 09:07 PM
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I do not know of any single exhaustive list comparing NAS products. If its a NAS appliance you are looking for check out the following companies:

Infrant
Synology
Qnap
Thecus

You can find some reviews and comparisons on www.smallnetbuilder.com

1) All the above companies offer 4 drive NAS boxes. Some may offer 3 drive boxes as well. Bear in mind that for RAID to work reliably, all disks should be the same model. Mixing brands isn't recommended. Same holds true when replacing a failed disk. If the same model is no longer available, its usually best practice to change all drives (one at a time until the RAID is rebuilt using the new drives)

2) Many of the above support 2TB, some support 3TB

3) Most of the above are offered diskless. Be sure to check the manufacturers list of supported harddisks. There are a few incompatibilities out there so beware before you buy.

4) Any of the NAS appliances listed above will support RAID 0 and 1. Some also support RAID 5, 0+1 and JBOD. I recommend you consider RAID 1, 5 or 0+1 for redundancy of your data. Check wikipedia and search for RAID. They have a good explanation of the different types of RAID, advantages and disadvantages. Infrant has a proprietary XRAID which is like RAID 5 but more scalable. Most people like it very much.

5) No programs to install on clients using the above manufacturers. Some offer a admin management utility, but thats only for one user in most cases.

6) $500 with 4 disks may be tough. Look around.

7) Definitely get gigabit ethernet. You'll be surprised to learn that most of the NAS appliances are somewhat slow when compared to a Windows Home Server or PC based Linux server. Expect about 10MB/s - 25MB/s real world throughput when using NAS appliances. More powerful PC based NAS boxes can achieve 40MB/s+ real world.

Good luck.
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post #6 of 9 Old 01-04-2008, 09:45 AM
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I've got another path to look into if it works for you -- something I've got running currently and it works great! Look for some old Compaq rack-mount Proliants (they've also got tower versions) that run Xeon's and REAL Raid hardware with hot-swappable power supplies, hot-swappable drives, PCI slots that can have cards added and removed while the machine is powered up,etc.. I picked up a Proliant 6400R (4u server) almost 2 years ago for $50 on Ebay from a local e-scrap place.. This server works great, does true hot-swappable raid (4 drives internal) and uses ultra-scsi drives (also cheap these days) -- look on your local Craigslist.org site.. You can usually pick one up for no more than $300 and it will usually have dual supplies, multiple drives,etc. I've got mine running Fedora Core 6 (fc6) and it works great.. My particular machine has quad Xeon's at 550Mhz and while they don't compare to any newer hardware, you don't need anything close to a 3Ghz processor to do raid unless you're using software raid (which isn't really raid in my opinion -- mostly since it's not fool proof and data loss is very possible).. Compaq spent tons of $$ making very fool proof hardware configurations on their proliant servers that have battery backed RAM for their RAID systems and other necessary features that makes data loss almost never happen -- its just a bullet proof design.. I'd trust their hardware design any day over some of these newer designs based on regular PC hardware with custom software..
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post #7 of 9 Old 01-04-2008, 03:14 PM - Thread Starter
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I didn't realize ProLiants can be had for that cheap; I suppose you have to get them used? I don't have a setup for rackmounting, and I do believe we actually use those towers at my job -- it's a pretty large system. I think I should've added that I'd like a small system. I'm sure having a "full-blown" system like that is ideal, but it doesn't really suit what I'm looking for. Thank you for the suggestion though.


I did some research on the suggested brands and systems. Unfortunately, I'm not sure which is the "best" as it's rather hard looking for a wide range of reviews on all of them.

Considering:
-synology CS407E
-thecus n4100+

Some interest:
-thecus n4100
-promise NS4300N
-freedom9 4020

I know the Promise and Freedom9 weren't suggested in this thread, but their specs (at least) fall into what I was looking for. Might anyone have further input as to the 2 I'm considering, and even the 3 I have interest in?

Thanks.
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post #8 of 9 Old 01-07-2008, 08:33 AM
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The Infrant/Netgear (Infrant was purchased by Netgear but, thus far, appears to have retained a high degree of autonomy) ReadyNAS NV+ seems to fit the bill - though it didn't make your short list.

4 drives? Check.

SATA I or II? Check.

Gigabit? Check.

...and so forth.

Once Netgear purchased them, the price went up, but I was still able to find a retailer with the diskless (pre NG purchase) units in stock, though I ended up paying ~$100 more than you want (mine was just ~$600).

Finally, FWIW, I wouldn't consider running my main file storage without RAID (and I'm a big fan of Infrant's X-Raid - it's similar to Drobo's take on RAID).

Cheers.

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post #9 of 9 Old 02-06-2008, 07:49 PM
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I just purchased the Promise SmartStor NS4300N from Fry's tonight. It looks to have everything you need. It is a 4 bay NAS enclosure with 10/100/1000, RAID 0, 1, 5, and 10, DLNA plugin etc. It is sold without and HDD's so you can add your own. Promise is well known for their RAID adapters so I figured this box would work fine. It also appears that you can add disks and redo the RAID without losing any data. I need to read a bit more on that but it will be cool if it works.

Here is the product page from the Promise web site for the device:

http://www.promise.com/product/produ...product_id=177

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