Time for a Home NAS!

Over the years I have accumulated quite a bit of digital content (music, pictures, videos, archived tax returns, etc) and have used external drives, CDs/DVDs, and even USB sticks to backup the data. After a while, it has become increasing inconvenience to locate the content let alone share it with multiple computers, so I decided to shop for a home NAS. But which one? There are quite a few of them on the market with varying prices ($200 to $2000+) and features. I liked the Netgear's ReadyNAS, but it was quite pricy. With 2TB of storage, it was around $1,500 at the time. This costed more than a PC with the same amount of storage, so I thought to myself, "Why not use a PC with ZFS."

After some Googling, I found a number of people had already done exactly this, and Simon's blog was particularly helpful , especially for the system config that worked well for him. So, I decided to build a similar system. I ordered the components from Newegg.com, and the total price was less than $900 for a pretty powerful system (2.6 Ghz AMD Athlon, 2GB ECC RAM, 4x500GB WD drives). It took me a couple of days to put the system together, install OpenSolaris 2008.05, setup ZFS pools, and CIFS server/client, and voila, I have a system that can be used as a NAS as well as a general purpose server. Now, I have all my data in one place and be able to get to it from all the computers on the network, and be assured that if a drive fails, I won't lose data thanks to the RAID support in ZFS.

Comments:

Why such an expensive server? Did u consider a cheap shuttle box with software raid?

Posted by Ritesh on November 30, 2008 at 03:57 PM CST #

Ritesh, ZFS \*is\* software RAID, amongst other things.

For all the significant advantages you get with ZFS, take a look here:
http://opensolaris.org/os/community/zfs/

Oh, and a bigger box allows you to add more drives than a small shuttle case, should you choose to ;-)

Happy reading!

Posted by Simon Breden on November 30, 2008 at 07:43 PM CST #

Ritesh, I did look at the Shuttle XPC but decided to go for a beefier server which allows more flexibility. I wanted the ECC memory, bigger case to accommodate more drives, etc. I use it for other things in addition to a NAS so didn't mine paying a bit more for a nicer system.

Posted by Robert Lor on December 01, 2008 at 12:21 AM CST #

Interested in the Sun ZFS solution -- did you ever consider something more versatile than simple storage, like the Homer Server from www.amahi.org?

Posted by Fred Source on December 02, 2008 at 10:07 AM CST #

Fred, it looks like that Amahi Linux-based system does not offer the end-to-end data integrity features that ZFS offers, so for that reason, I can't see why anybody who values their data would use it.

Posted by Simon Breden on December 02, 2008 at 07:08 PM CST #

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