Sunday Nov 30, 2008

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.

Monday Nov 10, 2008

Not just another NAS appliance

Sun just announced a new line of storage appliances that will forever change the NAS appliance market. By using OpenSolaris and technologies such as ZFS, DTrace, FMA and SMF with standard-based storage server, Sun is able to bring the products to market at a much cheaper price point than its competitor and yet provide more differentiated features such as:

  1. Analytics - With DTrace as the underlying technologies, Analytics allow users to ask questions about the storage system in production in realtime from a GUI.
  2. Hybrid Storage Pool - Leveraging the Flash technology, the ZFS Hybrid Storage Pool transparently manages DRAM, Flash, and low-cost hard drives, providing a high performance and cost effective storage solution.
  3. Remote Replication - Data can easily replicated with minimum configuration from the browser using the powerful ZFS features.
  4. Supported Protocols: NFS, CIFS, iSCSI, HTTP, WebDAV, FTP

To get more technical information about these exciting new NAS appliances, checkout the blogs and demos from the engineering team.

BTW, you can also try out the products for 60 days for FREE.

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