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Multi-OS, Mirrored NAS storage?

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March 17, 2006 5:33:54 PM

OK... I think that this is where I should post this, but what I am looking for is the following:

I need a NAS solution that contains two hard drives (so that I can mirror them for data protection) that is compatible with more than just Windows. I will be converting the computers in my home over to Linux as soon as I upgrade and will only maintain Windows on one computer so that I can run software when people give me something that I am expected to be able to run, but that requires Windows. Quite frankly, I hope that I don't have to turn it on much.

Anyway, since the primary systems for both me and my wife will be Laptops, we want to have a good NAS solution that we can occasionally copy our hard drive contents to, and also keep all of our audio, video, and various install flats so that it is centrally managed, but is also MIRRORED.

Currently I have a Linux server acting as the domain controller for my various Windows-based computers, but I have decided to minimize the IT footprint of my house, and would rather do without a full computer for this purpose.

So far all of the mirrored NAS solutions that I have seen require Windows, and that is unacceptable.

I would prefer one that does not come with hard drives, as I would rather choose those myself, and cost is an issue.

Help?
March 19, 2006 5:36:23 PM

Erm... any ideas?
March 19, 2006 6:43:17 PM

Snap has several models that will fill your need. Most of these old units are not speed deamons. They have 4 drive models (4x00) with raid 5. The 2x00 models support Raid 0 & 1. I don't recomend the 2000 model because of the speed is realy slow due to software raid. The 2200 use promise IDE controllers. The 4000 is 4 drive, software raid, supports LBA48bit. The 4100 has seperate Promise IDE controllers but do not suport LBA48. The Dell PV705N is the same as a 4100.

I use a Snap 2200 NAS for mine. It is compatable with All OS including the Old Apple OS (v8-10x), Unix FS. NT. Novell. It down side if you are using a Apple It only supports APF 2.0, which restrice the file name to 31 chr. The unit runs on UNIX, a modified XFS file system. It is using SAMBA for the compatibility. I current have 2 x 300gig drives in RAID 1 config. Connection and admin is through the web interface.

I have older macs and Snap is the only one that suports Apple OS.

SnapAppliance was bought out by Adaptec 6 months ago. So the have been slowly killing off the older Snap units. Support use to be free, now $120 for a contract. They are loosing repeat customers, due to this. If you need support go to procooling.com. I help users with upgrades, to keep these units working.
Related resources
March 19, 2006 7:48:23 PM

Well as the previous poster mentioned the Snap is probably close to what you're looking for however it is quite expensive... $950 - $2100


I think you would be much better off with a custom Linux based NAS.

It would be cheaper and would be able to support any OS including but not limited to Linux, *BSD, Unix, windows, DOS, Netware, practically anything.

You can use samba, NFS, AFS, etc

Quote:


ASPIRE X-QPACK-NW-AL/420 Black/Silver Aluminum MicroATX Desktop Computer Case 420W Power Supply - Retail Model #: X-QPACK-NW-AL/420 Item #: N82E16811144160 $79.99

ASUS A8N-VM CSM Socket 939 NVIDIA GeForce 6150 Micro ATX AMD Motherboard - Retail Model #: A8N-VM CSM Item #: N82E16813131570 $78.99

AMD Athlon 64 3000+ Venice 1GHz HT Socket 939 Processor Model ADA3000BPBOX - Retail Model #: ADA3000BPBOX Item #: N82E16819103537 $135.00


CORSAIR ValueSelect 1GB (2 x 512MB) 184-Pin DDR SDRAM DDR 400 (PC 3200) Unbuffered Dual Channel Kit System Memory Model VS1GBKIT400 - Retail
Model #: VS1GBKIT400 Item #: N82E16820145440 $66.50

Western Digital Caviar SE16 WD2500KS 250GB 7200 RPM SATA 3.0Gb/s Hard Drive - OEM Model #: WD2500KS Item #: N82E16822144701 $188.00

Subtotal: $548.48


Quote:


ASPIRE X-QPACK-NW-AL/420 Black/Silver Aluminum MicroATX Desktop Computer Case 420W Power Supply - Retail
Model #: X-QPACK-NW-AL/420
Item #: N82E16811144160 $79.99

Western Digital Caviar SE16 WD2500KS 250GB 7200 RPM SATA 3.0Gb/s Hard Drive - OEM
Model #: WD2500KS
Item #: N82E16822144701
$188.00

CORSAIR ValueSelect 1GB (2 x 512MB) 184-Pin DDR SDRAM DDR 400 (PC 3200) Unbuffered Dual Channel Kit System Memory Model VS1GBKIT400 - Retail
Model #: VS1GBKIT400
Item #: N82E16820145440 $66.50

AMD Sempron 64 2500+ Palermo 800MHz HT Socket 754 Processor Model SDA2500BXBOX - Retail
Model #: SDA2500BXBOX
Item #: N82E16819104251 $126.25

BIOSTAR TForce6100 Socket 754 NVIDIA GeForce 6100 Micro ATX AMD Motherboard - Retail
Model #: TForce6100
Item #: N82E16813138268

Subtotal: $460.74




For a little bit more you could add SATA hotswap HDD trays.


I would have linked you to the actual wish lists but wish lists are not currently working because some of newegg's systems are down for maintenance.
March 19, 2006 8:00:14 PM

New they are expensive. I picked my 2200 from ebay. 320gig (2 x 160) for $275. It has a very small foot print 8"w x 10"d x 6"h and is quite. I have looked at building unix boxes, but hard to match this small foot print.
March 19, 2006 8:08:36 PM

Quote:
New they are expensive. I picked my 2200 from ebay. 320gig (2 x 160) for $275. It has a very small foot print 8"w x 10"d x 6"h and is quite. I have looked at building unix boxes, but hard to match this small foot print.



The Aspire case is only 9" x 10.2" x 14"

Granted that is bigger than the Snap but still relatively quite small.

You also have the flexibility of being in full control of the system and you can use hot swap SATA drive trays if desired, etc :-D

It is also highly upgradable.
March 20, 2006 2:46:38 AM

Well I found this...

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E1683...

But are there others out there like that? At $340 that DEFINITELY sounds like a better solution... but I don't know enough about this type of product to know if it is good or not.

Actually it baffles me that these things are so expensive, considering how inexpensive a cheap Linux box would be to put on the network... it is just that is what I am doing now, and I really want to move to a small appliance so that I can stick it in a closet, or maybe in a junction box in the wall with networking equipment, and forget about it.
Anonymous
March 20, 2006 3:03:23 AM

I used and Modded a Linksys NSLU2 and it works fantastic. It has so many options than just storage server its amazing. My is also print server, NAS, website host, FTP server and Itunes host. 11 out of 10 on this baby.
March 20, 2006 3:51:45 AM

Quote:
Well I found this...

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E1683...

But are there others out there like that? At $340 that DEFINITELY sounds like a better solution... but I don't know enough about this type of product to know if it is good or not.

Actually it baffles me that these things are so expensive, considering how inexpensive a cheap Linux box would be to put on the network... it is just that is what I am doing now, and I really want to move to a small appliance so that I can stick it in a closet, or maybe in a junction box in the wall with networking equipment, and forget about it.



Cheaper MAYBE but not really, better no.

Granted you do not need a socket 939 CPU to run samba and serve some files but my configs had a CPU fast enough to perform many other tasks and had 1GB RAM.

On those configs you could do a lot more than just store files.

You could run apache (httpd/www), PHP, MythTV ( http://mythtv.org/modules.php?name=MythFeatures ), you could stream audio and video and whatever else you can think of.

If price is what you're looking at then you could downgrade the RAM and a couple of other things to make them even cheaper.


Keep in mind this http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E1683... with 2 WD2500KS drives would cost you $339 + $188 = $527 or more.

The socket 754 is actually cheaper @$460 and the socket 939 is almost as cheap @ $548 and a lot more powerful and upgradeable than an embedded 600MHz Intel 80219 with 128MB RAM.

My Configs at those prices already included 2 WD2500KS drives and the onboard RAID controller on the 939 board will support up to 4 drives and RAID 5.
March 20, 2006 6:18:24 AM

8) Check out - http://www.lacie.com - they may have what you are after.

:idea: I'd be recommending Gigabit Ethernet or Dual Gigabit Ethernet as the interface if speed is a concern. Because capacity these days usually isn't.
March 20, 2006 6:51:18 AM

The ASUS 6150 S939 board I suggested above already has Gigabit ethernet.

Sadly the 6100 S754 board does not but there are other boards that do. I selected that board because it was cheaper.

Gigabit ethernet would indeed be good to have -- unfortunately unless your ethernet LAN is gigabit it won't matter.

Granted you can get inexpensive GigE switches now for under $100.

Keep in mind some devices do not really have enough bandwidth to take advantage of GigE.
March 20, 2006 12:09:22 PM

If you need support for the old Apple's, the snap is your only choice. With the execption fo building your own. I have several boxes running the unix software. They are not for the average user. Once setup they are fine. My next NAS will be home build mainly beause I have the hardware laying around. But none of them is as quite as my Snap.

You definately want a NAS box to connect through a Ethernet port. Any this else is just a external storage for a pc, not Network. The snap software is proven. There is no bugs in it like some of the new one on the market.

There is a controller card out there that turns a std pc into a NAS. All software is on the controller card. Have only seen it advertised. Have not used it.
March 20, 2006 1:08:48 PM

But I can't use a computer for this... I mean, you wouldn't want to put a computer in a cabinet like this:

http://forumz.tomshardware.com/hardware/modules.php?nam...

Then close the door and have it last very long, but you can with an external NAS device. Yeah you can do a lot more with the comp, but it is also too needy for any of the configuration that I want to use (airflow, space, etc). Heck, it'd be a pain just to find a case that would fit in something like that with all the other networking stuff.

I have wanted to do something like this for a while, I just thought it was cool to see an article on it. After all, that way I can have ALL of my network stuff setup and IN THE WALL, so that it doesn't take up space ANYWHERE in my house. Then I just have a comp sitting at a desk with Windows on it that I never turn on (maybe one of those closing credenzas or something), and two laptops... without any actual network footprint, and no wires ANYWHERE in the house that I would have to deal with.

Now as for the Linksys NSLU2... it appears that it only has one hard drive, so there is no redundancy there. Raid is a definite requirement for network storage... and it is USB. RJ45 is also a requirement.

The lacie... cool, but WAY expensive. At least the Thecus one is only $340...

It seems like Thecus is the only company making a dual enclosure NAS for anything that approaches affordability though. How very strange...
March 20, 2006 4:01:35 PM

Quote:
But I can't use a computer for this... I mean, you wouldn't want to put a computer in a cabinet like this:

http://forumz.tomshardware.com/hardware/modules.php?nam...

Then close the door and have it last very long, but you can with an external NAS device. Yeah you can do a lot more with the comp, but it is also too needy for any of the configuration that I want to use (airflow, space, etc). Heck, it'd be a pain just to find a case that would fit in something like that with all the other networking stuff.

I have wanted to do something like this for a while, I just thought it was cool to see an article on it. After all, that way I can have ALL of my network stuff setup and IN THE WALL, so that it doesn't take up space ANYWHERE in my house. Then I just have a comp sitting at a desk with Windows on it that I never turn on (maybe one of those closing credenzas or something), and two laptops... without any actual network footprint, and no wires ANYWHERE in the house that I would have to deal with.

Now as for the Linksys NSLU2... it appears that it only has one hard drive, so there is no redundancy there. Raid is a definite requirement for network storage... and it is USB. RJ45 is also a requirement.

The lacie... cool, but WAY expensive. At least the Thecus one is only $340...

It seems like Thecus is the only company making a dual enclosure NAS for anything that approaches affordability though. How very strange...



Your link did not work but I believe I remember reading the article you wanted to link.

The problem is a cabinet of any kind is not a good place for any storage device.

Even this device http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E1683...

has a fan and requires air circulation to operate properly. In reality this is an embedded computer with RAID 0/1 and a case for 2 hard drives.

All modern hard drives and CPUs require air circulation so an enclosed space is not ideal
for them.

Heat, humidity, temperature extremes, mechanical vibration, shock and other factors can cause serious problems for hard drives and computers alike and can decrease their service life. This is true for a Snap, Lacie, Thecus, or anything you might build yourself.

I could build you a fireproof safe with a custom NAS inside however you would have to cool the outside of the safe itself which would have to be modified to act as a giant heatsink.
March 21, 2006 6:17:57 PM

Hrm... well, there is a way to get airflow, even there. Just cut a couple holes in the bottom and top, install case fans in both, so that it takes air in from the top and blows it out the bottom (less dust that way, I would think... though I would still stick an air filter on the intake), and you could keep a reasonable amount of airflow running through the box. Then you'd just need to get something that you could get the case fans to run off of.

I mean, it could work...
March 21, 2006 9:36:41 PM

Quote:
Hrm... well, there is a way to get airflow, even there. Just cut a couple holes in the bottom and top, install case fans in both, so that it takes air in from the top and blows it out the bottom (less dust that way, I would think... though I would still stick an air filter on the intake), and you could keep a reasonable amount of airflow running through the box. Then you'd just need to get something that you could get the case fans to run off of.

I mean, it could work...



It would work but the safe would no longer be fireproof which is the whole point of having the safe in the first place.

PS There's no such thing as a fireproof safe. Fire-resistant maybe.
Anonymous
March 21, 2006 10:24:45 PM

Quote:

Now as for the Linksys NSLU2... it appears that it only has one hard drive, so there is no redundancy there. Raid is a definite requirement for network storage... and it is USB. RJ45 is also a requirement.


The NSLU2 has two external USB connections for 2 HD's that can be mirrored and it IS connected to the nextowrk through RJ45. If your looking to save money and get alot of free add-on MODs. trust me you can go this route. Check my Sig for what mine is ued for.
March 22, 2006 12:53:49 PM

Sorry, I should have been clearer. I didn't mean putting fans in a fireproof safe, I meant the in-wall utility closet, like they were talking about in that tomshardwareguide article, so that ALL of the networking equipment is in the wall and doesn' take up even 1" of floorspace.

As for the NSLU2, how odd. I thought it was an enclosure from glancing at it, but instead a hub for USB drivfes? How very strange, yes, it may work, though having 2 HD enclosures and that would take up more room, it would be less expensive than the $340 for that dual-drive enclosure. Again, how very strange... Thanks!
March 22, 2006 1:13:24 PM

Quote:
Sorry, I should have been clearer. I didn't mean putting fans in a fireproof safe, I meant the in-wall utility closet, like they were talking about in that tomshardwareguide article, so that ALL of the networking equipment is in the wall and doesn' take up even 1" of floorspace.

As for the NSLU2, how odd. I thought it was an enclosure from glancing at it, but instead a hub for USB drivfes? How very strange, yes, it may work, though having 2 HD enclosures and that would take up more room, it would be less expensive than the $340 for that dual-drive enclosure. Again, how very strange... Thanks!



It is indeed an interesting device, relatively inexpensive and relatively small.

The disadvantages are:

it is slower

does not support RAID

would be 3 enclosures vs. 1


You could certainly cable tie or Velcro the 3 enclosures together thus eliminating 1 problem.

However when you are building a network or wiring closet or what have you, it is very important to make everything easily accessible for maintenance purposes, upgrades, device resets, etc.

You can't just stuff everything into the wall, seal it up and forget about it.

I have wired several buildings big and small and I always try to drop all the cables where they need to go and then drop them all into a proper wiring closet with an easily accessible patch panel and equipment shelves about 4 or 5 ft (1.2 - 1.5m ) off the floor for residential installs. For commercial installs it's always a good idea to terminate everything using STD 19" racks with rackmount patch panels, rackmount equipment when possible or rackmount shelves for equipment that is not rackmountable.

Good luck
March 22, 2006 3:21:03 PM

Well he said mirroring, so I took that to mean Raid 1, which was what I needed.

As for accessability, it would be JUST as easily accessible as the networking components that people shove behind their computer.

See, by sticking it in the wall, you're not just putting it there. Look at the article that I linked to... they're using those electrical pannels. Basically, it's as easy to access the equipment as it is to access the breakers in your home. You go up to the wall where you put it (maybe in a closet or something where it isn't overly visible) and open the panel door, and there's all your equipment.

You have any RJ-45 cables that you use to network your house with wired connections coming in to a patch panel inside the casing, and have your hub and stuff connecting to that, just as with a business network. You've just, instead of stringing it all over near your computer, taking up floor space or whatever, put it in those few unused inches in your wall.

As for the 3 enclosures, yes, that is the downside when comparing it to the Thecus unit. Cost or # of enclosures... at $340 I would probably go with the Thecus unit, but who knows.

Here's a link directly to one of their images:

http://images.tomshardware.com/2006/03/17/home_grown_ne...
March 22, 2006 3:46:22 PM

As long as the recessed panel is big enough and has cooling it should be fine :-D

No, these are not my own images.

I prefer setups like this:



or this:

March 25, 2006 3:24:25 AM

And until recently that was me as well... I have actually been gathering components to put a server cabinet in a closet of mine, seal it off with cooling, and be done with it.

Then I stepped back and thought... do I really nead that? Seriously, do I for home?

And that is when it struck me that all I really do (especially now that I have given up PC gaming), is light office work and the like that can be done just fine on a laptop, and since my wife wants one too... I realized that I really don't even need a desktop, so long as I can find a way to hook up a small raid device to my network with a couple-hundred gigs in it, and one PC for troubleshooting drive issues and the like, and so that I have the one MS computer that I keep in the corner for compatibility issues.

That's when I realized that I really don't even need the network to take up any space at all, and that there really isn't any justification to it, once I put my mind to it, I should be able to do an entire solution that doesn't take up any space... PERIOD.

After all, if I can integrate the network, have the gigabit over copper, and everythign wired in such a way that it doesn't take up space, then heck... that gives a seamless integration of technology into my life and what I actually do with it, and THAT seemed to be something that would be a better goal to strive for.

Then I could finally get rid of the lunch tables full of computers that I currently have in the room that will become the nursery for the new baby... and actually let him have a real bedroom. <smiles>

Oh well. At least Thecus has a product that seems to fit the bill. I should expect that more will come out with them soon. I can't see why not, it can't be that hard to do, and it makes sense... NAS-attached raid at an inexpensive cost to provide SERIOUS backup and redundancy solutions for home users, without taking up a lot of space. I'm surprised that more aren't doing it.

Then again, more users would have to understand what RAID is...
March 25, 2006 3:50:33 AM

Check out the Buffalo NAS'

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E1682...

I've used a couple of these, they seem solid and support win,mac,linux, etc.

And they are pretty cheap for what you get. I have one on a gigabit network using jumbo frames and it transfers from 2 machines faster than from one computer to the other (a couple of dual opty workstations.)
March 25, 2006 11:16:59 AM

Quote:
Check out the Buffalo NAS'

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E1682...

I've used a couple of these, they seem solid and support win,mac,linux, etc.

And they are pretty cheap for what you get. I have one on a gigabit network using jumbo frames and it transfers from 2 machines faster than from one computer to the other (a couple of dual opty workstations.)



Hehe... keep in mind that the vast majority of these are embedded PCs with RAID running Linux, BSD or a Unix derived OS.

Unfortunately some MFGs choose to lock it down so you can't use the system for anything else.

Oh well...
March 25, 2006 5:00:48 PM

I think it's a form of BSD, it does offer an ftp server as well as filesharing, and a print server, plus it has enough usb ports to add more HD's if you run out of room on the built in raid array, though it won't add them to the array I don't believe. But they are user upgradable so when you feel like 500gb drives, just throw them in.
March 25, 2006 5:18:45 PM

Quote:
I think it's a form of BSD, it does offer an ftp server as well as filesharing, and a print server, plus it has enough usb ports to add more HD's if you run out of room on the built in raid array, though it won't add them to the array I don't believe. But they are user upgradable so when you feel like 500gb drives, just throw them in.



A lot of devices are based on *BSD because the BSD license is more friendly than the Linux GPL license.

Linux, BSD and Unix share a lot of software by the way.

There's also vxWorx / vxWorks
March 26, 2006 10:48:16 PM

Hi Guys, I'm trying to put together a NAS also. I read the posts and am interested in the build suggested. The trouble is it didn't mention the software needed to run it. I'm guessing it runs on Linux, but how do I find it and how to use it? In my efforts to create a NAS I have found a software product "NASLITE+" from ServerElements.com anybody know anything about this? It sounds OK but it doesn't support mirroring, so I think there is a better solution. Any ideas? Is there a better place to look? FWIW- I tried a Netgear SC 101, it seemed OK but I was concerned with it's dependability. Any help would be appreciated. Thank You, Ron
March 31, 2006 5:38:19 PM

What, exactly, do you mean by create an NAS? As in, build a PC that you will use only for network file storage? I assume that is what you mean, but am not sure...

I have found it to be easier if you just buy a pre-done NAS (from what I have seen, they also tend to give off less heat and be lower-power usage devices, than a full computer is, and also require less hastle to have operate), which is why I like the Thecus so far (haven't seen another that has the capabilities that the Thecus does for anywhere NEAR the same price yet).

I would assume that linux_0 can answer you for more info, if you mean building, though...
!