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I need some NAS advice, Home Backup Solution

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March 23, 2009 2:57:22 PM

Hi Community,

I've been looking into this for a while now but I am still not quite sure what I want. I have an idea though.

So what I need:
A NAS Backup solution, to backup Pictures, Videos, Documents,...
This is going to be for the whole family living in my house (me, wife, 2 kids 20 and 18), so just for pictures there is a lot of Data coming off of 3 Digital Cameras, kids school stuff and of course holiday videos and stuff like that.
I used to store all of this on my Computer (2TB in HDDs + same amount in external HDDs for backup). But I have to admit I don't really like this, and since my son switched to Apple and my daughter is about to, they can't natively write on the NTFS formated drives anymore...
And of course I want to be sure I don't lose all my documents, pictures,... to the failure of one or two Hard drives.

So I was thinking:
The whole house has 2 Linksys WRT54GS Routers (1 upstairs, 1 downstairs, connected by 100Mbit Lan), the PCs are connected by LAN, the Laptops wirelessly (all 802.11g, except daughters soon-to-be-replaced-one they all support draft 802.11n).

So why not connect a NAS to one of the routers and use that as a backup?

I'm thinking:
Raid 5+Spare (or should I go 0+1 instead?).
5 drives, each drive 1 TB (Samsung or WD probably, 7200RPM, 16MB, SATA II).

I am just not sure what a good enclosure would be?
Because I would like it to be managed over Ethernet and I would like to move the data on there over Ethernet (Gbit if possible - that's where most cases I saw didn't even offer that, neither 100Mbit nor Gbit)

So, I'd greatly appreciate all your advice.
Thanks,
Chris
March 26, 2009 10:12:39 PM

Take a look at Freenas (www.freenas.org). They provide a FreeBSD mini-OS that has good RAID5 support and is aimed as being an easy-to-configure NAS solution for end-users interested in storage. Please do know what dangers RAID5 has; it is no backup of your data! But the implementation used in FreeNAS means you do not need a hardware controller to achieve reliable and quick operation.

If you have more serious plans, a custom Linux/BSD installation with advanced filesystems such as UFS2+journaling or ZFS might be even better, depending on your expertise and ability to spend time doing research on your project.

I do recommend you pick different hard drives for this task; a 5400rpm drive is almost as fast for sequential transfers, but consumes much less power and thus less heat is generated. This makes it an ideal 'download-drive' or 'data-drive'. The WD Green 1TB disks only use half the power of regular 7200rpm drives.

If you're looking for hardware for the new NAS server, a cheap AMD AM2+ mobo with decent chipset would do fine, with integrated graphics you do not need a graphics card and onboard gigabit should work fine. Try to pick a new chipset like 780G/790GX or nvidia Geforce 8200/8300 which have six SATA-ports on your motherboard. With PCI-express ports you'll be able to extend them. But note that each 3.5" harddrive takes about 30W when spinning up. So with 8 disks you need 240W for the disks alone to spin-up; meaning you need at least a power supply offering 400W or else your system will power down just seconds after you powered it up.

Hope its of some help. :) 
March 26, 2009 10:51:50 PM

pretty much every os in existance supports mounting smb file shares. so unless you were directly connecting these drives to your son/daughters machines to run backups ( the only reason a mac would need to know about NTFS) nothing should change. the nas appliances arent much different than everything backing up to your computer except that its offloaded from your machine onto another machine.

most home nas enclosures are passible but easily replaced with whatever junk hardware you can put together.

you can put together a dualcore athlon + ram + case + mb + (usb stick for os) for under 300 bux new. stick ubuntu on it with webmin and you have a better nas than anything your going to see prebuilt in the consumer market.

have problems with linux, stick windows on it. even xp on an old p3 makes a passible file share as long as the box is dedicated to that task.

oh and get a ups for whatever you decide. the last thing you want is a power outage to corrupt your arrays.


Related resources
March 27, 2009 2:15:50 AM

I have the D-Link DNS 321 NAS box. It supports Raid 1 and has done a dynamite job for me so far. Watch Techbargains.com and you'll see one pop up every week at least for about $100. Drop two large drives in it, and away you go.
March 27, 2009 6:14:42 AM

Thanks guys.
I think I'm trying a different approach then:
I have an old P4 (Prescott) @ 3GHz here on a DFI LanParty Pro 875 B rev. B board. It already has a WD Raptor (74GB) as a system drive and the graphics card in it just died. so I'm thinking replace the graphics card with an old one and plug a PCI SATA II Raid controller in it (the board only has 2 SATA ports and only supports PATA Raid) and use that for the NAS.

What do you think about the Dawicontrol DC-4300 RAID Controller? That's a really low-budget one (75 bucks) but I'm thinking it could do?

I've only worked with Ubuntu once, so I'm not that familiar with it.
What's your experience, is it easier setting up a Ubuntu or Windows XP server? My main concern is user policies, I don't have a clue how to do that in Ubuntu....

Thanks guys.
Chris
a b G Storage
March 27, 2009 12:31:58 PM

CG-ITS said:
Thanks guys.
I think I'm trying a different approach then:
I have an old P4 (Prescott) @ 3GHz here on a DFI LanParty Pro 875 B rev. B board. It already has a WD Raptor (74GB) as a system drive and the graphics card in it just died. so I'm thinking replace the graphics card with an old one and plug a PCI SATA II Raid controller in it (the board only has 2 SATA ports and only supports PATA Raid) and use that for the NAS.

What do you think about the Dawicontrol DC-4300 RAID Controller? That's a really low-budget one (75 bucks) but I'm thinking it could do?

I've only worked with Ubuntu once, so I'm not that familiar with it.
What's your experience, is it easier setting up a Ubuntu or Windows XP server? My main concern is user policies, I don't have a clue how to do that in Ubuntu....

Thanks guys.
Chris

+1 for FreeNAS. I highly recommend FreeNAS and have been using it for my own home NAS for about a year now. It's stable, minimal hardware requirements, easy to configure, good support, active forums and community. Your old P4 would run FreeNAS without issue. I recommend a RAID controller with an onboard processor; 3Ware, Areca, or HighPoint. Do not use software RAID controllers if you want a real RAID solution and do not use the software RAID component of FreeNAS. Seriously, invest in a dedicated hardware RAID controller card as mentioned. I've been using the same 3Ware 8506-8 for at least 3 years now in one form or another of NAS and home file server. Also, be aware that most RAID controller cards have a 2TB max on arrays, be sure to verify any array caps with whatever controller card you use.

Here's the specs on my NAS:
mobo - ASRock Conroe1333
proc - single core Celeron 420 @ 1.6GHz
ram - 512MB DDR2-667
video - onboard mobo video
OS drive - 1GB Compact Flash card (FreeNas is loaded on this flash card)
RAID controller - 3ware 8506-8
RAID array - 5-320GB WD drives (1.2TB of storage)
case - cheapo rosewill
psu - 550w Corsair

Good luck!
March 27, 2009 9:55:09 PM

CG-ITS said:
Thanks guys.
I think I'm trying a different approach then:
I have an old P4 (Prescott) @ 3GHz here on a DFI LanParty Pro 875 B rev. B board. It already has a WD Raptor (74GB) as a system drive and the graphics card in it just died. so I'm thinking replace the graphics card with an old one and plug a PCI SATA II Raid controller in it (the board only has 2 SATA ports and only supports PATA Raid) and use that for the NAS.

What do you think about the Dawicontrol DC-4300 RAID Controller? That's a really low-budget one (75 bucks) but I'm thinking it could do?

I've only worked with Ubuntu once, so I'm not that familiar with it.
What's your experience, is it easier setting up a Ubuntu or Windows XP server? My main concern is user policies, I don't have a clue how to do that in Ubuntu....

Thanks guys.
Chris


windows 2003/2008 server is "easier" to deal with than ubuntu. xp works too in a pinch. but doesnt have the user level controls that server does. but do your really need quota and auto archiving functions on your home nas?
ubuntu is probly the most user friendly of the non specialized linux distro's. theres a wizard for just about everything. and the howto list and forums are pretty darn usefull.
i've never used freenas so cant comment on it. the bsd kernels tend to lag behind the linux kernels as far as driver support. at least the last time i used bsd ( coupla years ago) that was the case. but its not like your dealing with bleeding edge gear here so its probly worth a look.

the hardware you've got should work just fine. just be aware that using pci for the raid controller will bottleneck the arrays at around 50-60MB/s. not a big deal unless your on gig-ethernet then you'll notice it.

never even heard of dawicontrol. so no idea on its reliability. personally i wont deal with a company that doesnt at least have an english language version of thier site. kinda hard to get support when ya dont speaka de language.

avoid the cheap sig controllers. (lsi/dell) tend to be decent and fairly inexpensive. highpoint is decent. 3ware and areca tend to be the best retail cards but are pricy.

adaptec generally makes a decent card. i just hate thier support.

even tho i say avoid the siig cards i ran a cheap 4 port jobbie for 2 years with no data corruption. it just was really really slow. but if 50 bux is all your budget provides it'll work.

and just to reinfornce:
Buy a GOOD ups and make sure the nas host is configured to shut down in case of power loss. that alone will save you alot of hassle of having to rebuild/recover from power loss corrupting your file systems.

given a choice between a slow raid controller with a good ups and a great raid controller with no ups. i'll take the slow raid and security every time.
March 30, 2009 5:32:24 PM

Hey guys,

Good point about the support and language.

Bad thing is sticking to the P4 System I don't have any other option than using the PCI Port (Board was made before PCI-X came around), do I?
But I'll probably go with HighPoint then, rather than some cheap stuff no one knows... And it's only a $50 difference to the "HighPoint RocketRAID 1740, PCI" controller card... I can't seem to find anything about the limitation of array size though?
Or if anyone has a recommendation for the Raid card, just let me know.
One thing I still don't quite get:
4 Ports means 4 drives.
So how do I make the Raid 4 Drives + Spare?
Seems controller cards have either 4 or 8 Ports, with the 8 Port ones being a lot more expensive.

I was going to run some Cat 7 wires through the house as I'd like to watch HD Movies that would be on the NAS directly from there without copying them first.
Think the PCI Raid Controller can handle that?
Otherwise I'll just have to stick another HDD in the System and make sure the movies are on there...

And then I guess I'll just see which system I like most by trying.
Starting out with Ubuntu.

For ups, what would you get?
I'm thinking APC (750VA,500W, USB) ?

I'm sorry for all them dumb-greenhorn questions.
I've been messing with computers and networks for quite a long time, but never had to build an NAS my own...
So it's my first time I guess you could say...

Thanks guys for all the great advise. I'd be so lost without you.
:)  :) 
July 20, 2009 2:44:33 AM

I'm embarking on the same project... I have to say, I tried a software RAID solution and could not successfully recover from a system failure (bummer). I'd be interested to find out if you were successful especially with the performance.

many thanks,
// JP
August 3, 2009 3:31:19 PM

That's an interesting Problem.
I have thought of using SSD's and of course a backup battery (what are those things called in english) to avoid such trouble.
but what if it occurs? hm...
May 22, 2011 11:58:27 PM

NetCDP back your files up to NAS.. check it out, you can get it for free now.


CG-ITS said:
Hi Community,

I've been looking into this for a while now but I am still not quite sure what I want. I have an idea though.

So what I need:
A NAS Backup solution, to backup Pictures, Videos, Documents,...
This is going to be for the whole family living in my house (me, wife, 2 kids 20 and 18), so just for pictures there is a lot of Data coming off of 3 Digital Cameras, kids school stuff and of course holiday videos and stuff like that.
I used to store all of this on my Computer (2TB in HDDs + same amount in external HDDs for backup). But I have to admit I don't really like this, and since my son switched to Apple and my daughter is about to, they can't natively write on the NTFS formated drives anymore...
And of course I want to be sure I don't lose all my documents, pictures,... to the failure of one or two Hard drives.

So I was thinking:
The whole house has 2 Linksys WRT54GS Routers (1 upstairs, 1 downstairs, connected by 100Mbit Lan), the PCs are connected by LAN, the Laptops wirelessly (all 802.11g, except daughters soon-to-be-replaced-one they all support draft 802.11n).

So why not connect a NAS to one of the routers and use that as a backup?

I'm thinking:
Raid 5+Spare (or should I go 0+1 instead?).
5 drives, each drive 1 TB (Samsung or WD probably, 7200RPM, 16MB, SATA II).

I am just not sure what a good enclosure would be?
Because I would like it to be managed over Ethernet and I would like to move the data on there over Ethernet (Gbit if possible - that's where most cases I saw didn't even offer that, neither 100Mbit nor Gbit)

So, I'd greatly appreciate all your advice.
Thanks,
Chris

!