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Is Openfiler for me? Home file storage application

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March 8, 2010 9:46:25 PM

So I want a centralized file server for our house. I'd like it to hold all of our music, movies, photos, documents (excel, word etc), and whatever other media file you can think of. I'm thinking 3TB of storage to start with expandability to around 9TB. I have a linux server for automated downloads and everyone else in the house uses a win7 machine.

It would have to serve three-four computers simultaneously - i.e. 3 different computers would have to be able to simultaneously access 1080p content without causing stuttering. Ideally, I'd like it to handle up to 5 simultaneous streams of 1080p content (ripped and compressed to about 8-10gigs each, not ISOs). That's my ultimate goal.

The original idea was to put the storage on the linux box but I just realized that this motherboard is SUPER old (P4 2.6ghz, Agp and PCI yay!) and I won't be able to give it a good pci-e raid card. Also there may be performance issues with the scale of my project.

So now I turn to a NAS or SAN solution. I want the linux box to do the downloading, have it saved to the Openfiler machine (ext3). Then access all my content off the Openfiler box.

My main concerns are
1) Speed: I can throw in a raid card for Openfiler to use right?
2) Raid: which raid to use? I was thinking raid 5 or 10 for a mix of speed and redundancy?
3) Alternatives: I like the idea of Openfiler - but are there alternatives to consider? Completely different take on file storage solution?
a b G Storage
March 9, 2010 11:13:30 AM

1) most cards will work but no guarentee etc, and from what i have seen its a mixed bag performance wise - even with onboard ide/sata iv seen some rigs limit at 0.5mb/s when the hdd's within windows will do 70mb/s sustained (network transfers) - tried all different combo's and most sucked compared to windows so.

2) RAID5 is cheap (hdd wise) but expensive (hdd wise) and hard to recover from a real bad fault, raid1 or 10 is the better option, then again use a few RocketRaid 2300's (PCIe 1x RAID5 card, not true hardware but ok performance) - just keep in mind its not a total backup solution - they still suffer from patition/data corruptions, total failure and virus's etc

3) freenas is the alternative, it sucked aswell but seemed nicer then the others, easy to setup (last time i used it - last year?).

All the free ones you mentioned i did extensive testing on them (RAID5 software tests etc) - physically removing hdd's while active etc, replacing drives - i didnt like the RND test results concidering 1/3 of the time i couldnt rebuild my RAID5 array because 1 drive was missing, or running a disk check unmounting my volumes and damaging them never to be accessed again etc - no thankyou

This was across ~5 platforms and ~10 hdd's, 3 raid cards, all different chipsets for motherboard and network - overall if you want your data safe do it PROPERLY

My end result for my new server BTW (1 year old now maybe):
E5200 (most low end power efficent intel cpu at the time)
Intel DG43NB motherboard (intel = stock standard and stable, Intel network, intel everything onboard = rock solid, low cpu overhead etc)
2x2gb kingston value series DDR2-800 (reliable as hell)
Antec 300 Case (side pannel sealed off so total dust filtering, 2xfront fans too)
Corsair VX450 PSU (high efficency, lots of sata plugs - 6 etc)
3xWD 1tb Green series hdd (power efficent etc - 2tb TOTAL RAID5)
3xWD 1.5tb Green series hdd (upgrade from original - 3tb TOTAL RAID5)
1xWD 160gb (OS HDD) + 1xLG IDE DVDRW (install drive)
2xHighpoint RocketRaid 2300 RAID5 cards (pcie1x, 3xHDD per card)

"Windows Unified Data Storage Server 2003" (yes there is such thing) - using its SiS feature - read up on that awesome feature (believe linux has a similar thing tho so dont get me wrong theres alternatives but not in free NAS os's)

Been using this baby for a year now i believe - reliability 100%, never seen an issue, iv cleaned out the front dust filter once since the only air into the case is through it so no servicing the rest of my system, it hosts media, game installs, random usage and access etc and never ever has a hickup so i can honnestly say the components i listed are good if you have the $$$ and availability.

Hope this info helps - i did alot of research into all this so if you have any questions ask away mate.
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March 9, 2010 8:08:44 PM

"Windows Unified Data Storage Server 2003" sounds like like a potential winner for me.

Quick question on how the file systems work...

A good linux buddy of mine told me that ext3 was preferable over ntfs in that it doesn't fragment. Since my linux box is doing the automated downloading then moving the completed files over (sabnzbd and transmission daemon) to my file server...fragmentation on an ntfs partition (Windows UDSS 2k3) should be minimal right?

One of my main concerns for my file server was that I didn't want a performance hit due to the constant moving of files onto it.

I'm assuming here since the downloading is all done on the linux box, it's taking the brunt of the work - it's just moving completed files over onto a networked directory.

What's your take on this?
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