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Looking to build a new RAID 10 NAS Any updated articles?

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October 24, 2010 11:24:24 AM

Hello.

I was wanting to build a RAID NAS box with 4 drives at 2TB each. (total storage of 4 TB).
They were gonna be RAID 1 + 0 configuration.

I am still looking for hardware but I imagine the HDs will be either WD raid drives or seagate somethings but I am planning on them being SATA.

Do I really need to get a mobo + CPU + RAM + DVD/CD drive or is there a RAID controller that I can get that fits into the box and I would only need a PSU to power everything? I mean, how do they get the buffalo NAS boxes and other name brand NAS boxes so small? They only seem to have one card inside plus the hard drives.

If I must get a full computer setup then I guess I will but it just seems so much simpler if they made a motherboard that had the BIOS level raid and networking configuration and all you have to do is turn it on and wait about 15 seconds and it is good to go.

Until I find something like that I am panning on a case + ram + mobo + cpu.

I was thinking of going with a mobo with a built in CPU like http://www.directron.com/gad525tud.html
Then I guess the RAID controller could be an adaptec 1430sa.
Then I see the Linux OS being talked about and all but do I really need to install any OS or could it boot and configure from a CD? I am thinking that when the mobo dies on me or the cpu or ram that I want to be able to replace that part or the entire thing and have no problems on booting up again and 0 data loss.

This is a new project and I have just begun doing some reading on it but it seems that most of the articles I have found are from 2004, 2005, 2006... Like nothing has been written that was newer? Even the article here is August 1, 2006 for how to build a cheap n fast raid 5 nas.

Anyways, I thought that maybe I could ask and get some better information then what I have found so far.

Thanks for any input.

Oh yeah, I wanted to keep this as CLOSE to $300 as possible for the hardware minus the hard drives. It does not mean I will not go over, but my wallet is thinning so I am tryinjg to watch what I spend.
a b G Storage
October 24, 2010 9:08:38 PM

First, a NAS, by definition, is a computer which serves files. However, it can be a simple computer (heck even an ATOM could calculate parity)

I like your atom based itx solution, however, I think you can find a similar one with 6 sata ports thereby eliminating the need for a contoller. Now, use FreeBSD (or some embedded OS), and boot from a pen drive and you've eliminated the DVD drive as well (if you can borrow one from someplace it will make the initial setup much easier)

There is an interesting fellow on these boards who is somewhat of a ZFS guru (wiki zfs for your info). It seems this type of file system is much more advanced for a RAID/NAS configuration.

Here's a link to my NAS discussion on this forum

http://www.tomshardware.com/forum/257857-32-freenas-sys...

I just bought 5 wd20ears drives and will pick them up tomorrow! Hope to crack open the old case and wake up my sleeping NAS.

So, your questions are not all answered but perhaps you can come back with some new/revised ones or just tell me to take my head out of my a#$ and answer you more directly.
Related resources
October 24, 2010 9:56:19 PM

This is all good. I was looking around and I saw someone here mention that ZFS (Zsomething File System) was far better and more reliable than typical RAID.

SO now I have a fork in the road. Try out ZFS or stick with a tried and somewhat true method of RAID (provided I stay correct in what I do) BUT if the claims of ZFS being better than RAID are true then I would like to have a look.

PLUS, I saw some more interesting things such as: http://blogs.sun.com/mebius/entry/diy_home_nas_box_with... And I did not like the use of things coming from china direct and not being branded but then Someone else posted a comment with this address: http://eonstorage.blogspot.com/

And I downloaded an ISO but THAT looked very promising. I believe the EON page talked about a solaris Embedded Operating System for a NAS so it is along the lines of what you are saying. Then the other thing is to pick a decent OS. I also was thinking of going with a SD or CF to IDE or USB for the boot disk. I have seen several (okay, they are flooded on ebay) items from HK/China but I hate buying things from there. THey come wrapped funny and I aint too thrilled about trusting them yet since many things are copies of something that is better. (camcorders, parts for computers and electronics).

I have seen the Free BSD and the Solaris and the FreeNAS Zfs page too I think. I even printed one out but that was late in the morning. so I will read up on it all this week hopefully.

Thanks for the input. I tend to gather as much information and then go shopping.

Of course that means that in the past I spend $800 on all possible parts and configurations, then choose one that requires me to spend only $300 more and then I rejoice cause it only cost me $300 to make... :\ Yeah I gotta lot more reading to do. The articles that I have read did not tell much about ZFS, just included that in setting things up such as RAIDZ-1 or something like that. Anyways, I will head over to the links and have a look. Thanks.

Now if I can find a Mini ITX MOBO with 6-8 ports that would be a good start.

October 24, 2010 10:03:11 PM

adampower said:
Hey, check out Sub Mesa's page with his FreeBSD ZFS interface here:

http://submesa.com/mesa



That looks nice but just slightly above my paygrade. Hopefully there will be a more polished release when I get around to making hardware choices in a month or so but I like what I saw. I have to get used to a nonwindows environment it seems if I want to play with solaris/bsd/linux. Which is fine. :) 
October 24, 2010 10:07:45 PM

adampower said:
First, a NAS, by definition, is a computer which serves files. However, it can be a simple computer (heck even an ATOM could calculate parity)

I like your atom based itx solution, however, I think you can find a similar one with 6 sata ports thereby eliminating the need for a contoller. Now, use FreeBSD (or some embedded OS), and boot from a pen drive and you've eliminated the DVD drive as well (if you can borrow one from someplace it will make the initial setup much easier)

There is an interesting fellow on these boards who is somewhat of a ZFS guru (wiki zfs for your info). It seems this type of file system is much more advanced for a RAID/NAS configuration.

Here's a link to my NAS discussion on this forum

http://www.tomshardware.com/forum/257857-32-freenas-sys...

I just bought 5 wd20ears drives and will pick them up tomorrow! Hope to crack open the old case and wake up my sleeping NAS.

So, your questions are not all answered but perhaps you can come back with some new/revised ones or just tell me to take my head out of my a#$ and answer you more directly.



BTW, that is a nice MOBO you found. I was wanting 6-8 ports because even though I will start with 4 I want soe way to expand should I need it in a few years. Mine will be storing photos so that I can clear off my home computer.
October 25, 2010 4:25:37 AM

Oh man this ZFS is CRAZY.

I need pictures on how it works. It does not sound like anything that would be safe to shut off. I mean, virtual devices? But there is no need for that since I will be using actual devices... (j/k)

I still do not understand how it works but I will continue to look around for it. All I seem to find are places telling you how good it is and what it can do but nothing explaining exactly how it works. I mean, I guess I would be shooting for a Raidz-2 or Raidz-3 setup because I want redundancy and I want a system that is as bulletproof as they come. But I want to be able to shut it off when I do not need it and I want to know that my data is safe on it. Why make a Virtual Device and pool data when it seems easier to just write it on the disk? Or did I miss something in the wiki... :\

I need to see pictures because I see how raid works with striping and all but zfs I am uncertain as to how it works. Although I want to know more...
a c 127 G Storage
October 26, 2010 2:15:22 PM

Hey stilly; hope i can help you with ZFS?

All these new terms like vdev, raidz, l2arc can confuse you; let's start with simple simple:

Pools = comparable to a "drive letter" on windows; pools are collections of vdevs.
vdev = collection of physical disks in a special configuration (raid0, raid1, raid5/6/7)

So a simple pool could be:
pool: test
vdev1: disk1

While a more complex pool could be:
pool: complex
vdev1: raidz1 disk1 disk2 disk3 disk4
vdev2: raidz1 disk5 disk6 disk7 disk8
vdev3: raidz1 disk9 disk10 disk11 disk12

This pool has three vdevs, and each vdev is a raid5/raidz1 array consisting of 4 disks; of which 1 is a parity disk.

I assume you know about RAID1 and RAID5 and the likes, but have trouble translating those to 'ZFS speech'.

'Virtual devices' refers to when you are using Virtualization; thus not a dedicated server but rather something that runs on Windows for example; most times this is used to test functionality; not for a real setup. The virtual disks just allow you to play and make a RAID-Z pool, even though you have only one system disk with windows installed. By making virtual disks of 1GB each you can still test the functionality even though you lack the hardware; hence 'virtual'; it does not exist for real.

Feel free to ask any other questions i may be able to answer.
!