Small Server, NAS, SSD, or RAID?

Small business with 8 workstations. They share data files for a program that runs on the workstation. They are currently on a broken RAID 1 hosted by one of the workstations.

I suggested they move to a dedicated file server. The question is which one?

A Linux file server with RAID or SSD? Or will a NAS have the same throughput a handbuilt linux file server would have?

Their data files total 33 GB. Over a five year period, I would expect them to reach 100-200 GB. So they don't need a lot of storage. Anyone using SSD's in servers?

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  1. i think SSD may be a bit over kill for the application. if you want high end you can grab some 15K drives and raid 1 them or just build a nas out of a linux box. i much prefer to build linux server boxes with raid as my NAS boxes as opposed to a already made nas server box. i prefer the ease and flexibility for expansion/configuration in linux more than the standard nas boxes.
  2. I was wondering if an SSD would be more reliable and net a larger speed increase than a RAID. Since the data is relatively small (33GB) I could use an inexpensive drive.

    A linux file sharing system with an SSD seemed like a good choice for speed/reliability.
  3. The limiting factor for your speed is not the drives, it will be your network. Even if you are running gigabit Ethernet, you will not approach the transfer speed of a single good modern drive.

    RAID1 might be useful here. It has no effect on read or write speeds, but if one of the disks fails all of the data will be sitting there on the other disk, fully available. I can't imagine any other RAID level being useful to you, but my imagination has not been exercised on RAID arrays lately. (In fact, I just threw out my 8-drive RAID array with Ultra320 SCSI host attachment. It was pretty fast when I bought it, but my SSD is faster all on its own).

    Do remember that RAID is no substitute for backups.
  4. raid can be a great thing, 1 for a couple drives of 5/6 for a bunch. it does not sound like you need much space so a raid 1 will Handel things easily. as wyoming said its not the drives or the nas but rather the network you are pulling across wich will hinder your top speeds. if you are going to have 5 or 6 computers pulling very large files simultaneously then sure you need some high end drives and controllers but it sounds like this is just not the case in your implementation. SSD's are expensive and small, they give performance but they still do fail. the SLC enterprise drives that are intended for stability are crazy expensive. when a ssd fails data recovery is next to impossible. when a platter drive fails you pull the platters, throw them on another spindle and can recover it.

    i would save some money and just go with a raid-1 maybe dual gigabit lan and basic high end drives or scsi.
  5. While I concur with the experts that a RAIDed array of HDDs would be the best solution for your LAN based ethernet server, I encourage you to concentrate on backup. Regular backups protect against both mechanical failure and malware attacks, while RAID only protects against mechanical failure.
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