Advise on NAS build


I am planning on creating a NAS with a spare quad core machine I picked up from a garage sale. I am

planning on installing a hardware raid controller that supports SATA and raid 5/10, running ubuntu

linux 10.10 or 11.04, and managing it all with an installation of FreeNas.

I have a gigabit ethernet switch, and plan to use this to serve media files, facilitate lan parties,

store backups of my systems, and possibly to even use installed windows programs from. The goal is for

it to transfer information speedily, and to that effect: I want the read/write transfer speeds to be

AT LEAST 60MB/sec and hopefully as close to 100MB/sec as can be gotten. The total size I want is no

less than 6 TB, and preferably scalable to at least 12 TB.

Thus, I have 4 questions I would like the learned in the community to answer:

1. Since I'm looking on making this at least 6 TB, I was thinking of running a Raid 5 or Raid 10, and

using 2 TB SATA drives as the storage components in the raid. I would like to know which hardware raid

card you would recommend? I need one that would be able to do rebuilds on the fly as opposed to only

within the RAID BIOS/SETUP. Would you recommend the card be PCI? Or PCIe?

2. Which 2 TB drives would you recommend? I would greatly prefer any 2 TB drives which are as close to

performance of this: Samsung F3 HD103SJ 1 TB, 7200 RPM HDD

3. What speed, and how much RAM should I have in the NAS server machine? Assume i want to transfer

countless small files as well as file sizes up to 4 GB (possibly bigger in the future)

4. How would I test throughput read and write after I have completed the setup?

Any answers to these would be greatly appreciated. Is there anything I have forgotten? A key piece

that maybe I have overlooked?

Also, if anyone has any suggestions on how this might be done BETTER than I have listed, I am more than

willing to entertain it. I am using Ubuntu because I figure I can run it as a server (with no x server

running) and trim the processes down so that it uses as little cpu and memory as possible. This way I

figure it can dedicate it's resources totally to the NAS setup, and it's uptime would in the magnitude

of months, if not years without a reboot.

Well, that's all I got, get back to me if you can.

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More about advise build
  1. My understanding is that FreeNAS is a complete OS and you would not combine it with Ubuntu. Or you could run Ubuntu and Samba and not need FreeNAS.

    FreeNAS will work without a hardware RAID, using software RAID. It would seem that this would be easier overall. Ubuntu can do the same thing with the appropriate add-on.

    Linux servers typically don't need very much in the way or resources and can run very well with a lot less CPU and RAM than what you have. And yes they are capable of running for a long time without a reboot.
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