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If you had $500 to blow on a network storage device and HDDs...

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October 9, 2011 10:12:11 PM

...what would you get?

I'm thinking of making the jump to SSDs on my primary machine, and am looking to back all my media up on a network device. With a new DSLR and my amateur photographer-cum-filmmaker aspirations, this would go a long way. What would the readers recommend?
October 10, 2011 6:21:15 AM

Depends? You only have $500 or just $500 for the device sans disks?

Device wise,
Can't go wrong with this

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Excellent external HDD enclosure with built-in HW raid. Accessible over eSATA and USB.

It's $200 so that leaves you 300 to buy disks with. You can find some decent 2 and 3TB disks for under $100 each. Put them in, follow the directions and turn it on. Instant RAID in a box.
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October 10, 2011 4:59:05 PM

Rosewill R102-P-BK 120mm Fan MicroATX
Mid Tower Computer Case $35

Seasonic SS-300ES (300 watts) 36

ASUS AT5NM10T-I Intel Atom D525 95

Kingston 1GB 204-Pin DDR3 SO-DIMM
DDR3 1333 Laptop Memory Model
KVR1333D3S9/1G 9

Western Digital Caviar Green WD20EARS
(4 each) 320

Total $495



I would go software raid 5 with this configuration.
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a b G Storage
October 10, 2011 5:31:30 PM

I think this is a quality device with lots of flexibility. You could have 4TB pretty easily for about $310.

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

There are more expensive devices with more than 2 bays if you really need a lot of space. OR you could take a castoff PC, add a bunch of drives to it, and run Linux. This is cheap and fast but more trouble. I think this is where dealcorn is pointing you but he didn't mention an OS.

I started with digital photography when the Nikon D70 came out, and now I have a D300. I thought I would suck down a lot of hard drive space but all of my photos are less than 200GB.
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October 10, 2011 8:13:55 PM

Personally, You cant go wrong with a Drobo its going to be a bit extra once you add drives but you don't have to just add the same hard drives you can add whatever you want. 100gig , 1tb, 2tb doesn't matter.

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

We have one of the 8 bay ones at work for IT storage since we wanted to keep our images and what not off of the SAN / Netapp. Honestly if these had insane NAS heads like the SANs do, no one would buy SANs anymore lol.



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October 11, 2011 1:51:58 AM

Problem with those is their just running Linux on an Atom and using fake raid. Fake RAID is BAD if your wanting redundancy with RAID-5. Works well with RAID-0, poorly with RAID-1 and absolute crap with RAID-5.
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October 11, 2011 10:19:56 AM

In my above post I make the mistake of assuming that because WD green 2 TB drives work in software raid 5 for me it is a safe recommendation. That is a boo boo and there are specific, known error conditions that may cost you dearly. To understand why: http://wdc.custhelp.com/app/answers/detail/a_id/1397/p/... .

My understanding is that fake raid is a bios thing that creates it's own reliability issues. Software raid is an OS thing and Cern found software raid more reliable than hardware raid. The current Tom's Hardware article about SAS controllers goes into the CERN observations on page one. That software raid is faster than hardware raid with the right CPU is similarly not controversial. Atom is a delightfully wimpy chip so I would not look for any speed records there. However, it is cheap and more than adequate for the level of demand described by the OP. Most NAS boxes run Atom dual core and they are consistently reviewed as providing good performance in this context. If you run with the Atom is dead crowd, NewEgg also offers attractively priced Sempron and Via product that should similarly be adequate though I am not personally familiar with the product. It rapidly becomes a trade off between a lower purchase price today and higher future electric bills.
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October 11, 2011 1:36:16 PM

dealcorn said:
In my above post I make the mistake of assuming that because WD green 2 TB drives work in software raid 5 for me it is a safe recommendation. That is a boo boo and there are specific, known error conditions that may cost you dearly. To understand why: http://wdc.custhelp.com/app/answers/detail/a_id/1397/p/... .

My understanding is that fake raid is a bios thing that creates it's own reliability issues. Software raid is an OS thing and Cern found software raid more reliable than hardware raid. The current Tom's Hardware article about SAS controllers goes into the CERN observations on page one. That software raid is faster than hardware raid with the right CPU is similarly not controversial. Atom is a delightfully wimpy chip so I would not look for any speed records there. However, it is cheap and more than adequate for the level of demand described by the OP. Most NAS boxes run Atom dual core and they are consistently reviewed as providing good performance in this context. If you run with the Atom is dead crowd, NewEgg also offers attractively priced Sempron and Via product that should similarly be adequate though I am not personally familiar with the product. It rapidly becomes a trade off between a lower purchase price today and higher future electric bills.


Via based mini-itx servers have better performance / electricity usage the atom. Intel deliberately crippled Atom in out of order processing.

Anyhow, the software vs hardware redundancy depends in what context your comparing it to. And it wasn't "software vs hardware" it was advanced file systems vs hardware, basically ZFS vs a RAID HBA using RAID-5/6. Fake Raid / Windows Volume management are the worst of the batch but are the cheapest to implement.

And no amount of CPU power will make fake raid-5 faster. It's the I/O calls to and from the CPU on each write that destroys performance, it makes DMA almost useless. The CPU has to task switch to perform the XOR calculations which requires a context save / load for each and every write operation, this totals into hundreds of switch's per second which basically stalls your CPU.
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a b G Storage
October 11, 2011 3:40:17 PM

For this specific application performance may not be an issue since it is used as a backup device. And also I've noticed that a lot of the external NAS devices are relatively slow because they have small CPU's in them. If you want speed you should probably just build a Linux server and pack it full of drives. Our Linux server is fast (fast enough for us) and it is a very old PC with a 100MB NIC. I can't really tell the difference if I'm loading CAD files from my Velociraptor vs. the Linux server.
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October 12, 2011 2:10:50 AM

Best Configs NAs

Quote:
Palladin's Home Server

Processor: Via Nano 1.6Ghz
Motherboard: Jetway Via Nano JNC74-2007 $119.99
RAM: Crucial 4GB DDR3 10600 $30.99
Graphics Card: Onboard Via Chrome IGP
Hard Drive: WDigital Scorpio Blue WD2500BEVT 250GB 5400 RPM 8MB Cache 2.5 inch notebook HDD, $46.99
Case: Morex 2766 Expandable Mini-ITX case $82.50
Power Supply: Included in case.
Cooling: Included in case / mobo
DVD Burner: Not used.

Storage System:
MediaSonic PRORAID 4 Bay eSATA / USB 3.0 enclosure 199.99
WD10EALX 1TB 7200 RPM 32MB Cache SATA 6.0Gb/s 3.5 $59.99 x 4
Optional Samsung EcoGreen F4 HD204UI 2TB 32MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5 $79.99 x 4
SATA to eSATA bracket, required for to connect the Media Sonic Enclosure 6.99

Total Cost of Storage Subsystem: $446.85

Cost of System without Disks: $487.45 (Cheaper then Commercial "NAS" solutions" )
Cost of System with 4x1TB disks: $727.32
Cost of System with 4x2TB disks: $807.4118


The server itself ends up being ~$450 USD, the disks will run you more.

Building one of those will perform better and give you more flexibility then any store bough "NAS". Power usage is less then 40W for the server device itself.

100Mbps? Are you crazy, that's about 10MBps, you might as well be back in the 90's. You want at least a gigabit connection, that gets you about 100MBps read speed from the server. With that above array putting out 60~80 MBps in RAID-5 you should be set for data streaming.

He's going SSD meaning he won't have multiple terabytes of storage immediately available on the target system. He mentioned dealing with photos and other media, that seems to be a logical reason to move your data to networked shared storage, aka a file server.
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a b G Storage
October 12, 2011 2:53:07 AM

That's fancy hardware.
Go to newegg, buy a $50 motherboard, $60 cpu, $40 ram, $50 case + PSU, $35 system drive, $0 Linux, $280- 4 x 1TB drives, total cost $515.

This is basically the approach that I'm going to take for my office, except 2 data drives is all that we need.
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October 12, 2011 3:14:30 AM

cadder said:
That's fancy hardware.
Go to newegg, buy a $50 motherboard, $60 cpu, $40 ram, $50 case + PSU, $35 system drive, $0 Linux, $280- 4 x 1TB drives, total cost $515.

This is basically the approach that I'm going to take for my office, except 2 data drives is all that we need.



And you'll have issues sooner rather then later. Buy cheap buy twice. Especially as your going cheap on one of the two components you NEVER go cheap on, the Mobo.

You also might want to research the Via line of CPU's better. Their frequently used in industrial / medical applications along with Point of Sale devices (cash registers) and ATMs. Basically anywhere you need a CPU that use's low power and will run in bad weather and never ever fail.
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a b G Storage
October 12, 2011 5:44:00 PM

palladin9479 said:
And you'll have issues sooner rather then later. Buy cheap buy twice. Especially as your going cheap on one of the two components you NEVER go cheap on, the Mobo.

You also might want to research the Via line of CPU's better. Their frequently used in industrial / medical applications along with Point of Sale devices (cash registers) and ATMs. Basically anywhere you need a CPU that use's low power and will run in bad weather and never ever fail.



You can buy name brand motherboards for that price. Newegg even sells an Intel motherboard for under $50. I did pick out a cheap case and PSU however. I suppose the case doesn't matter but the PSU is the part that you really don't want to go cheap on.

My "fancy hardware" comment was aimed more at the case and external drive enclosure. A cheap full Tower case could probably do as well for housing drives and other components, and if a person was concerned with airflow you can add name brand fans for about $8 each.
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October 13, 2011 12:04:28 AM

cadder said:
You can buy name brand motherboards for that price. Newegg even sells an Intel motherboard for under $50. I did pick out a cheap case and PSU however. I suppose the case doesn't matter but the PSU is the part that you really don't want to go cheap on.

My "fancy hardware" comment was aimed more at the case and external drive enclosure. A cheap full Tower case could probably do as well for housing drives and other components, and if a person was concerned with airflow you can add name brand fans for about $8 each.



You really don't get why I'm recommending an external enclosure do you?

Firstly its HW RAID not fake raid, meaning no performance hit in RAID5. Secondly it's detachable and scalable, should something happen to the server your data is still safe and you can immediately access it by plugging it into something else. If your using onboard fake raid and something happens to the machine your data's hosed. You need an identical board to get access to it as different chips have different proprietary implementations. And lastly should you want to upgrade the server or move on to something more, you just plug the enclosure into the next system. No need to reformat / rebuild the array. This isn't possible with onboard fake raid.
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a b G Storage
October 13, 2011 5:19:55 AM

palladin9479 said:
You really don't get why I'm recommending an external enclosure do you?

Firstly its HW RAID not fake raid, meaning no performance hit in RAID5. Secondly it's detachable and scalable, should something happen to the server your data is still safe and you can immediately access it by plugging it into something else. If your using onboard fake raid and something happens to the machine your data's hosed. You need an identical board to get access to it as different chips have different proprietary implementations. And lastly should you want to upgrade the server or move on to something more, you just plug the enclosure into the next system. No need to reformat / rebuild the array. This isn't possible with onboard fake raid.


Those are valid features but might not fit within the original poster's budget. For that matter even the bare bones cheapie system I quoted beat his budget by $15.

I was thinking Linux as an OS, which can provide real RAID not fake RAID, even doing it in software. If the motherboard failed I'm not sure if you could put the drives on another random motherboard and recover. For our office I was considering buying a separate identical motherboard to go with our server in case of failure. People do add hardware RAID controllers to Linux servers but they aren't all that much cheaper than the enclosure that you quoted.
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October 13, 2011 8:02:19 AM

cadder said:
Those are valid features but might not fit within the original poster's budget. For that matter even the bare bones cheapie system I quoted beat his budget by $15.

I was thinking Linux as an OS, which can provide real RAID not fake RAID, even doing it in software. If the motherboard failed I'm not sure if you could put the drives on another random motherboard and recover. For our office I was considering buying a separate identical motherboard to go with our server in case of failure. People do add hardware RAID controllers to Linux servers but they aren't all that much cheaper than the enclosure that you quoted.



No such thing.

"real RAID" is referring to a HW XOR processor that can do the parity calculations in real time while simultaneously masking the presence of the real disks from the OS. It abstracts a large HDD and tells the OS that it's real, the OS then does everything under the assumption that you have a single very large, very fast HDD. Volume Management in linux does no such thing, it's just spreading a file system across a virtual volume and adding parity calculations in there, the CPU is still doing the same XOR operations and you end up with the same DMA issues that HW "fake raid" creates. The only solution currently is to use an advanced file system like ZFS that intrinsically assumes data integrity and has it's own algorithms for determining redundancy. As that is well outside the scope of what he's trying to do, I decided to leave it out of the discussion.

He asked for a way to backup his data with protection while using a SSD. Thus I assume he's going to have it locally accessible to his PC. Since he's going to be working on this data he needs fast local access, thus I recommended an eSATA external enclosure that will provide redundancy and high performance. Large media encoding / and photoshop are what I suspect is the workload requirement.

The entire tangent on the Linux server was to demonstrate what a proper home file server should look like. Aka don't go Atom whatever you do and never use "fake raid" when you want RAID-5.
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