Hello to everyone!
I want to build a NAS server to store my digital media. So I wanted to clear some doubts since I have never worked with servers
1. I have an intel motherboard with 4 sata ports. But I want to put more than 4 hard disks to build a storage of more than 8 tb in RAID 5. So is there any way to increase the number of SATA ports, like pci cards? Will freenas recognize these extra ports and hard disks attached to them while building the array?
2. I only plan to use the nas to store my movies, musics and pics and access them from my pc or tv. So is software raid enough or hardware raid is a better option?
3.Will this feenas powered NAS be recognized by media player like WD TV live?
4. From reading in the net I gather that to build a freenas box I don't need to install any os like windows in the machine. Is it right? So no need for drivers for network controller or motherboars ?
1) Sort of. If you get a dedicated RAID card, you can easily hook up more than 4 drives. I have 8 attached to my RAID card, it supports RAID5 and has been in 24/7 operation for almost 4 years now without a single problem, or drive failure, even. (Adaptec 3805) I wouldn't know anything about like a SATA hub or freenas, though.
2) I wouldn't recommend software RAID for... well, anything, really. What's your data worth to you? For my media library, I thought $600 on the RAID card was a small price to make sure it worked and was reliable. Otherwise, why bother with the RAID array at all (IMO)? Drop at least a few hundred bucks on a good RAID card, and you know your data and array are going be reliable and perform well.
I don't know the answers to 3 or 4, cause I don't know what freeNAS is. My solution (which is almost 4 years old now) is a really beefy desktop PC in a full tower case, with that RAID card I mentioned, and 8 high capacity drives hooked up and mounted inside the case. It's on my home LAN, and the whole array is a network share... works really well for my needs, and might be worth considering for you.