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Thread: Replacing a NAS

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  1. #1

    Replacing a NAS

    I am rather new to Linux having mostly a Windows background. My only experience is working with a NAS that uses a crippled form of Linux as it's firmware. I installed some packages and wrote some bash scripts. I want to build my own file server so I can run whatever apps I want to. Here is what I am thinking of doing and would like to get some feedback.

    • OS - Ubuntu 64bit
    • Mini ITX/DTX case with 7 drive bays
    • multicore CPU
    • at least 16gb of memory
    • 2 - 750mb or 1tb hybrid drives in raid 1 for the OS
    • 4 - 3tb or 4tb drives in raid 6 for data with one bay for
    • external Blu-ray drive for ripping

    I'd like to run file services, media services for streaming movies to TV's and iDevices, streaming music (Logitech), mail server, virtual box, etc.

    So here are my questions.

    1. I was thinking of using H/W raid or is that overkill for this setup?
    2. Should I go with a different MB size?
    3. Any recommendations for MB?
    4. Any recommendations for cases?
    5. Any recommendation for CPU?

    I think this will be a fun project and would like some input from the experts.


  2. #2
    Linux Engineer docbop's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Woodshed, CA
    You'll learn a lot from that project. There is a project called FreeNAS built on FreeBSD and uses ZFS filesystem you might want to download the software and check it out. Be a good way to check the hardware out you're going to use and see an working implementation before starting on your own.

    FreeNAS For Home - FreeNAS Project

  3. #3
    Linux Enthusiast Mudgen's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    If I were building this, I'd go smaller and SSD for the OS volume. Hardware RAID is preferable for RAID 6 if you can afford it, just make sure it's not "fakeRAID" which puts all the parity calculations, etc, on the driver, not the controller. If you do go with software RAID, pump up the memory.

  4. $spacer_open
  5. #4
    I did exactly what you are describing. I chose the Lian-Li PC-Q25B and it is truly PERFECT. I elected to go the AMD route to keep costs down but chose a quad core Richland so that it could handle any encoding tasks I might choose to throw at it. I chose s/w RAID because I wasn't doing anything production intensive so the hardware card seemed like an unnecessary expense. In addition, it gave me exposure to mdadm. Next up is to learn logical volume manager (LVM). Your choice in o/s disks sounds like overkill if the bulk of your storage is on the RAID array. Heck, my o/s is on a 64GB SSD and I'm having no space issues at all. I have SAMBA shares hanging off mine for backups and to expose my DVD and MP3 libraries. I also have an NFS share exposed for my VMWare data store. The footprint of my NAS is extremely small and I'm adding a $40 closed loop cooling solution to further quiet the rig. All of this was done at a low investment with very high yield. Have fun!

  6. #5
    Thanks for the replies so far.

    @docbop, I looked at freenas but aren't you limited to the packages that are available? I think Ubuntu would have a lot more.

    @Mudgen, I considered SSD but thought hybrid would be a good compromise of cost vs performance. Looks like I can cut down on the size of the OS disks.

    @ultrapain, I am also looking at the Lian-LI Q25, however I am leaning towards the Lian-LI A04. It offers the same number of drive slots plus two 5.25" slots. I could use one for a bluray player and convert the other to us 2.5 or 3.5 disks if needed. It also supports micro atx motherboards and has connectors on the front for USB 2, USB 3, and eSATA which the Q25 doesn't. H/W raid is probably overkill so I'll drop that.

    It has been a long time since I've built my own system, and never one for Linux, so apologies in advance for all the questions.

    Any suggestions on motherboards? Asus, Intel, supermicro, ??? Not sure who makes quality boards these days. Something with built in graphics as I don't plan on running graphic intensive programs on it.

    Are the SATA connectors on the motherboards one for one or do they support more than one drive each. Reason I'm asking is will I need SATA expansion cards?

    Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk HD

  7. #6
    That's a nice case, but one of the main reasons I like my case is All the storage in such a small container. You can store 3 hard drives on the bottom of the case and another 5 in the side facing bays. Those bays are hot swap and the SATA backplane is built into the case, which only requires 3 SATA power connectors. Regarding ripping, I have the DVD/MP3 directories exposed as SAMBA shares. I map that drive on my main rig, which is where I rip from. You could always use a USB optical drive for ripping too. Just a thought. Oh, and I'm very, very happy with my Asus mobo.

  8. #7
    That is definitely an advantage of the Q25. I already have an email out to Lian-LI to see if the backplanes they sell will fit on the A04.

    Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk HD

  9. #8
    Linux Engineer docbop's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Woodshed, CA
    Quote Originally Posted by DJM View Post
    Thanks for the replies so far.

    @docbop, I looked at freenas but aren't you limited to the packages that are available? I think Ubuntu would have a lot more.
    I was thinking of FreeNAS as a tool to do a quick test of hardware, with benefit of checking out a working Unix NAS solution especially all the functionality ZFS offers. I figured you would build from scratch after that.

  10. #9
    Is there a hardware compatibility list for Ubuntu? How do I know if the motherboards, hard drives, etc I am looking at will work?

    Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk HD

  11. #10
    Check the support site for the mono you are considering and see if Linux drivers are available.

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