Building a NAS

Here wizards, magicians, sorcerers and everybody can rest a bit and talk about anything they like.

Just remember to respect the rules.

Building a NAS

Postby jiml8 » Jun 2nd, '14, 11:47

Has anyone here built a network attached storage box?

I've been looking at these, and all the consumer-grade products I see have problems. The commercial-grade products have really huge price tags. So I am going to build one.

I'll use http://www.nas4free.org this OS, loaded on a USB memory stick, and I want to use two of these http://www.amsestore.com/ds-356tl-5-in-3-sata-backplane-module-600mb-s/ backplanes. I will choose an appropriate RAID controller; I'm still debating SAS vs SATA but probably will buy an SAS controller then use SATA drives. I do expect the NAS will communicate via gigabit ethernet.

Now, I am looking for a case, and trying to decide on a processor and motherboard.

I don't want a full-tower case, but those backplanes will require a total of 6 5.25" bays. I would like to mount them side by side, or vertically such that the two of them together pretty much take up the entire front of the case. Does anyone have any ideas about an appropriate case? This one so far is stumping me; I don't want the size of a full tower, but it seems that only full towers have enough 5.25 bays.

As for processor and video, I figure 4 GB RAM will be adequate, and I am thinking of an embedded single board computer, perhaps based on a dual-core Atom chip. I don't know if I can go that low on the system without bottlenecking my NAS, though, so I am also considering mini-itx and mini-atx motherboards with either a celeron or an athlon. Any comments? I want enough processor horsepower but I don't need to pay for more than I will need.

My goals are these: Ten physical drives. As compact as I can make it, with that many drives in it. Lowest power usage I can achieve, without compromising performance when I need it. Low heat. No noise (probably not fanless, so "minimal noise"). I want the best performance I can get, but will trade a bit of performance for lower temps and less noise. The physical environment is a house that sits in the desert. The device will be located in an area where, in the summer, the air-conditioned temperature can approach 90 F (about 35C). This is the environment my workstation sees, and I constantly monitor my workstation's temperature. I have 6 drives in my workstation, and their temps usually stay below about 44C when it is that warm. I don't want to have to ride herd on the NAS as well if I can avoid it; if the processor isn't a beast, cooling the drives adequately should not be a problem.

Any comments or suggestions?
jiml8
 
Posts: 1028
Joined: Jul 7th, '13, 18:09

Re: Building a NAS

Postby doktor5000 » Jun 2nd, '14, 12:19

Not sure why you want to go for those backplanes, and for 3.5" drives. You could easily use a smaller case, and 2.5" drives.
Nowadays more 2.5" drives are produced, and from what I've heard and seen in the storage market, those are often preferred.

You could go with a mini-ATX mainboard and something like this:
http://www.fractal-design.com/home/prod ... s/node-804
Cauldron is not for the faint of heart!
Caution: Hot, bubbling magic inside. May explode or cook your kittens!
----
Disclaimer: Beware of allergic reactions in answer to unconstructive complaint-type posts
User avatar
doktor5000
 
Posts: 15009
Joined: Jun 4th, '11, 10:10
Location: Leipzig, Germany

Re: Building a NAS

Postby jiml8 » Jun 2nd, '14, 18:50

The main reason for 3.5" drives is strictly capacity. I can install 3 or 4 TB drives, while 1 TB is the limit with 2.5" drives. The backplane, of course, is to give me hot-swap capability. Given that I won't be running a cloud service, I could choose to forego the hot-swap capability, if there is a good reason to; I can always shut down the array to change a defective drive.

That is a very nice looking case. I will look more closely at it and see if I can make it do what I want.
jiml8
 
Posts: 1028
Joined: Jul 7th, '13, 18:09

Re: Building a NAS

Postby doktor5000 » Jun 3rd, '14, 00:23

If you need that much 3.5" drives, and room for those backplanes, you need a case with at least 8 5.25" slots.
I've seen some pretty interesting cases (little bit smaller than midi-tower) when looking for a NAS and reading through some
build-your-own NAS articles, when I've searched for a NAS myself.

Maybe I still have some of those in my bookmarks ...

Apart from that, something like this http://www.synology.com/en-global/produ ... ew/DS1813+ or that http://www.qnap.com/i/en/product/model.php?II=116
is not something for you? Granted, the latter is a bit pricey.

For something different, maybe you want to take a look at this study about harddrive reliability:
http://arstechnica.com/information-tech ... are-equal/
Cauldron is not for the faint of heart!
Caution: Hot, bubbling magic inside. May explode or cook your kittens!
----
Disclaimer: Beware of allergic reactions in answer to unconstructive complaint-type posts
User avatar
doktor5000
 
Posts: 15009
Joined: Jun 4th, '11, 10:10
Location: Leipzig, Germany

Re: Building a NAS

Postby jiml8 » Jun 3rd, '14, 02:08

One thing I have learned over the years is that enough is never enough. More often than not, I wind up upgrading because I have run out of capacity...and my need for capacity keeps growing.

I'm in good shape with my workstation now; with 32 GB of RAM I don't anticipate running out of capacity for years - and when I do, the motherboard will hold 64 GB. My processor is more than 4 years old, and I see no signs of running out of CPU...though I will upgrade to the last generation of processor that fits this motherboard, when that time comes, whether I am out of CPU or not.

Once upon a time, I thought that an 80 MB hard drive was simply HUGE...then at a later point, adding a second 100 MB hard drive gave me all the room I needed. Now, my workstation has about 3 TB in it, and I'm scrambling for space. As configured, not everything is backed up; I don't have the room and I have to prioritize..."what data could I stand to lose if I really can't avoid losing data"... That WD Green storage drive that I mentioned in another thread that I am starting to worry about is not backed up. In fact, a big part of it IS the online archival backup. I *could* stand to lose what is on it, though it would be painful, but I don't want to. And at this time, I have nowhere else to go, other than to buy another HD and scroll everything onto that. But then, infant mortality in drives is an issue...I simply want to get out of that loop forever and not have to worry about it.

I don't like having to prioritize regarding the safety of my data.

10 4-TB drives gives me a 40 Terabyte raw array. By the time I configure it RAID6 (which will tolerate two drive failures) I will have 32 TB left, with redundancy in the data storage and backup. I would anticipate that if I choose my components wisely, this will give me the capacity to last for the remainder of the time that mechanical hard drives are useful as storage devices. This is my goal; I do not wish to ever have to worry about storage space again - or at least, not for a decade or more.
jiml8
 
Posts: 1028
Joined: Jul 7th, '13, 18:09

Re: Building a NAS

Postby jiml8 » Jun 3rd, '14, 02:24

I actually found a case that looks nearly perfect. I walked into a Fry's Electronics store today and saw it. It is on sale right now for $40, which is an excellent deal.

It is a Thermaltake, very similar to this one http://www.amazon.de/Thermaltake-Chaser-Midi-Tower-PC-Geh%C3%A4use-schwarz/dp/B00FB6MKKQ/ref=sr_1_7/276-4360338-6968852?ie=UTF8&qid=1401754634&sr=8-7&keywords=thermaltake+case though it is not identical to what shows in the picture. I did get to pick it up, study it, pull the covers off, and look at it.

What is notable about it is that it can be configured with as many as 7 5.25" bays, though to get that many you have to remove the internal drive bays. Well, removing the internal drive bays is OK with me; I want to put those backplanes in anyway...which will occupy 6 of those 7 available bays. That case is as close to perfect as I will find, and I can't pass on the price.
jiml8
 
Posts: 1028
Joined: Jul 7th, '13, 18:09

Re: Building a NAS

Postby jiml8 » Jul 11th, '14, 07:54

2014-07-10 22.20.56.jpg
2014-07-10 22.20.56.jpg (672.46 KiB) Viewed 1337 times


Here is my modified Thermaltake Chaser A21 case with my two SATA backplanes installed. This looks really good; you have to look close to tell it is home made.

I have ordered this motherboard:

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.a ... -_-Product

and this processor

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.a ... 6819103888

Users say they have had good luck unlocking the second core on that processor; maybe I will be as lucky.

I will be putting an Areca ARC1261ML SATA RAID controller in the system. This is a SATA2 controller but since I am using mechanical hard drives I don't care; the drive can't keep up with a SATA3 interface anyway. I can get this controller used for $200, while a new controller in the current generation with the same number of ports is about $800. This is a convenient place to save some money and leaves me an upgrade path if I should ever need it.
jiml8
 
Posts: 1028
Joined: Jul 7th, '13, 18:09

Re: Building a NAS

Postby jiml8 » Jul 11th, '14, 07:58

As a final comment, I do wish this site were not so unfriendly to TOR users.
jiml8
 
Posts: 1028
Joined: Jul 7th, '13, 18:09

Re: Building a NAS

Postby jiml8 » Jul 23rd, '14, 00:49

Well, my new NAS is up and running. I did successfully unlock the second core of that processor, and I am finding that I am using quite a lot of both cores; I might find the bottleneck in the system to be that processor after I replace the current bottleneck, which is my 100 Mb/s router. I see a 1 Gb/sec router in my immediate future. If the processor then becomes the bottleneck, I will put a faster processor in - or perhaps a quad core would be better than a faster processor; this kind of operation benefits from parallelism.

The array took about 3 1/4 days to initialize, but now seems to be working without issue. I have deployed an iscsi share and presently am copying my entire workstation onto that share. I have also turned on SMB, NFS, SSH, FTP, and rsync. I will be making FTP publicly available; this will solve a long-standing problem I have had with most clients about how to exchange files easily and securely; I have never been willing to provide any outsiders with access to my workstation for FTP in and out.

The NAS4free OS seems quite nice, but there is an annoying bug in the web gui that is used to control it; when you make a config change, the connection very often drops, forcing multiple retries until it "takes". I think there is a timeout error in the web server. Other than that it seems to work very well.

The used Areca RAID controller card I purchased came with all cables and a battery backup for the onboard 512 Meg cache. The battery in the backup was bad, so I purchased a new battery for it. So, the RAID card has a battery backup, and I put the whole unit on a UPS.

So now I have 32 TB of online storage. I cannot really evaluate its speed because that router is limiting things seriously. But in every other regard, I seem to have a very capable system here. For the next month or two, I will be testing and exercising it to ensure its reliability and robustness before I do anything irrevocable that commits me to it. So far so good, though.
jiml8
 
Posts: 1028
Joined: Jul 7th, '13, 18:09


Return to The Wizards Lair

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest

cron