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 Post subject: Building own NAS box
 Post Posted: Sun Jan 25, 2009 12:36 am 
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Location: Bellevue, WA, USA
Hi Scott,

I would like to centralize the data on my home network and figure a NAS box is the way to go. I would like to build one if at all possible for the experience and fun factor. I will want it to connect to my Gigabit switch for fast file transfers between wired PC's. Also I would prefer if it is to be left running that it not be a huge power hog like a pentium 4 desktop CPU.

For data redundancy should it also be running RAID of some kind? 1 or 5?

Enterprise grade SATA drives would be the storage medium of choice.

Any tips for creating a relatively efficient little gigabit connected NAS would be much appreciated!

P.S. I have a Linksys NSLU2 but find that the transfer speeds are not that great so would like to build something myself.

Thanks!


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 Post subject: Re: Building own NAS box
 Post Posted: Sun Jan 25, 2009 6:38 am 
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Few dedicated NAS boxes offer anywhere close to true gigabit speeds, even those which offer gigabit connections seem to max out at 100Mbit (or less) performance. Also, most NAS boxes don't have near the configuration options that a PC based server would have. For those reasons (and many more), I recommend using PCs as file/print servers instead. You can use anything from an obsolete discarded (free) older PC to an inexpensive new system: viewtopic.php?p=2139#p2139

You could even build an efficient new system using a board/processor combo like the Intel BOXD945GCLF2.

However, for the sake of true overall efficiency, it is hard to beat free, as in the case of recycling an otherwise discarded system into a home server.

Quote:
For data redundancy should it also be running RAID of some kind? 1 or 5?

Backup is far more important than RAID. Using a PC based server, you can easily connect multiple drives and schedule backups using RoboCopy or NTbackup, or even have a complete backup server.

If the server is considered mission critical, than RAID 1, 5, or 10 should be considered. In that case I'd recommend using or building a system with an ICHxR RAID capable southbridge.

Scott.


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 Post subject: Re: Building own NAS box
 Post Posted: Tue Jan 27, 2009 9:27 am 
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paulgj wrote:
Also I would prefer if it is to be left running that it not be a huge power hog like a pentium 4 desktop CPU.


A power hog that's recycled from non-use is energy efficient when considering the cost of a new computer. It would take a very long time to pay off a new computer with electric savings.

Mike.


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 Post subject: Re: Building own NAS box
 Post Posted: Tue Jan 27, 2009 3:26 pm 
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Mike wrote:
A power hog that's recycled from non-use is energy efficient when considering the cost of a new computer. It would take a very long time to pay off a new computer with electric savings.


Very true. Also in actuality it would not be on 24/7.

Thanks Mike & Scott!


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 Post subject: Re: Building own NAS box
 Post Posted: Wed Jan 28, 2009 11:54 am 
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Location: Phoenix, AZ, USA
Scott,

I seem to recall you advocated somewhere using an old laptop for a server. I rather thought this brilliant: It comes with its own monitor built-in and it already has energy savings options. It even has its own UPS -- except usually the battery is shot by the time it is being retired. And it takes up less space.


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 Post subject: Re: Building own NAS box
 Post Posted: Wed Jan 28, 2009 12:01 pm 
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The only issue with using an old laptop as a server is that ideally it should have gigabit ethernet, and that isn't common on "old" laptops. While there are gigabit Cardbus cards, I've tried several and found them to be extremely problematic, with none delivering much higher than 100 megabit performance. In short they just didn't work.

So, if you don't mind having a server with 100Mbit performance, an old laptop can suffice.

Since I find gigabit performance absolutely essential in a file server, and there is no need for a display, keyboard or mouse anyway (servers can be managed via Remote Desktop Connection from any other system on the network), I'd rather use an old desktop with a $10 gigabit ethernet card stuffed in it instead. Scott.


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 Post subject: Re: Building own NAS box
 Post Posted: Wed Jan 28, 2009 1:20 pm 
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Scott wrote:
While there are gigabit Cardbus cards, I've tried several and found them to be extremely problematic, with none delivering much higher than 100 megabit performance. In short they just didn't work.


Are the USB Gigabit adapters any better? for example this one: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.a ... 6833124176 ?


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 Post subject: Re: Building own NAS box
 Post Posted: Wed Jan 28, 2009 1:38 pm 
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I have that one as well. It didn't perform any better than the PCMCIA versions I tried. Scott.


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 Post subject: Re: Building own NAS box
 Post Posted: Fri Jan 30, 2009 12:20 am 
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I bet Express card Gigabit adapters are an improvement: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.a ... 6833124218 then again most "old" laptops don't have express cards?


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 Post subject: Re: Building own NAS box
 Post Posted: Fri Jan 30, 2009 6:21 am 
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The first laptops with ExpressCard were released in April 2005, so that depends on what you consider "old". I would bet that the ExpressCard gigabit ethernet adapters would work as they should, allowing true gigabit performance. However, I haven't actually tested any of those cards since I had made gigabit ethernet as a built-in requirement for any laptops I've purchased since ExpressCard was released. <g> Scott.


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 Post subject: Re: Building own NAS box
 Post Posted: Fri Jan 30, 2009 12:43 pm 
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hmmm, just curious, when were the first Gigabit equipped laptops introduced? I see some older T model ThinkPads on eBay with Gb ethernet.


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 Post subject: Re: Building own NAS box
 Post Posted: Fri Jan 30, 2009 2:06 pm 
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The first Gigabit Ethernet controller specifically designed for mobile LOM (Lan On Motherboard) applications was the Marvell 88E1011 "Alaska Ultra", which was released 04/2001. The first laptop to use this chip was the Apple Titanium PowerBook G4 released 10/2001. However, at that time Gigabit Ethernet switches and/or routers were extremely expensive, and the only place you generally saw GigE was in the corporate environment, an area in which Apple was effectively a non-player.

It wasn't until about a year and a half later when GigE began appearing in PC based laptops, using mostly Intel chipset designs. The first Intel Gigabit Ethernet controller for mobile LOM applications was the Intel 82540EP, which was released 09/2002. ThinkPad T40 models included this as an option starting 03/2003. If anybody knows of a PC based laptop with internal GigE released before then, I'd be interested to know. Scott.


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