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I have a noisy, power-hungry Pentium 4 based Ubuntu server that I want to replace with a nice, low-power mini-ITX/Intel Atom-based machine to do my network services (DHCP, DNS, IPSec, Web/mail, FTP, etc.) and am thinking of a (hopefully) equally low-powered NAS using NFS over GbE with at least 1 TB space and a RAID 5 (preferred) or RAID 1 (likely) configuration for redundancy with a couple of spare disks I can swap in as needed down the road.

Would I be better off getting a full sized ATX mobo/case and configuring the RAID internally? I really want to keep power consumption down as much as possible as I leave my home server up 24/7.

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migrated from Mar 26 '10 at 0:46

This question came from our site for system and network administrators.

you know RAID-0 isn't redundancy, right? you're thinking of RAID-1. RAID-0 is for speed, and testing one's backups. – quack quixote Mar 26 '10 at 0:50
doh, good call: edited. – gravyface Mar 26 '10 at 1:23
up vote 1 down vote accepted

A while back I was where you are, I had played with openfiler, freenas, etc... but then I got a couple of dlink dns-321: -22-155-009--Product"> running at home. They are relatively inexpensive (I paid $89 for each) and run Linux on an ARM processor. Oh, each takes like 21watts to run. I could not build a system for $89 or less.

I use the 2tb one as a media server for my home (pcs, macs and xboxes) and the 4tb one as a backup server.

While the dlink will handle dhcp, nfs and even use dyndns, it won't give you IPSec or real dns at home. To complement it you can use the sheevaplug: we got a couple of these at work and they are pretty nifty!

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How's the throughput on these? No NFS support is a bit of a bummer. – gravyface Mar 30 '10 at 13:40
Throughtput on the dns321 is not fiberchannel quality, but I can watch videos in a couple of places and put files from a couple of other systems. As for NFS, it does support it. I got it automounted on my servers thru fstab without a problem. – Peter Carrero Mar 31 '10 at 18:27

Perhaps get the ITX style pc and add some external drives and an eSATA card.

USB will not be as fast as eSata, especially if you're using raid and it's writing/reading from/to multiple drives at the same time, you can very quickly hit the limit of your usb controllers.

Install linux and use lvm and mdadm for raid/volume management.

Edit: if you're not comfortable with mdadm or lvm, pass the drives through to a virtualbox vm and install openfiler or freenas.

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Take a look at Drobo. It's not a DIY but is a nice box with lots of add-ons.

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I am just going to chip in a negative take on the Thecus home devices. They're prone to failure around the 12 month mark. They just flat-out refuses to boot.

I spend some time on discovering the true throughput of the device you're buying. Western Digitals MyBook NAS devices are truly, truly terrible when it comes to raw throughput, and the Thecus N3200 advertises 'dual gigabit' but you can actually only connect a single one of those (the other cannot be on the same subnet), and you'll be lucky to get 100 Mbps speeds from the port, too.

If you can find a way of strapping enough disks to whichever Atom setup you go with, I would recommend that approach. I'm not looking at home NAS again, I'll just build an Openfiler.

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I think I'm going to buy some 2.5" 1 TB drives and setup a local RAID 1 on the mini-ITX box. There is no sense in adding another mini-ITX-based box just to host drives when a slightly larger case could easily accommodate a couple of extra 2.5" drives.

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One option, that I have, is the Tranqil PC BBS2 server. As it's a standard mini-ITX (Atom) board in a custom case you can do pretty much anything you want with it. Couple it with some low power SATA drives and you have a cool, quiet, low-power server.

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This looks great but with conversion and VAT/shipping, this would be too much. – gravyface Mar 30 '10 at 1:15

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