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I've installed CAT5e cable and gigabit switches in my house with the goal of having an "always-on" file server in the loft, accessible to both my macbook and my partner's Windows box. I'd like to find a solution which:

  1. uses minimal power.
  2. allows me to access as much disk bandwidth as possible.
  3. provides glitch-free file access to both MacOS and Windows.
  4. is as cheap as possible, while remaining reliable.

Optional, but desirable extras: software or hardware RAID; open source solutions.

A SheevaPlug with eSATA seems one possibility, but I'm sure there are any number of other good options.

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I'm running a eSata Sheeva here. It uses almost no power (abozt 5W?), i can transfer my data via GbE at about 50-60 MB/s, Installing a samba/netatalk combination is no problem. In addition to that it's really cheap. Just buy a Big disk and you are done. – lajuette Jan 16 '11 at 8:08
Btw.: In compination with an USB DVB-* receiver it works fine as MythTV Backend... – lajuette Jan 16 '11 at 8:08

For software, you can try:

More info:

Do you already have the hardware, or are you looking for hardware as well?

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yes, i'm looking for hardware as well. – rogpeppe Aug 14 '10 at 9:17

Take a look at Drobo

It supports -

  • Gigabit Ethernet network
  • Windows, Mac, or UNIX/Linux computer
  • dual-drive redundancy
  • Simple install and setup
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I'm happy with my ReadyNAS

Drobo's another good solution.

If you want reliability, I recommend a RAID-based solution with swappable drives like these.

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We just got the HP StorageWorks X510, there is a consumer edition of this too called hp media smart. It supports both Mac and PC and even Time Machine. And we actually use it as VM Ware Server too, so it's not just a dump NAS.

LaCie has something similar, but sexier in terms of look, but just with an Atom. So running a VM Ware server is not an option on that one (LaCie 5big Storage Server). It's also more expensive :-)

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