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Looking into some storage solutions for a small server. I've got a Mac mini running OS X server providing open directory accounts for all my machines (which are 98% OS X save two Windows machines).

I've got 5 x 2TB HDs lying around and want a rackmount enclosure that I can fire the harddrives into, set them up as RAID (software via OS X or hardware- don't care) and connect that to the server (lightning, USB- etc). From there obviously mount that to the server and dish out space to users. Problem is when searching for these boxes, they all seem to be around the £1500 mark which is quite a bit of expense just for a rackmount removable drive!

Any help or guidance on how to proceed? Before someone mentions it - I don't want to use FreeNAS, tried it and it doesn't work with my setup.

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SAS backplanes are expensive, this is a fact. You're not likely to get around this no matter how you slice it. –  Sammitch Sep 21 '13 at 0:06
    
Was afraid someone would say that! Yeah I thought I might just be looking for a needle in a haystack. Looks like a regular old raid box with mashed parts will have to do. It's a shame since I like everything tidy in a rack but beggars can't be choosers! –  ScottMcGready Sep 21 '13 at 0:32
    
You could always get a 4u server case and put the generic PC in there. Hell, you could probably purchase a 2u drawer and convert it into a home for the disks (ie as external storage disks) for a couple of hundred dollars with just some leads running in and out if you –  davidgo Sep 21 '13 at 19:16

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Why not just get a second hand 2u server, throw the disks in it and Linux on it and share it using a protocol that will work for you

Assuming that NFS is not "good enough" for you (I'd imagine FreeNAS supports NFS), how about using NBD (network Block Device) - that should allow the harddrives / software raid setup on the remote box to work as a raw block device across Ethernet ?

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What would be quicker though, external drives on the OS X server (thunderbolt/FireWire/USB 3.0) or a Linux box with a dual gigabit Ethernet NIC? I was thinking around the Linux dedicated FS realm but I'm open to suggestion! –  ScottMcGready Sep 21 '13 at 15:59
    
Thunderbolt/USB3 could be faster, but depending on your disks/nic setup the bottleneck might not be the interface. You might want to clarify the goal and question though because your question implied preferring price over performance. –  davidgo Sep 21 '13 at 19:08

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