I have a number of high-capacity hard drives lying around as well as an old computer from around 2010 which has only 4GB of RAM.

Is it possible to use this limited hardware to run a very large storage array?

For example, I know ZFS requires a lot of RAM as storage increases - are there other technologies which do not have such requirements?

  • Well, you don't have to use ZFS at all. You could simply use ext3 for that matter. I know, I know, the "silent corruption boogeyman". Read a bit more about it, and you will see that it's more of just a myth than a reality. Companies store tons of data for a long time and they don't just end up losing 100GBs from time to time. With that said, you could always just put the drives into a machine that has more RAM. A cheap used server board, some 32GB used DDR3 ECC and you are good to go. – Shiki Sep 13 '17 at 5:45

To be sure you don't loose data on disk failure, use RAID array. If your HW is something server based, its disk controller may well support HW RAIDs. In that case use it. The type of RAID depends on your needs (RAID1/5/6/10).

Or you can utilize Linux software RAID like mdadm (howtos can be googled easily).

As filesystem I'd decide for Ext4, which is slightly better than Ext3 (I'm not sure of memory requirements difference).

And for sharing you may use either NFS or CIFS (samba), depends on your clients.

If you get stuck on something, come here with more specific questions.

And good luck!

  • How this addresses the specific problem in the question? – Máté Juhász Sep 13 '17 at 6:54
  • The question is on the options what to do with some server and bunch of disks to make it storage. So I gave options I'd use for that goal based on provided information. – Jaroslav Kucera Sep 13 '17 at 6:59
  • That server is specifically an old hardware with limited performance, the question is about how to use that specific hardware, and how its performance affect the final objective. Your answer doesn't seem to consider this fact, what you've written may be true in general, but it does not answer the question. – Máté Juhász Sep 13 '17 at 8:14

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