Suggest a Home Network Attached Storage system

Shortly after getting an AppleTV a while back, I started ripping DVD’s for convenience. First the TV shows, then most movies. Then my iTunes library got too big to leave on my iMac. So I migrated it to a 1Tb Western Digital MyBook Firewire drive. Seemed to work pretty well, but now it’s about 80% full, and I’m looking to the next step. As I see it, my basic requirements are:
[li]At least 2Tb total capacity (3Tb would probably be better)[/li][li]RAID-5 for redundancy[/li][li]Hot swappable drives[/li][li]Gigabit Ethernet capable[/li][li]Supports Mac & NTFS filenames[/li][li]Supports a reasonable backup strategy - maybe via rsync to a remote device.[/li][li]Simple and reliable management[/li][li]Cost-sensitive, although I realize the drives alone will run several hundred dollars.[/li][/ul]

I’ve heard some talk about FreeNAS. I’ve also seen some NAS devices from Buffalo Technology, as well as one from Promise Technology. I’m not afraid to build something, but I’d rather just have a solid, simple, consumer-grade box.

Any suggestions?

I went through unpleasantness several years ago when I bought what I thought was an inexpensive network drive and it turned out to be some other, sneaky excuse for that.

I think I was looking for “NAS” or network attached storage, and what I got was actually a “NASD” or network attached storage device.

I wanted a hard drive on my network that I could automatically mount as a lettered drive under MSWindows, and in fact I do have two such devices, both Linksys EFG80 Gigadrives, which are great. But this other thing I got was more like a local website that I could upload files to if I first logged on to it and took it over. So, if anybody else on the network logged on to it and took it over and didn’t relinquish it, I couldn’t access it.

Worse, it also reorganized files by type, so it would create a Photos folder for *.jpg and a Documents folder for *.doc and so forth.

I wasted a good couple hours learning what this thing couldn’t do before I had to take it back to Best Buy.

Be on the lookout!

In hindsight, I’d just go buy an inexpensive desktop system and shove a bunch of drives in it. I think **Una ** went through some trials with RAID stuff a while ago. I know that the Western Digital My World Book is a pain in my ass. It works fine from my XP pro systems, but I can’t seem to find it from my MC edition. I’m still playing with it. Aside from that, I haven’t had any serious issues with it. Mounts just like another drive letter and is both easily accessable and has some basic built in security. So I can set up personal folders for the “other” data I store that doesn’t need to be easily seen by everyone.

They max out at 1TB right now I think. Although they do have a RAID system that you can impliment if you want.

Hot-swappable is going to be a bit of a killer if it’s part of your RAID5.

Also, your backup’s going to be interesting. You’re basically going to need another NAS or USB box with similar storage, preferably two.

For the main server, I suggest you get a standard PC box that will take more than 4 drives, a hardware RAID 5 controller add your 1 TB drives, and install your server software of choice - XP Pro or Linux or whatever. I suggest you make sure your RAID 5 controller and case can cope with more than 4 drives for future expansion.

Multi terabyte raid 5 arrays are still a bit of a stretch under home user environments. You may wish to consider something like the new Windows Home Server

It utilizes a software raid of sorts that will make sure any given file in specified folders is mirrored to other drives. I don’t think they are hot swappable, but you can add and remove drives and the redundancy will be rebuilt onto the new drives.

There is a PDF that covers the details of the drive mirroring here

There is also a 120 day trial available from the first link…