File Server

I did a lot of research about a year ago to build a file server and to find the best thing for my usage.

My basic requirements were :

  • Low power usage, because it will run 24/7.
  • Easy administration
  • 3 or 4 hard drives
  • Run some virtual machines

I first looked at Network Attached Storage (NAS). The two main good companies for power users are QNAP and Synology.

While those products are quite good, they are quite expensive for the limited functionality they provide. By the time you bought it and the hard drives, the price is similar to a mini server you built on your own.

Yes, they can do ftp, http, etc, but if you want to install a special software or have also multiple virtual machines run, it is impossible to do it.

Concerning QNAP, I especially disliked the fact that the software RAID they use on their Linux is not the typical Linux RAID, meaning if it fails and you put the hard drives on a Linux computer, you are toasted. The hardware is better at QNAP but the software is better at Synology. On top of that, a lot of the NAS model have a Freescale or ARM processor, which makes the modification of the Linux very difficult with a need to cross compile for ARM. Some NAS are now running on x86, which is nice. One aspect that was also seriously aggravating me is that those companies use GPL code for their product, but only give you some sources sometimes and do not tell you how they compile their softwares !!!

I therefore decided to build my own server (the price being quite similar) and install either a Linux or a Windows. This will be detailed in an other post.

The server has the following parts :

Cost: 860 $

For the storage, I have one hard drive dedicated to store the backups of all the computers we possess, and two hard drives in RAID1 for the files.

The server is on idle most of the time, and consumes 36W idle.

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  1. Pingback: File Server Hardware Update | Michons

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