I did a lot of research to find what would be the most practical operating system for the file server, looking at the maintenance and application standpoints. My requirements were to have an easy system to maintain, be able to install other applications on it, as well as a system that could manage a RAID1 efficiently (meaning I want a full image of the data). If I were to loose a hard drive, I wanted to still have the data.
I won’t get into the discussion/debate about if RAID is actually a backup. I was especially concerned about having the RAID being managed by the motherboard because if your motherboard dies, you have lost your Data !!! True RAID Controllers are very expensive and I did not trust the Fake-RAID cards. I therefore decided to go the software RAID route.
The best two options that I found are :
I rejected FreeNas because of Unix and the very few applications it provides (yes they are some plugins but they are limited).
Openmediavault is a Linux Debian-based distribution very well done and well thought. It is still young but progressing very quickly. It is a Linux so you can install about anything you can install on a Debian.
Windows 7 present some very nice features and applications due to the Windows environment but one thing I was very interesting in is the fact that you can put two hard drives in a software RAID 1 managed by Windows. The features that really seduced me was the portability of the RAID1 (dynamic disk) for Windows. You can transfer the hard drives to an other Windows computer, and you can manage the RAID on the other computer. This is done very nicely via a GUI and this was a huge plus for me.
I therefore decided to go the Windows 7 route, and here is what it looks like.