Project: Building a cheap NAS, part 3

Filed Under (Storage, Windows Networking) by Just An Admin on 23-04-2011

Part 3: The controller and disks

Our server parts are coming together nicely. The chassis, motherboard, memory and processor have been added to our wish list. Now it is time to look at the expansion SATA controller and the disk we would like to use.

The controller

Again the choice of brand is forced by several ‘demands’ we have.

The controller must:

  • support 8 SATA disks
  • be supported by FreeBSD/FreeNAS
  • have a decent throughput / IO’s per second
  • have PCI-E 8x support, but most controllers are
  • be affordable

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Project: Building a cheap NAS, part 2

Filed Under (Storage, VMWare ESXi 4, Windows Networking) by Just An Admin on 19-04-2011

Part 2: The Motherboard

Picking the right motherboard for our project was most likely the most difficult part. Besides the overwhelming amount of motherboards to choose from, we had a very strict set of demands:

  • Must have two PCI-E x8 or x16 slots, three would even be better
  • Must be supported under FreeBSD/FreeNAS 7.x/8.x
  • Must offer at least 6 onboard SATA ports
  • Must offer at least two, teamable or Link Aggregation (LAGG) compatible network interfaces, thee would even be better
  • Must have an onboard USB port
  • Must be server grade quality
  • Must have an onboard Video card

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Project: Building a cheap NAS, part 1

Filed Under (Storage, VMWare ESXi 4, Windows Networking) by Just An Admin on 14-04-2011

A NAS storage is no longer a luxury for the big companies that are able to spend 5-6 figures. For the last few years NAS storage has become a common product even to be found in small offices and home environments. Most of these products perform pretty good out-of-the-box and do exactly what they where designed to do; Store data and make it accessible through different protocols.

But….. i am looking for more. Most 4 to 6 drive solutions do not offer me the Terra-bytes needed to store my data. I need more and I’m not willing to pay an arm and a leg to get it. So I decided to build my own hardware setup and use FreeNAS to build our own NAS storage.

I’m going to build this unit on borrowed knowledge and good common sense.  There are some pretty decent sources of information on the web, like the FreeNAS community or different public community forums. And a lot of DiY NAS builders that have paved the way.

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