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QNAP NAS or Upgrade Custom Server?


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I've been eyeing the slick all in one NAS boxes like QNAP TS-639.

I wish it were able to do RAID 10, but I think I might just end up with two volumes (work stuff in RAID 1, media files in RAID 5).

I really like the slick UI and ease of use. Of course it's not cheap.

Otherwise, I could upgrade my old server. It's a Pentium M based mobo with an old 3Ware PATA 7410 RAID card with 4x 400GB Seagates in RAID 10. (OS is on the Mobo RAID 1 with 2x 2.5" drives) It's been pretty much rock solid reliable for years. Unfortunately, Windows 2000 as a server is a PITA to deal with, and not quite as rock solid as the hardware.

I'm thinking of rebuilding it with adding a 3Ware/AMCC SATA RAID card (probably 9500S or 9550sx off of fleaBay). That way I can manage both RAID cards with the same 3DM2 manager. Will make for a crazy wiring mess. Not to mention I'll likely have to upgrade the old PSU as well.

I already have 3x 2TB Seagates waiting and ready to go for the upgrade. They will be used for the RAID 5 Media volume.

If I go with the QNAP, I'll have to abandon those old 4x 400GB Seagates. Not a big deal, I'll just get two more drives for the RAID 1 work volume.

If I stick with upgrading my old server, I'm thinking of installing FreeNAS instead of Windows 2000 for the OS.

Now the question is, is FreeNAS as stable as QNAP's OS?

-Ed

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Personally I would get the QNAP, or other equally high end NAS. But that's mostly because I find building file servers tedious.

Windows Home Server is another "in" file system that I see a lot of people using, but the major drawback being it's mirroring 1:1 and you lose a lot of storage space.

Edited by deepak
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I have been looking around at something to replace my HP home server POS and the QNAP-439 is the lead contender right now. Nothing else seems to be that close in features or convenience. So I guess my recommendation is go QNAP.

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The QNAP stuff is pretty nice but not exactly cheap and one thing to remember, rebuilding arrays on those things tend to be very slow. Don't be surprised if it takes a day or more.

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Edwood,

FreeNAS is really very stable, it's based on FreeBSD. I also like that it can be installed to just about anything even a usb thumbdrive.

Edited by tkam
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Do I need to remind you

Let me google that for you

e.g. Why RAID is NOT Backup | I Love Bonnie.net

How important is uptime to you? How valuable is your data? what is your disaster recovery plan? fan.gif

Where in my original post did I mention that I'm using the QNAP or my old Server purely as backup?

I have well over two terabytes of data. Uptime IS important to me, and is also convenient. I really like the QNAP's ability to remote back up over FTP to another server, especially easy to do it to another QNAP NAS.

With fires happening all the time in LA, a fire or an earthquake is likely most to take out all of my data at my home at once. Including my local back ups (not just my RAID arrays on my SERVER). I'm going to back them up at my father's office (in Ohio) with scheduled back ups. QNAP NAS's are appealing because of this functionality built in.

Now back on topic.

Yes, I considered the TS-439, but it doesn't leave a lot of room for future expansion. The TS-639 is the same as the TS-439, but with an additional fan for cooling and two extra drive bays. Pretty hefty price difference though. Only issue is the slow Atom CPU. It's energy savings comes at a performance price. If you want to use AES encryption on any of your RAID Volumes, it comes at a penalty to your Read and Write speeds, since the QNAP NAS's do not have dedicated hardware for AES encryption/decryption. So the wimpy Atom CPU has to handle it.

I'd be interested in the TS-809 with it's 8 bays and 2.8GHz Core 2 Duo CPU. But it lacks eSATA port for back ups and also lacks jumbo frame support. Which is important to me because I frequently transfer several large files.

-Ed

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Ed,

It appears I made some unwarranted assumptions. :palm:

You, however, appear to have thought it through.

How fire resistant is that cat6e again? :)

Not very fire resistant, since I "cheaped" out and got the non plenum version. :palm::D I had so much left over, I made speaker wires out of them. :)

But, it is good to point out that a RAID array is useless if it gets corrupted and you lose data that way. Hence why I'm careful about the OS and RAID controller. All the convenience of RAID is completely useless with an unstable system. Knock on wood, I haven't had a single hardware failure. I've had drives lose their connection and I've had to manually rebuild the array. Fucking annoying and weird.

-Ed

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LOL, wow. That's awesome.

How's the Backblaze service? $50/year for unlimited storage? Sounds too good to be true. At least they have their hardware end covered.

I think I might end up going with a Cloud based back up to really cover my ass in a disaster scenario. Security and privacy issues are what have been holding me back. And reliability among other things. (reliability of the cloud hosting company, that is. Useless to have a back up at a company that goes bankrupt).

-Ed

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Aw crap.

Backblaze does NOT support backing up any networked, shared, or NAS drives.

Makes sense, but makes an automated back up solution at home much more complicated then.

This might rule out getting a QNAP device, or using FreeNAS OS.

Backblaze does allow backing up a non-shared/networked external HDD or volume. So I suppose I could rebuild my server, keep using crappy Windows 2000 install, install Backblaze client, keep a back up of my files to another unshared volume/drive, and have Backblaze back up that part.

Makes for a hassle, and eliminates the convenience of using Backblaze, as it will still require a lot of babysitting for me. :mad:

Guess I need to think about this one more.

Backblaze is designed for someone that uses a SINGLE computer they leave on all the time, with all of their data on it, with no real back up solutions. In other words, an idiot.

I don't leave my primary workstation on ALL the time, so installing Backblaze on there is pointless.

*sigh*

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Yeah, but sneakernet is a pain in the ass. Since I work at home, I don't have a separate office that I can easily and repeatedly schlep an external HDD back and forth.

I guess I can just live with the Windows continuing maintenance thing and have Backblaze back up a non-shared volume. Wish Backblaze worked with FreeNAS, backing up an external drive.

Either way it's a hassle. Either upfront, or in the end.

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I hate this part of their FAQ, because they don't mention that you can't back up a Shared Volume or drive at ALL with their service.

Look, I'm an Advanced User, and I Already Have a Set of RAID Drives with Perl Scripts to Copy My Files Back and Forth Between My 18 Home Machines that are in a Datacenter I've Built in My Closet. Why Do I Need Backblaze?

Congratulations! It sounds like you're passionate about backup—and so are we. In fact, you may even want to send us a note on the jobs page. But we still think you should try Backblaze's online backup because it's automatic, will save your data remotely, and is really inexpensive.

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OK, I guess I'm going to have to suck it up and rebuild my Server. If I want to use Backblaze, I'll have to reinstall the OS as Windows XP since they don't support WIndows 2000.

Now the question is, how reliable and maintenance free is Rsync?

Was thinking of using the windows version, cwRsync.

http://www.rsync.net/resources/howto/windows_rsync.html

I'm not afraid of using command prompt. I just want it to be as hands off as possible once I have it set up.

So here's my current plan:

Personal Computers -> File Server (2x RAID Arrays) --Rsync to--> External HDD's (Primary Back Up) --> Backblaze (Secondary Emergency Back Up)

What do you guys think? Seems to be the most cost effective.

-Ed

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I have a similar issue with Backblaze. I agree it's obviously for simple users. I want to back up a single thing on a hard drive, but can only exclude, not add. I might have to bug them for the ability to add something other than a drive, rather than add a drive and exclude all the top-level directories.

The only other thing I could think of would be to pay for something like Amazon S3 and set up your own back-up system. Not sure how expensive it would be though.

Otherwise, you could get a group of people together to share the costs of a racked backup box in a data centre, but I don't think that'd be cheap either.

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Well, I snagged another 2TB Seagate drive from Fry's. They dropped the price to $175 plus tax. So I went and got my other 3 drives purchases prices adjusted as well.

I have a 3Ware 9550SX-4LP I snagged off of eBay coming, along with a 5 in 3 SATA hot swap drive bay. I'm have a spare 16GB Samsung SLC SSD I'll probably be installing the OS onto, rather than the slow ass dual 40GB Samsung 2.5" drives in RAID 1 I have in there currently.

-Ed

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