November 3, 2006 | Comments Off

I mentioned in a previous post buying an additional drive for my NAS, so I thought I’d talk about it. Just before Anna was born I realized that I was in need of serious storage, especially with the amount of video I was planning on capturing. So I started doing research on network-attached storage. I’d been looking into it for a while. I had found some VERY sexy hardware like the Jetstor 416 series (16 SATA drives in 3U). But that was just cost prohibitive. I knew more or less what I wanted: Volume expansion, low power consumption, hot swapping, and preferrably Linux based. I could have built my own server, but I just didn’t want another 300 or 450 watt power supply sitting idle, and I wasn’t convinced I could do it for cheaper than an off-the-shelf product.

I ended up ordering a ReadyNAS NV chassis with 2x 500gb drives from ExcaliberPC (random company found via Froogle). Infrant has what they call X-RAID and it morphs the RAID type as you add drives, so 1 drive is just 1 drive, 2 drives acts like RAID1, 3 drives acts like RAID5. I paid a hefty amount for it – $1400 – but 500gb sata drives were pricier back then. I migrated all my critical data off of the servers, and started doing scheduled backups of everything else on the network onto the NAS and keeping about a months worth of backups at any given time. Just before we went on honeymoon the array was starting to get full so I ordered a new 500gb drive from newegg, popped it in and a few hours later the volume had grown to 1TB.

Having that much data in a proprietary format would make me very nervous, but according to the Infrant forums the format is not proprietary and recoverable with a standard Linux install (the ReadyNAS runs Linux). In addition the dashboard is excellent. It shows: internal temperature, drive temperatures, fan speed, and drive health status, so at least I *feel* like I’d know if something was going wrong. The thing I most worry about now is insidious data corruption.

Some other features I like:

  • Provides rsync server for easier backup of Linux servers
  • Gigabit ethernet with jumbo frame support
  • Snazzy good looks
  • It will use drives up to the lowest common denominator, but if you replace the smallest drive, it will auto-expand.
  • Auto-shutdown on overheat
  • Helpfully emails when: available capacity drops below certain milestones, new firmware released, problems occur.

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