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i think tis a good idea to have FS vs NAS and related discussions in one place. Here. I'll get the ball rolling with copy-paste of my post from NAS thread.

i made FS out of
1GHz P3
256 RAM
onboard gfx
disabled onboard sound,lan,floppy and parallel,serial,firewire ports

Bought PCI-SATA 4-port ~$30, gygabit eithernet (4k Jumbo f.) $10, USB 2.0 $10
PSU: Antec Earthwatts EA380 (active PFC, >=80% efficiency at any load) $5
OS: modded XP (cut down to 130MB size, customized specifically for FS) with nLite.

FS... Oh, forgot to mention it is Print Server as well, has 2 printers connected to it... So, FPS lol has no monitor nor kb-mouse, is managed over network with free XP tool Remote Desktop Connection.

In JBOD config i get 250-340 mbps transfers (30-40 MB/s), but i bought wrong RAID card, no RAID-5 support. Planning to get 4-th 500gb hdd and RAID-5 capable SATA-PCI card.

In the end, it looks to me that if u r a tech, u'll choose FS, not a tech - NAS...

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I still prefer a NAS drive. I do have a 1gb network now but that only help to provide better speeds. Ave 80-120MB/s.
I ... (more)

dredbig (May. 01, 2008 @ 12:26p) |

5 hours later and you still feel the same... I guess you really mean it!

minidrag (May. 01, 2008 @ 12:41p) |



BTW, i saw a deal on a nice 4-bay NAS, ~ $300. If i'll see it again i'll post link here.

kostyanka (May. 12, 2008 @ 11:40p) |

what is a server - webopedia definition
Server (computing) - wikipedia definition
File server - wikipedia definition
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kostyanka said: In the end, it looks to me that if u r a tech, u'll choose FS, not a tech - NAS...

Yes and no...

Most techs might go your route since they typically have all the parts sitting around.

It is much nicer to have a NAS. Generally speaking, the NAS is quieter, uses less power, and is nice and small. Most NAS also have print server capabilities.

NAS is quieter
generaly speaking - probably so, but the one i built with cpu hsf 80mm fan, 2 case 120mm fans modded to 5V (cooling 2 hdd cages) and that EA380, the whole thing is just about silent. I have to stick my head under the table to hear it.

NAS uses less power
Sure. But how much more does it cost? And how much do u value FS flexibility and speed? And what about prolonged hdd life from been actively cooled in FS vs passively in most NAS? What about feeding hdd's quality power from EA380 vs crapy NAS power brick?

NAS is nice and small
Disagree. I have 7 hdd's in FS, one being 4GB and has just OS on it (probably should throw it away and put os on one of the other newer, faster hdd). What kind of NAS r we talking about? 2 hdd cage? 4? NAS gets really expensive for 4 and more hdd's AFAIK.

So, could 4hdd RAID-5 NAS still be
quieter,
use less power (read - cheaper in lets say 5 years run),
have USB 2.0 or if i wish to - esata, firewire, wifi, bluetooth
gigabit eithernet (30-40 MB/s transfers, hopefuly more after raid-5)
print serving
and look nicer
than single FPS box that sits under my desk? Sure not!

And i dont even mention Bittorrent, Limewire, Usenet...

If you want just storage NAS is nice.

If you want to do other things, like torrent, you need a machine. It could just be another PC, like you are using, or it could be an actual server. Either way, a NAS simply isn't meant to do anything other than S (storage).

--edit - forgot to say above, for just storage NAS can be nice because it is SIMPLE.

"...just be another PC, like you are using, or it could be an actual server..."
Dont u dare belittle my preciuos!

But seriously, what do u mean by actual server?

NAS is better, because it's simpler
True. But it is also much more expensive, a lot slower and "unhealthy" for hdd's.

An actual server is a server chasis, a server motherboard, and very importantly a server OS like Server 2003.

As for NAS being slow - cheap ones, yes.

NAS being more expensive - compared to a PC pretending to be a server, yes.

Unhealthy for hard drives? Why do you say that?

1. let's get clear on what is a server
2. i have a feeling u didnt read through my earlier posts in this thread, as i have mentioned there what type of os i use and why i think nas is bad for hdd's. Here, i'll copy-paste:

OS: modded XP (cut down to 130MB size, customized specifically for FS) with nLite
And what about prolonged hdd life from been actively cooled in FS vs passively in most NAS? What about feeding hdd's quality power from EA380 vs crapy NAS power brick?

"As for NAS being slow - cheap ones, yes."
And expensive ones are... expensive, no? lol R u trying to say that if money were no object, than the NAS is better than FS? That would be a separate question and unrelated imho to a discussion about real world home file storage.

minidrag said: An actual server is a server chasis, a server motherboard, and very importantly a server OS like Server 2003.

As for NAS being slow - cheap ones, yes.

NAS being more expensive - compared to a PC pretending to be a server, yes.

Unhealthy for hard drives? Why do you say that?
I disagree. Server hardware and a server OS like Server 2003 are not necessary depending on what functions you'll be using the server.

I'm using an older Antec case with an Athlon 1800+, 512MB RAM, 800GB across three drives running on Xubuntu as a file "server" in the basement. The "server" is semi-headless; there's a monitor nearby if necessary, but I usually RDP/xVNC to administer the system. I have Samba shares configured so that any of my desktop or laptop computers can access the media files on the "server."

Since the "server" is not simply a NAS, I run torrents 24/7 serving various *nix distros and FOSS archives. The "server" also runs a FAH client as well as an eBay sniping app, jbidwatcher.

Ironically, this "server" used to run FreeNAS until a corruption somewhere prevented data persistence. I would lose all the files after certain reboots. I never figured it out, and I went the Xubuntu "server" route instead.

I am currently using a NetCenter for NAS.

My current NAS solution is cheap. It costed about $100 more than the drive that it came with.
NAS can be cheaper depending on your needs. NAS can be smaller depending on your needs. I think you are being NASist thinking that all NAS is the same.

My current NAS solution is extremely small. I don't know how you can disagree with me on the size. My NAS is the size of an external hard drive.

My current NAS drive is fast. I dont notice any difference grabbing files from it than from grabbing files from a file server.

Many NAS devices are the size of an external hard drive. My current NAS is exactly the size of an external hard drive as it only holds one drive. For expansion it has 2 USB slots to hook either 2 more USB drives up to it or 2 printers. You can't get much smaller than that.

I think you have it stuck in your head that a NAS has to be robust and expandible. There are many different types of NAS solutions out there.

If you wanted a NAS with RAID, then your arguements might be valid. There are some small Dual Drive NAS units out there with RAID mirror capabilities as well.

squirrelproductions said: I disagree. Server hardware and a server OS like Server 2003 are not necessary depending on what functions you'll be using the server.
I never said that a real server was necessary. OP asked me what I meant by real server and I was explaining.

I have plenty of clients that use a PC with a desktop OS as a pseudo server. There's not a thing wrong with that - it fits their needs and their budget. But it isn't a true server.

kostyanka said: OS: modded XP (cut down to 130MB size, customized specifically for FS) with nLite
And what about prolonged hdd life from been actively cooled in FS vs passively in most NAS? What about feeding hdd's quality power from EA380 vs crapy NAS power brick?

"As for NAS being slow - cheap ones, yes."
And expensive ones are... expensive, no? lol R u trying to say that if money were no object, than the NAS is better than FS? That would be a separate question and unrelated imho to a discussion about real world home file storage.


Yes, I read that you were not running a server OS - that was why I pointed out that a 'true' server wouldn't run XP.

Any good NAS will be actively cooled.

We are talking apples and oranges here. You are talking about $200 or $300 NAS boxes. I'm talking about $700 for a low end box with no drives. I was simply pointing out that it isn't safe to make over generalized statements, like you were, about NAS and servers when your experience is only with the cheaper / lower end stuff.

I didn't see anything in this thread that specified you were only talking about real world file storage for the home. All I saw was NAS and FS. Maybe I missed something...

minidrag said: ...servers...pseudo servers...true servers...well, going by definition link to which i provided, what i have is a server. But i'll agree to disagree, semantics rnt important.

I didn't see anything in this thread that specified you were only talking about real world file storage for the home...Please take a look at the first word of this thread's title.

riznick said: ...I think you are being NASist thinking that all NAS is the same...My current NAS solution is extremely small. I don't know how you can disagree with me on the size. My NAS is the size of an external hard drive.if u r sure 1 hdd is all u'll ever need, then i agree, NAS is more viable. More often then not though need for storage space grows... So later one would have to get external hdd, then second NAS, 2-hdd NAS... And before u know u'll have a stack of NAS's 10' high. The horror! The horror!My current NAS drive is fast. I dont notice any difference grabbing files from it than from grabbing files from a file server.err... How fast? And what FS?If you wanted a NAS with RAID, then your arguements might be valid. There are some small Dual Drive NAS units out there with RAID mirror capabilities as well.i dont want to lose half of my hdd to raid-1. I want 4-hdd raid-5! or better.

kostyanka said: Please take a look at the first word of this thread's title.
One little word...

Interesting discussion since it was something I considered myself.

Of course the main influence for getting a NAS vs FS in the end was the missus, who didn't want another pc box sitting around because it won't match the furniture as well as running out of real estate (being in CA in a small place because anything bigger is unaffordable).

This doesn't mean that I couldn't build a FS if I really wanted to.

minidrag said: One little word... i think most people had enough common sence to realize i wasnt talking about enterprise environment even though i didnt constantly add HOME to FS, FPS abbreviations. And i also think u knew that too, u just wanted to look big and show off.

Zdog said: ...Of course the main influence for getting a NAS vs FS in the end was the missus...Ha! Well, i'm the king of my castle! Err... Well, I'm the king of my office room! Hmmm... those drapes... Well, i'm the king of my computer table ... area!!!

kostyanka said: And i also think u knew that too, u just wanted to look big and show off.
Don't go making assumptions about people - it's always a bad idea. I misunderstood the topic. Shoot me if it'll make you feel better.

fine, u misundertood, i made an assumption, let's call it even and have a beer. So what'd'ya think about home FS vs NAS?

I think that anything at home with central storage (be it a FS or a NAS) is a good idea to have in any home. It makes for faster data back up and it is just plain stupid not to have everything in more than one place. I have a Dell T105 with dual 750 gig drives in it all for data with a seperate hard drive JUST for OS. Now when my other machines start getting sluggish I can do a full OS install and not have to worry about every losing any data cause it's not really stored on the laptops any more. Good stuff. I do want to go major overkill now and also get an external 750 gig drive (firewire or USB) to backup everything onto.

Backup is VERY important. So many times I've dealt with bad drives and anxious people wanting their data back.

For home use I think a PC acting as a server is the best way to go. It's much more versatile than NAS and if your PC dies, you've got a backup.

If, however, you know little about computers, a cheap NAS is probably the best way to go.

I agree. My home file server cost ~$90 + drives to build. It runs ~30W idle and ~40W on load. It's got 800MHz, 256MB which is plenty to run FreeNAS + torrents etc.

jimchen said: I agree. My home file server cost ~$90 + drives to build. It runs ~30W idle and ~40W on load. It's got 800MHz, 256MB which is plenty to run FreeNAS + torrents etc.Does FreeNAS allow for remote on-line access? I read something on here awhile back about a version of Windows (home server??) that does allow on-line access. Is there another OS that does the same? I currently run windows XP but could switch over to anything else in a heart beat. I just have it sharing everything on my home network and each machine has mapped drives pointing to certain locations on my box which acts as a FS.

Both Home FS and Home NAS have their place and both have their benefits.
However both have a common weak spot - backups!

Once you have storage space of 1TB (or 2TB or 3TB), how do you back you back it up?
Even if it's configured as RAID-5, you still have to worry about electrical, hardware, environmental (earthquake, fire, theft) problems taking out the raid array.

So how do you back up that much storage? Build a second remote off-site FS system?
Any suggestions?

If you are running a Windows OS you could use Carbonite - it's only $49.95 a year and has unlimited storage. It would take a long time to upload that much though!

Personally, if I had that much important data, I would backup twice. Once to a second array and the other either to DVD (done slowly, of course, over a few months) or to a place like carbonite.

At work I backup our server to a drive in another PC (quick and easy recovery if something happens to the server) and also offsite in case of a real disaster.

minidrag said: If you are running a Windows OS you could use Carbonite - it's only $49.95 a year and has unlimited storage. It would take a long time to upload that much though!

Personally, if I had that much important data, I would backup twice. Once to a second array and the other either to DVD (done slowly, of course, over a few months) or to a place like carbonite.

At work I backup our server to a drive in another PC (quick and easy recovery if something happens to the server) and also offsite in case of a real disaster.
If we're talking TB and above (or even as "little" as 100GB+) then neither Carbonite nor DVD's would in my opinion provide practical or timely backup options.

I don't know what would be a good backup alternative for large capacity FS/NAS systems.

A second remote FS/NAS?
Perhaps removable SATA-3 HDD's to which you would backup selective folders from you FS/NAS?
Has anyone come up with a solution that would work in a home environment?

EDIT: changed 100MB+ to 100GB+

Yeah, I just couldn't think of anything else that would work for home use. And DVDs would be ok if you were doing it all along. But it would be a pretty insane job of catch up otherwise.

I guess you could have a 3rd NAS. Copy everything to it then take if offsite. Bring it back every now and again for updates...

It all depends on how much you care about your data though.

mikeres said: ... 1TB (or 2TB or 3TB), how do you back it up ... (earthquake, fire, theft) problems ...my answer is simple - i dont backup 99% of data, its too expensive. If earthquake, fire, theft happen - i'll have more important things to worry about. For me all really important data fits on a DVD, gets updated every month or so and is kept on a spindle. Come to think of it, i should probably burn 2nd encrypted and start second spindle at relatives'
Hmmm... Yeah.

Sending them elsewhere is VERY important. A spindle in your house doesn't do you much good if your house is gone. It's fine for hard drive failure of course.


I was using a unix based file server with about 8 drives in it. I don't know why but even though it was setup as a RAID 0 it fried about 5 of the drives one week. It was using a UPS for smooth power. I lost two whole RAID sets. I don't know why and I can't recover the drives. I'm switching to NAS because I think I'll have less likelihood of a massive failure like that across several NAS devices. Unix was very stable, but I can't figure out how to get anything off the 5 drives. Anybody have any ideas? I'm not that great with Unix.

Another reason why separate backups are important... If you get a virus, you may lose all your data.

If you're still really worried about backing up your data in case of a fire, earthquake, etc, you could also go the tape route and store the tapes offsite. Costs around $350 for a good USB tape system and around $40 per 160GB tape. That I think is your best solution for total security for backup after FS of course.

Where did you see prices like that?

I still prefer a NAS drive. I do have a 1gb network now but that only help to provide better speeds. Ave 80-120MB/s.
I did have a buffalo NAS drive and that worked fine. But now D-Link (D-Link DNS-323 2-Bay Network Storage Enclosure) has entered the market. Got it at Microcenter on sale&Rebate for a very good price. When I looked over the specs/Features, I was impressed. SO I got one. The main reason being is that it's SATA and that you can interchange the drives.
I has a smaller foot print, power needs and heat than a whole computer. It's full managed by any web browser.
USB Print Server
10/100/1000 RJ-45 Network
Serial ATAText
RAID 0, RAID 1, JBOD (Bummer no Raid 5)
Scandisk; e-Mail Alerts; Defrag; Power Management, FTP
Half Duplex 1000Mbps, 100Mbps, 10Mbps
(1) USB "B" Port, (1) RJ-45 Ethernet port

Just my feeling on this.

I still prefer a NAS drive. I do have a 1gb network now but that only help to provide better speeds. Ave 80-120MB/s.
I did have a buffalo NAS drive and that worked fine. But now D-Link (D-Link DNS-323 2-Bay Network Storage Enclosure) has entered the market. Got it at Microcenter on sale&Rebate for a very good price. When I looked over the specs/Features, I was impressed. SO I got one. The main reason being is that it's SATA and that you can interchange the drives.
I has a smaller foot print, power needs and heat than a whole computer. It's full managed by any web browser.
USB Print Server
10/100/1000 RJ-45 Network
Serial ATAText
RAID 0, RAID 1, JBOD (Bummer no Raid 5)
Scandisk; e-Mail Alerts; Defrag; Power Management, FTP
Half Duplex 1000Mbps, 100Mbps, 10Mbps
(1) USB "B" Port, (1) RJ-45 Ethernet port

Just my feeling on this.

5 hours later and you still feel the same... I guess you really mean it!

minidrag said: 5 hours later and you still feel the same... I guess you really mean it!

dredbig said: [...]Ave 80-120MB/s[...]i guess u meant to say the speed is 80-120 mb /s, not MB /s. Or 3 times slower than my HFPS. dredbig said: [...] I has a smaller foot print[...]

BTW, i saw a deal on a nice 4-bay NAS, ~ $300. If i'll see it again i'll post link here.



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