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NAS (network attached storage) devices...

Discussion in 'Computers & Technology' started by binary visions, Dec 20, 2005.

  1. binary visions

    binary visions The voice of reason

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    So.

    What's good?

    The Linksys NSLU2 seems to have a pretty big following:
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E16833124036

    ...but I don't like the fact that you need to use a web interface since the harddrives need to be readable by a linux operating system. I want something that'll be a straight NTFS, plug-and-go solution.

    The Simpletech STI-NAS looks really nice, just what I'm looking for, but I know nothing about them.
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E16822154326

    Suggestions?
     

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  2. Pau11y

    Pau11y Turbo Monkey

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    NAS = a stack of drive(s) in a box w/ a very basic OS to get it on the network so it can be accessed by everyone on the network? If this is right, then I see a good place to have something like a U320 SCSI drive(s) in a RAID for bigger environments w/ a gig-bit etho/or fiber channel interface. Is this thing for your home or work? If it's for your home, wouldn't it make more sense to just set up a file server w/ your old machine and some upgraded drives? A WinXP lite or some flavor of Linux w/ SMB...? I mean you already have the basic shell of needed equipement...?
    BTW, what's SANs (storage area network I think...)? Is this when they use every machine on said network to house a bit of the total storage so when someone access the storage, it's pulled from multiple sources?
     
  3. binary visions

    binary visions The voice of reason

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    Yes, a NAS is just a box with a basic OS and a drive.

    The reason I'm looking into it is because A) I don't have the spare parts for another computer kicking around (I trashed my old computer, it was time and I was moving across the country), and B) my space is limited, I don't really have a lot of room for another tower or desktop.

    SCSI w/ gigabit ethernet? Are you trying to bankrupt me? :p I'm looking for a simple, inexpensive drive that I can plug into my router and access from my laptop & desktop. It'll hold my MP3s and possibly some other media (TV episodes and such), and be a secondary backup for my pictures.

    This was triggered because I need a backup for my pictures. I got to thinking that I'd like to be able to reboot/work on my computer even with media streaming to the laptop. So this would kill two birds with one stone.

    A storage area network can be what you said and use standard workgroup computers to store data, but more typically, it's dedicated file hosting systems that are networked together and, as you said, all share their collective resource. The place my dad works for has a huge SAN and he said that due to the way the software and hardware prioritizes the data, it's actually just as fast to pull most files from the server as it is to pull it from your hard drive. There's some pretty impressive software that manages where the data is stored on his SAN.
     
  4. binary visions

    binary visions The voice of reason

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    The SAN, btw, actually has some pretty cool processing algorithms. Since there is redundant data across the various storage banks (for backup purposes), the software actually determines where the individual read heads are, and if they're being accessed by another program, and sends the requests to the data bank whose read head(s) are both idle and closest to the requested data.

    This is a data center for all of North America and some of the rest of the world. They can loose hundreds and hundreds of gigs worth of data (entire storage banks) and they have enough redundant data to A) rebuild the banks when they're replaced, and B) not interrupt data requests.

    I don't remember how many TB's he said it was.
     
  5. Pau11y

    Pau11y Turbo Monkey

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    Yeah, I remember talking to a classmate who worked in Level3's NOC. He was telling me about the SAN they were researching on using their fiber network (OC48 or 192 backbone...forgot which). Sounded friggin' insane! At first I didn't know what kind of technology he was talking about, but now it makes more sense.
    As for your NAS, I was kidding about the SCSI/gig-bit, altho these MSI Neo4s I'm using come w/ them onboard :D

    Did you know you can get your little hands on some 18gb Seagate Cheetahs (U320 15K rpm drives) for under $100.00 on the ebay these days w/ warranty till around 2008... A pair of these and a PCI-E RAID 0 card (this is the expensive part) will get your file access time down :D
     
  6. binary visions

    binary visions The voice of reason

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    I've got a gigabit LAN port on my main computer but a proper gigabit router is still much pricier than 10/100, and you should see the price difference between a 10/100 NAS and a gigabit NAS :eek:
     
  7. johnbryanpeters

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    All of the SAN systems we work with are nightmares. If you want to spend the rest of your life worshiping you storage, go forward with this idea.
     
  8. Pau11y

    Pau11y Turbo Monkey

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    Yeah, I got me a gig-bit etho setup here thru a gig-bit switch. The router is only a 10/100 as my bandwidth is only 1.5/768 down/up so no need to have 1000 when all I'm doing is 1.5. As for the NAS, that was why I suggested building a file server w/ the old machine. Now I understand that's not an option :p
    So those devices are only shells or do they include the HDD? If they have the HDD, maybe you can rip it out, ghost the os part onto a bigger drive and stick it back in and get a bump in capacity :D
     
  9. Pau11y

    Pau11y Turbo Monkey

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    No, I was only asking about what/how SANs are. It doesn't make sense for small environments like a home or small office. But for ppl like Level3, NSA, FBI, DOD, ect...
     
  10. binary visions

    binary visions The voice of reason

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    Hmm... Excuse my ignorance, but if you have a gigabit switch behind your 10/100 router, will it just pass traffic back and forth on the switch until it needs to go to the router? I assumed it always passed the data through the router regardless, which would limit the speed.

    No point for me either way since the only gigabit item I own is my desktop, but if my next laptop has a gigabit ethernet, it might be something to think about.

    You can buy 'em either way. As a shell, or including the drive. The Linksys unit that I posted is simply the OS part and you plug in your own USB drive, which is nice - especially since the unit runs Linux and can be hacked for additional functionality.

    The Simpletech unit has a drive, but also has two USB spots for printer sharing or USB drives.
     
  11. Pau11y

    Pau11y Turbo Monkey

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    Yeah, my switch is auto negotiating so it'll pass traffic at whatever the max speed it can (it's a Dell PowerConnect 8 prt 10/100/1000). I think you're thinking of ide setup where it defaults to the slowest speed on the chain. I'm moving 4gb dvd files between my two MSI machines in 6 mins (I think)...as fast as the HDD can spin. I get the same kind of times moving it from drive to drive w/in each system. I'll do one and post back the results once the MemTest is done (4 passes each at stock for the baseline - I'm on my last one and 3 more passes to go).
     
  12. sanjuro

    sanjuro Tube Smuggler

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    Hitachi Lightning 140TB
    Brocade Silkworm 64 port switch
    Sun F15k (fully populated with 64 cpus)

    'nuff said!
     
  13. Pau11y

    Pau11y Turbo Monkey

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    Is that for your home? Holy Crap! What's your electric bills like?
     
  14. sanjuro

    sanjuro Tube Smuggler

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    I get a little confused about this, but you should put the NAS on the same switch and the same subnet, to avoid routing.

    I am not sure why storage and the computer would need to route if you have both set this way.
     
  15. sanjuro

    sanjuro Tube Smuggler

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    I steal electricity from the neighbor...

    Seriously, I have worked on a configuration like this...
     
  16. sanjuro

    sanjuro Tube Smuggler

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    Try this one at my job in Ct:

    Storage:
    EMC Symmetrix
    Hitachi Lighting & Thunder
    IBM ESS Shark

    Servers:
    IBM Regatta Class
    Sun F10000 & F15000

    Backup:
    IBM Magstar 20 tape libraries (plural)

    The easy part: only Brocade 1gb
     
  17. Pau11y

    Pau11y Turbo Monkey

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    BV do you have a couple of subnets at home, one for you and your chic and the other for your kids so they can pull al the virus to their hearts content and it doesn't touch you? If not, I'd do what Sanj is talking about and eliminate the router from your inside net traffic, unless you have a wireless net. But in that case, you're not going to go any faster than 108mb/s anyhoo so no worries. Now wouldn't that be cool, WiFi gig-bit :D
     
  18. binary visions

    binary visions The voice of reason

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    Kids? Unless you mean my cat, I've no rugrats screaming around :D

    All I've got at the moment is my Linksys WAP54G plugged into a 4 port ethernet/2 port VoIP router. All traffic goes through the router.

    I run wireless on the laptop and have no other wired computers on the LAN, so I have zero reason to think about gigabit ethernet at the moment. All I want is a simple NAS device so that I can stream music/video off of it and backup my pictures.

    What I meant earlier was that I thought that, if you were running a set of internal IPs off a router, if you had a switch further down the line it still had to talk to the router when sending data - which, of course, would slow it down to the max speed of the router. Have never tried running a faster switch underneath my router.
     
  19. Pau11y

    Pau11y Turbo Monkey

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    Yeah, give that a go. You'll notice a difference if your router only does 10mb, especially w/ the NAS you're thinking of getting.
     
  20. binary visions

    binary visions The voice of reason

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    I think we're having trouble communicating.

    My router does 100mbps. I know that - that's not an issue. What I meant was, if I bought a gigabit switch and hooked it up behind the router, I didn't know if my data would transfer at 1000mbps - I thought all the data had to go through the router (which is max 100mbps), even if both communicating computers were plugged into the switch.
     
  21. Pau11y

    Pau11y Turbo Monkey

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    Yes it will (do 1gb/s) when the machines talk to each other. But they'll slow down when hitting the router getting to the outside world.
     
  22. narlus

    narlus Eastcoast Softcore
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    bv, a friend of mine has a buffalo tech NAS drive which he likes.
     
  23. binary visions

    binary visions The voice of reason

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  24. sanjuro

    sanjuro Tube Smuggler

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    The key here is to minimize the network hops to increase data transfer speed.

    Even in the fibrechannel world, a typical configuration would be to put your storage on the same switch as the systems accessing it. You would want to avoid going to another switch because there would be some lag.

    I would buy a 100mb switch, plug your machines and your eventual NAS into it, then plug your router into the switch. I am looking into benchmarks but I think 100mb is decent enough. The Network Appliance filers I have worked with have used 100mb with decent performance.
     
  25. sanjuro

    sanjuro Tube Smuggler

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    12.5M bit/sec. for 100baseT Ethernet, to 128M bit/sec. for Gigabit Ethernet
     
  26. binary visions

    binary visions The voice of reason

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    I think I did an extremely poor job of expressing myself :blah:

    I know generally what improves/hinders network performance etc. I just wasn't aware that machines on the same switch would communicate at the maximum speed of the switch when the router (that the switch is uplinked to) was slower than that.
     
  27. Ciaran

    Ciaran Fear my banana

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    If you can find the space I can come up with some parts for you. I am sure I have some memory and a few drives laying around.

    Personally I run a Win XP 2K PC with a simple RAID set up (mirrored... is that 0 or 1? :think: 1, I think) as my file server. The thing I really like about the RAID set up is that I don't have to worry about making back ups.
    So far I am not really needing gigabit ethernet yet. 100 full works fine fo me. I have my cable modem going into the router which then goes into a Cisco switch I borrowed from work. All PC's and the printer are connected to the switch. I stream music and video from the file server to the PCs without any issue. I used to run a domain but found that it wasn't really needed, I just have each PC remember the password when mapping the drives. Seems to work OK for me.
     
  28. sanjuro

    sanjuro Tube Smuggler

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    This is something I am weak in, but as long as everything is on the same subnet, you should be able to avoid routing.
     
  29. binary visions

    binary visions The voice of reason

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    I sincerely appreciate the offer... I think the NAS is going to be a better solution, though, especially when I factor in the low maintenance. Plus lower power consumption.

    The NAS will be my backup so I'm not to worried about RAID. I'll have my really important stuff (mostly my pictures) in a couple locations anyway.

    The only reason I'm springing for the gigabit version is that it's not much more expensive and allows that option in the future if I decide to go that way.
     
  30. H8R

    H8R Cranky Pants

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  31. Pau11y

    Pau11y Turbo Monkey

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    I have a pair of machines, each w/ a 480gb IDE RAID 5 for my music. I was thinking of running clustering service since I got my dirty little hands on a hacked copy of Win2K AS (no cd-key needed). But I don't know about leaving them on all the time so they can mirror off each other...the electric bills! Plus these are some LOUD ass server chassis, great if you like background white noise. Your NAS idea deserve a look at purely from a low power consumption standpoint ('cause I'm a cheap bastid :D)