Building a Fast, Energy Efficient NAS box – Part 3

Part 3 – Finding a disk expansion module

A key element of our new NAS project is to find a disk expansion module with the following design requirements:  linked via eSATA and using an internal SATA multiplier chip.   We also have the following hopes for this unit: elegant,  economical,  minimal power consumption, silent, reliable, high performance.

In our scenario, this unit will take on the equivalent role of the Synology DX510 expansion unit  which costs $500.   At first glance, it seemed like a tall order unlikely to find as an off the shelf unit.

As luck would have it,  a little research online shows that there are a number of such units available on the market.   The main ones I could find at Newegg are from Rosewill and from SANS DIGITAL (TowerRAID).  Continue reading

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Building a Fast, Energy Efficient NAS box – Part 2

Part 2 – Chipset Selection

For my first NAS box, I just went with what I knew.  I had built a Linux desktop based on a core2 duo Asus mobo and I just got the same hardware for my NAS because it worked well.    Times have changed,  Linux is now compatible with a wider selection of modern hardware and this project has a “energy efficiency” that influences the processor architecture selection.

My only limited experience with the all too popular Atom processor was unsatisfying (a short lived purchase of a netbook who’s anemic performance prompted a rapid return to Costco).    Yet looking at the commercial NAS offering, the vendor I looked at (Qnap/Synology) used the Atom processor for their high end boxes.

I also had very little experience considering low power consumption or what components contributed to it the most.   A little research was in order.   Continue reading

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Building a Fast, Energy Efficient NAS box

This is the first post in a series describing my latest journey into building your own Fast, Energy Efficient NAS with GREAT looks and a small price.    You can use it as a blueprint for building your own NAS or as a springboard for your own creation.    I am planning to cover the following topics:

  • Part 1 – To buy or to build?
  • Part 2 – Chipset Selection
  • Part 3 – Finding a disk expansion module
  • Finding the right case
  • Finding the right PSU
  • Full step by step software installation divided in sub-topics.
  • Configuring automated backup to/from your new NAS.

Part-I:  To Buy or to Build?

It’s actually:  “to buy, to build or to do noghing?”.    I already have a nice home brew raid5 NAS box running on ubuntu server.  I built it  on Ubuntu server 8.04 and periodically upgraded the OS to its current 10.10 incarnation.   The box has proven extremely reliable and it was a nice little project to put together.   So why rock the boat?   Three simple resaons:  It’s BIG (a nice roomy Antec Solo case).  It sucks up more power than it should (80-85W idle).  I want a live backup system.   Ahhhh and maybe a fourth reason …. I was itching to build another fun little NAS box. Continue reading

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