[kwlug-disc] (Home) External Storage?

L.D. Paniak ldpaniak at fourpisolutions.com
Fri Jul 31 08:22:37 EDT 2009

Hash: SHA1

If you want RAID 5, you can forget about a hacked router.  There is not
enough CPU there to do  the parity calcs.

I guess there are two options:
1) The (expensive) ready-to-go NAS boxes (Netgear ReadyNAS et al.)
For low power usage and less $$, there are the Atom home servers:


These include the MS tax.

2) A Linux box running mdadm.  This can be found conveniently in FreeNAS
distro: http://www.freenas.org/

It even looks to support iSCSI.

As for hardware, any decent post-P4 CPU should have enough punch to do
RAID 5.  I worry that older motherboards are not as quick when it comes
to SATA.  I've seen this with Asus A8N-E to M2N-E to the current models.

I'd go this route with an Atom motherboard.  The only catch is finding
one with 4 SATA ports.

unsolicited wrote:
> <meander>
> I must confess, I've never been a big fan of RAID at home.
> - herein I'm calling 'RAID' RAID 5, not striping or mirroring. i.e. 3+
> drives, preferably with an extra for hot spare. Yes, there are lots of
> other RAID levels out there.
> 'Superficially', RAID is for redundancy, uptime, and speed. I say
> superficially as the other and more immediately thought of benefits I
> expect to be self-evident.
> Redundancy seems a pretty expensive thing for home, especially, say, 3
> x 250 GB drives in one box, or 2 250GB drives in two different
> computers, sync'ing every night.
> Redundancy / uptime is certainly more important in the corporate
> environment, where all your users aren't away for long periods of the
> day - be it for sleep or work. Less so, and expensive, at home.
> Speed, well, how fast is fast enough, at home - and at what cost?
> Personally, single drives, or volume sets, have been fast enough.
> I'm still Windows XP at home. Still haven't done more than play or
> dabble with Linux, including vm's. Have used EXT3 under it,
> http://www.fs-driver.org/. I was attracted by the Linux compatibility
> (pop a drawer mounted drive in any system and get on with your day),
> and larger partition, file, and filename sizes than FAT. (Ultimately,
> though, I had to give up on it - I believe, when hammered for long
> periods of time, the driver bugs out, causing corruption, and recovery
> process irritation results.)
> To date, I've been keeping one or more large hard drives in two
> computers. Every computer in the place sync's its self-backup and all
> non-OS partitions to the master repository (=drive/partition), and the
> slave repository syncs from the master, every night. Sufficient
> redundancy and speed for me, so who needs RAID, or the expense?
> Currently, the drives are 1.5 TB, and I use robocopy. The drives are
> pretty full. Again. Oh, and by having 2 copies, I hope to recover at
> least one, should a fire or theft occur.
> I'm tired of XP's write cache failures (read ntfs corruption). It's
> time to find something else. [Yes, I've currently considered (a) a
> Linux box, (b) OpenWRT with net. storage, or something, (c) a
> 'mediasomething' {MythTV or trixbox) extension. All of those will take
> time to fully exploit, and sync's get upset with frequent resets or
> long downtimes due to the stupid operator.]
> What's a body to do?
> I'm considering a multi-bay external GB net (+ eSATA) connected
> storage device. Unfortunately, a quick look at tigerdirect.ca
> indicates a $300+-$750+ box, without drives even. Here, multi- = 3+.
> Seems silly expensive to me. Worth it / robust / reliable? [Yes, worth
> it comes down to answering "How much is your data worth to you?"]
> Concerns:
> - if it's not ntfs, and I presume it's not, compatibility issues?
> - it's never big enough forever, and making a bigger RAID = 3 x
> expensive as one or two single large drives. And the data has to go
> somewhere while you migrate! Once done ... what to do with the old
> drives?!?
> - it would seem to be nifty if it ended up also being the media
> storage for something like MythTV or a Popcorn Hour box,
> http://www.popcornhour.com/onlinestore/index.php?pluginoption=productinfo&item_id=12.
> (Yes John, I'm beginning to agree with you, after the Nth MythTV box,
> one has to wonder what their time is worth. A 'black box' starts to
> look like an attractive idea. N could = 1.)
> So, multi-bay external net connected storage. Ideas? Suggestions?
> Experiences?
> Discuss.
> </meander>
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