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I am looking into a NAS system and would like it to start at 14 TB and be able to scale up if needed.

I plan on running FreeNAS and using RAID-Z2. I have a budget of around US$2500.

I have been looking all over the place trying to find what I am looking for. I am not opposed to building a machine if need be, I was looking at case NORCO RPC-4020 4U Rackmount Server Chassis w/ 20 Hot-swappable SATA/SAS 6G Drive Bays - OEM.

Is it possible to get what I am looking for with the budget I have?

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3 Answers

I think $2500 is unrealistic goal. When you talk about high capacity storage you just MUST have some reliability, and you should also include a backup solution in your budget. Recovering 14 TB of data is not cheap under any circumstance. So, I would say a more appropriate budget would be in $10,000 area. I recently built a high capacity storage for my business, and I could share some experience.

In my requirements are also included future expansion, so I went for split design, that is, server and storage in separate enclosures. The budget was also limited, and here is what I did:

  • Server with hardware RAID controller - $2,000
  • 12-bay storage shelf - $1,600
  • 12 x 2 TB enterprise drives - $3,000
  • LTO-4 tape drive (I'm a bit regretting this, should go for LTO-5) - $2,000
  • 20 LTO-4 tapes - $700
  • add taxes and shipping on all this

You can check this reply for more details about this build.

Not long before this build I learned the value of backups the hard way. One of our 8 TB enclosures (QNAP TS-509-Pro) suffered a drive failure and then another drive failed during a rebuild. We did not have a backup of this drive because we thought (a) it was protected by RAID (b) this data could be recreated from other sources if necessary. The irony was that, at that particular time, we needed some data from this array to do work. I went to a data recovery company and they said that the data is completely recoverable, but it will cost me $12,000. I obviously could not afford this, and we went for plan B - recreating this data. It took us about 1 month of work to restore 60% of data, and I think, if I count my hours worth of this job, it was way above even $12,000, but I at least did not spend any cash.

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Note: If he's using ZFS (tipped of the by RAID-Z2 thing) he will definitely not want the hardware RAID controller. Otherwise this looks reasonable. –  Chris S Apr 17 '11 at 1:17
    
@Chris S: Yep, he could replace RAID card with an HBA and save ~$700-800 from server cost. –  dtoubelis Apr 17 '11 at 1:22
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2500 USD it may well be possible. I am in India, and I recently set up a Free NAS based Box with around 16 TB Raw Storage. For Scale OUT Nas, a better option might be using GlusterFS.

This is what we did. I'm providing approximate costs in USD available FOB Bangalore.

8 bay hot Swap Chassis with dual redundant power supply -- 700 USD (We picked up an expensive chassis) Intel Dual Core processor + Motherboard -- about 120 USD 8 GB RAM -- 105 USD

2TB drives each 125 USD x 8 -- 1000 USD. (These are 7200 RPM SATA)

This roughly comes to around 2000 USD. We also had invested in an extra PCI SATA card, since motherboard had only 6 SATA ports.

We are using these for a back-up server, not for NAS storage. It works like a charm. We have scheduled writes on to this NAS. And a few reads in a week.

Free NAS Software RAID has no problems. If you have more reads and writes, do use a faster processor. A Quad Core Xeon or Opteron is recommended, and thrown in extra RAM if budget permits. Its also advisable to go for Enterprise SATA drives in such cases, which would cost you around 250 USD for a 2 TB.

I have no idea how much these would cost in Canada, but they cant be way off

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$2500 might not sound like a lot for 14+Tb, but checkout out BackBlaze's Pod 2.0. they have detailed instrictions on how they build their Pods for their backup system, and in its current form, can get 135TB for about $8k. They dont use any fancy RAID Controllers, and their software layer manages all the replication and failover stuff, but it should be able to help you figure out what you should be looking at.

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Assuming your time is worth nothing and you don't mind not having anybody to rely on for support aside from yourself. Oh-- and I'm sure their software is trivial. –  Evan Anderson Feb 13 '12 at 18:47
    
...looks at several Backblaze server carcasses in office... Pretty janky... –  ewwhite Feb 13 '12 at 19:15
    
1) i never said time was free... if you want something, you should spend some time looking for a solution. 2) if the guy who asked for this is included time in his $2500 budget, then yea, there is a problem... and 3) when it comes to software, they already mention RAIDZ2 (Solaris/OpenSolaris/FreeBSD with ZFS) which will do what you need it to do... –  TiernanO Feb 13 '12 at 20:08
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