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I'd like to build a Debian-based server that will take out our old Infrant ReadyNAS? I am somewhat familiar with Debian but as far as here my knowledge was limited to typical LAMP-needs.

My initial needs are:

  • Software RAID10 (that's ok, i think)
  • User Access/Level Control
  • Must be available from any computer in our LAN (OS X, Windows, Linux equally)
  • Speed gain over Infrant's solution

I'm afraid maybe the mixed environment can cause some problems (OS X especially). I've heard from FreeNAS but it's still not reached 1.0 which makes me insecure.

Is it possible to reach my goals with Debian or i am stuck with ReadyNAS?

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FreeNAS's version number does not mean it is not mature and / or good. – wzzrd Aug 17 '09 at 13:37
I didn't argued FreeNAS' quality even i tried it too but i think it's too heavy for my needs and as i followed it's development maybe put it in a real-world scenario might be risky. – fabrik Aug 17 '09 at 13:46
up vote 1 down vote accepted

If you don't run a distro like FreeNAS then you'll need to read up on Samba. It's the CIFS file and print server for *nix. It will work just fine with Windows, OSX, and Linux clients.

Its in Debian's repository so you should just be able to apt-get it. Windows is a moving target proper support for the newer versions may only be found in the newer Samba versions. So read the release notes. I know if you want proper domain support for Windows 7 and Vista clients you'll need one of the newer releases.

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Maybe i've overlooked something: Samba can really serve up OS X clients? Then what is the benefit with AFP? I'm start to get confused :o – fabrik Aug 17 '09 at 14:17
OSX comes with Samba client for windows interop. – 3dinfluence Aug 17 '09 at 14:47

Also on ServerFault: Is FreeNAS Reliable.

Given two machines, [a] and [b] serving files, where [a] is a celeron 1.3ghz with two 7200 rpm drives, and [b] is a quad core xeon with two 7200 rpm drives -- you may not see much of an overall speed difference for fileserving purposes due to the task being primarily disk bound. If your new server has faster drives, more drives, or a considerable amount of ram for disk cache -- you might see an increase.

If the drives in question are going from 40gb to 640gb, you will see a speed increase due to disk densities and such -- but generally the machine speed is irrelevant in most cases.

Going from an embedded solution (ReadyNAS) to a real 'server' should produce a considerable speed difference; but justto be sure -- run RAID 10 accross 4 drives.

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If i get you we're saying almost the same. ReadyNAS' hardware is a little bit weak and impossible to upgrade. (RAM for example) It's working with RAID5 which is secure but much slower than RAID10 if i'm right. We're continuously working with large files there are around 20 workstations. Currently a simple file operation (like copying a DVD to the server) can almost stop every other workstations. I think this is not the best we can get. – fabrik Aug 17 '09 at 13:56

Your requirements can easily be facilitated by a common file sharing configuration.

  • Create local accounts for each user.
  • Manage access using permissions.
  • Use Samba to serve your files. Windows, Linux and Mac OS X will interoperate with SAMBA shares.

If you're comfortable with performing configurations with files and reading documentation than you'll be fine. The Samba documentation is verbose and there hundreds of example configurations floating around the internet.

If you're looking for predictable release cycles, I'd encourage you to grab Ubuntu 8.04 Server Edition. It's supported until at least 2013. If you're familiar with Debiab, you're familiar with Ubuntu.

We're currently using a similar configuration in our office.

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Increasingly confident that my solution will be SAMBA. It's good because i don't like to install/maintain dozens of packages because of different file protocols. My next vague is user permissions: Typical scenario when someone with higher privileges making a change in a directory that can be R/W by everybody causing a file permission error. Lower privileged users cannot access the previously modified file/directory. This happens often even in ReadyNAS too. Of course this is another story but i'd be happy if someone can turn me in the right direction. – fabrik Aug 17 '09 at 14:27
if you have shared folders like that then there are several samba configuration options you can use to force specific permissions, owner and/or group of files and directories. see the example in my first reply in… – cas Aug 18 '09 at 5:30
You can also force permissions masks in your Samba shares. This is useful if all your users belong to the same group and you want to ensure that all files are owner and group writeable. Take a look at the create mask and directory mask options. – Tate Johnson Aug 18 '09 at 6:27

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