I am tired of worrying about data loss at home. My wife is a semi pro photographer, and essentially all of our family memories are digital (and we ought to convert the ones that are not). I am planning on setting up two systems to host the disks, and run some sort of cluster file system (and then back that up to external drives, which rotate off site weekly) via iSCSI on the disks in the two systems. I run Linux, and need to support Apple OS X, and a little Windows (Windows can be ignored, as it will be used for either VMware experimentation with its own LUNs, or it can live with SMB). So it would be great if there was a Mac native client, but I can live with NFS.
The environment will also have a Mac laptop, a Linux laptop, and a large desktop, which will come and go as far as being attached to the main file system, but they will only be users, they will not contribute storage.
Hardware wise, I am fairly open, low power would be good, as these will likely be on 24/7 (unless I set up my Linksys router to send a wake on LAN packet when someone looks for them?), looking for probably a dual core Atom with an nVidia chipset, so I can have 4GB of RAM, with 2-4 SATA ports, and dual gigabit Ethernet. I plan on buying 5 disks to start (gotta figure one will die, so getting the spare, which will be tested of course, first), and it would be good to have a port (and drive slot in the case) or two free. I will have a desktop and two reasonably beefy laptops for playing with VMs and other intensive work, so I don't think a desktop CPU makes sense (tempting though). Being able to boot from a CF card would be nice.
Rather not deal with proprietary drivers, but as these will be headless (probably), it will not be an issue. I have had issues with ATI drivers causing issues with user switching and powersave/suspend (do you want Planet Penguin Racer to fly, or to not have to log out to let you wife or kids use the computer?).
I would like to reuse cases and power supplies I already have, but they are ATX (old, but not so old as to be AT), will there be issues with small MB (cases I worry about, I expect the MB will take a standard 24 pin ATX plug)?
Hardware I am considering:
ZOTAC IONITX-F-E Atom N330 1.6GHz Dual-Core Mini ITX Intel Motherboard - has 16x pci express
ZOTAC IONITX-A-U Atom N330 1.6GHz Dual-Core Mini ITX Intel Motherboard - comes with powersupply
Asus AT3N7A-I Intel Atom 330/Nvidia ION/ Mini ITX Motherboard - has a PCI slot
All have just one gigabit Ethernet port. I'd prefer the one with its own PS, the Zotac's at least have WiFi (gives some redundancy, with horrible performance).
Summary: FS that might work: Gluster seems good (anyone used it personally? How about laptops that come and go?), pNFS might work too, anything else THAT WILL JUST WORK ONCE IT IS SET UP? (to similar questions, too many people posting links to stuff that is a long way from production ready, or that doesn't have any kind of fault tolerance.)
No: Luster really wants a BIG install. xtreemfs - no redundancy, pvfs - I just don't like stuff that sits on your existing fs, GFS2 and OCFS2 - a pain from what people say here.
cool, but not there - POHMELFS, CEPH, CRFS,