What is the fastest (Gbit) NAS available?
What NAS has the best price/performance ratio?
This is for small servers / home usage
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I think ZFS is a bit overkill. Considering that building a box and doing all the manual work requires extensive knowledge and time (and $$$), I wouldn't recommend it unless that's what you want/need. It sounds like you're looking for a simple consumer-level NAS device, but I can't tell from your question what your exact needs are.
If best performance is what you want in a NAS, IMO the Netgear ReadyNAS pro (6-disks) is the way to go. It's a fantastic unit and has lots of features that are ideal for either SOHO or just the house. It comes in two flavors: business and pioneer. It's pricey ($1200 for pioneer; $1500 for pro) and probably overkill, but I find that performance wise, ReadyNAS Pro line is above the rest. You can upgrade the processor and RAM as well. Google for some reviews. There are plenty that measure it's I/O and other performance metrics. Oh, and the Pro version also supports iSCSI!
Netgear has heavily marketed the ReadyNAS (rightfully so) and there's a real solid community that backs up the device so if you have questions or need help, there's someone to contact. I'm not a huge Netgear fanboy, but this product was originally built by Infrant who I really thought put a great deal of thought into the ReadyNAS device. Netgear has equally shown its commitment to the ReadyNAS.
I'd also recommend the newer Drobo Pro, but I'm not sure how well it does in terms of performance. The Drobo is pretty flexible when it comes to disks so if versatility is something you need, maybe a Drobo would be appropriate.
Price performance ratio is much tougher question to answer seeing as you really need to clarify what you intend for the NAS to do. If you're doing just simple file sharing and media streaming, there are numerous NAS devices on the market that can easily do that for cheap. Are you using the NAS for VM storage via iSCSI? Are you storing all your media on the device? Do you want to use rsync to backup data remotely? Is this for a business or just home? How many disks to you want to use? What kind of RAID level were you looking for?
You need to be more specific with your goal and perhaps a budget and I think SF can help you out.
Performance/Price ratio.. How about a dual core atom nettop with a couple of 1T drives in a mirror. Total cost about $400. Cheaper than a Drobo, but not as 'cool'.
You don't tell us what your desired size is or what 'fast' means to you. Without more info it's difficult to make an informed recommendation
I'd look into Thecus products. We have a Thecus N5200 as our onsite backup storage target, which locally stores backups for retrieval purposes, and is blazing fast.
We're currently looking into purchasing more for use as a camera storage backup system. Either the N5200 (5 disk cube style) or an N8800 (8 disk rack mount). From what I read on the 8800, it is blazing fast as well.
The only downside to Thecus products is the interface is a little lacking in design. As far as I can tell, it was built by great people with English as their second language and more experience designing robust backend systems than easy-to-use frontends. They are very "set it and forget it" though, if you won't be messing with anything on a regular basis.
If you don't mind building the box yourself, FreeNAS is an alternative. Power of BSD with an Open Source price. FreeNAS 0.7RC1 includes ZFS support.
I've got a QNAP TS-509 Pro 5-bay NAS. Does very nicely performance-wise; dual gigabit ethernet and support for 802.3ad. Reasonably priced, too. www.qnap.com