I am considering building a many Terabyte NAS and using it with my production servers to house all the websites, e-mail, data, etc.

What is ideal? a Buffalo Station? A PC running FreeNAS and drives in that? I want something quiet. I have a Buffalo Station that I use now as a backup drive and I am happy with it.

Can one say mount /var/html/www from a NAS to a linux box and have it get its websites from that? What about multiple web servers doing the same thing with different /var/www/html directories?


Ideal is an odd word really - it depends on your requirements, these being;

  • Minimum and maximum disks the array is going to need to house
  • Whether you want a turn-key self-managed system or you want a PC/OS-based system
  • How important performance is
  • Number and type of RAID levels available
  • Physical concerns (rack or tower, power/heat/sound)
  • Need for hot-plug capability
  • Protocols supported/required (FC/FCoE, iSCSI, NFS, SMB, HTTP etc.)
  • Link speeds (1Gbps, 4/8/10Gbps)
  • Resilience (dual controllers, PSUs, sync/snap to secondary devices etc.)
  • Management interfaces, alerting capabilities etc.
  • Cost (initial, ongoing, licences, maintainance)

I've probably missed off a few other requirements but you can see that you need to define these before you can look at what products are available. If all you care about is price that will impact resilience and expandability, if you only care about performance then it's going to be expensive etc.

If you can define your requirements better then I'm sure we can help you find a range of options.

  • @Chopper3 - Well, sound is important as this is going in a home office where I host a few things. Speed is important. Scalability is important. I think I want to start with 4 or 6 tb. I have a tower case that can hold 8 drives, 550watt power and has an athlon dual core with 4gb ram already. I can put a gigabit NIC in it too. – J. T. Oct 28 '09 at 11:43
  • You say speed is important but can you give some min/max details - i.e. do you need multiple 10Gbps FCoE links or do you mean you want it to keep up with a 1Gbps SMB link etc.? I just you to detail you min/max figures for those areas I've mentioned above if you can please. Just use it as a template. – Chopper3 Oct 28 '09 at 12:03
  • @Chopper3 - 1Gbps is fine – J. T. Oct 28 '09 at 12:31
  • ok, how many disks to start with, how many max? which protocols? do you want an all-in-one box or a PC/OS-based one etc. – Chopper3 Oct 28 '09 at 12:43
  • @Chopper3 - I think I can start with 4 x 1tb at least. all-in-one boxes seem far expensive for what I can build a PC/OS based solution for. – J. T. Oct 28 '09 at 13:16

Openfiler FTW! (..athough FreeNAS is probably just as good, i havent had the chance yet).


Pretty stable, although i've had a kernel panic on NFS, and has a great interface (all web browser based).

  • That would be my preferred option too - I did a comparison of FreeNAS vs. OpenFiler a while ago, and OF fits our needs best. You've already said so, so I'll just +1 you instead. – RainyRat Oct 28 '09 at 16:21

I use FreeNAS and it is quite good.

Prior to using Freenas I purchased Nas Lite which was supposed to be a lot better and I knew guys that use it and rated it. However the version that I purchased at the time was didnt support my Gigabit NICS so it was out of the question.

The interface was a lot better on the Nas Lite. The price is quite cheap to its under $40 US i think.

With Freenas you can set up NAS storage or you can set up http ftp and CIFS SMB and others too. I have it turned on all day everyday and have restarted it maybe 5 times in the last year (only because I wanted to not because of failure).

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