[SATLUG] Recommendations for a SAMBA/NAS device?

FIRESTORM_v1 firestorm.v1 at gmail.com
Wed May 20 22:32:58 CDT 2009

Hello everyone.

I'm trying to solve a major power issue at the house and am hoping
that someone can shed some of their energy managment insight.

I've been using Zeus (my main gaming rig) as my fileserver now for a
while but am wantnig to see what I can do about cutting down on my
power usage.  Zeus is an Athlon64 running at about 3GHz with a total
of 7 drives in it and a handful of other peripherals. The problem is
that four of those drives are SATA 750GB drives and are hanging off of
a Promise FastTrack TX130 RAID controller and the array is about 2TB
and has pretty much everything on it concerning projects, documents,
code, apps, etc. and is very important to have always available.

The problem I'm wanting to solve is how can I minimize power usage but
still keep the array available?  I've pondered being able to seperate
the drive array from the machine, but I'd have to have a machine to
put it into and then I'd be back to the same problem again.

My thinking is that a low-powered machine, like an embedded system
would do it nicely, but I want to make every effort I can to insure
that the machine is as low-power as possible, and that the data on the
array is preserved. I am thinking something like the Linksys NSLU2,
but with one PCI slot instead of two USB ports, running off of flash
or a laptop HDD in a Linux environment.

I've done some research into an embedded systems and was impressed
with the Shuttle and VIA boards.  Something like that might prove
ideal but I have never used one.  I have an Artigo pico-ITX board but
it is very underpowered, I don't want to run into a similar situation
with this project.

With that in mind, I'm looking for suggestions both from a hardware
level and from a software level.

On the hardware side, I want a case that has three forward facing 5.25
drives (the SATA drive cage I have occupies three bays) and some place
to mount a laptop HDD (or if a flash drive is used, this requirement
is mitigated).

The hardware must haves:
- 10/100 Ethernet wired.  (GigE is a Nice-to-have, but not required)
- One PCI slot (PCI-64bit is not needed)
- One IDE port or Flash disk capable of a 4GB microdrive or similar
sized CF card.
- Power Supply that won't crap out on me in a year that can be easily
field-replaced and can drive all components. (No fifty thousand power
bricks and don't want another "e-machines" power supply)
- Processor that is not massively overpowered, but not horribly
underpowered either. Want to be able to run LAMP and SAMBA and support
multiple concurrent users without issue. (Believe it or not, Windows
works without issue in it's current configuration.)
- Must have adequate cooling but not sound like a jet engine.  (Don't
want it louder than a Compaq DL380 :P )

On the software side, must haves
- Linux platform, with modular installation/removal. (Like apt-get,
but recently got stung by Ubuntu so not too sure on software updates.)
- SSH, Samba, Apache, NTP
- Hardware support for the FastTrack TX430 is a _MUST_  I can't afford
another RAID card and besides, where am I going to stash a TB of data
for the conversion?

Nice-to-haves (both hardware and software)
- Really don't want another desktop or server case around the house,
something smaller is nice
- A Web-based administration console like the NSLU2 or similar.

What do you guys recommend? What are your experiences with home-NAS
solutions?  What issues did you encounter and what did you do to fix

Thanks in advance.


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