At various points in the past, both myself and friends of mine have lost their hard-drives (and all associated data). It's catastrophic, and it sucks.
I realized that since most of our pictures are now digital it would suck even worse to lose them all. So I decided that I really should invest in a backup solution.
But I wanted something more robust than one of those external usb drives. Enter: The NAS Project.
Several months ago I was doing some research and ran across the zetabyte file system, or ZFS. Holy moly! This looked like the coolest thing since the inclined plane, sliced bread, and Tivo.
Good introductory information on ZFS can be found here:
But to put it briefly, ZFS is a filesystem (filesystem: how your data is organized, written to, and retrieved from your storage media (hard drives)).
It has many, many nice features to make protecting and working with your data very easy. I would highly recommend reading the links above.
So I made up my mind -- whatever I was going to run, it would be based around ZFS. So with a bit more research, here are the requirements I developed for my NAS:
- It had to be small (my current workstation at home is HUGE). I wanted something that could be mounted under my desk or put on a bookshelf.
- It had to be able to support low power consumption.
- It would run ZFS. Recommended "requirements" to run ZFS:
- - It had to have a decent speed processor, preferably 64-bit
- - It had to have at least 2GB RAM
- The rest of the hardware needed to be Solaris/Opensolaris compatible
- Support at a bare minimum 3 storage drives (for a RAID solution) and a separate operating system drive
Hindsight Note: By far my biggest limiting factor was my first (size) requirement. I could have built this thing MUCH cheaper and more quickly if I put it in a big tower case.
Because of the size constraint I decided to base this on the mini-itx form factor. As far as I know the smaller boards (nano, pico) don't support anything but the via processors yet,
and I was looking for a relatively beefy cpu. I found what I thought would be the perfect motherboard, the KI690-AM2...
...but had a very difficult time locating a retail supplier. I was in negotiations with a hardware source, but after many email exchanges him/his company disappeared (thank goodness I hadn't ordered from him!).
Meanwhile I was also looking for cases. By far the coolest looking case in my opinion was the Chenbro ES34069 case, however I was having a difficult time finding anyone stateside that sold it.
BUT -- at some point in time, everything seemed to come together (I found a new/different motherboard, and a stateside supplier for the case). All the bits and pieces I (thought I) needed became available and I ordered the components for my NAS.
Hardware list, for those interested...
- OCZ 2GB 200-Pin DDR2 SO-DIMM DDR2 667 (PC2 5400) Laptop Memory
- SAMSUNG Spinpoint M Series HM080GC 80GB 5400 RPM ATA-6 Notebook Hard Drive
- KINAMAX ADP-IDE23 Laptop 2.5" to Desktop 3.5" IDE Hard Drive Adapter Converter
- 4 x SAMSUNG Spinpoint F1 HD753LJ 750GB 7200 RPM SATA 3.0Gb/s Hard Drives
- IEI KINO-690S1 AMD Turion 64 Mini-ITX Mainboard
- CoolerMaster EPN-41CSS-01 - Socket 479, Socket M, Socket P
- Panasonic SR-8178-B Slimline Tray-loading CD/DVD-ROM
- Slimline CD to 40 pin IDE adapter (NOTE: I ended up with two at some point... I think the case I ordered may have come with one).
- Chenbro ES34069 Mini-ITX Home Server/NAS Chassis
- 2.0GHz AMD Turion 64 X2 Mobile TL-60 FSB 1600MHz 2x512KB S1
(from Circuit City)
- ArcticSilver thermal paste
Additional things I forgot to order the first time around & ended up getting after the fact:
- 2x Low profile SATA cables (one right angle connector, one straight connector)
- 1x Long, round IDE cable
- 1x Molex Y-adaptor
- 2x Molex to double SATA adaptors
Stay tuned for part 2, "Building the *!#&@ thing"
[edited to fix layout issues]