Quest for the NAS appliance of low power 3

Posted by Phantom Mongoose Wed, 25 Apr 2007 19:42:00 GMT

This is Part Deux of my low power appliance network quest of extra-ordinary magnitude.

You may recall from "Part Un ":partone of our grand adventure we replaced the power hungry and quite possibly mad p233 with a new firewall / router / wireless access point / low power appliance with custom firmware.

Where next does our quest lead? I tell you, dear reader, it leads to an even bigger and louder loutish brute— or brutish lout as the case may be: the file server.

Despite having 3 hard drives in it my file server has a mere 17g of space. It’s This is just barely enough space for one iMovie project from one MiniDV tape of home movies. And I have 8 tapes.

Not only that, it’s loud and power hungry. So here the goal is to replace the frankenfileserver with a NAS.

A "NAS (network attached storage) ":nas is not to be confused with a "SAN (storage area network) ":san. One is a fancy name for storage accessed across a network with network protocols and one is a fancier name which commands a heftier price — but boy does that storage look local.

So here are the decisions to be made:

  • BYOD or disk(s) included?
  • How many disks?
  • if disks > 1 then JBOD or RAID?
  • How much total storage?
  • Do we want to hack the firmware and add new features?

All this of course factors in to price. I’m trying to do this on a budget so bad-ass NASes such as the ReadyNAS NV+ are out.

So far the contenders are (in no particular order):

  • LaCie Ethernet Big Disk
    • Storage: 2 × 7200rpm 500G JBOD
    • Pros:
      • very cheap (see also cons) 1 TB.
      • does AFP.
      • Shiny.
    • Cons:
      • No fault tolerance
      • No firmware hacking community fun that I’ve found.
      • Though the list price is cheap I can’t find it in stock and the price seems to wildly fluctuate from site to site.
  • D-Link DNS-323
    • Storage: 2 x SATA BYOD
    • Pros:
      • There is a community around extending the Debian linux on this box, without even having to reflash the firmware.
      • Does Raid 0 or 1
      • Drives slide in and out without tools.
      • USB Printer port
    • Cons:
      • I’m biased against D-Link and I’m not even sure why.
      • No AFP out of the box.
  • Linksys NSLU2
    • Storage: 2x USB 2.0
    • Pros:
      • Community with tons of cool hacks and such.
    • Cons:
      • Drives must connect USB
      • Ugly. Like a slug.
  • Kurobox
    • Storage: 1x PATA BYOD
    • Pros:
      • Built by the manufacturer specifically for the hacking community, which is cool in and of itself besides the stuff possible with some linux knowledge. It’s basically a Buffalo Linkstation without a HD and with less polished firmware.
    • Cons:
      • No fault tolerance
      • For experts: manuals and menus come in Japanese (can download and install English web interface)

Still doing research, more later.