NAS update #2

I got FreeNAS up and running without too much work started to transfer some files to the new share I created. The transfer speed was around 9MB/s, which I thought was kind of slow considering that this was through a gigabit lan. I was reading online about speeds and it looks like FreeNAS speeds are quite a bit slower than some other options such as unRAID. unRAID is a linux based NAS where they have a stripped-down free version and a pro pay version. It sounds like unRAID is popular with the HD / AV crowd because its speed allows for the streaming of HD over the network. Another interesting thing about unRAID is that it has it’s own software array/parity scheme which works kind of like RAID 5 but allows you to use different hard drives of various sizes. The drives just keep adding to the array.

I decided to download unRAID and give it a go. Sure enough within 5 minutes I had it up and running too. My test transfers had the same speed as FreeNAS which surprised me. Then I realized that the LAN on the NAS is only 10/100mb/s. I’m going to pick up a gigabit lan card tomorrow and try it again. The other thing I need to decide/finalize is what I want to do with backups. There are many options including:
1. backup data only or OS (windows drive) and data
2. daily incremental backups on separate disk in case of data loss
3. RAID 1 or other mirror/parity for redundancy (but not archival)
4. periodic offsite storage (example, 3 month archival)

Some of the above are best achieved with JBOD or unRAID without redudancy or parity. Some are best achieved with full redundancy or parity. When I think to the past, I’ve used backups primarily in the case that some file or email got lost or maybe corrupted. RAID 1 or parity wouldn’t have helped this. Another thing I wonder about is if I have full recent backups then what does RAID 1 or parity really give me?

Perhaps the best thing would be some type of backup and RAID/parity combination. 1/2 of my data doesn’t need backup but redudancy would be good (I guess backup would work too), while the other half of data might be better suited to some backup and archiving scheme.

I need to really decide if I want RAID or redundancy or not. the other thing I’m looking into is the best way to do offsite backups. I can use a removable harddrive for this, or I can use an online service like Mozys. Another option is to implement my own scheduled incremental backup and upload, where I can upload the data to an offsite server. My current web host only allows 1GB though. However, I found a new web host that offers a lot more: Bluehost. With 1500gb of web space I could easily manage my own offsite/internet backup with FreeNAS, and it wont’ cost any more than my current hosting plan.

2 comments on “NAS update #2

  1. Sluggo, why don’t you just invent a quantum drive and be done with it. You’re an engineer, right? It might also make you some money.

  2. I wish it were that easy. As it is, the internet is taking up all of my spare time. I should have listened to you when you told me back in the 90’s to sell it. Between that, the kids, and fusion I really don’t have any time to myself these days. Such is life…

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