From: Bruce Stephens on
Daniel James <wastebasket(a)> writes:


> What's your opinion of the X-RAID thing that ReadyNAS does? It's
> attractive on the face of it ... that you can just swap in bigger
> drives, one at a time, and have the box automagically resize your
> volume to fill the smallest drive currently installed ... but is it a
> proprietary format?

Yes. I doubt the "swap in bigger disks" feature is of particular
benefit at present (I think they only support up to 1TB disks, so
you'd just buy those). And for a 2-disk thing adding an extra disk
isn't going to be a problem (if you start with one disk, then adding
another one just turns it into RAID-1, and presumably any system can
do that without losing data). For the NV+ it seems like an advantage
(they only support 3 models of 1TB disks, so I've got one of each; at
some point I'll buy another one (with any luck from a different

> What happens when the box itself fails? Can the data be read by
> anything other than another ReadyNAS box?

I doubt it. Though X-RAID is "patent pending", so maybe the patent
application gives enough information to recover the data?


> There's a lot to be said for a simple linux software RAID-1 and being
> able to use either drive in another machine if disaster strikes.

Indeed. Or RAID-5, for that matter. For a 2-disk machine with disk
prices as they are, I doubt X-RAID makes much sense.

I like the look of the ICY BOX, BTW. The reviews I could find seem
positive, and it's about half the price of the Netgear Duo. Shame
they don't do 4, 5 disk ones.

Or 3 disks, I guess---that would seem a fairly attractive option,
presuming they could work out a not too sucky way to go from 2-disk
RAID-0/1 to 3-disk RAID-5. Come to think of it, that should be easy

I wonder why the popular ones are 1, 2, 4, 5 disks? I guess it must
be market segmentation.
From: Gordon Henderson on
In article <3eA*IuBks(a)>,
Theo Markettos <theom+news(a)> wrote:
>Daniel James <wastebasket(a)> wrote:
>> I've been meaning, for some time, to provide some sort of storage
>> server for the motley collection of computers -- some Windows and some
>> linux based -- that lurk around here. The primary requirement is that
>> it be able to run headless, and that it support both samba/cfs and NFS
>> from a RAID-1 array (probably 2x750GB SATA), but it'd be nice to be
>> able to do some other things with it too.
>I've been thinking similar thoughts. I currently have an old-ish desktop PC
>doing the job (Athlon XP 2600+). As far as power consumption goes:
>Drives spundown 60W
>Idle 80W
>Peak 90-100W
>It has two 3.5" hard drives, so I'd budget 10W per drive. There's a third
>3.5" drive in a USB case.
>I'm quite surprised that this hefty great lump is actually considered
>relatively low power these days. Which is going to make beating it a bit

You think so? Check...

So that's an EK1000 motherboard with a flash-drive, (and a 4-port PSTN
interface card - this is a Linux box running asterisk) but add in 2 x
low power (sub 10W drives) and you're still under half your box...

>There's nothing to stop the drives from spinning down, but perhaps the
>software doesn't have that setting (if it's Linux you can probably get in
>and run hdparm). But I don't know whether the wear on the drives would be
>worth it.

Don't spin down until about 2 hours of idle time. You'll need to change
the ext3 mount parameters too, or use ext2.


>> up, but is there a distro that's designed to be installed and run on
>> normal PC kit that has no keyboard or monitor connected? Something that
>> will install from a LiveCD that boots with shhd support, perhaps?
>Perhaps. You could also swap out the discs to another machine and install
>from there (onto a USB case?). When I did this the only thing that broke
>was the X11 video driver - one machine had an NVidia, the other an SiS or
>something - I had to tweak xorg.conf to use the right driver (the console
>worked, but Ubuntu put X11 in 'safe' 640x480 mode).

Any distro that allows you to not install the GUI - Eg. Debian..

From: alexd on
On Sat, 16 Aug 2008 14:17:44 +0100, Daniel James wrote:

> The FreeNAS site has a lot about what FreeNAS can and can't do ... but
> it doesn't say anything about whether it's possible to add packages that
> aren't part of FreeNAS itself -- such as a version control server. Can
> that be done (without extraordinary effort)?

ISTR m0n0 has a single XML file for every aspect of system configuration,
so it's not exactly 'standard'.

<> (AIM:troffasky) (UnSoEsNpEaTm(a)
15:12:51 up 35 days, 17:49, 2 users, load average: 0.02, 0.06, 0.03
Convergence, n: The act of using separate DSL circuits for voice and data
From: Martin Gregorie on
On Fri, 15 Aug 2008 16:54:24 +0100, Daniel James wrote:

> I'm torn between opting for an easy off-the-shelf NAS solution that may
> not offer all the facilities that I'd like and setting up an actual
> server.
I've also been thinking about this too, and am leaning toward a home
built system - miniITX, RAIDED disks and bog standard Fedora. Like you,
I'd want to run a few services - DNS, Apache, Samba, NTP, Postfix and
cvs. I thought about hanging a NAS box off the back of my current server,
but that doesn't really fix the backup issue. RAID is all very well but
doesn't replace offline backups: a decent nearby lightening strike or a
house fire and all RAID plexes are toast. Current thought is to keep the
old box plugging along (with a bigger disk if necessary) and with the
current offline backup (rsync to a USB drive).

In due course this will be replaced by laptop technology - say a dual
core miniITX board and either 'enterprise' 2.5" disks or 3.5" low power
disks. I'd retain the current offline backup strategy.

> 2. Small format PC -- new build, mini-ITX, or similar -- running either
> a standard Linux distro or (say) FreeNAS (I don't know of any support
> for NFS from Windows-based servers). I could easily set up the file
> server side, and would also be able to set up a VCS server. It wouldn't
> have the power to be much use as a distccd server, though. There's a
> nice intel ATOM 1.6GHz mini-ITX board for around £50 (including CPU)
> that I might use ... but a big problem is that there seems to be a
> dearth of small cases for this sort of setup -- and those that do exist
> are expensive.
El Reg ( recently reviewed the ATOM reference
miniITX board. They concluded that it was little better than the VIA
device and said its using old desktop support chips which mainline

As I said above, personally I'd look at using a relatively slow coreDuo
chip on a miniITX along with laptop support chips. The power consumption
isn't entirely minimised but should be a lot reduced. I'm writing this on
a Lenovo R61i (1.4 GHz coreDuo) and its power brick is rated at 65 watts,
so the miniITX equivalent in a small case is fairly good on power.

Thinking of power supplies, it seems a waste of energy to have the house
sprinkled with bricks. I have one each for ADSL modem/router, USB drive,
laptop, iPAQ. Does anybody sell multiple output bricks that could drive
two or more of these devices, saving power, space and wiring in the

martin@ | Martin Gregorie
gregorie. | Essex, UK
org |
From: Tony Houghton on
On 16 Aug 2008 14:22:19 +0100 (BST)
Theo Markettos <theom+news(a)> wrote:

> Anyone recommend an economical quick-ish desktop board/processor range that
> I might be able to find secondhand? A bit slower than my Athlon is fine,
> but not 486 territory :)

Early (2nd generation?) Athlon64s with the Winchester core were very
efficient, about 30W loaded IIRC, and they have the Cool'n'Quiet feature
so you can reduce the clock speed at idle. But have you read the Athlon
Powersaving Howto and applied it to your Athlon XP?

I'm not sure, but I got the impression VIA chipsets were more economical
than nForce. I had an nForce 4 board and had to replace the stupidly
undersized and noisy chipset cooler with a big passive Zalman heatsink,
and it ran a little on the hot side. IIRC (this is very vague) its VIA
competitors tended to have passive cooling off-the-shelf.

TH *

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