For those of you who have been following along in my tech trials and tribulations, we've had a bunch of equipment failures on our main home system. Two failed external hard drives, a failed ethernet switch, a wonky DVD burner... It's not been good.
I looked a bit at setting up a little PC with linux, a bunch of SATA interfaces and a bunch of drives to build a network storage subsystem. Then I came to my senses. I'm not that sort of hardware wizard anymore.
I started looking at appliances.
Buffalo had an iffy reputation when it came to supporting their Terastation product line. Fine as long as it's working, crap as soon as anything goes wrong.
Linksys, like all their products, had nice options for open-source firmware. Their NSS Series storage arrays weren't set up for home use (unless your home has a racking system), and they didn't do well in the reviews.
I'm not even going to talk about Windows Home Server.
The NAS review sites had two vendors that everyone had really nice things to say about: Thecus and Infrant. Well, it was Infrant, but now Infrant is a Netgear.
Thecus is screaming fast, but a bit complicated. I also don't really trust anything that advertises a Celeron processor as a selling point. I just don't.
Fortunately, NetGear has pretty much slapped their brand tags on the Infrant ReadyNAS NV+ and kept the Infrant guys who made the ReadyNAS series such an interesting product.
So I went shopping around. I found an interesting Florida-based vendor, eAegis.com that had a nice, reasonably priced (well, competitively priced) bundle that included 1gb RAM and 4 1TB (yes, that's terabyte) drives. They install it, do a 48-hour burn-in test, and ship it out.
It came in yesterday.
It's a heavy little box, with a sturdy metal case. Plug it into the network, it boots and does a basic configuration. Load its management package (RAIDar, get it?) and you get a web interface to configure it the rest of the way. Not dirt-simple, but simple enough.
Once it was up, I got it copying data and media files. Lots of media files. It finished sometime this morning. This makes me happy. I've got a 4-drive X-RAID (think RAID-5 with extra smarts and automatic expandability) array that should be more stable than the single drives. It's not on the wonky Windows XP Media Center Edition, so that should be more stable too.
So now that there's media on the machine, I'm seeing if I can get the media servers working. This isn't what I bought the unit for (we don't have any media appliances, so it's not vital), but it's a bit of distraction, and a kind of fun one at that.