Personal Data Storage 2011

The last time I spent much time on personal data storage was over 2 years ago. Since then, all my NASes and most of my disks have actually been themselves in storage.

While I’ve been nomadic, I’ve mostly been haphazardly filling up 2TB 3.5″ external disks and various 2.5″ portable disks. Lots of these are dupes however, so now that I’m a bit more settled, I’ll be trying to bring these in line.

To that end, I’m building a new storage filer, and potentially will build a second as a backup if it works well. I’ve decided to take the ZFS plunge so I’ll probably be running FreeNAS which has ZFS support and is USB stick friendly. Here’s what I picked up last night:

  • Patroit Xporter XT Boost 16GB Flash Drive – the 8GB is potentially faster, but price/MB is better on the 16GB. (the XT Rage is a bit faster than the Boost, but the casing can block other USB ports). There may be a 5th SATA port I can use with the included HD, but I’ll probably pull that and boot off of USB anyway, save some power.
  • HP ProLiant N36L MicroServer – this seems to be the best solution right now for a build-your-own NAS. It’s <$400, it's much faster than an Atom solution with about the same power consumption; supports 4 drives, sadly no hotswap. It’s actually about $50 cheaper at Newegg, but if you’re in CA, tax and shipping make it a wash w/ Amazon
  • 4 x WD 2TB Caviar Green WD20EARS drives – these drives are cool, quiet, and fast enough. I’ve been using them for years and haven’t had any problems. There was just a crazy $20/drive rebate that apparently I just missed, but jeez, $85 for 2TB? Just remind yourself how much that would have cost even 5 years ago.
  • 4GB 1333MHz DDR3 Non-ECC CL9 DIMM (Kit of 2) – HP thoughtfully includes 1GB of RAM with their MicroServer. Like the 160/250GB hard drive… it’s marginally useful. The server maxes out at 8GB, but 4GB for $44 is a pretty reasonable price. ZFS apparently really likes memory for cache, but lets get real. We’re not doing much mission critical work here.

I’ll post an update once everything’s up and running, including final kill-a-watt numbers.