Raid/NAS recommendations

I'm looking for recommendations on a Network Attached Storage (NAS) device. We had an Iomega device for several years, but it started to fail and now won't even power on. While it ran, it performed well. I tried replacing it with something labeled "Purex" on the box, but there were no manufacturer markings on the device itself or on any documentation or CD. I think this was just a generic Chinese NAS that vendor could relabel. It performed horribly. It would disconnect from the LAN -- apparently under load, was slower than an attached USB drive, would fail to copy large files and more often than not fail to open large PDF files and other document. It was a disaster when the users tried it use it today.

So, what would you recommend? I'd like to have 4 drive bays and I'd like to re-use the 4 2TB drives I have as they are fine and one or two are new. I'd like at least RAID 5 capability, gigabit network connection. The iomega device would automatically send and email if there was a problem, which is nice but I can live without that. I have large backup files of 170GB, so the file system needs to hand that.

Thoughts?
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jmarkfoleyAsked:
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DavidConnect With a Mentor PresidentCommented:
If ZFS/solaris is out, then I would get a used PC server at a local used equipment dealer and just put linux on it, and use the md driver to configure a 4-way RAID1 for boot partition, then use the 2nd partition on all 4 disks to do a RAID6.  

No, I lied, I would never do this, I would go with a open flavor of Solaris & ZFS Check out a product called napp-it.  This is a  bundled appliance software that sits on top of solaris and gives you a nice pointy-clicky front end to make life easy for you.

Read more on ZFS, this is so much better, and ZFS can tolerate poor quality HDDs quite nicely.
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Rsilva98Commented:
hi,

i recomend synology products. they are easy to mange, configure and also have alot of features that you can use like AD integration and so on.

check at: synology website and choose the best model for your needs.
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DavidPresidentCommented:
www.nasreview.com is a great site that will let you find whatever meets your budgetary, features, and availability/performance constraints.  

But let me just throw this out there.  The IOMEGA is a low-end product and undoubtedly you have cheap consumer disks, so you get what you pay for.

The main differentiators are performance, reliability, and price.  Pick two ;)
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jmarkfoleyAuthor Commented:
I'm checking out your link now. The IOMEGA has 4 ST32000542AS Seagate Barracuda 2TB, which case over $200 each even at web discounters. I don't think those drives are low-end considering I can 2TB drives for under $100 nowadays. Do you think that drive is low-end?
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DavidPresidentCommented:
Well, now, but those disks used to bulk retail for $129 mid 2011.  Only reason they cost so much today is allocation. Don't let the price be an indication of quality ... at least for this disk.

Check out this link and see that it used to retail for $89 back in early 2011.

http://www.harddrivebenchmark.net/hdd.php?hdd=Seagate+ST32000542AS
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jmarkfoleyAuthor Commented:
dlethe - point taken on pricing of the ST32000542AS, however the drives aren't *that* old and at least one is new. Even at $100 per drive I'd be adding $400 to the cost of the device getting new drives. I think I feel comfortable using these drives in another device. When they start failing, I'll trash the whole lot and get newer drives. After all, RAIDs are suppose to survive a drive failure and keep on truckin' -- that's the point.

The variety out there is overwhelming, but combining info from dlethe's link and Rsilva98's recommendation of Synology, I've come up with the Synology DS412+  4 bay, 2.5" or 3.5" SATA II drives (not included) for around $600+ depending on vendor.

Does this seem reasonable? dlethe, you seem to be a bit particular, what device would you recommend in a 4x2TB RAID-5 range?
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jmarkfoleyAuthor Commented:
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DavidPresidentCommented:
Well, I would never go with RAID5 on cheap disks, I would go RAID6.  With RAID5 you can lose data if there is a bad block on any surviving disk.  I would also just get a used PC and run openindiana on it and use ZFS.  This has built-in automatic compression (at filesystem/directory level), de-duplication, hot snapshot, and much better data integrity.

With all those features you'll need fewer GB of raw storage.  In fact, you'll realistically end up with more usable data on a 4-disk RAIDZ2 (equivalent to a RAID6) then you would get with a 4-disk RAID5 and some linux based PC.  Plus you will be able to survive 2 drive failures and still have your data.
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jmarkfoleyAuthor Commented:
That Synology device does support RAID-6.

I checked out that openindiana ZFS and it does look intriguing. I have an experimental Linux box in the "lab" I think I'll try staging and experimenting, but I'd have to put some work and testing into before I'd jump into that option for a production setup.

So, excluding ZFS, if you had to pick a reliable, reasonably well performing RAID-5/6 NAS device using four 2TB drives in a 10-workstation LAN, what would you go with?
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jmarkfoleyAuthor Commented:
Thanks for the info. I think I will give the md driver on Linux a shot. I have been reading on ZFS and it does look very interesting, but as I said, I'd want to to some experimenting with that first and I don't have the leisure for that at the moment. We do use Linux in-house I am quite familiar with its setup and configuration. So, I'll do some research on that. I've posted a question on this at http://www.experts-exchange.com/OS/Linux/Q_28141441.html. I'm not really sure what you mean by "configure a 4-way RAID1 for boot partition, then use the 2nd partition on all 4 disks to do a RAID6" -- this is exactly the nature of my other post. You sound like you've done this before, so have a shot at that question.
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akahanCommented:
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