Being alone in this one, I've managed to decide for the PC approach, mainly in spite of its expansion possibilities.
For the NAS software there's a lot where we can start from, like FreeNAS, OpenFiler, Gluster [x86 only], TurnKey, AMAHI, EuroNAS, and so on. For now I elected FreeNAS in order to do the job.
For the machine it self, here are the components I'm planning to use:
- CASE: Halfmman Vogue MicroATX 500W [33,90 €]
- MOTHERBOARD: Asus SKT1156 P7H55-M iH55 [82,00 €]
- PROCESSOR: Intel Dual Core i3 540 3.06 GHz 8kt 1156 4Mb [69,90 €]
- OS HDD: USB Drive / Unused HDD
- DATA HDD: [RAID5] 3x Western Digital SATA-2 1,5TB 64Mb Caviar Green [3x 82,90€]
- RAM: 2x 2048Mb DDR3 Kingston HyperX CL9 PC3 12800  [79,90 €]
Starting with a 500,00 € budget, this initial solution cost 514,40 €.
I would like to know your opinions.
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I would have a look at Thecus or QNAP.
This is the one I personally use: http://www.thecus.com/product.php?PROD_ID=27 but other models may be applicable to your situation.
iSCSI is a handy feature for managing the NAS.
The QNAP alternative is http://www.qnap.com/pro_detail_feature.asp?p_id=180
Both of these bring you way over your intended budget, but usually you only buy a NAS once, so they last for a long time, reducing yearly depreciation cost. Like a good tripod lasts several cameras and that is why a € 2 K+ tripod is usually not over doing it.
In did, this would make my day in a matter of speech! However, I don't think it will be possible to work with that kind of prices!
For my kind of budget, have you ever tested/used the FreeNAS alternative? What HDD configuration would you use?
In the Thecus I use 7 x 7200.12 Seagate 1.5 TB disks in raid5. If you go back a long time in history, you may find posts by me about the lousy Seagate quality, because originally this NAS was shipped with the 7200.11 disks and within months 5 out of 7 failed. Since then all the disks were replaced with 7200.12's and they work reliably.
I have never tested FreeNAS, because I have had the Thecus as my first NAS for years.
I would definitely use a parity raid with hot-swappable bays and connected to a solid UPS and iSCSI. That already limits your choices quite a bit. I only found 7 products: