FreeNAS Dream.

December 8, 2007

So since December 4th, I’ve managed to clear out three 250 GB drives. I’ve set them up in a box running FreeNAS. It’s working very well. This may sound stupid, but it’s more like the servers that I use at work than using a USB drive. Is that possible? I mean other NAS or external drives I’ve used seem to get bogged down when multiple users are sending files to them. FreeNAS still has an input/output performance range, it just seems to handle use by multiple computers better.

With the three drives, I ended up with 415 GB of usable space. Moreover, it was a blast to put it together. It was fully as much fun as building PCs. The concept now is that I need to be choosy about what data I should put on it because (in theory) the data on this drive should be the safest place in the house. This should be where the best data resides. I also want to go paperless in my home office. That’s going to create a lot more data.

It’s actually exciting. About a year and a half ago, I wrote about Gordon Bell and his attempts to digitize his life. While I have no intention of going as far as he has, I do want to put all of my data into one safe location. Right now, it’s spread out across many computers and duplicated on many drives. This sort of chaos organization is actually pretty good for preserving the data because the hard drives don’t get used much. However, it’s completely useless for keeping track of what you have.

As a side issue, I’ve discovered that my kids have an interest in watching TiVo shows on their computers. The server is ideal for sharing that content.

I see this FreeNAS server as the first build of many, many servers in the future. I still want a Drobo, but my experience with FreeNAS has been so positive that I’ve got a lot more to do with that first. I have plenty of old computers and hard drives. The cost of building a 4 TB Drobo is $400-500 for the unit and then probably $800 for the four 1 TB drives. I *might* be limited to 3 drives on a FreeNAS server but I still have extra computers so the server box is free. The cost of new drives is the same. If I can add additional controller cards and more hard drives that will be recognized by FreeNAS, it gains the advantage. Even if I built a completely new FreeNAS box, I could have *more* storage than the drobo for less money.

Stable, fast, useful NAS storage. It’s like a dream.

*****Edit*****

Sadly, it remains a dream. I’ve had unrecoverable problems (accessing folders causing reboot). I tried switching back to a more stable build, but RAID 5 in the stable build is unstable. The best I can hope for now is just a big network drive that offers no more security than anything else. Ah well, there’s always the Drobo.

*****Edit******

Don’t give up on FreeNAS.  With the addition of a RAID card, things are going much better. 

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7 Responses to “FreeNAS Dream.”


  1. but this is i feel enough for anyone using it

  2. thaed Says:

    Perhaps, but now I am obsessed with RAID 5. I do not pretend that this is rational. I am on a quest to build a RAID 5 server no matter what. I’ve got some pretty good leads on using Fedora. I am also coming to the realization that for the cost of a RAID 5 card, this project could be trivial. I’m going to blog more about this as things progress.


  3. […] even iSCSI. But how reliable is it? There are a few scary stories about lost data, for example here. Here is another […]


  4. […] even iSCSI. But how reliable is it? There are a few scary stories about lost data, for example here. Here is another […]


  5. […] even iSCSI. But how reliable is it? There are a few scary stories about lost data, for example here. Here is another […]


  6. […] even iSCSI. But how reliable is it? There are a few scary stories about lost data, for example here. Here is another […]


  7. […] even iSCSI. But how reliable is it? There are a few scary stories about lost data, for example here. Here is another […]


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