NAS Build for Small Office

Stylin80

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Hello,

I've recently been tasked to attempt at building a NAS for a small office which has 6 PCs that will frequently access the NAS. Since I'm essentially new to the world of building a NAS, I've decided to turn to you guys for help.

The current requirements are future-proofing (Preferably hardware that will be capable of lasting >/=10 years)  , with storage requirement looking around 10TB as we deal with multiple AutoCAD files which may be uploaded to the NAS. Other smaller files such as the spreadsheets and documents will also be stored in the NAS as well. Essentially, we no longer want to store files on each individual PC and use inefficient methods of sharing the files such as folder sharing through Windows.

Any form of data processing on the NAS itself will be unlikely, however it will be required to be able to provide multiple small files simultaneously (ie. documents, spreadsheets, etc) through the network.

Here are my summarized questions:
1. What specification of a system should I build to that allows simple simultaneous file transfer over the network? (Assuming budget is below the range of 1.2K - 2 K USD (Lower is better)
2. What software/ OS will suit my needs for this NAS?
3. Redundancy - RAID 5 or 6? Or no RAID at all?
4. Are Seagate EXOS a viable option for my usage?

Explanation of each answer would be a nice bonus for me to understand further about NAS . Thanks in advance.

P.S. This NAS is probably going to be left alone in a corner collecting dust until the day it malfunctions.
 
It's fairly complicated to spec out a NAS for speed. Backup and uptime is another beast.
I'd recommend hiring a professional. Below is a guess. Stay away from raid 5 or 6. 2-3disk raid 1 striped across a pool is much better.
disks are so big now that resilvering a parity can take so long that another disk goes down. when a mirrored disk goes down you don't lose as much performance.

Xeon e3 + ECC RAM 32G+(gets very expensive very fast, optane will help), supermicro, redundant psu and ups 80+gold
raid 10 add 2disk mirrors into a striped pool. something reliable atleast 7.2k speed. raid card not needed for zfs.
2x intel optane with mirrored partitions for cache and slog20G-60G depending on size of file. not as important if your nas is on 1Gbs link. I'd recommend getting a 10Gbs link to your switch.
Run ZFS and file share on something like debian(base or maybe proxmox) or centos/red hat.

You need another NAS for backups but it doesn't need to be as fast. you need to be able to replace parts for the fast one asap. part of why hiring a professional with 24/7 service will help.
 

Stylin80

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Thanks for your prompt reply,

True that pre-made ones are much easier and straight forward, but I'm rather blocked by the higher prices of the ones that are expandable in the future and cheaper ones typically lack said feature. Nonetheless, will check out the suggested brands as I've never come across them and will update you. Thanks once again.
 

USAFRet

Titan
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I have a Qnap TS-453A.
Easy to manage, and quite feature rich.
4 x 4TB Seagate Ironwolf, RAID 5.
 

Stylin80

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Thanks for your prompt reply as well,

True, that RAID 5 and 6 will probably take forever considering the sizes of drives these day. Regarding the CPU and mobo, can you be more specific as to which one in particular? And true RAM prices are getting scary and Optane seems to be an alternative for small office use cases.

Regarding the professional service, true, that anything going south will require immediate attention which means that they would be helpful. I will consider them but as it stands I would like to see what are options should I venture down self assembling + maintaining. Thanks for your response once again..
 

Stylin80

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I've actually just started researching Qnap and I've actually immediately set my eyes on this same exact model. Mind sharing some further detailed experience with this NAS? Seems pretty interesting to me as well.
 


https://www.supermicro.com/products/motherboard/Xeon3000/#3647

This page has all the new ones that are rebranded e3s 3647 being the newest. All the new stuff has tons of room for pcie and 10Gbs network. the cpu doesn't need to be crazy for file serving. most of that line will do it. igpu will make installation easier.
If you decide to do 10G make sure you already know what switch you want so that it's the same fiber or copper.
Netgear has some nice unmanaged ones with 2 10G ports spf+ + 24 1G for $300. Buy two of those and keep one for when it dies.
 
How much working data is used at once for heavy reads/writes to NAS? Do you move an entire file over or does it save onto a share? a pro here would be able to figure this out for you. you can do what people did before engineers were available and just throw more than enough at it, eg optane and hope it works.

deciding on how to spend on the cache/slog and the speed of the disks is the tricky part. I'd recommend a small one in either case at the least. if you can get away with cheap commodity disks for mass storage it's ideal, the optane will pick up the slack.

a mirror on the L2ARC cache will help for perf/uptime but it may not be required for integrity. for the SLOG it should be mirrored, mirrored partitions on the same ssd if you can't afford two. ssds sometimes have one nand unit fail but not the others.
 

As this is for business use, be sure that you understand that RAID is not a backup. RAID is for redundancy - the NAS will continue to operate even if a HDD dies, allowing your business to continue to function while you go out to buy a replacement drive.

Files stored on RAID still need to be backed up. So you need to include enough money in your budget to buy a 10TB external HDD or RAID enclosure with enough HDDs to backup 10 TB. Preferably two or more such devices, so you can rotate between them for backups, with one being stored off-site at all times (in case the building catches fire or is burglarized). You will also need to come up with some sort of regular backup regimen, and stick to it.

e.g. HDD A is used to make daily backups for a week. HDD B is stored at your house. At the end of the week, you take HDD A home with you. First day of work the next week, you take HDD B to work, and use that to make the backups that week. At the end of the week you take HDD B home work you, and repeat the following Monday with HDD A. This way at least one backup drive is always at your home, and both drives are never at your workplace (with the NAS) at the same time. (The reason for 3 backup drives is because with 2 backups, both backups can be at your house at the same time. This creates a small window of vulnerability where you could lose both backups to your house burning down, while at the same time someone accidentally erases a critical file on the NAS. With 3 backups, one or two can be stored at work, while one or two are stored at your house.)
 

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