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Old March 24, 2014, 10:41 PM
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Default USB hard drive NAS?

Here is the story:

Hard drives are failing to recover prices from pre-Thailand flood days and with recent surge of US dollar (or more like demise of Canadian dollar) internal hard drives are still quite high and it seems like it will be this way for a long time.

Since I've been keeping my eyes on price of hard drives, I noticed that it's becoming a general trend to see an external drive becoming cheaper than internal drives. It was viable to shell out the hard drive and use as a bare drive but now WD and Seagate being a greedy duopoly doesn't allow this and voids warranty.

The question is:
How viable is it to have external hard drives connected via USB 3.0 interface as a NAS? I'm not talking about one or two drives. (I checked couple of different OS to make sure I can at least mount it and it seems relatively easy enough to do in FreeNAS.)

I'm talking about 6 or more drives. I'm not looking for speed, just looking for some basic redundancy and larger volume of storage.

I think biggest thing I should worry about is how to maintain power cabling and how they are managed.

TLDR; It's cheaper to buy external hard drives, how about building a NAS out of external hard drives?

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Old March 24, 2014, 10:49 PM
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WD 4 TB was like 200 at Best buy a few weeks ago.

USB 3 external Hub, Power Bar ( Power back up better) , USB 3 on a router

Hide it in a closest.

WD live Are Nas just need RJ 45 and CAT 6
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Old March 24, 2014, 10:49 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tangrisser View Post
Here is the story:

Hard drives are failing to recover prices from pre-Thailand flood days and with recent surge of US dollar (or more like demise of Canadian dollar) internal hard drives are still quite high and it seems like it will be this way for a long time.

Since I've been keeping my eyes on price of hard drives, I noticed that it's becoming a general trend to see an external drive becoming cheaper than internal drives. It was viable to shell out the hard drive and use as a bare drive but now WD and Seagate being a greedy duopoly doesn't allow this and voids warranty.

The question is:
How viable is it to have external hard drives connected via USB 3.0 interface as a NAS? I'm not talking about one or two drives. (I checked couple of different OS to make sure I can at least mount it and it seems relatively easy enough to do in FreeNAS.)

I'm talking about 6 or more drives. I'm not looking for speed, just looking for some basic redundancy and larger volume of storage.

I think biggest thing I should worry about is how to maintain power cabling and how they are managed.

TLDR; It's cheaper to buy external hard drives, how about building a NAS out of external hard drives?

I'm putting on a flame suit on so throw flames for all you want.
Go for a NAS with larger disks. It will be cheaper and less headache in the long run.

A good NAS unit these days runs like $300.
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Old March 25, 2014, 07:19 AM
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For my home server PC, running external usb3 drives has been nothing but a headache. For any future expansion I'll be eating the extra cost and sticking to SFF-8088 to external SAS enclosures.

If external drives are cheaper to purchase I'll just shuck them and do without warranty, for a $10 difference and number of drive failures I see within the warranty period I'll still come out ahead on average.
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Old March 26, 2014, 08:41 PM
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I'm already past 6TB and closing into 8TB. I want at least 16TB.

I might just buy whole bunch from Costco and test it out.
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Old March 30, 2014, 06:05 PM
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shopRBC.com :: WD Black 2TB 7200RPM 64MB 3.5" SATA3 HDD

Looky Here ?

Reputable store I have bought lots from them.
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Old April 2, 2014, 11:02 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by enaberif View Post
Go for a NAS with larger disks. It will be cheaper and less headache in the long run.

A good NAS unit these days runs like $300.
I hear you, I already have a WHS with 9TB (4x 2TB + 1TB) and to be honest, it's been awesome until power outage killed the OS partition and simply refuses to boot into WHS.

I have been seriously contemplating if I should just go buy used server with 12 - 16 bay (not sure if price remains same as before) as the ones I've been looking at were hovering around 400 something dollars and add on the hard drives. End up with a spanking machine that has Xeon processors and tons of RAM. It also means that I will need a rack and a bigger UPS. All said and done I think my final cost break down came out to approximately 3500 dollars. (4TB @ 180 x 12)

If I went with USB solution then I can get away with using a basic system I have (Atom based) and I just need to spend couple hundred to 'upgrade' into USB 3.0. Throw in some power bars for good measure and the external hard drives themselves cost significantly less. I've seen as low as 130 for 4TB recently (sold out now.) All in all, this solution will only cost me about 2000 dollars.

Again, I'm not sure if cost saving is worth my time and effort. Really, I was hoping to know if someone has already tried because the cost difference on internal versus external IS worthwhile to consider using external hard drives. I've heard that WD external has some sort of encryption on the board to render data useless if the board ever breaks so I'm playing a bit of gamble here.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mars View Post
For my home server PC, running external usb3 drives has been nothing but a headache. For any future expansion I'll be eating the extra cost and sticking to SFF-8088 to external SAS enclosures.

If external drives are cheaper to purchase I'll just shuck them and do without warranty, for a $10 difference and number of drive failures I see within the warranty period I'll still come out ahead on average.
I also wish I had luxury of using external SAS enclosure but it's not cheap. If it was saving $10 dollars per hard drive and I had something like SAS enclosure then I probably wouldn't care like you say. The difference between external hard drives and internal drives are becoming quite significant, although you also have to look out for good deals. You are right on the warranty and comparing the average failure rate but it's just a peace of mind for me than anything else. I'm not hell bent on getting external hard drives and it would be nice to get just internal but it could turn out to be a cool proof of concept project for me. :P

I've gone through too many of these 'storage' projects actually come to fruition but hopefully I can invest time and energy to do this one.
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Old April 3, 2014, 02:37 PM
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I don't think the typical external USB HDD is designed for 24x7 usage nor for RAID. I think USB3 in itself isn't even reliable enough for such usage, especially if the drives aggressively spin down. Granted I've never looked into my USB power settings really, but all the USB3 HDDs I have spin down after a couple seconds of not being active.

Better question would be, do you really need 8TB+ of online storage? Can some of it not be moved offline instead? Then you could dump it to a couple 2-3TB USB HDDs and leave them unplugged on a shelf.
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Old April 4, 2014, 07:25 AM
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Power settings are pretty much all OS-configurable. I don't use any stock USB-enclosures in my setup, it's all 4-bay external enclosures, and sata/usb drives behave the same with regards to spin up/down. (I.e. I have them all set to aggressively spin down, so there's a delay of a couple seconds accessing any media.)

Biggest annoyance is that the 4-bay enclosures will randomly drop and require an enclosure reboot for the OS to recognize. And USB3 isn't fast enough for my liking, the enclosure/chipset combos all top out around 250 MB/s, only giving you about 60 MB/s per drive when you're running snapshots.
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