Seagate has announced an empty four-bay small business filer that you fill up with drives yourself. Seagate ones, naturally. It's the BlackArmor NAS 400 and is the same box as the NAS 420 and 440 products, which come with two and four drives installed respectively. You can stick 1 and 2TB Barracuda drives in it, but not the 3TB …
Do you get the drive carriers with the box, or are they charged for separately?
Does it support other brands of disk?
I have an opinion of Seagate disks (SATA and SCSI) that has formed gradually over the last three years through the repeated wrenching of experience.
So anyway, are other brands of disk supported? Even if they aren't supported, is there any suggestion that other brands will not work on this hardware?
I don't get it
I've never quite understood why these things cost so much. I could buy a small pc for less (particularly if I didn't need a screen, graphics card or disk drives - just mobo, CPU, PSU and hard drives).
Can anyone enlighten me?
I can't explain why they cost so much but one thing to consider is these tend to be a lot cheaper to run than a PC, especially with rising leccy costs (plus the VAT increase)
My sort of kit
Big lumps of metal, that's the look I'm after! Well done Seagate for bucking the trend!
how can you overlook the brilliant Dlink dns 323?
i have 2 of these which i love and at the time of purchase they were the lowest powered nas, simply buy 4x WD 1TB drives, slot them in the front and off you go, and yes, it supports FTP, SMB, BT, etc
and has a nice gui that tells you useful stuff like the temp and free space!
Still too much
You can assemble a much better looking system capable of up to 12 drives out of the spare bits bucket and a new case from Maplin for around 150£. 200£ if all parts are new. After that just run FreeNAS on it or plain Linux.
So once again, why should I spend money on this? I am not looking at it unless I see the price fall under what I would pay to DIY.
Looks good to me
Fits in nicely with my matt black gothic style Coolermaster tower case. The hoi polloi are welcome to the Apple-style whitewashed cowpats.
Stick a great big magnifying glass in front of it, and you can pretend it's an AS400.
Now there's stylish.
Side Mounted Drives?
I get nervous when I see side mounted drives, it could just me my experience but they seem to go bad faster than mounting them top side up. I'll stick with the Buffalo TeraStation Pro's for now I have been using their products for about 3-4 years now for backups and they have performed flawlessly.
Turn it on its side
not a big deal.
You pay for convenience
Problem with DIY is that you then have to be sure than any update / security fix etc won't brick it. Further: how well do DIY machines handle scaling the file system with replacing disks? Does your DIY have removable drives (in caddies or not)? Would you use a dedicated RAID card (add 150quid+ for a decent RAID5 card) or the crappy onboard RAID? I wouldn't want to trust to software RAID5 etc etc etc.
The advantage of a pre-built unit is that it should be tested, dependable and a time saver when setting it up. Speaking for myself: I have a ReadyNAS NV+. It has been one of my best hardware purchases in years. It is a small neat unit, exceptionally quiet, will auto-expand as I replace disks with larger capacities and any firmware updates are thoroughly tested before they are released.
So I guess it comes down to how much time do you have? If you have a weekend spare to build, configure and test a DIY solution - then all the power to you. If (on the other hand) time is limited and you just want something that works - buy a pre-built solution.
RE: You pay for convenience
Dave, you make a pretty big assumption regarding the physical build of the sub-$500 NAS boxes (probably even the more expensive ones too...) actually using a true hardware RAID controller and not just using md on random linux variant. For a 4-bay box that MSRP's for $400USD (after markup, etc.).... good luck on that having a real hardware RAID controller in it.
I kind of like the design, looks industrial and solid. Apple's minimalist chic is getting old, and looks like a poor rip-off when other companies do it. I like equipment that wouldn't look out of place in a 1970s NASA control room :)
Also, the cost is because of the limited market for these things - mostly businesses who would prefer to pay $400 for something that just works (and can be returned under warranty if it breaks) than a cobbled together $200 Linux PC that only one staff member understands.
But will it mirror?
Nice to have one of these devices but not a whole lot of good unless you can make a second NAS mirror the first. Otherwise you've just got one backup.
And I mean mirror - as in identical bloody copy - not some stuffed up compressed file on a another box that I have to rummage through to extract anything from.
But will it blen... mirror?
Don't know what your interest in mirrors is, but if it were me, I'd be more interested in decent backups (to recover from finger trouble, misbehaved apps, etc) than mirroring (to recover from failed hardware). Mirroring gets you one reliable copy of the live data. Backups get you yesterday's (or last week's, or whenever's) data for when the live data's not the right data any more.
Paris surely knows what to do with a mirror.
Is there anything out there that will allow me to treat one of the disks in the same way I do tape? I know this will remove the higher RAID options but I'm not a big fan of RAID5 anyway.
Basically, I want a NAS with at least three bays - two for day to day redundancy (mirrored) and also a third that I can remove once a week and send off-site, pop in the replacement and wait for it to sync up. I know you can do this sort of thing with a netapp filer but that's way beyond my budget.
Preferably I'd like to be able to buy about 16 extra caddies so I don't have to actually resort to a screw driver once a week. Most of these small NAS units don't seem to come with spares.
What's with ignoring the huge advantages of raidz over raid1 to 6, including bitrot protection?
That's what I want, nothing else offer the same protection.