> DIY Solution of a HP Proliant MicroServer with FreeNAS (or similar) in this round up
It would be interesting, but it's not in the same league (IMO).
I have a MicroServer, one of the first ones with the Athlon Neo, with 3Gb RAM, 4x2Tb drives in a RAID 5 array and FreeNAS 7 on a gigabit Ethernet network.
I don't get anywhere near the throughput they got from the standalone boxes. I sometimes see 50-60Mbytes/sec writes, more often than not it's in the 30s. Disc throughput seems to be the problem, the HD access light is jammed on.
Setting my version of FreeNAS up was not a beginner job. I played with it in a VM first to get it right, but you had to set several objects up in the right sequence or you got nothing.
You can't upgrade FreeNAS, it's a nuke it and start again job. You might be able to import the array into the new version, but it might not work. If it doesn't your data's gone, hence mine is still on the old version.
You can't expand the volumes if you fill it up, by replacing the discs with bigger ones. I've not had a disc die on me yet, but I doubt it's as simple as throwing a new one in and letting it sort itself out.
If I was starting from scratch again now I'd buy a stand-alone NAS - probably a ReadyNAS 104. But it was cheap (cashback on the server, and the discs were bought before the factories flooded) and it does what I need for now.