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[Discuss] Home NAS redux

Mark Woodward wrote:
> I sort of like having a web interface to the DLINK-321, are there any
> similar projects for Linux?

Not a lot of choices:

Openfiler (CentOS based)
NASLite (commercial)

though there are a pile of "small business servers" that typically stick
a proprietary web GUI on top of Linux and provide a bunch of services,
like mail and storage. For example: ClearOS (formerly named
ClarkConnect; CentOS based) or
Amahi Home Server (a bit different in
that it provides an "app store" of services you can install on Fedora or
Ubuntu; claims to be fully open source).

I'm not aware of a FreeNAS/Openfiler equivalent built on Debian or
derived distribution, though you can always roll your own with a stock
Debian and Webmin.

Also in the FreeBSD camp is NAS4Free (, and
there are a few based on Solaris (Nexenta, OpenSMT).

> I've used the Linux software raid in the past with mixed results. What
> is your take on the modern iteration of the code?

In my opinion Linux software RAID works great, and I've been reliably
using it for years. I'm also of the opinion that LVM doesn't add enough
upside to justify the effort of installing it and managing it, but
you'll find lots of counter arguments for that.

The "holy grail" for a home storage server is one in which you can
largely treat as an appliance, and easily stick new disks into it to
expand storage, without compromising (long term) performance and
reliability, and without having to manually "grow" file systems, or
worse, backup and rebuild the file system.

The proprietary Drobo DAS devices came the closest to this on paper, but
they were expensive and performed poorly. Things like unRAID and
Greyhole (pooled SMB storage) attempt to address some of these needs,
but ZFS pools are probably the closest practical version available as
open source, and it still lacks a bunch of automaton to be on par with
Drobo. If Btrfs has matured enough to offer some of these features, then
I'd be looking more closely at it.


Tom Metro
Venture Logic, Newton, MA, USA
"Enterprise solutions through open source."
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