Due to a recent data loss scare and almost losing years worth of files, it's time I get serious about building a server. I'm looking for suggestions on the best route to take. I don't have a price point set but would like to keep it under $1,500. I need something rackmountable, RAID mirroring for up to 4-6TB, will be running Server 2012, would like to do media streaming on wired AND wireless if possible. Need guidance on what level of RAID to run, I was thinking a hybrid 5+3 for mirrored with parity. Would a hardware RAID controller be best? Power efficiency isn't a huge concern but would be nice. Should I stick with a cheaper desktop motherboard/cpu/RAM combo, or go specifically with server class parts? I know most of this is really up to cost and personal preference but any experience and advice will be highly appreciated.
I'm using NAS4Free which has RAIDZ, UPnP, iTunes(yuk!)/DAAP and samba for Windows/Mac file sharing. The base system is FreeBSD so it's not vulnerable to all the STD's that Windows attracts, although it doesn't scan by default so you might still be vulnerable on a Windows/Mac client when you access an infected file. It runs in a very old box with maybe the first 64bit CPU from AMD. It has been on 24/7 for many years now. With ZFS I don't really need a hardware RAID controller. I've found that those crappy onboard RAID solutions are pratically useless for real RAID so unless you go with one of those really expensive "true" hardware RAID controllers like Areca, LSI, HighPoint or wtvr, software raid is the best solution.
ZFS has a really neat feature wherein it can recognize duplicate files and will just make a pointer to one of the files in the file system which could save some space... if you have duplicates.
BTRFS is available in Linux but I haven't used it yet. From what I've heard about BTRFS, I'll probably make the switch when it's stable.
I've had a hankerin' for one of those SuperMicro atom server boards to use for my NAS for a while now. I don't think this thing can last forever.
The Western Digital Red series looks promising but judging from a lot of complaints at newegg they're kind of touch and go. I bought two 2TB drives and didn't have problems... yet. Hopefully they'll have the kinks worked out of next batch.
One very important thing to consider is that if your data is *very* important then you should make backups of your backups ... and maybe backups of those. For extra anality, store those backups at physically diverse locations. I have a few hard drives at friends and relatives houses and my NAS4Free does scheduled rsyncs with those! It's aweshomeshauce.
yeah... you're into server hardware now.... I suggest xeon or opteron cpus.... WD RE or reds, or segate constallations. hardware RAID card, and a wifi card... raid 5 is sufficent raid level for any enterprise solution. kepp regular backups of the array
At a push, I'd either run RAID 50 or 6.
RAID 6 will use less drives overall to achieve a similar amount of redundancy.
I just prefer RAID 6, just incase an additional drive fails during a RAID 5 rebuild.
Best case for file servers
Nice and large 4u rackmount with 24 Hotswap caddies with backplanes accepting SSF-8087 connectors.
Pairing that to an LSI MegaRAID SAS conntroller
This will allow the use of SAS and SATA drives in the chassis. Alternativley you could use 2 RAID cards.
Processor side of things. You don't really need anything beefy, but if your handling critical data you would be best with a low power Xeon (like the E3-1220) paired with ECC-DDR3 RAM.
You could use something more consumer grade as the most work is done by the RAID card anyways.
For the LAN, you can just use the onboard Gigabit port that will be on the motherboard. Or if you need more bandwidth, look on ebay for a server 4 port NIC or appropriate depending on your network infastructure.
I'm not to hot on good wireless cards atm, but look at an Wireless AC card to make it as long lasting as possible (in terms of not needing upgrading)
As for HDD's, get some WD reds for the RAID. Any additional drives can be installed into the system and run through the RAID card if you need to transfer data off of them.
Thank you for the information everyone, I'll take all this into concideration when I start piecing together the build.