Help me build a large and inexpensive NAS

Long story short we need a very lage NAS and thanks to the Tek peeps I want to use BTRFS. It also needs to be pretty cheap (for what we're building) so I found some weird hardware and I'm not sure it'll actually work.

This LSI card I found: SAS3801E 8PORT. I don't get that it's $15. Seems too good to be true.

In my mind we can get 2 of these enclosures: Rackable Systems SGI SE3016

And then 32 drives, I'm not sure which ones to get but these Seagate 3TB drives are pretty cheap.

By my calculations that brings it to 96TB or 48TB with redundancy. Our survalence system will take up about 28TB of that and we plan on ~15TB will be needed for miscellaneous backups. The base PC will be one of our standard ~$400 builds with an i5 (possibly upgraded to xeon e3-1230) and run ubuntu server. Also an upgraded mobo with 2 pci-e x16 slots so we could upgrade to 2 LSI cards if needed.

The total budget comes to about $3500.

I'd really appreciate comments if anyone has had experience with these I've only ever built gaming PCs and much more basic servers.


I would only USE BTRFS if you are going to be running linux.

If you are running FreeNAS, go ZFS.

the only reason it's not in the Linux Kernel is because of Licensing issues.

Thanks Qain,

Definitely linux, probably ubuntu server. Have you come across an external SAS setup like this? Is it possible?


So I'm assuming that your monitoring software for the security system only runs on Linux? that's a lot of space to allocate I'm guessing they will record 24-7 to need that type of space.

What ever you do please do not use shitgate hard drives, specially in a 24/7 write usage, they will die, you will be sad. You really need an enterprise drive/high usage tested drive.

such as wd red or HGST drives

I have 2 wd red 2Tb in my nas 24/7 going on 2.5 years now and for 1.5years it was running my security system.(moved no longer have security system)

I also have a 1tb red in my teamspeak/minecraft/VM server about 2years now also 24/7.


Second the WD Reds. Have mine running in a 24/7 box and it's holding strong.

Just a word of caution: bringing in video directly onto a NAS( writing directly to the NAS) can cause video frames to drop in the video so how useful your system is going to be, unless it on a dedicated network which at this point go with a SAN, is really questionable if their is a lot of network traffic.

I was kinda' thinking the same thing which is why I mentioned the large amount of storage space, they either intend to capture everything (24/7) which is a terrible waste of resources all the way around, or have lots and lots of feeds to capture, which makes me curious about the type and usage.

No this is the backup for our security system. The NVR is actually running windows but our cameras will do one stream to it and one to this. And yes, they record 24/7 and we're keeping the data for about a month at a time.

Thanks for the insight. It's on it's own VLAN but not a hardware-dedicated network. Running the numbers there shouldn't be a scenario (in normal operation) where we'd have enough traffic to drop frames. Though, if something comes up like a broken NIC then yeah, I think we'd start dropping.