Small Business RAID Storage

Hey everyone,

After watching (and enjoying) the videos on YouTube for a long time, I decided to finally start asking some questions here on the forums.

So, as the title suggests, I've built my own NAS and am looking for the best software solution to run on it.
I'll give a breakdown of what I'm going to use it for and what's inside the box hardware-wise.

What do I need it for?

I'm a freelance 3D artist, so I need a lot of high-speed (relative to budget ofc) storage that's on 24/7.
I render on my small home render farm consisting of 5 computers connected over a Linksys SE2800, on which I've tested everything and am able to get up to the full 1 Gigabit speeds.

When it comes to network infrastructure, I think I'm okay at the moment, not looking to expand things too soon just yet.

What's in the box?

  • Motherboard: ASRock FM2A85X-ITX
  • CPU: AMD A4 5300 3.40 GHz
  • RAM: 1x 8GB Crucial 1600 CL11
  • Case: Fractal Design Node 304
  • PSU: Seasonic G Series 450W
  • Storage: 1x WD Red 1TB (System), 4x WD Red 3TB (RAID) 

So what am I asking?

I've been trying to order a HighPoint Rocketraid 640L (4 port RAID over PCIe) for a while, but have been having a very hard time finding one.
Then, I came across the NASferatu build guide, which suggested using FreeBSD without a hardware RAID card, letting ZFS take care of the raid. I was originally going to run CentOS with hardware raid.

What I'm worried about is... Without hardware RAID, am I not more susceptible to RAID failure because of the software dependancy? If anyone has any suggestions on what I can do with what I have, I'd love to hear them.

I have little bit of experience running Linux and I'm a fairly quick learner, but for pure command line stuff, it'd be cool if you could include a guide. :)

Anyway, sorry for the long post and thanks for taking the time to read it.




EDIT: Formatting

Yes and no. Software can fail just as much as hardware and vice versa.  You still have redudancy in RAIDZ.  YOu can also use a hardware RAID controller with FreeNAS, but you put the controller in JBOD mode (giving FreeNAS direct access to the drives).  When running FreeNAS if data security is an absolute must look at a CPU and motherboard that support ECC.  ECC RAM will make sure that only the original file is preserved (done through hashchecking).  The FreeNAS guide has tons of good links in it.

Alright, thanks for the info.

ECC RAM would require me to ugrade the mobo and cpu though, so I'll have to look into that budget-wise. (The parts have already been bought)
But it seems upgrading the 8 gigs of RAM to 16 would generally be a good idea, so that's probably a bit more doable.

I'm gonna give the guide a good read in the meantime, cheers.