Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Private Storage

Just a little project

I just happened to be upgrading my workstation, and was left with some spare parts. I had some memory modules, an old P5 motherboard, and several AT-style enclosures.
Also, I noticed my trusty Synology Diskstation began needing some larger disks. Or maybe it was time to replace it all together? Keeping up indexing my music and photos seems to become quite a daunting task, judging by the CPU load.


It was while considering alternatives for my Synology, that I stumbled across xpenology. And, as I had the above mentioned spares, I decided to give it a try.
Log story short: I succeeded in creating an so-called "Synology XS3612xs" on a P5B, 4GB Ram, and an old 300GB Harddisk. Performance was awesome!
Unfortunalety, my P5B gave up on the battery; it kept forgetting it's BIOS settings. Replacing it did not help, so something else must have been broken. Besides, based on the blogs BYON, DIY-NAS and BBG Zuinige Server (Energy Efficient Server), I already kind of decided for a build which should be energy efficient. After all, the NAS is powered on almost 24/7.

My hardware selection

Motherboard: It should have many SATA connectors, silent, and have a Mini ATX format.
Based on Build Your Own NAS, I choose the Asus E2KM1I-DeLuxe; a complete, fanless mobo with an AMD-E2-2000 CPU, and 6 SATA6 interfaces. It can hold up to 16GB of memory in 2 slots; I used 2 of the 4 sticks I had left, totaling 8GB.
The real Synology DS3612xs gets delivered with 2GB, with an optional 4GB extra, so 8GB should be plenty. That set me back €129 - and I reused some left-overs
Case: A Fractal Design Node 304, a stylish black case with room to spare. One large, slow rotating fan. No Power Supply. Style comes with a price tag: €68
Power Supply: I opted for a Pico picoPSU-80, also because another space was a brick style PSU like used for laptops. These are quite efficient (at least the have better efficiency than an average ATX-style case with built-in PSU). Power set me back another €38
DisksI opted for 2 WB Red 3TB drives, to start with. The 304 allows 6 drives to be mounted, and that would -with current storage technology- give me a total gross storage of 30TB. Five drives (no more SATA interfaces) of 6TB each.
Using the Hybrid RAID technology, that would add up to 24TB net storage!
The drives set me back another €210.


After installing the lot, the system would not boot up. I found out I needed a Pico P4 converter cable, which was clearly stated in the mobo manual - you need to power the 4 pin molex connector, or else the system will not start. Oh well, who reads manuals?

After that, it was time to get DSM installed. Boring. Just follow the instructions (create a boot USB, dowmload and install Synology Assistant and DSM image off the Synology site), and create a volume.


Here are some results, I used CrystalDiskMark under Windows (V7, Professional, 64 bit), as it seems an accepted tool for disk benchmarks.
Here is a test using a mapped drive (Z:)
I only have a 1Gbps connection between my workstation and the storage cabinet, with a 1Gbps router in the middle, so obviously I cannot transfer more than 1Gbps, or 100MB/sec, which seems pretty much the case, here.
The network seems to be the bottleneck, not the NAS!

For comparison, same test run against a locally attached 300GB SATA2 disk running 1,5Gbps:
It seems this disk is mis aligned. Not the point; the point is that this DIY NAS outperforms locally attached store, in my case. One more test, with large files (1GB, in stead of 100MB):


Starting off with scrap basically, you can build a performance NAS that will allow you to store your photos, videos and music, as well as act a iSCSI target for your Oracle experiments.
I decided to take it one step further, and spend a whopping €238 (yes, the molex adapter cable came at another €3-something) for a machine that goes for €2200. Storage is up to you, in my configuration (Hybrid RAID, 2 disks of 3TB each, net capacity 2.7TB) it added another €210.
The mentioned price for the DS3612xs is without storage, too. Of course it has other features, like dual ports, links aggregation, etc.

No comments: