Making sense of the various NAS hardware and software solutions

This past weekend I realized I had a sufficient need at home for some type of centralized storage solution. Ideally this solution would allow me access my data from all of my machines via NFS, CIFS and iSCSI, and have some capabilities to stream music and videos across my wireless network. The number of NAS solutions I found astounded me, and I have been digging through reviews to see what is good.

During my research, I came across a slew of hardware and software solutions. The hardware solutions I added to my list came from various vendors, though I decided to scratch one large vendor (Drobo) after reading Curtis Preson’s blog post about his drobo support experience. Here are the hardware vendors that made it into my possibility list:

In addition to pre-built hardware, I also debated buying a low power system and running one of the following software NAS solutions on it:

Once I had a better feel for what was out there, I decided to pull out my notebook and write down the things that I wanted vs. needed in a NAS device. Here are the items I really wanted to have out of the box:

The synology devices seem to provide everything I’m after and then some, but the FreeNAS and openfiler projects provide a lot of flexibility that can’t be matched by the Synology (e.g., all the source is available). I’m currently leaning towards the Synology DS411J, but I may end up nixing that idea and build a small quiet machine that runs openfiler/freenas. If you have a centralized NAS device at home that meets the checklist above, please let me know in the comments.

This article was posted by Matty on 2011-01-13 13:47:00 -0400 -0400