Finding the right storage solution, using a PC




In recent days, I’ve been searching around a lot for the right storage solution with my PC. I’ve a decent left-over pc (Dell inspiron 6400) and a couple of ext. HDs, so I wasn’t immediately planning to buy a separate NAS unit. As I was searching around, I noticed that there are a LOT of solution available. Many different RAID levels (hardware as well as software based), JBOD and other types of storage. Besides that, there are many managing tools and programs (OS based, separate ones like freenas etc.). So I hope you guys can help me which is the right solution for me… Here are some things I’d like to see/not to see:

  • I can’t really afford things like raid 1… raid 5 is a bit cheaper I still don’t prefer it. I’d like my hard drives only used for storage.
  • I’d like to see several hard drives in one volume. But I don’t want to lose the complete volume in the case of a failure of 1 HD. The rest of the volume should ‘survive’ (if that’s possible)
  • The used software should be easy to use and above all pretty light. I don’t have huge amounts of RAM, only 512MB.
  • I don’t need top performance, because I don’t really transfer files a lot. I mostly stream files which have a 10-20Mb bit rate.
  • I don’t really need many different added functions. Streaming is really the only thing I do… download function would be nice but only if it doesn’t limit anything else.

So, that’s about it. I hope anyone can help me with this. Thanks! :wink:



Give FreeNas a try, you will need a USB thumb drive to run the OS off of.

Laptops are a little less reliable than a desktop, but as long as the HDD’s aren’t really old then you should be all right for a while anyway :wink:

If you position the laptop ontop of something to let air get under it, kind of like a metal wire rack it will help it run cooler.


Thanks for your response!
I’ve read that FreeNas supports quite a lot of storage methods. Do you know is FreeNas also supports the thing I mentioned in my 2nd point? The thing I’m afraid of is that all data is erased in the case of one hard drive failure… (like is the case with raid 0)


Yes, it’s called an array


I would suggest reading through their FAQ and setup guide, I’m sure it will answer all your questions.


Hmm… according to the guide, FreeNAS supports Software JBOD, RAID 0, 1 and 5 configurations as well as Hardware RAID. The JBOD configuration FreeNas supports is concatenated, so it will merge the drives into a single array. I’ve searched for it the documentation, but until now I haven’t been able to find a confirmation that FreeNas can handles disks separately. Of course I could go on searching if this is true or not, but if anyone knows this a quick ‘yes’ or a ‘no’ would really come in helpful. If it turns out it doesn’t support it, I’ll probably have to look for something else…
Thanks! :slight_smile:


Post your question on the FreeNAS forum. They do expect you to have some experience about the terms you are talking about though.

If you are going with a software raid, your cpu better have enough performance though. It will gobble up some resources.

Personally i would not install raid at all and just use an external usb drive to backup all precious files. This way you are not dependant of any os or system.


Ok thanks, I will try it there.