Q: Low idle power home server/NAS

arglebargle

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Jul 15, 2018
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yeah, but your own list of desirable features include a need to support multiple 2.5" disks. How does using a RasPi fit in this case? I mean, a Helios4 might make sense, but this is a hobbyist board with a few USB ports (and no native SATA or SAS interface). Are you planning to slap the drives into USB2 enclosures and softRAID between them?
I actually have the perfect board for this, I've been testing one myself as a <$100 5x1GbE router with an intel I350-T4.

They've got a pre-built case for it but if I were using as a NAS I'd probably just use a SAS HBA with as many drives as I felt like hanging off of it and make the case myself.

Support for this board is way early, software is still very much alpha and I'm having trouble getting it to recognize my 10GbE or Infiniband cards, but there's a *lot* of potential here for <$100.
 

kapone

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May 23, 2015
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While I applaud the effort to shoot for RPi type of systems, that go under 5w idle...that's a bit of a misnomer. Why? The title of the thread says 'NAS". Even if the board was super super super (add a few more ;)) low power, in the end, you're adding HDDs to it. And probably big ones, in terms of capacity.

Once you do that...that super super super (did I mention, add a few more?) low power board is trumped by the power consumed by the HDDs (even in spin down), fans to cool them, a bigger power supply to support the drives etc.

And even then, some of the systems that have been mentioned here (like the thin clients, but there are others) are cheaper than or almost the same price as an ARM based board (talking Ebay prices of course) with 10x the compute power, and they don't take a whole lot more power.

In a different thread somebody mentioned that an HP 8200/8300 with an i7 (that's with 4c/8T) idled at like 11 or 12w.

Is it really worth going for the absolute lowest power board, ARM or otherwise, if you have to give up a LOT of compute capacity, with not a whole lot more power consumption? If you can't afford (I'm being facetious, but seriously...) another 10 or 15 watts...there's something wrong with the bigger picture.
 

WANg

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Jun 10, 2018
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While I applaud the effort to shoot for RPi type of systems, that go under 5w idle...that's a bit of a misnomer. Why? The title of the thread says 'NAS". Even if the board was super super super (add a few more ;)) low power, in the end, you're adding HDDs to it. And probably big ones, in terms of capacity.

Once you do that...that super super super (did I mention, add a few more?) low power board is trumped by the power consumed by the HDDs (even in spin down), fans to cool them, a bigger power supply to support the drives etc.

And even then, some of the systems that have been mentioned here (like the thin clients, but there are others) are cheaper than or almost the same price as an ARM based board (talking Ebay prices of course) with 10x the compute power, and they don't take a whole lot more power.

In a different thread somebody mentioned that an HP 8200/8300 with i7 (that's with 4c/8T) idled at like 11 or 12w.

Is it really worth going for the absolute lowest power board, ARM or otherwise, if you have to give up a LOT of compute capacity, with not a whole lot more power consumption? If you can't afford (I'm being facetious, but seriously...) another 10 or 15 watts...there's something wrong with the bigger picture.
Yeah, and that's the reason why I thought the entire thread went a bit...sideways. When we are talking about NAS, I didn't think it means something that can be done with, say, the equivalent of a Sheevaplug or Pogoplug. If the whole point was to serve up files in an acceptable fashion while penny-pinching on the electric bill, you can't do any better than the $15 ZSun with its 500mA draw off a bog-standard USB port running OpenWRT via a 64GB MicroSDXC cand serving via Samba. Hell, you can run 3 of them off a wireless network - one as a load balancer and the other 2 as redundancy/high availability - just set them up to rsync each other on every file change, three of those things will only use a combined 7.5 watts flat-out. Amuse friends, frighten enemies, hide your network storage devices where no one can find them. Oh yeah. And you can totally hang a USB external SSD drive off a modern DD-WRT capable router and it'll do just fine serving files up.

Seriously, I thought there were some minimal expectations on the original post as to features like running the storage off a RAID array or something like that.
 
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Evan

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Jan 6, 2016
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Synology DS218+, Idles less than 10 Watts with a couple of 8tb+ hard disks installed. If you just want bulk storage at low power it’s hard to beat !
 

WANg

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Jun 10, 2018
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Synology DS218+, Idles less than 10 Watts with a couple of 8tb+ hard disks installed. If you just want bulk storage at low power it’s hard to beat !
DS218+, as in...2 drives? Well, it better be a RAID1 setup then.
 

Evan

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Jan 6, 2016
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DS218+, as in...2 drives? Well, it better be a RAID1 setup then.
Sure yes, but DS918+ is also less than 15w idle, still when you get to 15w and not just 6w or 7w then may as well run a sever board and get heaps more functionality.
 

WANg

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Jun 10, 2018
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Sure yes, but DS918+ is also less than 15w idle, still when you get to 15w and not just 6w or 7w then may as well run a sever board and get heaps more functionality.
Oh yeah, I totally and respectfully agree with that. A purpose-built server board/chassis with the right port types (the Synology or even something from iXSystems) will work much better since it's specifically designed to do what it is meant to do (serve files, manage RAID parity calcs). There's power sipping, and then there's having the firepower to do things when needed.
 
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Evan

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Jan 6, 2016
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Oh yeah, I totally and respectfully agree with that. A purpose-built server board/chassis with the right port types (the Synology or even something from iXSystems) will work much better since it's specifically designed to do what it is meant to do (serve files, manage RAID parity calcs). There's power sipping, and then there's having the firepower to do things when needed.
Look at the synology specs, the 2 bay is power sipping for what it is, the 4 bay not so much, may as well make your own from a power point of view, the form factor is nice though.
J3455 @ 13w idle is about normal, no magic happening there.

Anyway just saying if NAS is the main objective some good low power off the shelf options.

C3955 (16-core, 64-128gb ram) can idle at 25w and run a good amount of other workload.
 

BlackHole

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Jul 21, 2018
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While I applaud the effort to shoot for RPi type of systems, that go under 5w idle...that's a bit of a misnomer. Why? The title of the thread says 'NAS".
There seems to be some confusion going on here.
The suggestion was made to have a two-tier setup. The RasPi is supposed to run the stuff that really needs to run 24/7 - and fire up a proper system on-demand, on-time or whatever I can automate.
Details: see above.
slap the OS on the SSD ...putting /var/log in ram and flushing to disk periodically (Google "log2ram",) ...I'm an experienced user though, I've been working with these arm boards for 3-4 years now, and I definitely think starting with an RPi is a good idea for someone new to the ecosystem.
Thanks for sharing your experience. I'll look into all these things once I have a system and had a first go at it. This is going to be my 2nd experience with Linux on Arm, but my 1st was god-awful, so I am quite wary. If "Write boot medium. insert. fire up, install and configure" fails the project's dead and the RasPi will be sold the next day. Sorry, but my patience with the Arm eco-nonsystem in general and Linux on Arm especially has run out 7 years ago. /rant
 

arglebargle

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Jul 15, 2018
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Thanks for sharing your experience. I'll look into all these things once I have a system and had a first go at it. This is going to be my 2nd experience with Linux on Arm, but my 1st was god-awful, so I am quite wary. If "Write boot medium. insert. fire up, install and configure" fails the project's dead and the RasPi will be sold the next day. Sorry, but my patience with the Arm eco-nonsystem in general and Linux on Arm especially has run out 7 years ago. /rant
Don't get me wrong, I'm not trying to push you to use a system you're not interested in -- I saw that you'd already committed and thought I'd throw a few bits of hard-earned experience out there. The reliability and ease of use of a lot of these systems has really improved over the last few years, I hope you'll be pleasantly surprised.

Good luck with the board when it arrives, I'm happy to answer any questions if things aren't working as expected.