A while back I started looking at building a NAS or buying a NAS appliance. My requirements were simple: it had to be rack mountable, it had to be very quiet, and I wanted it to be power efficient.
After scanning the landscape for rack mountable NAS appliances, I was stunned at the prices. The prices were astronomical and most generated ear-splitting jet engine sound levels. Expensive and loud.
Plan B was to purchase a passively-cooled motherboard and a 1U rackmount case and make my own NAS, but 1U server cases are almost always expensive and trying to figure out how many decibels a power supply will put out is nearly impossible without contacting the vendors.
I had almost given up when I saw Synology’s RackStation RS 812 NAS Appliance. Because there were so few reviews I was more than a little wary. In the end, I decided to take a chance and slapped down $612, including free shipping.
After 2 weeks with it, I can honestly say I like it. It is very quiet, works wonderfully, and I’m thinking about installing the PBX software on it to see how well it will handle it. The NAS, running full tilt, uses about 37 Watts of power.
At first, the performance was absolutely terrible. After some troubleshooting I figured out that my home made ethernet cable was bad. Once I swapped it out with a cat 6 patch cable, the NAS started to work flawlessly. No more problems.
The Synology RS 812 has 512MB DDR3 memory which cannot be upgraded. You can slap in up to four disk drives, and attach an eSata expansion bay for a grand total of eight disk drives. You can also attach an external USB drive to add even more capacity, although the NAS wants you to format the external drive.
While I purchased the NAS to be a simple NAS and Subversion server, I was pleasantly surprised to see that it can be used for so much more than just a network drive. It has a two USB connectors and supports a variety of UPSes. It can also act as a print server with a limited number of USB printers. It also has a serial console port which I will connect to my console server.
Time machine is supported out of the box. Simply create a user account, assign a quota and configure time machine of each of the macs on your network and presto. Done.
I also have it setup as a syslog server, which will email me when there is a critical or alert log message logged by any of the macs on my network. Setting up the email was painless, even to send through gmail. The only down side (if it is at all) is that because of the smtp authentication works with Google’s GMail server the email will appear to be from your account.
So far the subversion server is working wonderfully. Git over ssh, however can be sluggish. It took quite a bit of CPU when commiting to the server.