Concept Pure NAS project

SashaLag

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Jun 10, 2018
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oh, old memories... I did some mockup some ages ago... Based on a pico-ITX board from SECO: this one
Fans were some 100mm slim scythe and space for 2HDDs! This was the maximum amount supported by this small board which also have 2 Gigabit port and a SD card slot for the operating system! Texture was wood, as "it looks nice on picture", but I was planning for plexiglass...



In the end... It was just a prototype as I wasn't able to source that board as a single customer...
But for sure it was fun even if... looking today... so much wasted space probably... and enorumous and excessive airflow!
 
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ermac318

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Mar 10, 2019
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This came out of a discussion on the Distro 400 thread...
I think a NAS-focused ITX case would be super awesome. Right now there are a few cases that fit this bill but they are all old (some don't even have USB3 front ports!) and generally have mediocre power supplies:
https://www.in-win.com/en/ipc-server/ms04#product_gallery
http://www.norcotek.com/product/itx-s4/
http://www.u-nas.com/xcart/home.php?cat=249
http://www.chenbro.com/en-global/products/TowerServerChassis/Mini_ITX_Server/SR301

I think an mITX case with DC-power options that's very quiet and focused on providing enough cooling would be awesome.

SuperMicro has many ITX boards with embedded CPUs or standard sockets. There are also boards from AsrockRack and a few other more interesting projects like this: https://wiki.kobol.io/

A hot-swap backplane also helps reduce the number of cables, which is important for SFF and airflow. Some backplanes can even use SFF80xx connectors to keep the number of plugs on the backplane to 1: https://www.startech.com/Cables/Dri...l-Mini-SAS-to-SATA-Reverse-Cable~SAS8087S4R50 This does affect airflow, however, unless there's sufficient holes in the backplane.
 

Thehack

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I do not think we need backplane, unless we want a hot swappable version, which can get expensive due to small scale production. A proper set of cables made specific for the application, can reduce a lot of the cable mess while being very economical. The mess is due to using atx cables which are excessively long.

The Pure XL, can be modified to hold 3 hdd as is.

The other issue is scale of production, I would need 20 guarantee buyers to do a run. This is already much lower than some of the other makers.

To power it, I can design a separate dc board to provide voltages.

Is hard mounted hdd okay? Or do people need to have isolated rubber mounts?

What about form factor? Is there preference for its size?
 
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ermac318

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Mar 10, 2019
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If drives are not hot-swappable, we're basically talking about a smaller Node 304, which is already under 20 liters. For "NAS" cases, I would think hot swap drive bays are table-stakes. All commercial NAS products (QNAP, Synology, etc) use Hot swap drives.
 

Thehack

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If drives are not hot-swappable, we're basically talking about a smaller Node 304, which is already under 20 liters. For "NAS" cases, I would think hot swap drive bays are table-stakes. All commercial NAS products (QNAP, Synology, etc) use Hot swap drives.

The node 304 is about 20L.

I just did the math. It'd be about around 5L for for a DC based NAS, 4hdd, non swapable.

Integrating hot-swappable would push the price up quite a bit. I'd have to build it around a NAS bay. Maybe, use 5.25 standard and build around it.
 

ermac318

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Mar 10, 2019
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I would imagine there would be no need to build that, plenty of them exist already. It could even be bring-your-own so people could do 2.5" drives or 3.5" drives.
Something like this is $50: https://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16816132037

But to concur with your point, at 5L and almost silent losing out on hot-swap might be worth it.

EDIT: Also, I think you asked but you can find the NAS junkies in a lot of places. Serve The Home is a great site for this, there's also DataHoarder subreddit off the top of my head.
Serve The Home actually just did a review of the mITX Supermicro AMD EPYC board: https://www.servethehome.com/supermicro-m11sdv-8ct-ln4f-review-with-amd-epyc-3201-in-mitx/

Sadly they haven't done a NAS case review in a while, probably because nothing new or good has come out recently!
 
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Thehack

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I would imagine there would be no need to build that, plenty of them exist already. It could even be bring-your-own so people could do 2.5" drives or 3.5" drives.
Something like this is $50: https://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16816132037

But to concur with your point, at 5L and almost silent losing out on hot-swap might be worth it.

I will integrate this into the Pure XL. This will help distinguish it from the other other chassis as well. It'll grow a bit in size but I think the trade off may be worth it.

I'm done for any ideas, as long as it's feasible and enough people are willing to support it.

I also have a itx tower in mind. Making a "NAS" edition also possible. The laser cut will be different but the bends will be the same. I would not need as many orders as well. Likely planned for 2020.

Correct project in focus is the Stealth. I also wonder how many HDD I can integrate. Some mental math says I can fit 4.
 
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comagoosie

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May 8, 2018
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Custom mod did a nas prototype, but I feel like one should get the U-NAS 4xx as it's a similar case and actually produced

IMO the case to beat is the Lazer3d CG7 (7L, 6 x 2.5", dual slot lp pcie (quadro p1000 for video transcoding), internal ac-dc (a la hdplex), and bracket to hold 140mm fan over a passive heatsink)

Though I'd love to see more entries into SFF NAS, and as long as it meshes with boards like supermicro's xeon d-15xx (like this) I'm happy XD
 
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smitty2k1

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Dec 3, 2016
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Hi, current ITX NAS user chiming in here. Current build is in a Node 304 (see signature).

1) 3.5" HDDs are still king if you're going for a real NAS. However, the 2.5" HDDs are coming up fast and for archiving type storage (Plex, etc.) that may be suitable. I think a SFF NAS solution should have good parity between using both 3.5" HDDs and 2.5" HDDs. I'd like to be able to switch out 3.5" HDDs for 2.5" HDDs in my Node 304, but the drive cages don't support that.
2) I'm not sure I've seen a 'normal' ITX motherboard with more than 6 SATA ports - there are definitely some specialized boards out that that can support more but they are few and far between. So aim for 6 drives?
3) I think hot swap bays are way overrated. No need.
4) Probably a niche of a niche, but having a spot to stick an internal USB drive with the OS would be nice. Some motherboards even have a type-A header built into the board, but having a USB sticking out the back is kinda dull.
5) Realistically can you power six 3.5" drives with a power solution smaller than SFX?
 
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Thehack

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Hi, current ITX NAS user chiming in here. Current build is in a Node 304 (see signature).

1) 3.5" HDDs are still king if you're going for a real NAS. However, the 2.5" HDDs are coming up fast and for archiving type storage (Plex, etc.) that may be suitable. I think a SFF NAS solution should have good parity between using both 3.5" HDDs and 2.5" HDDs. I'd like to be able to switch out 3.5" HDDs for 2.5" HDDs in my Node 304, but the drive cages don't support that.
2) I'm not sure I've seen a 'normal' ITX motherboard with more than 6 SATA ports - there are definitely some specialized boards out that that can support more but they are few and far between. So aim for 6 drives?
3) I think hot swap bays are way overrated. No need.
4) Probably a niche of a niche, but having a spot to stick an internal USB drive with the OS would be nice. Some motherboards even have a type-A header built into the board, but having a USB sticking out the back is kinda dull.
5) Realistically can you power six 3.5" drives with a power solution smaller than SFX?

Good points.

I'm thinking of 4x 3.5 and 2x 2.5 as a starting point.

The unas case is still quite big at 8+ liters but does offer hot swap.

You'll need a custom dc board to supply power to the 3.5 but it's not difficult to spec. Just an additional 5V rail.

If we can find 20 interested people it is very possible to do this. I may also look into anything available off the shelf.
 
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damex

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Aug 27, 2018
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unas is still quite huge and their power/hotswap solution could be better (it is horrible with that molex).

as a good example of small and powerful nas appliance I would recommend checking out Synology ds1819+ and ds918+.

I personally could not find anything that could beat ds1819+ with what it has to offer:
- 'server' quad core atom cpu
- 2x16gb so-dimm with ECC support
- 4x 1G ethernet
- 1x pci-e slot for either 2x10G or 2xPCIE_M2 (NVME/SATA) (probably could fit 4x nvme card... but it is quite expensive)
- 8x 3.5 hdd (HOTSWAP)
- internal flex/1u psu
- 14L

ds918+ on other hand smaller:
- 'desktop' quad core atom cpu with iGPU for transcoding
- 2x8gb so-dimm WITHOUT ECC support
- 2x 1G ethernet
- internal 2xPCIE_M2 (NVME/SATA)
- 4x 3.5 hdd (HOTSWAP)
- external power brick
- 7.4L

I am not so sure that we could compete with them (would be glad to be proven otherwise).
 
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damex

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Aug 27, 2018
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Good points.

I'm thinking of 4x 3.5 and 2x 2.5 as a starting point.

The unas case is still quite big at 8+ liters but does offer hot swap.

You'll need a custom dc board to supply power to the 3.5 but it's not difficult to spec. Just an additional 5V rail.

If we can find 20 interested people it is very possible to do this. I may also look into anything available off the shelf.

how about pure 2.5 hdd NAS? with hot swap please :)
 

Thehack

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You're right that it be hard to compete with the synology.

Chassis: 120
Mobo:100
Pentium/celeron/200ge: 50
4gb: 35
PSU: 90

You're already at $400, only 50 short of the synology.

Perhaps like you said, a pure 2.5 based solution, maybe using the 5.25 format.

Though going with a custom solution does allow you to bring your own hardware. Perhaps some people prefer using an i7 to do transcoding work in addition to running a NAS.

The issue with hotswap is you need a high number of minimum order if you want it to be custom.
 

ermac318

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Mar 10, 2019
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how about pure 2.5 hdd NAS? with hot swap please :)
This already exists as a case, check out the Silverstone CS01-HS. It is 14 liters but it's tall with top loading drives.

You're right that it be hard to compete with the synology.
The Synology is a garbage atom CPU that won't do much Plex transcoding or run any VMs. As you said later, the advantage is bringing your own hardware and especially software. I don't want to use off-the-shelf NAS software (especially the ones with software RAID) because it stuff goes south it's hard to fix. I've been running this HP MicroServer for the last 5 years, it's also 14L in size but I can roll my own OS and PCIe cards. But I'm looking to go Xeon D, and while the SuperMicro chassis is tempting, it's big and pricey and not passive from a PSU standpoint. But that's currently where I'm leaning. It, also, is 14 liters.
 

damex

Caliper Novice
Aug 27, 2018
30
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You're right that it be hard to compete with the synology.

Chassis: 120
Mobo:100
Pentium/celeron/200ge: 50
4gb: 35
PSU: 90

You're already at $400, only 50 short of the synology.

Perhaps like you said, a pure 2.5 based solution, maybe using the 5.25 format.

Though going with a custom solution does allow you to bring your own hardware. Perhaps some people prefer using an i7 to do transcoding work in addition to running a NAS.

The issue with hotswap is you need a high number of minimum order if you want it to be custom.

I would love to get 2.5 inch based NAS and bring hardware of my choice.
it would be much better if mounted 2.5 drives (not hot swappable) could be taken out without unmounting the rest of the drives.

how high is the minimum order number would be?

7mm is the height of modern 2.5 2T drives, there 4-5T drives available that have 15mm height.

thoughts:

if we look at desktop hardware + some good controller on top, maybe we can take mITX board with pci-e controller like LSI 9280 via raiser (to lie on motherboard)/on top of m2 drive as they regularly mounted next to pci-e slot or find some board with lots of SATA connectors.

probably maximum sane amount of drives to accommodate is 8. it is from from LSI 9280-8i + we have whatever is motherboard offers.

if we look at the server grade hardware, https://www.supermicro.com/products/motherboard/ATOM/ something like this should fit. mITX and 12 SATA ports + whatever we could/want to utilize fitting reiser + external controller like 9280 inside.

I think it is good idea to make a case:
- with size of mITX board + picoPSU on one side
- with mounts for 2.5 hdds at the side.
- side with mounts for 2.5 hdds has to be built around height of 40MM Noctua fans to blow through 2.5 hdds.
- 2.5 hdd mounts would have place to either mount 15mm drive to have enough to accommodate two 7mm drives instead.

sorry if I am going way too far with that one, seems like it is touching sensitive subject for me - personal storage. can't just pass by :)
 

Thehack

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If we go custom, we can do 8 2.5 ssd.

I expect the chassis to be around $120. You'll also need a pcb to provide power to all of them, which will cost $35. The pcb is cheap, but the R&D to customize one will be high due to such a niche use.

With all this good feedback, I think I will go back and integrate into the Pure XL chassis. It can will be able to do 8x 2.5 or 4x 3.5 likely. Size will be around 5L, much smaller.

It can be a "NAS" edition with the extra pcb.
 

nox

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Feb 10, 2017
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just to chime in my 3 cents - i'm trying to find something that's basically a nuc that can take 4 x 2.5 hdd...

Have actually been considering an s4 and using the traditional cpu area for some 2.5" disks...
 

wirdo

Chassis Packer
Apr 27, 2019
19
4
I would love to get 2.5 inch based NAS and bring hardware of my choice.
it would be much better if mounted 2.5 drives (not hot swappable) could be taken out without unmounting the rest of the drives.

how high is the minimum order number would be?

7mm is the height of modern 2.5 2T drives, there 4-5T drives available that have 15mm height.

thoughts:

if we look at desktop hardware + some good controller on top, maybe we can take mITX board with pci-e controller like LSI 9280 via raiser (to lie on motherboard)/on top of m2 drive as they regularly mounted next to pci-e slot or find some board with lots of SATA connectors.

probably maximum sane amount of drives to accommodate is 8. it is from from LSI 9280-8i + we have whatever is motherboard offers.

if we look at the server grade hardware, https://www.supermicro.com/products/motherboard/ATOM/ something like this should fit. mITX and 12 SATA ports + whatever we could/want to utilize fitting reiser + external controller like 9280 inside.

I think it is good idea to make a case:
- with size of mITX board + picoPSU on one side
- with mounts for 2.5 hdds at the side.
- side with mounts for 2.5 hdds has to be built around height of 40MM Noctua fans to blow through 2.5 hdds.
- 2.5 hdd mounts would have place to either mount 15mm drive to have enough to accommodate two 7mm drives instead.

sorry if I am going way too far with that one, seems like it is touching sensitive subject for me - personal storage. can't just pass by :)
The thing with 2.5 inch disks is the limitation in disk size. There is only one brand (which i personally like to avoid) that offers 5TB which is Seagate.
Those disks are also only 5400RPM in case that matters.
The next brand in line (WD) has 2TB max.

In my opinion a NAS should have the option to have lots of space.
When going to 3.5 inch a pico-psu might not be an option since it would exceed the power draw at spin up.
 

ermac318

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When going to 3.5 inch a pico-psu might not be an option since it would exceed the power draw at spin up.
I've done some research and things like the Dynamo 360 or HDPlex do have enough 5V power to run plenty of 3.5" drives. The PicoPSU might not, but there are now things like the HDPlex 200 which do 10A bust 7A sustained on the 5V rail, which should be enough for lots of 3.5" drives since they use 12V for the motor circuitry and 5V for the circuit board, which means the most power hungry part is on the 12V rail which generally has a lot more juice in these DC-DC board scenarios.