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PostPosted: Wed May 10, 2006 7:32 pm 
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I saw another review on the same unit at Extreme Tech recently and they noted exactly the same issue. It's noisy as hell but in comparison to others on the market, the price is reasonable, and performance is very good in regards to throughput.

Bluefront
The drives aren't any hotter then you'd think. The main reason this thing is so noisy is due to an open mesh front. Basically there's absolutely nothing blocking the noise output so you get the full effect.

everyone
Remember this was designed for a small office setup first and has actually found a niche in the home recently so noise wasn't a concern when designing it, instead it was designed to provide good throughput, offer plenty of storage for a work group/small business and allow the connection of a printer or two.

Someone asked about the disk format; It's main format is Ext3 (linux) as it runs a custom version of linux. I'd actually thought about getting one of these along with an IDE/CF adapter and 256 meg card for a network workstation that booted locally but had everything else on the server as the throughput was certainly high enough.


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PostPosted: Thu May 11, 2006 12:03 am 
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drag: Very thorough indeed!

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I wonder if there was any NFS-eSATA bridge available :D. Maybe when the virtualization technology comes more mainstream we could run Linux and Windows in parallel in the same machine and have Linux route FS traffic for the Windows box..
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PostPosted: Thu May 11, 2006 3:01 am 
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wikipedia wrote:
Cable length is limited to 4.5 metres but up to 16 cables can be daisy chained yielding a total length of 72 meters under the specification.

FireWire 800 (Apple's name for the 9-pin "S800 bilingual" version of the IEEE1394b standard) was introduced commercially by Apple in 2003. This newer 1394 specification and corresponding products allow a transfer rate of 786.432 Mbit/s with backwards compatibility to the slower rates and 6-pin connectors of FireWire 400.

The full IEEE 1394b specification supports optical connections up to 100 metres in length and data rates all the way to 3.2 Gbit/s. Standard category-5 unshielded twisted pair supports 100 metres at S100, and the new p1394c technology goes all the way to S800.
seems like firewire should offer the best price/distance/speed combination?

for optical FW/ethernet.. i guess u need different hardware aswell as cables?.. expensive?

as for the review, i was happy to see it, a subject a little different from just psu's and hdd's.. but why not GbE? (With a processor that can handle it, geode?) seems silly to use it on a 100Mbit network, when its such an obvious bottleneck.
test playing HD video would have been good too.
also seems like you'll get a lot more for your money with a 2nd hand PC than something like this?

will the work M$ have been doing on the network stack (for vista) help with the rubbishness of the speed of network shares? or is that something completely different?

i think that 802.11n will be pretty nice for this kind of thing with an HTPC thou :D
^how will the latency etc be for this? and when used on a normal home network (ie with a few users normal/light internet traffic) will it still perform > 100Mbit ethernet?

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PostPosted: Thu May 11, 2006 3:47 am 
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mb2 wrote:
seems like firewire should offer the best price/distance/speed combination?


As with so many other things: it depends. In normal house it makes more sense to draw CAT6 cable to every room than firewire cabling.. And gigabit switches are fairly cheap nowadays so it's really not an issue to share the same NAS with multiple machines, while with firewire it's just one machine.

So while firewire can certainly work over long distances, ethernet has certain other advantages. To put it short: if you have to drill holes to walls, it's CAT you want to put through. Ethernet with all its weaknesses is ubiquitous and most multipurpose of these candidates.

Your house and the CAT cabling will most likely outlast Windows and its bad protocols, at least I hope so.


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PostPosted: Fri May 12, 2006 6:59 pm 
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Coincidentally, I was trying out a Buffalo Terastation around the same time you were testing the Newisys. I agree that NAS is a great idea because you can put your noise-making drives in the closet. Performance is probably good enough for "most uses." I expected to also keep a boot drive that would be used for virtual memory and perhaps occasional disc-performance-intensive jobs.

My results were not so good, though. I had serious problems when using the Terastation with Retrospect, the backup software I have used regularly for more than a decade. Whenever Retrospect would try to duplicate and verfy a large (perhaps 100GB) set of files, it would get hundreds of errors. Most of the errors would be incorrect time stamps (probably due to something not-quite-right with the implementation of SMB file service). However, some "could not read/write file" errors would also show up. I updated to the latest Retrospect - no improvement. I can not blame Retrospect; I have backed up to many, many different kinds of devices, including basic USB drives over the years. This has to be the Terastation's fault.

All this was happening with the drive running RAID 5. So there should have been no errors. I had to take the thing back. Oh, well, I still think it's a good idea but just not implemented well enough yet by Buffalo.

Now I have a Maxtor OneTouch II 500GB Firewire 800 external drive. Performance is excellent and no problems. Of couse, it's not super-quiet and the longest firewire cable I've found is about 15 feet (4.5m) long.

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PostPosted: Wed May 17, 2006 4:54 pm 
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Haha! I think I found (or more accurately realised) a solution for booting Windows from remote storage using Linux. The downside it's not mature yet.

It will work great if your using Linux though (since you can netboot (relatively) easily) Should be better and faster then NFS.

The solution is 'iSCSI'. ISCSI is 'internet scsi', it's designed to allow machines to use scsi commands over a regular old TCP/IP network. It's basicly a network protocol designed for sharing files.

The difference between something like iSCSI and traditional file services like NFS or SMB/CIFS (windows file sharing protocol) is that iSCSI is a block-level file sharing system vs the others which are file-level file sharing system.

This means that instead of having a special file system that transfers over files as your operating system requests them, you are actually sharing the physical drive space over the network, block by block.

The advantage that this approach has over file-level is that CIFS imposses special file system permissions, doesn't work well with things like databases or special file types (such as named pipes) and so on and so forth. In comparision with iSCSI you just access the share as if it is a local disk and format it to your native file directory system.

Here is a comparison between NFS and ISCSI in terms of performance:
http://www.technomagesinc.com/papers/ip_paper.html

Keep in mind that the reason you would use NFS or Samba/Windows file sharing is that this allows you to share out files to many multiple clients. iSCSI is more designed to replicate having a local disk over a network.

For instance if your using Windows with a Linux file system using iSCSI you can do something like the following:

1. Setup file server with a large drive array using Linux software raid then use lvm (logical volume management) on top of that to make shares of various sizes. (this is nice because it gets away from the traditional partition sceme and moves to something that is much more flexible and allows things like snapshots and such).

5 200gig disks will give you a terrabyte of storage with raid 5 for redundancy..

2. Setup that file server to use something like Linux iSCSI enterprise target http://iscsitarget.sourceforge.net/ and share out a logical volume using it.

3. Install Windows on your PC desktop with a local very-quiet small laptop drive. (In the future you may be able to use IBM's iBoot http://www.haifa.ibm.com/projects/stora ... index.html)

4. Install and setup Microsoft's iSCSI Software Initiator
http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/deta ... layLang=en

I beleive how it works is that the 'Target' is the part that acts as a server and the 'Initiator' is what provides that storage access to the operating system. Note that these are software-based solutions to keep it inexpensive. There are ways to share out and access using hardware-based items.

This should then allow you to access to the iSCSI share and then you should be able to format it to NTFS and mount it as the D: drive or whatnot.

This should provide not only native 'local' style access to a remote share,but it will support all your native file permissions and special files and such. Also it should provide a substantial improvement in performance over using SMB.

So then for silent computing you'd just install all your programs onto 'drive D:', have your swap file be on drive D:, do some registry hacks to move your desktop and documents and such on that.

Then the local disk should end up being used as little as possible and thus be as quiet as possble, yet it should allow massive amounts of disk space to be made aviable with probably good performance. Probably then you can work on power management stuff to get it to sleep most of the time and such.

That's the theory anyways. I don't use Windows at all so I can't try it out myself, but when I get home I am going to try this out for myself. I would like to have something that would perform better then what I have with NFS and such.


edit:
There are propriatory software targets for Windows 2003 and such if you don't want to use Linux for a file server. Although these things are probably going to cost you a few hundred dollars or may only be aviable in turnkey solutions.

edit2: more information http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ISCSI they have a good overview of how the stuff is basicly suppose to work.


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PostPosted: Wed May 17, 2006 6:53 pm 
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zds wrote:
mb2 wrote:
seems like firewire should offer the best price/distance/speed combination?


As with so many other things: it depends. In normal house it makes more sense to draw CAT6 cable to every room than firewire cabling.. And gigabit switches are fairly cheap nowadays so it's really not an issue to share the same NAS with multiple machines, while with firewire it's just one machine.

So while firewire can certainly work over long distances, ethernet has certain other advantages. To put it short: if you have to drill holes to walls, it's CAT you want to put through. Ethernet with all its weaknesses is ubiquitous and most multipurpose of these candidates.

Your house and the CAT cabling will most likely outlast Windows and its bad protocols, at least I hope so.
yep, ethenet is nice, but i think u missed the point a bit..
the point given is to silence the PC by removing the hard drive from the room, not as a network share (athought this is nice too).
With FW800, u have a dedicated almost 100MB/s link, which is good enough for almost any hard drive, with presumably low latency. You do not need to buy an expensive NAS appliance that will run at ~11MB/s, or a much more expensive one that does pretty much the same 100MB/s that FW800 can,probably with much higher latencies.
All u need is a few FW cables and a drive enclosure. probably a PCI or PCIe adaptor. hardly expensive still compared to NAS.
I would guess its possible to boot from firewire in the same way you can boot from USB?
heck, u can even power ur HDD using the FW if u really want.

then, if u want to share it over the network, just share it from the now potentially silent PC, via ethernet or 802.11 or whatever u want. most people here seem to leave their PCs on 24/7 and when dual-cores are prevelant (even without really) theres no reason not to use it as a 'server' too.

for an SPCR'er, what does NAS achieve above this..?

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PostPosted: Sun Jun 04, 2006 7:34 pm 
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It's cost prohibitive for Joe Average, but thin or blade clients might be the future of silent networked computing. This is what I had in mind while reading the SPCR article. I believe HP is deploying blade clients as well with some of their larger customer (guinea pigs).

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PostPosted: Sat Jun 10, 2006 10:18 am 
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From the article on page 3:
Quote:
Cooling in the NA-1400 is provided by a single bottom-mounted fan that blows upwards, forcing air through the system. The majority of the air should flow up the sides of the case, which are hollow, then force its way between the drives and eventually out the front panel. Unfortunately, there is very little space between the drives, so the airflow is very restricted. It probably takes a lot of pressure to force enough air through the system, which virtually dictates a high speed, noisy fan.

The bottom-mounted fan requires adequate clearance underneath the system. It is also likely to collect dust quite easily.
My copy of the box blows air out from underneath the box. Not that this has any influence on the noise levels though: I second the reviewer about the levels of noise this device makes. Most of the time the fan is revving about 3/4 to full rpm and at these levels you really don't want this box in the same room as you are working/living in. I'm seriously thinking of returning it because of this, unless I can think of anything to reduce this noise significantly without much trouble.

I haven't done much testing yet, but the webinterface seems pretty well designed though a bit too slow to be confortable. The device runs an SSH daemon but every attempt I made to logon resulted in an authentication failure (Yes, I've read the users manual ;)).


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