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brian2 01-03-2012 10:41 AM

Back Up File Storage: Free Nas or a Linux Distro and Samba ?
 
Considerations File Storage: Free Nas or a Linux Distro and Samba ?

Despite a couple of weeks reading, it seems that very little “summary” information is available to decide on choice for small office / home backup file backup solutions for long term storage, re Free Nas or a Linux / Samba system, from the perspective of window users.

Maybe this can be clarified here ?, for benefit of wider audience.

Free Nas seems simple, even supports NTFS, which is seen a quite favourable in the context of being able to put hard drives into a window machine, if ever a need develops.
However, the option to run all sorts other applications in a full server implementation, while using Samba for the file server function, seems an inherently more flexible approach (not so readily possible with Free Nas).

Nevertheless, the fact files are then stored under a linux file system and then converted back into a form for windows seems to be “risky” option, for workgroups based soley on MS windows. From point of view of long (years) term storage, putting files into a “strange format” re permissions / conventions, presents a significant confidence barrier.

Having seen numerous examples, where even “large” IT department professionals, implement a Free Nas solution, I wonder if some views could be noted on this re for / against with solution of Linux distribution with Samba ?.

Doc CPU 01-03-2012 12:39 PM

Hi there,

Quote:

Originally Posted by brian2 (Post 4564745)
Considerations File Storage: Free Nas or a Linux Distro and Samba ?

I would always go for a general-purpose Linux setup, for instance a lean Gentoo with no X. The flexibility and the range of possibilities are invaluable.

Some years ago, long before Linux was an alternative for me, I wanted to have a SOHO file server. I ended up buying a low-end, low-energy EPIA mainboard with a VIA C3 CPU, added a 120GB hard disk (which was huge at that time), installed a Windows 2000 on that box and called it my file server.
Not long after that, I thought it might be clever to have an Apache web server available for test purposes - and what was more obvious than installing this web server on the same machine that ran 24/7 anyway? Time went by, and I added a mySQL database and a local mail server - and all that still on Windows 2000.
In summer 2010 that machine died after seven years of continuous and reliable operation, and an even smaller, more efficient but yet more powerful machine took its place - now based on Gentoo.

What I was going to say: Atm, you may want a NAS and you're happy with it. But belive me, there's the desire for more afoot. And I think then you're better off with a standard Linux distro. It may mean some more time and effort to get it up and running, though. But you'll get rewarded. That's my opinion, anyway.

Quote:

Originally Posted by brian2 (Post 4564745)
Free Nas seems simple, even supports NTFS, which is seen a quite favourable in the context of being able to put hard drives into a window machine, if ever a need develops.

That's totally irrelevant. You're not going to hot-plug and hot-unplug HDDs from your NAS, are you? So in that context, I consider NTFS totally meaningless. Besides, all contemporary Linux distros support NTFS using the NTFS-3G driver.

Quote:

Originally Posted by brian2 (Post 4564745)
Nevertheless, the fact files are then stored under a linux file system and then converted back into a form for windows seems to be “risky” option, for workgroups based soley on MS windows.

You seem to have a wrong conception of a file server. It offers storage space as a network service. The clients never even know what file system is actually used on the storage volumes. It could be some kind of database, and it wouldn't even matter. By the way, some years ago, most servers in Windows networks were actually Novell Netware servers that use a totally different file system - again, for the Windows clients that isn't relevant.

Quote:

Originally Posted by brian2 (Post 4564745)
From point of view of long (years) term storage, putting files into a “strange format” re permissions / conventions, presents a significant confidence barrier.

There's no reason for not confiding in that principle. I'd have more sleepless nights if I had to rely on NTFS only.

Well, either you could make use of some of the information, or you're totally confused now. ;-)

[X] Doc CPU

273 01-03-2012 12:46 PM

Regarding the use of NTFS being preferable because it can be read by Windows machines -- if you're going to replace the server then you'll just replace it with a virtually identical Linux one anyway so no problems there and if you want to see the data in the mean time you can either dual boot or run a Linux live CD.

jefro 01-03-2012 10:46 PM

I think you are in a choice of a NAS and a Server more than which distro.

Freenas is one of the best NAS choices. It is not a substitute for a server.

Freenas is more than a simple file server.

See also things like 2x.com maybe.

brian2 01-04-2012 05:57 AM

Thanks for the numerous comments / suggestions, which I have already partially started to investigate.

Just to be clear –

A. Requirement: file backup / storage of windows based files; presently around 4 TB.
(Not so interested in the small consumer NAS devices, - is obvious that better can be done with own efforts.)

B. Initial Favoured Approach: A Linux distro running for example Samaba, acting as file back-up device, but also with possibility to introduce much more (email, etc).

C. Details: After investigating, for some weeks, I became concerned over the correct preservation of all file informations, including read / write / … attributes, from window perspective (read various accounts of problems encountered by others), with solution “B” (i.e Samba translator).
This then biased outlook towards a NAS implementation, say Freenas.

D. Request for Inputs: Am I missing something re Linux distro / Samaba combination, that issues noted in “C” are not really significant, if just set-up correctly ? (assuming this is possible without being an expert).

It is clear that the files can be saved in whatever file system / format, but what actually comes out of the box should be identical to what was saved into box, in all respects.

Expanded Comments / advice sought from this perspective, requested. i.e. can “C” be easily made to work, without any limitations / issues ? (such as certain file permission issues / use with any type of fil created under a windows system).

{Remark: The main issue, is that it takes just a few questionable things to be read, before you really start to be wondering, i.e. in Dutch language version of NTFS-3G Driver wiki, remarks are made that it may not work with compressed file formats. This is just the point, with a back-up tool, it seems no use to test each file type first to see if it works, - the requirement is “just” to backup all file informations.}

Doc CPU 01-04-2012 06:20 AM

Hi there,

Quote:

Originally Posted by brian2 (Post 4565621)
A. Requirement: file backup / storage of windows based files; presently around 4 TB.

wow, that's a lot of stuff ...

Quote:

Originally Posted by brian2 (Post 4565621)
B. Initial Favoured Approach: A Linux distro running for example Samaba, acting as file back-up device, but also with possibility to introduce much more (email, etc).

That's what I was recommending.

Quote:

Originally Posted by brian2 (Post 4565621)
C. Details: After investigating, for some weeks, I became concerned over the correct preservation of all file informations, including read / write / … attributes, from window perspective (read various accounts of problems encountered by others), with solution “B” (i.e Samba translator).

Don't know what you mean by "Samba translator", but Samba can be configured to recognize and preserve the Windows file attributes. This is not the default configuration, however, but can be achieved with three simple directives in the configuration file:
Code:

map archive = yes
map system = yes
map hidden = yes

According to my Samba book, map archive is enabled by default, the others are not. The read-only attribute is directly mapped to the 'w' permission in Linux.

Quote:

Originally Posted by brian2 (Post 4565621)
It is clear that the files can be saved in whatever file system / format, but what actually comes out of the box should be identical to what was saved into box, in all respects.

Okay, so you need to map the file attributes. Is there anything else to think of? - Apparently no.

Quote:

Originally Posted by brian2 (Post 4565621)
{Remark: The main issue, is that it takes just a few questionable things to be read, before you really start to be wondering, i.e. in Dutch language version of NTFS-3G Driver wiki, remarks are made that it may not work with compressed file formats.

Huh? Are you sure you haven't misunderstood that? I believe to remember that NTFS-3G doesn't support the native NTFS compression, but compressed files as such (zip or rar archives, or gz) are stored and retrieved exactly as-is.

[X] Doc CPU


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