Things we wish we’d known about NAS devices and Linux Raid

Thinking about deploying NAS? Before you do, you ought to read through Things we wish we’d known about NAS devices and Linux Raid by Daniel Feenberg of the National Bureau of Economic Reasearch, a private, nonprofit, nonpartisan research organization boasting 16 of the 31 US’ Nobel prizewinners in Economics as past or present staff members. Having reliable data to work with is important to them. There are some interesting lessons learned in the humorous reviews of systems they have used:

“That turns 20 minutes of scheduled downtime to several days. I can only assume the motivation was to discourage the upgrade.”

“Later, NFS exports of snapshots were added at our request. This is the only time any NAS vendor was willing to learn anything from us.”

and

“I’d be very reluctant to put data on a proprietary system with no aftermarket support. Every vendor is in constant danger of being acquired, divested or turned around. When that happens you and your box are no longer “strategic”, and contract or not, requests for help are likely to be brushed aside. Even with an enforcable contract, the vendor can easily discourage calls for service by proposing solutions that don’t save your data.”

and

“In a crowded server room you won’t be able to tell which system is beeping, so some visual indicator is essential – but not generally provided. ”

Excellent pointers, worthy of review. There’s also some good discussion of the statistics and odds of disk failures and double failures. Well worth a careful review if you need to be thinking about storing a large amount of data reliably.

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This work by Ted Roche is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 United States.