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Need help deciding how to store my data


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Hey Guys,


So, I have recently given my home network a bit of an overhaul in terms on servers. Previously I had Server 2012 on a high spec homebrew server which ran perfectly. It was my DC, RD, Print and file server. It also had Hyper-V running on it with around 3-4 VM in constant use.


The reason for changing is that I wanted to implement an untangle instance on the network, plus a few other Linux machines such as ubuntu server for a webserver, plus another for owncloud.

This is now all running in the same machine, but on ESXi 5.1. 


Running, I have:

Server 2012 as DC, AD, DHCP, Print

Server 2008R2 with Exchange

CentOS as Download machine and Proxy

Ubuntu Server with Wordpress

Ubuntu Server with Owncloud

and Untangle

...Runs great.


However, I am now stuck in terms of data storage. Previously I had 7 X 1TB running in storage spaces which contained. I know its not ideal, but it worked fine for me.

Anyway, I now need to get this data onto another machine, that will only be doing file services and sharing etc. Plus I would also like to do backups to this server.


At the moment, I have a spare HP Microserver N40L, which I could potentially use. I also have a spare i7 machine with 24gb of ram, very similar to my esxi server.

I realize that I won't be able to get the 7 drives into the Microserver, which is o.k, I don't store that much anyway. Problem is that the drives are all different makes and models.


Could somebody receommend an operating system to put on either machine that will help me out?

I was thinking FreeNas or Nas4Free, but i've heard that it will not create zfs pool with different drives?


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It may be something to look into, as I do have a spare copy of WHS 2011 available, never really put it into full use.


But surely there is something out there that I can software raid a whole bunch of random drives just for storage only?

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Maybe use 2011 just for that, it's only $50 at full price, frequently on sale.

DrivePool only $20. That's a lot of functionality to use the hardware and hard drives that you

already have.

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Solutions like StableBit DrivePool, Drive Bender and PoolHD are designed to be able to use a bunch of different disks and to "pool" them together.

And they don't use software RAID. They store the files on normal NTFS volumes, so you can access the drives on any system, in the case of hardware failure.


And like awraynor, my preference is for StableBit DrivePool. That and Scanner ($25, or $35 for both, together) make a great addition to WHS2011.

(only kind of sorry for the shameless plug, I do work for StableBit/CoveCube, but I've been recommending them long before I started working there).

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I don't work for them and I agree with Drashna. Great products, inexpensive and gives me ability to use drives that are otherwise of little value.

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Well, most of those products do have free, fully featured trials, if you want to try them out.


And if you're concerned about the operating system.... TechNet has the "eval center" which has EVAL ISOs you can download of the Server 2012 and 2012 R2 operating systems, and of the enterprise desktop OS's

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