Most of us accumulate stuff, like drawers full of old cables and hard drives full of data. Reddit user [BaxterPad] doesn’t worry about such things though, as he built an impressive Network Attached Storage (NAS) system that can hold over 200TB of data. That’s impressive enough, but the real artistry is in how he did this. He built this system using ODroid HC2 single board computers running GlusterFS, combining great redundancy with low power usage.
The Odroid HC2 is a neat little single board computer that offers a single SATA interface and runs Linux. [BaxterPad] acquired sixteen of these, and installed a decent sized hard drive on each. He then installed GlusterFS, a distributed network file system that can automatically spread the data over these drives, making sure that each bit of data is stored in multiple locations. It presents this data to the user as a single drive, though, so they don’t need to worry about where a particular bit of data is stored. If any of the drives or HC2 systems fails, the NAS system will keep on working without a hiccup.
A system like this isn’t new: software like FreeNAS and UnRAID allows you to easily build a computer that spreads data over multiple drives and keeps running if one of them fails. The difference here is that this system is easy to expand and can survive the failure of one or more of the computers. If the computer running your FreeNAS server dies, your data isn’t accessible until you get it back up and running. If one or more of the Odroid HC2 computers in this system dies, it will keep on going. It’s also easier to expand: just buy another HC2, slap in a hard drive and run a couple of commands and it will be seamlessly added to the available storage.
[BaxterPad] also points out that this system doesn’t use much power: each HC2 consumes about 12 W, and the entire system (including a rackmouted PC running VMware) takes less than 250 W. That’s a lot less than a typical high-end server system.