What NAS would you build with unlimited budget?

I’m planning to build 3 rack mounted servers: a dedicated NAS, an app server (Plex, home automation, etc), and a gaming/home theater computer. My primary goals are stability and performance. I don’t have budget constraints, within reason (say ~$30k max for all three). I have lots of experience building desktop/gaming PCs, but I’m new to servers and especially NAS.

I started by looking at ready-made NAS options. Synology is the usual recommendation. Looking for higher tier options I found Storinator. Cost efficiency isn’t a primary goal so that is an option, but building my own NAS is much more fun. I hope to match or exceed Storinator.

Next I found this site, so here I am! I have lots more research to do, but maybe you can point me in some good directions given my specific needs? A lot of content tends to be more budget conscious then I’d like. While I don’t want to waste money, I don’t want to cut corners to save a buck. I’m reading through the builds. NAS Killer 5.0 seems to be the latest guide.

For the NAS, ~30TB would be fine, with some room to expand in the future. 8-10 bays is probably sufficient. I don’t need hot swap. Since stability is crucial, I’m considering server CPU, motherboard, ECC RAM. I could even copy the Storinator hardware (on the Specifications tab): Intel Xeon Silver 4110 (or AMD EPYC 7281), SuperMicro X11SPL. I’m guessing dual CPUs would be a waste for my small NAS? Other components: 850W PSU, 10Gbe NIC.

The rack mount case is important. Rosewill looks OK, but maybe there are better options? Super Micro looks good, though they have so many offerings it’s difficult to choose. What other brands should I look at? I’d like good cooling. Servers are in a dedicated (and ventilated) room so moderate noise is OK, but I still don’t see any point to using eg 80mm fans.

For the app server, I think I’ll build it with similar or the same components as the NAS. Of course it doesn’t need tons of HDD bays.

For the gaming computer, I have a pretty good handle on it. It should be pretty standard stuff, just in a rack case. I’ll probably use an ASUS motherboard. I’ll need 4K output. Are there any standout rack cases for gaming level heat?

I’d build the most cost effective option, and use my remaining $<basically still 30k> for future hooker/blow expenses.

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Assume you have both $30k for hookers/blow AND another $30k you can only spend on these servers.

I’ve been trying to find a rack case with 140mm fans. Closest I’ve come is this post which mods a Rosewill 4U RSV-L4500. The 140mm fan wall is nice, I’d be willing to do that. Needing to mount the standard ATX PSU in the front isn’t so great. I’ve been unable to find a case that can use a standard ATX PSU. I’d like that to avoid a small fan in the PSU.

A case with only 120mm fans would also be OK, I just don’t want 80mm and especially not 60mm fans.

The only case I’ve found so far that checks all those boxes is the Storinator. It has 6x120mm fans and a standard ATX PSU. Turns out Storinator is owned by Protocase, who make custom cases. Those appear to start at ~$1.7k, which is a lot, but could be doable. I could look at getting a custom case made, maybe with 140mm fans, or just buy a Storinator but I’d want to choose my own motherboard/CPU/RAM.

I’d not go down that road at all if there was a reasonable alternative. I understand my needs are odd and most don’t care that servers are loud, but 120mm or 140mm fans are also just better at cooling. There is room in a 4U, as shown by the Rosewill mod above.

The draw to Synology for NAS is that you get a decently refined end product with very little backend setup/configuration for a moderate price. You get a GUI based linux machine with mobile apps to support a lot of the functionality that provides routine updates without a subscription cost. The downside is that your limited to their hardware specifications.

As for your original question I would go the Storinator route. You may not have a need to fill every slot with a drive now, but that is a machine you purchase once and could grow into for a while. Also those Storinator cases were derived by the cloud storage provider Backblaze, who have done an outstanding job documenting the design process of those builds as well as put out quarterly reports of drive failures, definitely worth the time reading:

Now you didn’t specifically state what kind, or size, of the files you intend to store on the NAS, but it would also be a good idea to look into the network and possibly look at either running 10GbE or even making the expensive jump to 100GbE to future proof your build.

Thanks! It’s nice to read the history and more details on the Storinator. It still probably doesn’t justify all the cost, but it helps a little and it’s cool to see how much thought is put into it.

Only the Storinator Q30 uses 120mm fans. They sell just the Q30 case with backplane. That could work for my NAS server, if I give up on E-ATX, which doesn’t fit. For the app server and gaming computer a long GPU won’t fit the Q30, plus I don’t need HDD bays.

It would be ideal to extend the Q30 ~3.5" so E-ATX fits and convert it to 140mm fans, for the NAS. For the other two cases I’d essentially shorten the Q30 so it’s front to back: faceplate, 3x 140mm fans, then E-ATX motherboard + ATX PSU. Let’s see if Protocase can do this!

Usage is media storage/editing, Plex, business files. The network is 10GbE.

You guys dont seem to get how daydreaming works. I wouldnt build one at all if it was free, I would go with the biggest baddest FlashBlade I could get

My number two choice would probably be a Vast data NAS array, less performance but it has scale out capability.

Cool links, thanks! Vast looks like something from StarTrek. I’m weary of SSD storage long term, but damn 44x 30.72TB SSDs. :open_mouth:

I mocked up a 5U case with 3x 140mm fans and 1x 120mm in the back. It fits an E-ATX motherboard and ATX PSU. Green areas in the back are vents. Power button is on the front panel.

That would be cool for my server and gaming computer. For storage I’d like to modify a Storinator Q30 similarly by increasing the size of the motherboard area and changing to 6x 140mm fans, but it can stay 4U and the rear panel can stay the same.

I use Pure for work. It has far more scalability than you think. Unless 150 blades is too little.

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Awesome, I didnt know that. I work with FlashArray X, C, and M at my work and they dont scale out beyond two controllers so I assumed the FlashBlade product was the same. I worked with EMC XtremIO at my old job and I always loved how we could scale out and up and get our dedupe benefit across the entire cluster.

I don’t know if they made it obvious on their website or not yet, but you can definitely buy a barebones storinator/45drives case without a motherboard/cpu/ram.

IIRC pricing was something like $1900 for the Q30 and $2400 for the S45. It included at least the case, power supply, and backplanes.

It wasn’t clear, but I talked with them. Latest pricing $2151 for the Q3 with chassis, modular drive cage, drive cabling, case fans, direct wired backplanes, sliding rails, PSU. I could probably live with 6x 120mm fans, but it doesn’t fit E-ATX (or a GPU). It can’t be ordered without the fans and PSU.

Protocase supposedly has assigned a designer to my project, though it’s been 6 days and no news.

AsRock Rack X570D4U-2L2T
AMD Ryzen 5 5600X
128 Gigs of Ram
9204i HBA
9208i HBA
Rosewill RSV-L4412U
12 Seagate IronWolf 12TB Drives (3 striped zfs2 vdevs)


AsRock Rack X570D4U-2L2T
AMD Ryzen 5 5600X
128 Gigs of Ram
NVidia Quatro
8 Seagate IronWolf 12TB Drives (2 striped zfs2 vdevs)

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