After few tests, I decided to go with Ubuntu as solution. I’ve tried already OpenFiler and FreeNAS. I like the interface for FreeNAS but I had experienced several issues with it that make me switch back to Ubuntu.
First, FreeNAS can not be installed from USB CDROM?!?!?! I tried and got stuck with the “Can not find CDROM” error. I used then a CF and restored the image instead. Then again, issues booting with ACPI… To make it work, I had to boot in Safe Mode.
As FreeNAS does not know about ext3fs, I had to re-format the disks and scrap everything. I’ve managed to add a second SATA disk, smaller, that supposed to be used for rsync backup as redundancy. Setting out them after that was easy. I managed to start all services and make it available from my Mac though AFP but is quite slow…. On top of this, trying to transfer large amount of data using few concurrent connections will basically kill the server and need to restart. This crash will always happen when use NFS share mounted remotely. In the end I decided to give up on FreeNAS.
A test running, on Ubuntu, over NFS, shows about 12 Mbyte/sec as an average speed over a 100 Mbps line which is not bad at all. Now trying to make AFP/Avahi work fine on Ubuntu and access it from my Macs… Also trying to bring up a iTune server, FireFly, and set it out on my desktop and my laptops.
Overall, Ubuntu is a more stable and faster alternative but not that easy to set it up nor using a friendly interface for this. Using Webmin may make it easier, but still require some Unix understanding.
Anyway, most of the things are already in place (e.g.: NFS, CIFS/Samba, AFP, iTunes server, Torrent client, etc). Still working on the MRTG and some monitoring solutions.