Zyxel NSA-325 NAS / Media Server


I just went shopping and besides some proper going-anywhere shoes from new rock I finally bought a home NAS box. The model is a Zyxel NSA-325 which is only a little less powerful as i.e. a Synology DS213+ or DS413 but only costs 1/3 resp. 1/4 of the money those cost.
Being me, it’s not entirely unreasonable I’ll want to run more than one of whichever NAS storage I get.

The downside of the Zyxel NAS is it’s avverage webinterface and limited OS.
At work I chatted with $customers about this and found I actually just want something that lets me edit /etc/exports and maybe run targetcli, definitely a GUI isn’t high-ranking with me.

It seems these run Archlinux but there’s some hickups. After my underground ride home, I’m quite sure I won’t “update” to Arch as a priority.

Why no ArchLinux?

Now, it’s like that:

The NAS will be used to store backups, I’m quite sure I can hack a Bacula Storage Daemon (SD) package for it’s native format.
The bacula Director will be running on my “home cluster” that spans the Nexus7 tablet and the raspberry Pi.
By running the SD on the NAS I’ll make sure that only metadata traffic is directed to those tiny powerless cluster nodes.
By taking the backups off my home server I’ll stop wasting raid10 space on it for storing *backups*.

While I was at it, I also grabbed two 2TB Caviar green disks.

So this is the plan:


Put a 1.5TB random disk into the NAS. (Not the greens, you’ll see why)
Flip-rotate the two new 2TB green for the two 1.5TB ones in my server, so it’ll finally have 2TB disks only.
Online resize, tadaaaa, increase to 4TB usable space. Taking out 600GB of backup storage means I’m looking at 1.6TB free Raid10 space. 🙂

While at it, add a 2.5″ drive cage to the server and add 2 Samsung 530’s.
Replace the current Perc5i Raid controller in the server with one that has SAS6G/SATA3 ports (ibm5015 off ebay)
This will also allow for better placing and ventilation in the server since the perc5 didn’t really fit in my case.
Since I don’t have the “Performance Accelerator Key” (fucking $400 hardware dongle) for the controller, I can’t use LSI CacheCade and need to settle for something OS-based.

That means I shall upgrade the Xen host to AlpineLinux from OracleVM2 it currently runs.

Then I can use Flashcache (or possibly bcache but I don’t like it) to enable read-caching via the SSDs.
And since it’s just read-caching there’s nothing bad about running them as a raid0 for *cough* added performance. After that, I doubt I’ll ever remember this box is backed by cheap and silent, but foremost *cool* WD green drives.

Then, a not so fun step, some pisses-me-off-already chroot building so I can use the goddamned MegaCLI to monitor the raid controller on AlpineLinux.

Finally, put the two now-free 1.5TB WD green in the NAS box.
I plan to also put the cobbler distro mirror on it and those ISOS that are easily obtained.

End result:

  1. Replace disks and controller, add SSDs => A lot more performance and space in the home server.
  2. Able to fully use TMEM on the home server => more free RAM, thus longer lifecycle for the server.
  3. dedicated storage for backups and cobbler => *everything* infrastructure can run on the few-Watts only RaspiNexus cluster.
  4. A shitload of storage migrations, HW replacements etc.  => I totally don’t want to bother with replacing the OS on the NAS.
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