Best reliable NAS set-up for Rasp Pi 4. Ideas?

As many will know the latest version of the rasp pi supports SSD disk drives.

I have built almost every generation of rasp pi, and eventually had the SD card fail on me, becasue it was written to too many times. What happens is the failure occurs, it sits failed in the cupboard for months to a year, until I have time to re-build, then when I re-build I consider the newer version of the rasp pi. This is how I get the upgrades, at least thats way it's gone in the past.

The cost/ time involved in re-building is shattering and others like me will be relieved that decent storage is now supported.

I've lost a tonne of red node flows in the past through SD card crashes, with back ups lost in over needed data clear outs.

I am thinking a NAS using ZFS with 4 disks with some level of mirroring, ie pretty much unbreakable and SSD crash proof and definatley hot dockable; one disk fails simply push another in and it takes care of everything.
something like FreeNAS.
Prepared to spend a bit of money to get this re-building problem to go away.

Would consider 2 disks if mirroring robust enough.

Any ideas best way forward?

I'm interested in this as well. Mainly because my aging Synology NAS no longer gets OS updates. I would be interested to see who has done this and how they got on.

However, I now run my Home Automation Node-RED and associated services on an old, redundant laptop running vanilla Debian. I would continue to do that with just file sharing and backups on a NAS. What I found with the Synology was that, although you can certainly run other things on it (I deliberately chose an Intel version rather than ARM to facilitate that), it quickly runs out of steam even with expanded memory. As I have 2-3TB of data on my NAS, backups - both inbound from other devices/services and outbound (backing up the NAS content to the cloud) can be really intensive. I have a couple of GB of RAM on my NAS.

So something to bear in mind is that older Pi's have very limited memory. If you need to sync or backup large quantities of data, especially files, you should consider splitting the backups into smaller ones to keep the memory requirements of the indexes to manageable levels.

The other thing to bear in mind is that all but the latest Pi4 have really limited I/O busses. Check out the max throughput of your device and don't bother to buy a controller and drives that are faster than the bus. Also take care that if you max out the bus with storage I/O, that might impact USB and Bluetooth performance.

BTW, I haven't had a card fail in over 3 years at least. And that is with 24x7x365 operation during that time with occasional power and crashing issues to deal with. The trick is to buy a good brand (I use Samsung EVO or EVO Pro cards) that are much larger than you need. That last part being important as it gives plenty of room for the card to make good use of wear levelling. I use 32GB cards. Also, try to make sure that your Pi power supply is slightly over-spec'd so it doesn't have any power issues.

1 Like

@TotallyInformation Great reply thanks.

My thoughts are for a NAS that will also contain the OS, so that an SD card will not be in use at all.
It's the only way to take care of SD card reliability issues, and the consequent very disruptive failures as I outlined earliear.

That is a great idea about using a better quality SD card. I should have thought about that before.
I suppose also my brain should contain all of lifes obvious solutions, but life doesen't work that way (a bit oif self criticism there lol). The obvious passes by us all the time.

Thanks, a better quality SD card is a great idea.
64Gb would be even better than 32Gb for data storage levelling.
I just had a look on amazon, and a 64GB Evo pro is £51, probarly why I have been using cheaper cards.

Do you know of a way I can unmount the sd card and mirror it to an iso over the local network,
or, failing that,
the simplest way to mirror it to an iso on the laptop across the network.
Obvs an automated unmount / remount, and network backup to iso on the laptop, which is switched on all the time, each week would be ideal.

Í háve not looked into the specs of USB drives vs sd cards bút í have several pi´s running on USB thumb drives. Seems reliable so far , about á year.

1 Like

SD cards / USB drives can last a year or so, with continual I/O, but they eventualy crash.

Wait till you've built a few pi's and the SD card / USB stick has crashed dead, and you will start to experience "exaustion confidence" regards SD cards etc as a OS media.
Becasue lots of work goes into the OS build and tuning.

May be SD cards are much more reliable than they were a few years ago.

Can't really see why they can't use the same technology as SSD's on an SD card, but there just probarly isn't room on the chip die for this since the SD card / USB stick is comparativley so small.

dd is your friend for taking a copy of a drive I think. I'm not really an expert there.

Personally, for a NAS, I would only keep the core OS on the SD-card and would get an adapter to run a couple of proper SSD's for everything else. Then I would partition the SSD's as needed. Then I wouldn't worry about backing up the SD-Card, just keep a spare with a copy of the OS. Backups can now focus on the data not the OS. Personally, I never backup an OS, it generally seems better to simply rebuild if needed as this clears out any cruft anyway. Cruft always seems to accumulate in an OS which slows it down over time and I'd rather have a nice clean OS from time-to-time rather than trying to recover it.

Also that means that you can go for the much cheaper 32GB sd-card. All drives and cards have a suite-spot of cost vs size.

I really don't think that is really true any more. My cards have been running for over 3 years now 24x7 with no issues at all. I suppose they will go eventually but especially if you just use a decent one for the boot OS, they should last for many years.

Fundamentally, they are the same. But if they were really fully the same, they would be the same size and same cost :slight_smile:

SSD's have a lot more electronics on board in order to squeeze the maximum performance and best possible reliability. SD-Cards are designed to be cheap and cheerful. I do note though that SSD's are getting ever smaller and some of the M4 cards are really small now.