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Re: modern cheap NAS fully supported by Debian?

On Sat, Aug 04, 2012 at 01:18:41PM +0200, Spitz, Richard wrote:
> What is the real advantage of running Debian on a NAS? I'm presently using
> a NSLU2 under Debian for collecting and graphing energy data in my home. 
> Now I need a NAS, whose primary purpose is central data storage and
> backup, while using a minimal amount of energy.  I am concerned that
> running Debian on the NAS and make it take over the NSLU2's tasks might
> counteract the energy saving features of the NAS, such as disk spindown.
> Any ideas or experience on this?

You're asking two separate questions here, and they're completely unrelated.

1) What is the real advantage of running Debian on a NAS?

2) Will doing more things on a machine cause it to use more power?

The real advantage of running Debian on a NAS is the same as replacing the
shipped OS on any embedded device -- being able to make the device do what
*you* want it to do, rather than whatever incomplete set of features the
manufacturer decided it could produce for minimal cost.  You've already
identified one possibility -- data capture and graphing -- but there are so
many more.  I enjoy the ability to run a *functional* uPnP-AV server, an NFS
server, and my choice of centralised backup software on my NAS running

The answer to (2) is almost certainly "yes" -- non-idle CPU cycles cost
power.  Depending on what you need to do, though, you don't necessarily need
to have the disks spin-up constantly.  You could cache data onto a USB
stick, and then once a $TIMEPERIOD run a cronjob to take all that cached
data and store it to disk (causing the disk to only spin up once per
$TIMEPERIOD).  I wouldn't rely on a USB stick as primary storage, but as
long as you can stand to potentially lose $TIMEPERIOD's worth of data,
the risk of using a fairly unreliable means of data storage is acceptable.

- Matt

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