Well, I finally ordered the HP Proliant Microserver 40NL with 8 GB of RAM and 4 x 2 TB drives. I'm kind of leaning towards FreeNAS, but undecided.
Since you're just checking things out and haven't commited live data to anything yet, now is the time to experiment! I don't know how ambitious your plans are, but if you want to look beyond a simple NAS type device take a look at Gluster
GlusterFS is an open source, distributed file system capable of scaling to several petabytes (actually, 72 brontobytes!) and handling thousands of clients. GlusterFS clusters together storage building blocks over Infiniband RDMA or TCP/IP interconnect, aggregating disk and memory resources and managing data in a single global namespace. GlusterFS is based on a stackable user space design and can deliver exceptional performance for diverse workloads.
It's pretty cool in that it's a scale-out vs scale-up system. So instead of only adding drives it's also an equally easy matter to add additional servers or even a SAN to the mix. Since we're in a state of flux with competing technologies, where Microsoft may be going with Windows, who you can trust up in cloudspace, government monitoring of publicly available net services, all the automated DMCA/SOPA/PIPA nonsense going on, yadda-yadda
I'm now completely committed to building my own
private cloud that will handle everything
I'll ever want to do. So that's file storage, mail, website, media streaming, and so forth. Eventually I'd like to get a few technically inclined fellow server cronies involved so we can handle our own replication among each other. We're thinking we're no longer content with owning our own private servers. We now want our own private internet
Talk about delusions of grandeur, right?
After a lot of thought, using GlusterFS in conjunction with a Linux or BSD box seems to be where it's heading. Done a little testing. Hardware requirements are modest - and it has good docs too. Looks like it just might be what my gang of cyber-homesteaders is looking for. YMMV.
Some good vids up on YouTube.
Here's the 3-minute skinny:
And the 1-hour webinar rundown for techno-mutants like us:
P.S. Here's where my head's been lately with a lot of what's going on: