My existing HP N40L Microserver is running out of disk space. 2 TB is not enough it turns out. So I thought why not add another N40L to my network? After all, it's been a success with my existing one thus far.... So on to eBay I went, and I found an Australian company selling them for $209 delivered! I'm amazed these are so cheap - after all even low end PCs are more than this. So I ordered one up and it arrived three days later. I put a couple of 2 TB disks into the box, an 8 GB RAM DIMM and an 8 GB usb drive. Half an hour later I had FreeNAS 8.3.0 installed and a 2 TB array set up.
With an NFS share I can access the 2 TB array from my media PC and it all runs brilliantly. I've got space to add in two extra drives, and once I get two more disks I'll install them - running two 2TB mirrors and sharing out data easily. The N40L runs very quietly and efficiently and even running two of them is very quiet in the lounge room. I've used Western Digital Green Disks from 2 TB external USB drives. For $109 each plus the $209 for the N40L means that for $436 I've got a reasonable little NAS here. Another $218 and I've got a 4 TB NAS! It's stable and runs brilliantly. FreeNAS is an excellent platform for this, easy to upgrade and very stable with a wide range of network protocols available for connection to it. I'd heartily suggest using a server like this for a backup server or simple data storage. Add a couple of extra gigabit ethernet ports via the PCI Express card slots and then LAGG them together for greater through put and this simple and inexpensive NAS has even more applications in the business arena. I would strongly recommend 8 GB or more of RAM so pre-caching can be effected - this will improve data delivery.
As I type this I note an update for FreeNAS has become available so I'll grab that and install it!
FreeNAS details here: http://www.freenas.org
HP N40L Microserver details can be found here - HP N40L Microserver (URL truncated because it's awful)