Ok, so I'm new to NAS RAID boxes and I'm very interested in the 4100Pro.
Here are my requirements.
1) I want to be able to start with 2 1 or 2 TB drives. 2) I want to have the maximum usabale drive space, but also want to be able to maintain my data in the event I lose a drive. 3) I want to be able to easily add additional drives later and make that space available for my data.
Can someone please guide me as to how I would have to set things up in order to achieve what I'm looking for?
I'm sure I'll have some followup questions as well.
3) I want to be able to easily add additional drives later and make that space available for my data.
As N4100Pro can handle 4 drives, that means your solution must : A - use less than 4 drives : you then have space for expansion B - use 4 drives of a given size (say 1 TB) : you will have to replace the drives with 1,5TB or 2TB later C - a mix of A & B.
2) I want to have the maximum usabale drive space, but also want to be able to maintain my data in the event I lose a drive.
As you want to maintain data in the event of drive failure, you need to use a RAID 1 or RAID 5 system. RAID 5 requires 3 drives. RAID 1 requires 2 drives.
Maximum average space using RAID 5 : (number_of_drives - 1) * size_of_drive. In other words, if you are using 3 drives you will have an average of 2 * the_smallest_drive_size available. Maximum average available = 2/3 = 66% of the_smallest_drive_size. If you are using 4 drives, maximum average available = 3/4 = 75% of the smallest_drive_size. I mention the_smallest_drive_size because you can mixe drives of different sizes (not recommended).
Maximum average space using RAID 1 : 1 * the_smallest_drive_size ! Event if you have 4 * 1TB drive as RAID 1 you will only have 1TB available !
So you should then go for RAID 5 with 4 drives (say 1TB). You could expect, an average available of 3 TB (2.8 TB in fact).
When you will need more space, use scenario B.
1) I want to be able to start with 2 1 or 2 TB drives.