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JBOD Wish Device


So long, and Thanks for all the Fish!
Aug 27, 2013
Aug 27, 2013
So we all have some media files we like to play on various devices and at some point we all have to consider storage space, convenience, power consumption, cost and data integrity...personally my current solution is a 7-Bay linux based NAS configured in RAID6 (RAID5 with an extra parity disk) with 6 * 2TB drives. It purrs along gobbling up several KWH/day, but otherwise satisfies all of my needs....

But, What if...there were a low-powered embedded controller that linked to Flash Memory Media via USB and were configured as a JBOD drive? I know, write times would be atrocious, but media files are predominantly Write Once Read Many, so what difference does write time make? For a Home Network, or even the "archive" portion of a business network such an array would be an ideal way to access fixed media with a tiny KWh footprint....Obviously this could be implemented on a PC with a simple USB hub and a "software raid" solution, but this would require a power hungry PC....

I am curious if anyone is aware of a device something like what I am describing. The core processor would need to have Native LAN & USB capabilities and Windows/Linux/Mac file system accessibility firmware/software with some JBOD file management capabilities. I would think a low-powered DSP designed for an embedded Linux OS variant could manage the load without breaking a sweat, perhaps even with open-source code....

So, am I describing something that already exists? I sure hope so, lol, because I have neither the skill-sets nor the time to undertake such a project, but I sure would love to buy one, LOL! If not, is this type of device of general interest to others, or am I the only one who is bothered by running a 500W power supply to make my media files available?

**Thoughts**, yes, I know it takes a lot of 2GB, 4GB, 8GB, 32GB, 64GB flash drives to make a TB, never mind a multi-TB JBOD drive, but the Flash prices per GB are dropping rapidly and KWh costs are rising ....

To operate a media server 24/7/365 that on average consumes 250W:
 --> 250W * 24h * 365  =  2190kWh/Year 
=> @ $0.15/kWh = $328/year.

An embedded processor could easily cut this consumption to << 20W making the annual kWh cost:

--> 20W * 24 * 365 =  17.52kWh/Year
=> @ $0.15/kWh = $26.28/Year

A Quick survey of NewEgg puts 32GB flash drives starting @ ~$11ea, making USB Stick Strorage ~ $0.34/GB or $352/TB. In contrast "consumer grade" Hard Drives are ~ $45/TB and "enterprise grade" Hard Drives are ~$90/ terms of reliability//data integrity the "enterprise grade" drives are more appropriate for comparison as most reliable RAID/NAS systems require/employ here is a comparison of costs:

System Net Capacity 4TB

SATA Enterprise Drives
Assuming the Cost of an appropriate NAS//PC ==> $600
JBOD/RAID0 =>> 4 * $90 ==> $540  ($90/TB)  + NAS/PC = $1140
RAID5 ==> 5 * $90 ==> $630  ($157/TB)  + NAS/PC = $1230
RAID6 ==> 6 * $90 => $720  ($180/TB)  + NAS/PC = $1320
RAID10 ==> 10 * $90 ==> $900  ($225)  + NAS/PC = $1500

Estimated Annual Power Cost w/o UPS = $328/Year
Estimated Annual Power Cost w/90% efficient UPS = $365/Year
Estimated Annual Power Cost w/85% efficient UPS = $385/Year
Estimated Annual Power Cost w/80% efficient UPS = $410/Year

Estimated UPS Cost = $100

32GB Flash Drives
Assuming the "Wish Device" Cost ~ $300 (similar to consumer set-top boxes,
                       essentially the same technology)
JBOD ==> $352 * 4 ==> $1408 + Wish Device = $1708

Estimated Annual Power Cost << $30/Year

For a low power device like the "Wish Device" it would be fairly easy to "DIY" a UPS with rechargeable batteries, a capacitor and perhaps a relay or even use a "charger" with the batteries in series with the PS thus providing "seamless" transition to battery power, in any event a "real" UPS would simply be over kill.

Obviously the "Wish Device" is more expensive from an "initial cost" point-of-view if you have to jump out of the gate w/4TB, but knowing you can expand @ 8GB/16GB/32GB/64GB/128GB.... "steps" as your storage needs grow w/o having to replace ALL of the drives, or go through a lengthy "array rebuild" process combined with the fact that FLASH memory has been steadily dropping in price for over a decade, could go a long way to make the "Wish Device" more fiscally attractive....but let's assume 4GB is the openingrequirement....AND let's assume that a JBOD approach with primarily WORM usage is close to the integrity of enterprise disks @ RAID5.....

Here's how the power consumption level's the field:

Initial Cost = $1230
First Year = $1230 + $328 ==> $1558
Second Year = $1558 + $328 = $1886
Third Year = $1886 + $328 = $2214

4TB JBOD Wish Device w/no UPS
Initial Cost = $1708
First Year = $1708 + $30 = $1738
Second Year = $1738 + $30 = $1768
Third Year = $1768 + $30 = $1798

Obviously the "Wish Device" doesn't take long to become the low-cost leader! (OK, so I have made a lot of assumptions about the Wish Device, but I would argue that the assumptions are viable if the Wish Device were developed for the consumer market, OBVIOUSLY NOT if it were a "one-off" prototype, lol)

Other thoughts//features of the Wish Device....a very cool, inherent feature of the Wish Device would be the ease of doing "Back Ups" to a "Regular" USB connected hard-drive. A simple SATA to USB interface w/external PS would allow backing up all 4TB to a single 4TB drive that could then be unplugged & stored safely away in a drawer. While it might take a few days to achieve the operation, it is a LOT faster than rebuilding a conventional RAID array, and a drive that is not plugged in rarely fails and uses ZERO power!

I envision the "main device" to be about the same size as and look something like an external hard-drive with perhaps 8-16 USB slots. These USB slots would then be connected to "hub" type devices that might look like "power strips" each having 8-64 USB slots. Perhaps "specialized power strip USB hubs" might have a built-in controller for specialized purposes like RAIDx where all of the Flash Drives in the particular strip were the same and could be configured for a particular purpose (increased read/write speeds, redundancy etc)....

If anyone is aware of a product or ongoing project similar in nature to what's described here, please take a moment to post, I have had this idea on my brain for over a decade, and I just feel like I can't be the only one who sees the merits of such a device.....

...Back to the real world, lol



Jan 16, 2014
Jan 16, 2014
Have a look at the NAS devices that are out there. I use 2 synology NAS. They support media files, web server etc etc. Check the features on their website. My devices are fitted with standard hard disks, but you could fit solid state disks that are a lot more power efficient. And they have a feature where they semi-shutdown when not being accessed - the downside of this is, of course, the first access after such a shutdown is a bit slow, but I can live with that. They allow sharing with Windows, linux, Mac and even support printer sharing of a USB printer. OH and they support RAID as well - they really run Linux.