A smart little storage server — designed for 24/7-operation in your living room.
  • front side
  • back side
  • top view
  • open
  • detail: disks
  • detail: fan
  • detail: corner
  • optional zebrano finish

Background

When I came across the Backblaze storage pod, I was immediately intrigued by its clever, no-frills design. But who really needs 67 terabytes (or 135, or even 180) at home? I decided to scale their excellent design down for home use, and after some experimentation, the Evercube was born.

The design is open source hardware, available under a Creative Commons Attribution license. You can view or modify the models with Google Sketchup.

  → evercube.20111102.zip

For your convenience, I also offer all major components needed to build the Evercube as an easy to assemble Do-It-Yourself kit. Sold out.

Facts

dimensions 150 x 150 x 150 mm
material stainless steel, 2 mm, brushed
processor Marvell "Kirkwood", single core, 1.2 Ghz
memory 512 MB DDR2
disk slots 5 x SATA2, 2.5"
max. capacity 10 TB (= 5 x 2 TB)
network 1 x Gbit Ethernet
power 30 W — 5 VDC, 6 A
cooling ultra-silent fan, 140 mm

Questions & Answers

I have tried to answer the most common questions. If you have any other questions, please contact me.

General

Why another NAS box? Aren't there enough already?
Yeah, there are quite a few — but do they really look good next to your MacBook Pro? Are they specifically designed for 2.5" disks? And are they as compact and energy-efficient as the Evercube?
What is it suited for?
The Evercube is primarily intended as an "always-on" home server. 5 terabytes of raw storage capacity make it a superb file server with plenty of room for pictures, music, movies or backups. Of course it can also be used as your personal web server, bittorrent server, freedom box, diaspora node ...
So you live in Belgium?
Nope, I am german and live in Berlin — I just couldn't resist the cool domain hack. All custom components (like the stainless steel enclosure) are manufactured in Germany.

Assembly

What is included in the kit?
The basic kit contains most major parts — except harddisks — that are needed to build the Evercube: enclosure, motherboard (with onboard CPU and memory), 5-port SATA multiplexer backplane and internal disk scaffold. You'll have to source fan, power supply and some small parts (wires, clamps, wedges, screws ...) yourself.
How difficult is it to put together?
Pretty easy, actually. Please have a look at the detailed build instructions — if you know how to operate a screwdriver, you should be fine ;)
I have taken special care to make assembly as simple as possible — all electrical connections are done with clamps, for example, so no soldering is necessary.
What tools do I need?
Only screwdrivers, pliers and a lighter.

Technical

What disks can be used?
Any 2.5" SATA (= laptop) disk, including "thick" (12.5mm) 1 TB models. The latest 2 TB models (15mm) should also work, if you make the slots in the disk scaffold a little wider. You can also use the Evercube without any disks at all, as it boots from internal flash (512 MB).
Seriously — laptop disks in a server?
It might sound strange, but laptop disks actually have a lot of advantages for an always-on home server: they use less energy, run very quiet, and take up little space. Although you pay roughly double the price per gigabyte compared to 3.5" disks, you pay less for electricity, and thus maybe even save money in the long run.
What operating system does the Evercube run on?
The SheevaPlug (which we use as motherboard) comes with Ubuntu 9.04 pre-installed on flash. You can find instructions on plugcomputer.org how to install a different operating system (including Debian, Fedora, Gentoo and FreeBSD).
What other software is installed?
Nothing — just a stock Ubuntu installation, so you can customize the system however you want.
How about ZFS?
Sure, ZFS would be awesome — but it is currently not available on Ubuntu. FreeBSD is an option, although the available memory (512 MB) might turn out to be too little for good ZFS performance. Please tell me if you got it working.

Ordering

When is the kit available?
The Evercube first shipped in November 2011, but is sold out. No new kits will be produced.