Yes, ext3 or 4 is pretty rocksolid for a mix of files. Since most of my files are large i donno why but i always use xfs on every nas drive until zfs on linux isn't well.. crap or btrfs is mature.
Xfs has some cool options like tunable allocation sizes [say 1/2 to 1 gb chunks so fragmentation isnt an issue. Online [no need to unmount drive] defragging is easily a quick cron job. I had the dreaded hardware ecc errors and relocated sector increasing at about the rate of universe expansion of hdd death and xfs always remounted if only read only and recovered any recent files but hard drives die and as a human rule all moving parts will fail eventually so backup. Ohh I could only curse 2 file systems I could blame directly for data loss because of the file systems faults. Reiser3 and fat. That was my early setups didn't have enough cpu at the time to justify xfs (cpu heavy and slow deleates are it's major cons and the cpu part was only justified by "those Pentium 2 400MHz" days but ummm the raspi doesn't need any unnecessary drag so the slight gain in throughput would be lost in the no sata port problem anyway. Reiser3 had some cool features and I started with that fs after reading Hans Reisers paper...book on his take on why we needed another filesystem.. and he truly was a genius ..(murdered his wide too so eccentric as well
what I liked was that Reiser3 was I believe for somebodys religious fight in the day the default fs for root on Red Hat 5 or so iirc and I read all ths crap on b trees
And what had me at the time was hard drive space. All filesystems have a wasted space problem with Small files where an empty file or small text files like in /etc still waste a lot more space than the filename length and the acls to describe such empty text file. I don't want to say it's whole block size is wasted but I know back when filesystemfile systems had size limitations (sometimes multiple times over like that should've fixed once rant)
Anyway reisers3 filesystem probably reiser4 as well seemed brilliant to include a feature called "tail packing" where at a small performance hit all these tiny files can be all packed in together to save hard drive space. Genius.. so I was sold. Until
Something I don't know what through up some bad superblock crap on mount and wouldn't even mount ro (this was the root filesystem) ohh crap I'm thinking so I don't do anything drastic to make matters worse so reading up on recovery it seems too easy as many most and hopefully all fs's keep backup superblocks. But even the most talented, Einstein included, are prone to oversights and plain simple mistakes.
And what bit me (not realized for many years as to what happened to look for bug report) is that if you write a filesystem that isn't tested over probably decades there's no way to guarantee it won't fail in your specific case. The snake that bit me was having uncompressed reiser3 images on a reiser3 partition. I was going to tgz em but whether that caused the problem on reboot or when I used some reisersuperblock recovery command later and ended up with 5 or 6 copies of every file in I think numbered or seperated directories (sure wasn't lost & found) most pointing to random spew so every file needed to be hand checked...
But nowadays I boot off of a small ssd ext4 now but nothing wrong with ext3 and all spinning drives are 2.5 sata drives. Usually the extra too tall to work in a laptop bay wds. So my advice. Dont cheap on this when it could be done proper for not much more. The raspi is cool and efficient but wrong for this task. Even I kinda thought about it but there are slightly pricier boards with sata (and no gigabit Ethernet so.
Get a pair of recent decommissioned Xeon processors the energy efficient ones not the heat the room 10c in 5 mins after turning it on. I think I got two identical quad core Xeons with fanless beutiful works of solid copper heatsinks for maybe slightly higher than scrap cost of the copper (20 dollars or so...) of ebay hunting. The Intel brand server board for these was also dirt cheap as 1. No Pciex16 slot for a decent video card and crap onboard graphics (ati es100 iirc...crap but this isnta gaming rig and besides running xfce over vnc here and there most stuff is sshed In. What You do get Is.... 6 yes 6 onboard sata connectors. And 2 built in giga ethernet ports. The memory ran the most unexpected cost as it used some goofy registered ecc fbdimms but 8 slots could lessen the hurt. I only populated 6 slots with 16gb well 4 slots but it has bios options like if a memory stick fails check you can assign spares from what I understand this memory is power wasting so just populate the minimum needed (iirc 4 slots for a doubledual or doublequad xeon) Also it has 2 pciex4 slots. What is they good for? Real hardware sas cards that bascally unrestrain your setup to maybe a dead hard drive being a temporary annoying beep fixed in 5 minutes by just slapping a new replacement in and letting it rebuild the raid 5. I got one of those 24 3.5 sata cases from newegg and an older but capable 4 SAS to 20 sata cable breakouts.
Regrets. I needed much more than just a nas. With 2 gbes it could serve everything from transcoding duty to lowly router. Right now I have a hell of mish mash drive sizes and capacities but I keep a straight drive by drive backup off the raid because raid is no backup. I wished I went all 2.5 for size and got more slots. I never thought I'd say it but the silence slightly higher price and smaller capacity and slower speed is actually a worthwhile tradeoff in less noise and a lot less heat. I've read about wd caviar greens messing up raid arrays with over aggressive power saving settings but I usually use wd tune tool to shut of the quiet features and left idle down park settings alone and never had one drop out of the array that wasn't dead. Seems if a new wd lives past it's first month it will last years before demise. Ill post some video of the startup.. loud as heck fans can be tamed by wiring 7 or 5 volts intead of the 12v to them (don't with 3.5 drives) the case for the firstserver case I had with no spongy filter so maybe a power down and blow out so often but it was done right once. Its a new era and im not trusting 'cloud hosting' to anyone. I argue this point again. The home desktop is very niche item I tell most of my family and friends. .my time and support pit with no pay to stop using machines they don't know (and don't want to either) how to properly setup, secure and maintain. Multiple desktops or laptops nomore. Tablets and possibly a laptop if needed. But I tell them they are going to pay for a computer they won't use. I tell them to never turn it off and get it celler bound in good spot and monitor debian stripped to only what's needed (ok even thats impossible anymore) and they think I'm nuts. But plex, nas,home automation and security. Entertainment (heck with just plex. Checkout minidlna or mediatomb. Blow that one family members mind, you know the one calling 3am panicked they don't know what to do , she got a virus popup on her c: drive and then you need to waste a half hour reassuring them since this would be impossible since there is no c: drive in ubuntu the beauty of dlna upnp server controller client model and sip voip googlevoice whatnotand they get it. I don't fully understand why google cannot and will not offer granular permission controls but yep.. nobody reads em anyway. Why is everything ad revenue driven. More correctly behavior datamining driven. I kinda wished. NOKIA put all their chips on Maemo instead of treating it like a pet project. Symbian and now windows phone. I liked meamo apps. Simple deb packages that never asked for permission. Becaused they asaik never did anything more than it needed to unless you paid for some nokia app than EULA
I'm getting way off topic but raspis a client tool. Dont mistake it as a cheap server anything unless it is very mundane task. Now to control something like HVAC and monitor and time base heating and ac to save money. I/O of a desklamp from a simple android ssh command widget. I could go for days but its the stuff the pi is for. Plus rambling ideas will make my disclaimer longer. If you burn your housedown using pi for hvac control or electrocute and or fri ya pi running high voltage ac anywhere.unisolated blah proper redundancy and failover is your responsibility. The world is possible and we would be a better society if we did what was right and sustainable, instead of patent portfolio stuffing for continuous capitalistic gain through planned obsolescence. Just think of the huge rebirth of knowledge in the last 200 or so years. Now subtract all the time we spent killing each other (although arguably the best tech inventions came from warfare)
Sum it up in one line ext3 or 4 would be fine but don't do it..