How to DIY an NAS for home use

August 1, 2012 at 00:27:52
Specs: Windows 7, i7 2600k 3.4Ghz/ 8gb
hi i have around 800 DVDs of data i want to save onto a HDD for archival purposes. i first decided on and Drobo NAS but was too costly like $800 just for the unit.
Is there a way i can make one at home with a raid 5 setup and with a space of about 8tb?
And how to connect it to my main home computer?
please help.

See More: How to DIY an NAS for home use

Report •

#1
August 1, 2012 at 00:40:45
Have a look at FreeNAS - http://www.freenas.org

Report •

#2
August 1, 2012 at 00:45:20
freenas is the os isnt it? im looking for instructions to build a homeuse nas.

Report •

#3
August 1, 2012 at 01:24:57
FreeNAS is software that you install on a blank PC to produce a homemade NAS. It is an OS plus the necessary applications; and it's about the best software that you will find to build your own NAS. Read the documentation to discover its capabilities.

I take it you don't need step-by-step instructions on how to put a PC together and install hard disks?


Report •

Related Solutions

#4
August 1, 2012 at 01:28:16
hi
thanks for you info. i have been reading up since the last reply. Got to know a lot.
thank you once again.

Report •

#5
August 1, 2012 at 07:19:32
If you have a RAID5 on a computer, you don't need NAS software. Create one big volume (drive) on the 8 TB's of space and share it. Then you simply have to map to it from remote PC's.

It matters not how straight the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll,
I am the master of my fate;
I am the captain of my soul.

***William Henley***


Report •

#6
August 1, 2012 at 07:48:56
@CurtR

RAID5 doesn't give you NFS, AFP, iScsi, ZFS, or any of the other advantages of a good dedicated NAS. If you want to run the computer just for NAS, why bother with a desktop OS rather than an OS dedicated to, and tuned for, data sharing?


Report •

#7
August 1, 2012 at 12:30:31
ijack

I have to admit, while I've built, and worked with many RAID's in servers, I've never tried to use one in conjunction with AFP, NFS, iScsi or ZFS.

I have to wonder though if the OP is going to need to use any of the aforementioned in his home environment. Do you think any/all of the above will be needed in such a small network?

As to an OS dedicated to, and tuned for, data sharing. What's the learning curve on it? Is it easy to learn, understand, and use?

I'm not trying to be argumentative here. I'm just thinking, the guy doesn't want to spend $800 on an actual NAS device and wants to build his "NAS" himself at home. My suggestion is cost effective and will work perfectly in a small environment and for under $200 you can buy an excellent RAID controller card that you could run under any OS, be it windows, linux or UNIX.

I'm a firm believe in the KISS principle. I'm offering a solution which provides redundancy, reduces cost and also minimizes the amount of "new" information and/or technology the OP would need to learn to utilize said solution.

It matters not how straight the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll,
I am the master of my fate;
I am the captain of my soul.

***William Henley***


Report •

#8
August 1, 2012 at 13:47:44
I use all of those technologies on my small home network; that's why I mentioned them. But even if you just want to stick with SMB a NAS device has advantages over an internal RAID solution. ZFS is particularly useful in a NAS device as it allows over-provisioning of space allocated to data sets and allows the use of snapshots - particularly useful in a backup device.

If you have a spare PC then a FreeNAS would cost nothing (other than additional disks that you need to buy anyway) - $200 less than the RAID solution. If not, a commodity PC can be purchased for little more than that amount, resulting in a far more versatile solution.

The OP did actually ask about building a home-brew NAS system, and that is the question that I answered rather than making up one of my own.

The learning curve for FreeNAS is practically zero. Install the software and then use the web interface - just like any expensive NAS device (without the expensive bit). The manual explains it all. Having worked with servers I'm sure you appreciate the necessity of a separate device for archives and backups, RAID or not. The great mistake that so many people make is to regard RAID as an alternative to backups.


Report •

#9
August 1, 2012 at 14:02:12
$200 less than the RAID solution.

So you're telling me you can essentially combine multiple disks without buying a RAID controller using FreeNAS? If so, that's actually quite interesting and useful.......not to mention, cost effective.

I hadn't heard of FreeNAS prior to you mentioning it, which is why I'm picking your brain right now......lol

The great mistake that so many people make is to regard RAID as an alternative to backups.

Yeah, I've never setup a server without also advising a backup solution in conjunction with a RAID or RAIDs. While a RAID does provide redundancy, you can't take it offisite like you can tapes. So while a RAID does protect data on the server from loss of an HDD, it can't prevent a loss of data due to say, and act of God.

I used to work for a company that services a lot of banks and their associated financial institutions. There was this one small town branch that lost everything when a large forest fire in the area got into town and burnt down a few businesses including the bank branch. The RAID was useless in that situation. Whereas an offsite backup would have.

I've said, "You need to have a good backup solution in place" so many times I'm honestly tired of it.

It matters not how straight the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll,
I am the master of my fate;
I am the captain of my soul.

***William Henley***


Report •

#10
August 1, 2012 at 14:51:17
"So you're telling me you can essentially combine multiple disks without buying a RAID controller using FreeNAS? If so, that's actually quite interesting and useful.......not to mention, cost effective."

ZFS can indeed combine multiple disk as mirrors, stripes, or the equivalent of RAID 5 type setups in a very efficient way. It also has built in compression (again very efficient) and block-level reduplication, although that tends to be a little more demanding of resources. All of these make for very efficient use of disk space - ideal in a device storing large amounts of data. But the killer aspect is the way that datasets can be allocated space in a dynamic manner, and that space can be over provisioned. A ZFS filesystem of 1 TB can contain 10 datasets (essentially partitions) each 250 GB in size; each will only actually use the amount of space that the data they contain requires. Obviously all 10 can't contain the full 250 GB, but anyone who has worked with fixed-size partitions will appreciate the flexibilty this allows when dividing a disk. You always end up with one partition with lots of free space whilst another runs out of space.

As far as I am concerned ZFS is the killer aspect of FreeNAS (and FreeBSD upon which FreeNAS is based). It's not available on Linux, unfortunately, for political reasons. But you don't need to understand this, or understand anything about FreeBSD to use FreeNAS; it is a turnkey system. All you need is a PC with some disks for data (it doesn't need to be anything special processor-wise), two or more if you want redundancy, a USB stick to put the OS on, and as much RAM as you can afford (luckily it's really cheap right now). I built my FreeNAS box entirely out of old bits I had lying about - total cost zero.


Report •

#11
August 2, 2012 at 07:14:49
I wish I'd heard of FreeNAS before buying the small, two bay NAS device I recently purchased!

I have a bunch of PC's and a lot of 20, 40, and 80 GB HDD's at home I could have easily used to create a NAS on one of my spare PC's. I have very limited experience with FreeBSD but I've been using OpenBSD for a while now and am pretty comfy with it. Since I'm using Open as a firewall/router, I've never bothered to install the GUI portion of it. The one time I looked at Free, I did. But then I discovered PCBSD and I'm looking into using it as a desktop. Regardless, since I'm familiar with Open, I'm pretty sure I could handle FreeNAS without any real learning curve.

I like the features you mention and having worked with plenty of RAID's I am all to familiar with the wasted space sitting unused. Cpnsidering the drives I have available to use are all smaller (so-to-speak.....lol) it's nice that I could combine them and then ensure I'm not wasting usable space.

I think even though I have a NAS, I'm still going to investigate FreeNAS as one can never have too much backup right.........LOL

Thanks for the info ijack, I appreciate it!

It matters not how straight the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll,
I am the master of my fate;
I am the captain of my soul.

***William Henley***


Report •

Ask Question