February 2007
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My Network Attached Storage Solution – Part 1

I’ve been wanting one of these for a while. I first realized they could be affordable after browsing through a Fry’s Electronics store and seeing a Buffalo Tera byte NAS device for around 5 or 600 dollars. It’s been a while so I don’t recall the exact price. I read some reviews online of this device and it sounded alright but not good enough to make me want to give up control of my NAS device. What I mean is that a retail NAS device is really just a computer with the software already set up and configured for you. If I build my own I can decide what software to use and maybe change things later if I change my mind.

So I decided to go for FreeNAS as the software and around a Tera Byte as the size. Now that I am getting paychecks I decided to go for it and buy the stuff this week. One of the cool things about FreeNAS is that it is such a small OS (based on FreeBSD) that it will run on a USB jump drive easily. I was a little nervous because most of the documentation on motherboards that I looked at didn’t say if it had the ability to USB booting or not but since it’s new I’m hoping it does. The motherboard has a built in SATA RAID controller for 4 drives which I also ordered. I will be using a RAID 5 array because it is about the best balance of redundancy, performance and cost. Using 4 500GB drives I will be getting around 1.5TB of space according to RaidCalc and then depending on which file system I choose to go with I will have more than 90% of that space left for storage. At this time I’m still trying to decide what will be best for my use.

The main goal of all this if you haven’t guessed yet is to have all my multi-media and data files in a central location that has the fault-tolerance of RAID. If one of the hard drives fails, the data will still be recoverable as long as it is replaced before another drive fails. The other benefit is that I can take more than 30GB of music off of the hard drive of my laptop plus other videos and data that I only access from time to time. With this extra space I can install games or programs that require large amounts of space and not worry about running out of space on the laptop. Since the NAS is on the network I will always have access to my files. Another benefit is that if I wanted to let others share my media on the home network they can access it just as easily as if it were another drive on their computer.

The parts should be arriving next week so I’ll keep you updated to my progress. I’m sure there will be at least one late night of working out problems as there always is with new technology. :)

6 comments to My Network Attached Storage Solution – Part 1

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