Project - Home Built NAS

So for awhile now I have wanted to have my own Network Attached Storage - "NAS" unit for awhile now to store my Media and backups from my other devices (Computers, Tablet, etc.) It would over all save space on my other devices plus allow my to manage the content far easier than having it spread out amongst the other devices.   I've used Western Digitals Personal Cloud and other similar products before however space was always an issue and  the older generation of these devices offered little to no ability to Upgrade them. So Its time to build our own NAS device. Searching around I came up with some options. 1. Take an old PC and Convert it into something. 2. Buy and build a box specifically for it. Being tight on the budget I opted for the first option. Having several older PC's laying around made this a simple choice to re-use what I got. So I found an Older PC that had 8gig of RAM with a 8 Core AMD processor. Perfect for the job a little more power than needed but maybe we can take advantage of that in another way.

Now for the OS to use. Can use a normal OS like a linux flavor, Windows or something else. I'm most familiar with windows based OS however Cost is part of the equation. So going with Microsoft Storage Server isn't an option. However in the linux and FreeBSD world there are several other choices that do this well and have a strong community that supports them. So selecting FreeNAS is a good choice since it's specifically designed for what I want it to do. And it has some nice bells and whistles included.

There are some nice How to Videos out on the interwebs that take you through the basic info that you will need in order to get up and running.  They also have a free webinar that you can attend if you just want to get a leg up on learning about what it can do. I would recommend that you play with it a few times before actually  using it cause you will mess it up a few times first so learn it first then use it.

The hardware
Processor: AMD FX(tm)-8120 Eight-Core Processor
Memory: 8gig (4x2gig DRMM3 )

3x 3TB Western Digital Green Caviar
3x 2TB Western Digital Green Caviar 
1x 80gig Seagate Drive (Hosting OS)

Network Adapter:
1gig Broadcom onboard (Management Nic)
Intel PRO/1000 PT Dual Port Server Adapter

Top Reasons
With this setup it gives me alot of options to go with. One these is a enterprise level of OS than I can use for my own home use. Two I can easily change out hardware on my old PC and Upgrade it as needed. Three is the cost the OS is free to use under it's licensing and I'm using old stuff that I have laying around anyway.

Bells and Whistles
Like I said FreeNAS has some nice bells and whistles built into it.
One it uses ZFS which is really really robust filing system. There are lots of nice Services that are supported. Check the FreeNAS site for more details. Plugins and more plugins oh how I love plugins this thing has more to the point Crashplan and Plex.

So Crashplan is a backup system that allows you to backup your PC and other devices. I have to admit I was using Back Blaze at the time for backups. As it suited my needs of backing up large amounts of Data from my Home PC. However with the data being moved off my home PC to a centralized location I need something a bit more robust. I still recommend backblaze for the normal home user as it's cheap and easy to setup. And everyone should have some type of off location backup for their photos and documents. I also recommend have two different ways of backup. I will talk more on this topic in a future article.

Plex is one of the many flavors of Media Center software out on the internet. I particularly use Kodi on a couple Raspberry Pi's in the house to stream content to the TV's. However I have used plex in the past. So this setup would still allow me to using Kodi and Plex in conjunction to serve up my digital content to my devices with in my home network and out of it. I use Plex as the Server and Kodi as the Client to watch the Content that is being served up from the Plex.  I won't go into how since there are tons of articles and how to's on the internet from a quick google search you can figure it out.

So far I have being using it for a month now and really have enjoyed the project. It has made things alot easier to keep track of. Now its just a matter or organizing all the data into the NAS. Which I will cover in a future article. Till then remember to "Animate your Life. "


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