Sunday, November 23, 2008
So what exactly is a NAS? Well NAS stands for network attached storage which is pretty much what it sounds like. It's a dummy computer that is setup in a network just for the purpose of network storage. Of course there are commercial solutions which are sold for a fair price such as an external HDD or a pre-built NAS (Buffalo LinkStation Pro Network Shared Storage 320GB Network Hard Drive $199.99) but where would be the fun in that? The true DIYer would just take an old computer that they have lying around and setup it up with a large HDD. SSD or solid state drive are available now for the home user but still to expensive. Solid state drives are more durable and require less electricity then the standard HDD but are much more expensive for much less storage. It would be interesting to see a build based on a SSD in which size of the NAS was in consideration.
Anyways I decided to go the cheaper way and just use a previously used computer that was currently not in use with an old 200 IDE HDD from my previous gaming system that can longer go into my new rig since it only has SATA connections, damn you advances in technology. So the computer I used was an old HP Pentium 850 MHz with 512 mb of ram. This is much more computing power then what you need. You can make a NAS from pretty much any system. As i said before, the system will be using a 200 GB western digital IDE hard drive. If I had to make any suggestion to people interested in making a really nice NAS I would tell them to use a SATA 2 3Gb/s Hard drive and a gigabyte LAN network card. Gigabyte LAN cards are pretty cheap now and will make a huge difference when move a large amount of data.
The software setup for my NAS was pretty easy but it did take a little while for me to get it going. I used FreeNAS which is a free open source NAS OS which a huge range of different features all the while taking up just under 32MB. You can get it to run off the hard drive, compact flash or even a USB key. I decided just to use the hard drive that I am going to use for storage. It was fairly easy to get it to run on my NAS comp but a little bit more difficult for me to get it setup. FreesNAS has a web browser type interface that can be open from any computer on the network with an easy to understand interface. It supports a lot of different protcols (CIFS/SMB, FTP, UPnP and UPS just to name a few) for every computer in your network. Since pretty much all the computers in my network are running off of windows (all except one which is running Ubuntu) I decided just to use CIFS/SMB. It was very easy to setup this up after I got the drive mounted and setup properly. It did take me a while to realize that I need to setup a share so that my computer would have to have some place to add data. The NAS is now running smoothly with not attached to it but a power cord and Ethernet cable. When building a NAS i would consider using more energy efficient parts but I had not considered that for this build. So all in all I've made myself a NAS out of a old computer and a old hard drive all for free. Pretty sweet.
Free NAS web interface
Hopefully pretty soon I will be able to add a new post on a car computer build or a home theatre build that I have been considering. Look forward to both of them.
Price: $0 CDN