Network Attached Storage on FreeNAS

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After all these years I finally got around to building a Network Attached Storage (NAS) box.

Sure you can go to Walmart and buy some kind of fancy Cloud NAS on the cheap but there is no real control over the device…'s more like a USB hard drive with humungous security holes from their Cloud implementation.

Redundancy is what this is all about. With a home made server and a redundant array of independent disks (RAID) if one fails you replace it and move on with nothing lost.

Not only that you get to choose the OS that is installed, in fact there are several good choices but I'm going with one called FreeNAS which is based on FreeBSD which is fast, and rock solid stable. FreeNAS is the standard in NAS Operating Systems. Here's my build and it is a BUDGET BUILD.
Really only a couple of things to buy.

- Lenovo TS140 from Computer Upgrade King Get at least 16GB of RAM. The stock price includes 4GB which is generally considered to not be enough for FreeNAS.

- Hard Drives. You can get as many or as few as you want and can arrange them in a variety of ways. Currently I have 2 Western Digital 4TB Red NAS drives. I have mine mirrored for a total of 4GB of redundant storage. I've since decided to order one more which will give me 8TB of storage and maintains good redundancy, however not a perfect as the mirrored solution. Your mileage may vary.

- SATA cables Pick up some extras. The Lenovo TS140 only has one free SATA connector. I stole the one off the DVD drive just to hook two hard drives up. I have no intention of using the DVD drive anyway.

- USB hard drive (or two) If you hook up a hard drive that holds the operating system you've just limited the storage of your server by one hard drive position. Many, many users boot the Operating System from USB drive and also you can use two USB drives to mirror the OS for redundancy in case one fails. How cool is that?

That's it. Hook up your hard drives and install FreeNAS on a USB stick. During the install you can install it to the other USB stick which will boot your server. I had to go in the BIOS (hitting F1 during boot) and telling the USB drive to boot before the storage hard drives.

Once it installs the screen shows you the IP address of the server. Go to any browser on any computer and you can manage FreeNAS from it. A configuration wizard walks you through the install. Use auto and accept the defaults and more than likely you'll be up and running before you know it. I had to go back in later and add a user though. No big deal. Here's what it looks like when you're done:
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And as you can see I have 4TB of storage available to me now.
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Lastly you can install plugins such as OwnCloud to run your own Cloud server. Forget DropBox and Google Drive. Just roll your own cloud. OwnCloud. See what I did there?
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