OpenMediaVault NAS Budget Build

Stacks Image 7
Before I get too deeply into my budget file server build I want to discuss the reasons for doing this. I mean, why not just stick a USB drive in your computer for a back up solution? Or hang the USB drive off the router? That's also network attached storage, right? In a nutshell here are the reasons to run a dedicated file server:

- Available 24/7

- Better reliability
(NAS hard drive better than USB Drive)

- Ability to run services (media servers, virus scanners, database)

- File system integrity (self checking, self repairing file systems)

- Reachable from internet (if so desired, be your own Cloud Server)

- Speed (better file transfer speeds and ability to transcode video)

- Redundancy (with certain configs if a drive fails no data is lost)

Now here are some reasons NOT to run a file server:

- If you don't care about your data

- Dedicated appliance takes up space and use electricity

- And finally COST!

A file server generally costs a LOT more than a brand new computer due to the type of components required and the cost of the storage. Server motherboards typically have more SATA hard drive ports, are faster in speed and are designed for low power draws and low fan noise. Multi core CPU's cost more, and NAS specific hard drives that are less prone to longer term failure cost more, and because of redundancy you are buying more of them.
Before you build you should sit down and determine your actual requirements. You can build all the way to Enterprise quality Network Attached File Servers, to a budget build like I'm performing here with a lot of space in the middle.

Sure I'd like to build the Uber box but I have to be realistic here. My office has the following conditions/requirements:

- No commercial wi-fi (I can hotspot off a device if I need to that provides internet to my network but it isn't persistent, nor do I have a large overhead of download data available.

- Cannot tie into work email network (See: Clinton, Hillary; for the problems associated with that)

- Small storage / backup requirement (less than 1 TB, a lot less)

- No desire to run a media server. Files only. *********

The last one there is really the deciding factor.

So there is really no need for me to run an Uber box here. Believe me I considered this for a while though. I'll proceed now with a "What I wanted", and "What I did"

Motherboard and CPU

The goal here is low power, low electrical draw. My budget file server does not need cutting edge here. I also want a system capable of quiet operation and this solution is one of the best.

ASROCK AM!H-ITX with Athlon 5350 2.05 Ghz CPU

Click the photo below for a quick slideshow of components.

AM1H-ITX Motherboard

Athlon 5350

Alpine M1 Passive Cooler

The AMH1-ITX motherboard operates off an optional 19v laptop power brick meaning NO NOISY POWER SUPPLY FAN

What I wanted to do

AsRock C2750D41

Amazing motherboard with 8 core CPU onboard.
Stacks Image 49


Patriot Signature 16GB DDR3L PC3-12800 (1600MHz) CL11 DIMM
Stacks Image 100

What I wanted

32 GB of Crucial ECC Unbuffered RAM

Specs: DDR3 PC3-12800 • CL=11 • Dual Ranked • x4 based • Registered • ECC • DDR3-1600 • 1.35V • 2048Meg x 72 •


Picked up two 2TB refurbished Hitachi NAS Drives for $50 a piece
Stacks Image 65

What I wanted

Enormous Western Digital "Red" NAS Drives……..Expensive. Too Expensive.

NAS Case

This is a touchy subject for me. Initially I ordered a WillJaya 2 bay NAS case which I guess might have been perfect however my Alpine M1 Passive cooler huge aluminum block may not have fit the case. Fedex managed in their greatness to lose my box with my NAS case so while I'm waiting patiently for my refund I went ahead a bought a SilverStone DS380 8 bay case which will fit the passive cooler and provides me an upgrade path. In this case (no pun intended) I did get exactly what I wanted. Ironically the great case with 12 bays (8 removable) coast the same as the WillJaya 2 bay case and in fact is $20 cheaper in shipping because I'm an Amazon Prime Member.
Stacks Image 75
Stacks Image 77
Currently this is my NAS without a home. I added a push button switch to turn the motherboard on. Doesn't look like much but does allow me to boot, install the OS, perform memory tests, and burn the hard drives in prior to actual deployment. All the things you should do anyway.
Stacks Image 98

NAS Software

Because of the lower end hardware here I went with a lighter NAS distribution called OpenMediaVault. OpenMediaVault is basically Debian Linux with a 3.16 kernel which I'm very familiar with. It's rock solid, bulletproof.

That being said I've opted to install the Beta 3 version of OpenMediaVault with was 3.0.26 which upgraded to 3.0.32 after installation at the time of this writing. The version is named Erasmus.

I'm configured as follows:

- Mirrored Hard Drives for 2TB of space

Even though I have two 2TB drives for a total of 4TB's I want the safety and redundancy of a mirrored hard drive. If one fails, and one might because remember I bought refurbished hard drives, then I just replace it with no data loss.

- Boot drive is SanDisk Cruzer Fit 16GB USB drive

The OS is on a USB drive. Runs fine, easy to repair. OpenMediaVault has a backup plugin which can be added by installing the OMV-Extras plugin. Also if you use a flash drive for boot media make sure to download, install and configure the openmediavault-flashmemory plugin. This reduces writes to the USB media which wears them out. I probably should install this on a 2.5" mechanical drive. I probably have a million of them laying around here somewhere.

Pic 1 - Dashboard

Pic 2 - RAID Display

Pic 3 - OMV System Backup