Monday, September 8, 2014

Homemade NAS

My old server is getting too slow, and I decided to separate the CIFS file server. There are a few open source NAS software available on the Internet. The most interesting ones are:
The first two (FreeNAS and NAS4Free) are very much related. NAS4Free is forked out of old FreeNAS when they were acquired. They are all based on FreeBSD, and the files system they used is UFS / ZFS. They seem to be well followed and easy to use. But the ZFS really is getting me uncomfortable. ZFS has a lot of nice features, but from what I read it really make one thing I wanted very difficult (or impossible) to do. That is to swap out a hard drive without going into a RAID configuration. This makes it out of question to grow capacity by swapping in larger drives. Although you can always grow by adding drives, but I prefer to replace the older drives when I do that.

Anyway, along the search I found OpenMediaVault, which is based on Linux. Indeed, it is a package under Debian Linux. What I like about it is that it can use LVM (Linux Volume Manager), which can move data between different physical drives within a same volume group. With that, I can put a new larger drive into a group, move data onto it, and then remove the older drive. Another thing I really like about it is that it can be installed on many hardware platforms where Debian is available. For example, I have installed on x86/x64, Raspberry Pi (with Raspbian, need to follow these special instructions at this time 9/2014), and DreamPlug (with Debian and follow standard procedures).

At this time (September 2014), the installation method of the installation is quite straightforward. The standard procedure is rather straight forward. Now I am off testing it.

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