Build Your Own Home Server

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Harunbg

Nice Idea. Thanks www.JTCwholesale.com

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Lorddeth

The case used in this build is listed as discontinued on the fractal design's website, so what replacement do you recommend?

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hmp_goose

Wasn't half the point of FreeNAS, or the whole point of ZFS, that you didn't need a host card, just the mobo SATA patches?

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JakeDaSnake

I'm with you on this. My FreeNAS with ZFS (6 drives) is running just fine off the mobo's on board sata. I would think that a drive controller card for a home setup just adds an unnecessary piece for future issues.

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DirtModeler

I'm not really sure why everyone insists on making a super powered NAS server.

I just built one this weekend using FreeNAS on an old P4 Processor w/2GB of RAM that's PLENTY fast..

I'm streaming 1080p movies off it over wireless and it's smooth as silk.

Unless you are working with really heavy file loads, a 'modern' computer running FreeNAS is a waste of resources.

My whole reason for using FreeNAS was to be able to hodge-podge a NAS server together from old obsolete parts.. Take my giant desktop system, shove the 8 Hard Drives into the FreeNAS box, and run my desktop in a Micro-ITX footprint with SSD.... and still have easy access to the files on the FreeNAS server shoved away in a quiet corner.

You are going to be limited by the network cable plugged into the back of it anyway.. Even if you have a gigabit network setup.. that's only ~120MB/s that can be shoved through it.

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Thumper092486

I have an old P4 and other older equipment laying around. I wanted to make a NAS but all reading material says you need an I-? and lots of up to date tech to stream 1080 and other content. Glad to know you don't.

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DirtModeler

FreeNAS is cool because it's free to use. so if you are using dusty old parts, what have you got to lose?

I'm not computer expert by any means, so if i can set it up, pretty much anyone can.

Make it a weekend project to get FreeNAS working on your old hardware with just a couple hard drives, and test it out to see if you like it..

if not, all you've lost is time.

My next add-on with be to actually spend money... I want a UPS system plugged to it so during power outtages it will shut the server down to prevent file corruption.

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xulaopas

until I saw the paycheck that said $6457, I have faith ...that...my friends brother trully receiving money parttime online.. there aunt has done this for under twelve months and just now repayed the morgage on their place and bought a new Cadillac. this is where I went, http://www.Cloud65.com

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AFDozerman

Nice. It's amazing how big you can make paychecks with monopoly money. Last week, I made myself a one trillion dollars coin. Big fun. Happyhappy

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tekknyne

Built my freenas rig for $170 minus the cost of disks. Asus board with AMD E350 dual core and 8gb of memory were $109 + $30. The case and PSU were like $40 for generic 300 watt. It idles at like 19 watts or something last time I checked.

You definitely got pwnd on the RAM, case+power supply and board.

I can't advise my build to anyone that wants to do streaming, in hindsight, I wish mine had way more horsepower.

I always found paying for hot-swap bays on a home system kind of funny. Do you really want to be swapping out a bunch of disks? I dont.

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keithfreitag

Comparing the entry cost of the QNAP TS-469L-US vs. DIY (FreeNas). If the QNAP just needs drives and you are off a running, I could get the same WD Red's (x4) and still come out $200 less and my patience will be intact. If the DIY was sub $1000, I'd be all over it for sure. Great article, I still might look around for an old MB to use.

PS - I have a HighPoint RocketRaid 1820 that fits in a long PCI slot. Any boards out there currently still support it?

Keith

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Hilarity

Not an old ass obsolete CPU gimped 100w APU. Should have gone for an 55w i3 3220 and B75. I'd also rather use Windows Home Server than fiddling about with BSD or Unix.

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satrain18

Why not use OpenMediaVault, or install Amahi on Ubuntu?

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hades_2100

I use a Windows 7 platform with FlexRAID for my fileserver. 10 drives, ~20TB. I can (and just did) recover from 1 disk failure, although I'm going to be adding another disk so I can recover from 2-drives failing.

I choose this because:
1) the ability to mix-and-match drives
2) I can run my 2 VMs easily. I assume since this is Linux, the same ability exists using VMWare or similar?
3) the ability to pull any drive from the array, plug it into another computer and just copy the files off the drive.

How does FreeNAS compare?

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KirthGerson

FreeNAS is not a Linux based operating system. It's based off of FreeBSD.

1. You can mix and match, but if you are using ZFS you cannot just swap drives and increase the size of the RAID volume. You have to backup, destroy, and recreate the volume.

2. FreeBSD doesn't have much visualization support (you can run VirtualBox on it at this time). It would be incredibly difficult, by design, to get VirtualBox running under FreeNAS.

However, you can run FreeNAS as a guest OS, using something like VMware ESXi or Xen on the bare metal as the VM host.

3. This will depend solely on the hardware you are using. Chances are if it works on Windows FreeBSD/FreeNAS will support hot-swapping, but you will need to check the compatibility of your hardware to FreeBSD first.

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EscoDaddy

I've been toying with the possibilities of a NAS setup and weighing the pros/cons of FreeNAS vs a factory box. The $1700 price of this FreeNAS is a bit expensive compared to a factory box. I think I'd rather a Netgear 4 bay with 4-3TBs.

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KirthGerson

Aside from the cost of the hard drives, this system could be built for a fraction of the price. Get a cheaper case and power supply (~50), cheaper CPU and motherboard (~$150 combined), get a better price on RAM (4 to 8 GB at most), and skip the hardware RAID controller and instead do software RAID.

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diedrichg

Save $150 and get a used RAID controller on eBay. That's what I just did a few weeks ago. It was listed as their backup controller and was lightly used.

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KirthGerson

This is really, really bad advice.

Using a hardware RAID controller means your data can only be accessed via said controller. If you don't have a back up and that controller dies you could be waiting days or weeks to get a new one to install in your machine.

For low cost, DIY solutions software RAID is the best way to go.

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lindethier

Good article. I've been wanting to roll my own home server for a while, may get around to doing it eventually.

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AFDozerman

I would use free NAS, but I'm also using my server as a compute node for luxrender and some other distributed computing that I don't want hogging up cycles on my main machine. For that reason,I am stuck with ubuntu and Samba. Not the most elegant solution ever, but it works.

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satrain18

I think you can install Amahi on Ubuntu. It also got an extensive plugin library similar to the Netgear NASes.

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AFDozerman

Do I lose my nerd license if I didn't even know what Amahi was until you mentioned it?

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KirthGerson

Nope.

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Mediziner

Intel Core i3 or Core 2 Extreme?

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HiGHRoLLeR038

I dont think Nathan is with the magazine anymore, so I dont know who to address this question to lol. How easy is it to recover data after swapping out a dead hard drive? What if your flash drive that's running the OS suddenly dies? Can you just swap in a new flash drive with a clean OS and still be able to see your datasets or pools or whatever? Or should you be making a backup of your OS?

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diedrichg

FreeNAS has the built-in feature of backing up your settings which can then be imported onto the new flash drive.

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whitneymr

Your link for Win32 is bad. Here's Sourceforges link:

http://sourceforge.net/projects/win32diskimager/

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icebox1701

I used to ran FreeNAS as weel until I switched to a custom Linux install. I also used various old hardware for my homeserver. But last year I discovered the HP n36l and n40l microservers. I couldn't spec any miniitx build with a case suitable for a NAS that would come cheaper as the HP. The cpu is a bit underpowered - I have the n40l it uses a dual core amd I think 1.2Ghz but other than that it's a solid, stable system. It came by default with 2gb ram and one 250gb hdd - those are nice bonuses in my opinion but I switched to 8gb ram and 4x2tb. It's small, stable, pretty quiet and has a bit of room for expansion - everything a home server needs to be IMHO.

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HiGHRoLLeR038

The N40L is a nice option, but it only supports up to 8GB. FreeNas recomends 1GB per TB of storage so what if you had 4x4TB drives? A custom box would be alot more expensive, but this box is cheaper than most Netgear NAS boxes and its a full blown computer! very nice deal.

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icebox1701

That memory requirement probably comes from FreeNAS and ZFS. I use good old Linux with ext4. I ran it for some time using 3x2Tb and 2Gb RAM (doing dlna, download box, mysql and apache+php server, openvpn and two xfce desktops ready for vnc) and yet it had no issues. I did upgrade to 8Gb RAM but that was because RAM is cheap (and probably won't be when DDR3 goes out of style and I will really need more)

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ddimick

Consider an IBM M1015 SAS controller instead. They can be flashed with LSI firmware, support eight SATA drives, and cost less than $100.

My NAS build is fairly similar to yours except I run FreeNAS as a virtual machine under an ESXi host. You should make sure your motherboard and CPU both support VTD in this case.

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tony2tonez

But what if I wanted to access my content at home while on the road. I don't cloud because I believe my info should still be for myself and not everyone else.

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diedrichg

There are a few options for remote access. I personally use SFTP, Windows (CFIS) Shares and AFP Apple (AFP) Shares the latter two for direct access within Windows Explorer and Finder respectively.

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nsvander

I would suggest rather then leave a usb key stuck in the back of the machine for it get snapped off and broken or accidentally jarred loose that getting a header to external cable and mounting it inside the case would be a much safer option.

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KirthGerson

Or use a tiny USB flash device, like this one:

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=9SIA0U906W7305

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HiGHRoLLeR038

Good idea! But if it's sitting in the corner in the basement, shouldnt have any worries.

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rawrnomnom

When did you get a basement????

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Hamburger

Very cool, indeed.

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