Creating Your Very Own NAS Box!

I would like to thank Andy for allowing me to be an author! and here is my attempt to provide a blog for his site:

I love learning new things and as I am a computer it tech guy at my place of work, I am able to work on project and problems.  One of the project that I’ve always had but haven’t implemented is providing a backup server for our Window 7 machines at work.  Most of the computers that I deal with are Macs and they have Time Machines and we implement those but with Windows Machines, there wasn’t a clear backup plan.

Then I started to read about NAS, which means “Network Attached System”.  Its basically a file server and its been shown to be very easy to implement and use.  There are plenty of NAS Systems that you can buy and they are very good but I wanted to use some of our older PCs and use them.  Whats very nice, is that there is at least 2 opensource OS that can handle the NAS.  One of them is what I used and will share my experience.  Its called FreeNas.  You can find specific info at their website.

What’s neat about using FreeNas, is that you can use a USB Thumb or Flash drive to host the Program and that will save an Harddrive for Data usage.

Here’s what I had done.  I had an Dell Vostro 200, and I’ve found that it only had a working 512K RAM.  Now FreeNas recommends 8GB of RAM to use the best File format which is ZFS.  Some boggers and users will say, in some instances, 4GB of RAM will work.  Anyway, I ordered the RAM Sticks that I needed but instead of waiting for them to arrive, I decided to go ahead with setting it up.  I burned the img file to the Flash drive and then rearrange the new Harddrives that I wanted to use.  I used 2 1TB HD and got them installed.  Then I set the BOIS to boot off the USB drive and it booted up great.  It provided a IP to log into setup, I typed the IP onto a browser on a different computer and I was able to set it up

Now, FreeNas is mostly simple to setup but there were hiccups, it primarily was permissions that I got stuck on.  But once you figure that permissions need to be set on the HD to inherit permissions, it was a breeze from there.

First you create users, then you setup the Storage (HD).  Then what you need to setup is the services that you will use.  What is neat about FreeNas, is that it has tons of features.  You can setup for AFP (for Macs) and CIF (for Windows).

I am still experimenting the other features .  Since my goal is to provide a windows backup plan, I found a Video that provides instructions on how to do that with FreeNas.  Its quite informative.  Check out this Video

I was able to use this backup plan on my first Win7 machine and it did it successfully and without an hiccup even tho my NAS box was running on 512K RAM!.  Now since then, I did receive my new RAM and I did install them and now has 8GB RAM.  I now implemented this NAS on 5 different Win7 machines and am loving it.