- Must provide data redundancy and be able to replace a drive should one fail.
- Must be easily expandable
- Preferably be cost effective when compared to an off the shelf product such as Synology’s DS214+
- >= 6 SATA ports
- Onboard gigabyte ethernet
- Integrated video
- Support a minimum of 16GB RAM, preferably four slots giving 32GB
- Boot from USB
For storage I wanted to keep prices down but also provide data redundancy. These seemed to be my options:
“For two disks, you want mirror mode. This will cause the drives to be exact images of each other. If ZFS tries to read a block of data from the drive and it fails verification, then ZFS will automatically try to repair it. If the repair fails, it’ll read it from the other drive and mark the bad drive as failed. You should get a notification that a drive failed, but the filesystem will still be usable. You get some read speed improvements, but no write speed improvements. As long as you have at least one drive from a mirror set, you have all of your data.
With raidz, you need at least three drives. They function similar to RAID5 where (effectively) one drive stores recovery information, and the other drives store data. It can handle any drive failing, as long as only one drive fails at a time.
raidz2 and raidz3 are the same as raidz, except that they can handle two or three drives failing, respectively. They require more drives to operate and reduce effective capacity, though.”
I decided to go with two drives and mirror them.
How Much RAM?:
I needed a lot of RAM – “For systems with large disk capacity (greater than 8 TB), a general rule of thumb is 1 GB of RAM for every 1 TB of storage” – So I purchased 16GB which would give me plenty of room for any upgrades.
OS on a Flash Drive:
I grabbed an old computer, stole its case and fitted the new motherboard, CPU and RAM. I connected the power switch and fired it up. Success, I got the expected BIOS screen complaining about keyboard and what not.
Your FreeNAS box will be running headless so we will be connecting to it from another computer. To get the IP address you can connect a monitor or connect to your router. I connected to our router to get the IP and configured a static IP whilst I was there.
You can now enter the IP address into the browser of your choice from a computer connected to the same network. Well then want to configure a number of things…
Set the Root Password:
NOTE: for security reasons, the SSH service and root SSH logins are disabled by default. Unless these are set, the only way to access a shell as root is to gain physical access to the console menu or to access the web shell within the administrative GUI. This means that the FreeNAS® system should be kept physically secure and that the administrative GUI should be behind a properly configured firewall and protected by a secure password.
Set the Administrative Email Address
FreeNAS® provides an Alert icon in the upper right corner to provide a visual indication of events that warrant administrative attention. The alert system automatically emails the root user account whenever an alert is issued. FreeNAS® also sends a daily email to the root user which should be read in order to determine the overall health of the system.
To set the email address for the root account, go to Account → Users → View Users. Click the Change E-mail button associated with the root user account and input the email address of the person to receive the administrative emails.
To view system messages within the graphical administrative interface, go to System → Settings → Advanced. Check the box “Show console messages in the footer” and click Save. The output of tail -f /var/log/messages will now be displayed at the bottom of the screen. If you click the console messages area, it will pop-up as a window, allowing you to scroll through the output and to copy its contents.
- Change the timezone to the appropriate region
ZFS Volume Manager:
As mentioned above data security is very important so I will be mirroring my 3TB drives using the ZFS filesystem.
“If you have unformatted disks or wish to overwrite the filesystem (and data) on your disks, use the ZFS Volume Manager to format the desired disks into a ZFS pool.”
Click on Storage → Volumes → ZFS Volume Manager.
Simply create a volume name, add both the disks and select “Mirror” from the drop-down box. You can then ‘add’ the volume.
- Apple (AFP): FreeNAS® uses Netatalk to provide sharing services to Apple clients. This type of share is a good choice if all of your computers run Mac OS X. Configuration examples can be found here.
- Unix (NFS): this type of share is accessible by Mac OS X, Linux, BSD, and professional/enterprise versions of Windows. It is a good choice if there are many different operating systems in your network. Configuration examples can be found here.
- Windows (CIFS): FreeNAS® uses Samba to provide the SMB/CIFS sharing service. This type of share is accessible by Windows, Mac OS X, Linux, and BSD computers, but it is slower than an NFS share. If your network contains only Windows systems, this is a good choice. Configuration examples can be found here.
Mount the Share:
sudo mount -t nfs 192.168.1.11:/mnt/Mirror3TB ~/Desktop/3TB.Mirror/
mount: wrong fs type, bad option, bad superblock on /mnt
sudo apt-get install nfs-common