Media Server “How-to” | The FreeNAS Server
FreeNAS 6-Disc Cube
Here’s a little background information regarding my home NAS (Network Attached Storage) server. I have built so many different variations of this storage server using different platforms and components, as well as using prebuilt, consumer units. Other than FreeNAS, I have evaluated Windows Home Server, Windows Server 2000, OpenFiler, Ubuntu, CentOS. This is the third time that I have gone back to FreeNAS, and I can finally say I am happy with my setup (for now). Why FreeNAS? Number one, because it’s free! Also, it has a very intuitive web-based GUI to do most of the administration and setup tasks. You can also access the shell, where you can perform more advanced tasks and run custom scripts. A couple of other key features that differentiates FreeNAS from the others are iSCSI and ZFS. To put it simply, iSCSI allows two or more hosts to send/receive SCSI commands using the existing Ethernet network. ZFS, a relatively new filesystem introduces RAID-Z. A big plus that RAID-Z has over RAID-5 is live error checking and the ability to add discs to your array without having to destroy and then rebuild it all over.
This is the third reincarnation of this server, and I can finally say that I am satisfied with my build… at least for now. My goals for this build was to build something compact since I live in a small condo. Another was that it was quiet and physically unobtrusive. Lastly and probably most important was that it was energy efficient. I can transfer files at speeds over 70 MB/s (CIFS) and at idle with the disks spun down it uses about 40-41 watts. When it is working serving files, uPNP, itunes, and Rsync, it uses about 70-80 watts. To allow the disks to go to sleep and I chose not use RAID, but adhere to a strict backup policy. I’m hoping that with the picoPSU, I will get the idle power consumption down to < 30 watts.
Here’s the breakdown:
CPU: AMD Ahtlon BE-2300
MOTHERBOARD: Asus M3A76-CM
CASE: Ultra Microfly
PSU: Antec Earthwatts 380w (soon to be replaced with a picoPSU-150)
MEMORY: 2 x 2GB DDR2 ECC Kingston
SYSTEM DISK: 8GB Kingston Elite Pro CF Flash w/ CF-to-IDE converter
PRODUCTION DISKS: 3 x 1.5TB Samsung EcoGreen 5900RPM
BACKUP DISKS: 3 x 1.5TB Seagate Barracuda 7200RPM, one set of hard drives kept in the backplane, the other set rotated offsite
HARD DRIVE BACKPLANE: Kingwin KF-3000BK 3-bay hot-swappable