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Build your Own NAS Server

A NAS or Network Attached Storage Server is a means of storing you files on a computer network such that they can be accessible by more than one machine whether it be Windows, Mac or Linux.

A Home NAS Server can deliver much more than this basic file sharing functionality as they usually offer other features such as a Web Server, iTunes Server, a Bit Torrent client for downloading files from Peer to Peer file sharing sites and even offer solutions for streaming you multimedia content to your favourite games consoles such as the XBox 360, PlayStation 3 or Nintendo Wii.

As these NAS Servers are traditionally left on for long periods or usually continuously, it is important to use low powered hardware in order to minimise the ongoing cost of these devices.

FreeNAS

FreeNAS is an excellent free NAS (Network-Attached Storage) server, supporting:-

  • CIFS (File access from Windows Clients),
  • FTP (File Transfer Server to upload/Download files),
  • NFS (File Access from Unix./Linux clients),
  • AFP,
  • RSYNC(For synchronising files. Can be used to backup files from other devices)
  • iSCSI protocols,
  • a UPnP Media Server supporting the streaming of multimedia to Games consoles and other Media Players,
  • S.M.A.R.T.,
  • local user authentication,
  • Software RAID (0,1,5) for protecting data using more than one disk,
  • a Full WEB configuration interface.

The beauty of FreeNAS is you can reuse an old PC or laptop which is now too slow to run those latest applications. The PC that has been used for the guides on this site is 8yrs old with a 700MHz Pentium processor and 128MB of memory. Internally it has a 160GB disk but an external 500GB USB drive has been added. It is possible to install your FreeNAS server onto a Compact Flash Drive or USB stick to improve security and aid in performance and power reduction. Tests on throughput (using this hardware) using FTP have shown the transfer rate at around 90Mb/s over a simple Wired Network.

Installing FreeNAS
Adding a Data Disk in FreeNAS
Creating a FreeNAS CIFS/SMB Share

Setting up FreeNAS as an iTunes Server
Editing your Mimetypes on FreeNAS

Installing PS3 Media Server on FreeNAS