The new NAS project is nearly complete.

How did we get here?

The new NAS project started a few months ago, when I had the bright idea to create a back up solution. I had planned to use a ‘My Cloud’ device that I already had, but found one of the reasons I bought doesn’t apply anymore. (I bought it a few years ago). Gone, is the stand alone app, replaced by a web app. A web app that has no back up scheduler like the stand alone did. A reason I was trying to use it. Faced with using what amounted to a drop folder for external storage, I decided I’d create my own.

This took on a few iterations, but each made progress over the last. The goal, however was still. find something easy to use to get bulk storage off individual PCs and make it centralized. First was a proof of concept in the HP FrankenDell, then we would scale up. The combination of Dell motherboard, Xeon processor, and HP case was an interesting project and did work, but I thought a standard motherboard would work better.

The new NAS next step

The great deal on the motherboard combo was a great surpise, coming with the mobo, CPU, and memory. It was a perfect solution, but it meant shelving the Xeon again. To be honest, I thought I might stil use the Xeon, but the combo deal appeared to be solid, all I needed was a larger hard drive. I found an 8TB solution, and got to work. As it turns out, still a lot of work.

My choice for software was TruNas Scale. It’s an open source solution that is linux based and can make use of different Docker containers for easy integration. I managed to get things set up, and realized I had no idea what I was doing. Okay, maybe that isn’t quite accurate, but it’s close. It may be versitile and overall easy to use, but there is still a learning curve. I relatively steep one, but not impossible. I managed to get a server up and running within a couple of hours. A few days should see most things worked out, and I may even be able to call it a success.

It did give me a bit of feedback telling me a single drive in a pool by itself was a bad idea, but I will be able to change it later. There has also been a few issues trying to get Prometheus (monitoring software) to play nice, but I’ll figure that out as well. The rest of the set up was easy. Well, not easy, but not brain surgery. It’s up, it’s running and it’s transferring files. Later I will also work on automatic backup, but that’s another day.

What’s next for the new NAS?

For now it’s functioning and makes a good swap file, but the goal is to have a stand alone solution that I can use as an auto backup. The use of containers might make it easier to get what I want out of the server, but at the very least, I know have a large data back up solution accessible from my entire network. That leaves two goals, autoback up and remote acess.

I don’t know enough to get it set up immediately, but I know there is a large community of resources to pull from for TrueNas, so a solution is out there. I also know this solution is better than any I’ve had, so that’s a plus. Within a few weeks I should have a solid workable solution that will last until I need something bigger. In the mean time, I’ll use it to learn as much as I can and enjoy it.

The video can be found here

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