Building a cheap network-attached storage system
I recently heard about network-attached storage, and I would like to build something like that, but I don't know where to start. I've looked around Google, but everything I could find cost more than a new computer. That's no good since my main objective is to make it as inexpensive as possible. Could someone point me the right direction?
Cheap network attached storage. Simple way, set up a slower box with as many disks as you can, install linux and use it as a samba server. It's now network attached and depending on how many drives you can get in it(use a server case, and use those little ide cards that allow for 4 drives off of each, you can achieve BIG STORAGE. Just attach to it from you windows or linux boxes and you are golden. All NAS is, in reality is an appliance computer with a lot of hard drive space.
I wonder how fast this computer would have to be just to be a file server. Do you think the 386 in my garage would cut it?
Supposing it did, could I mount a network drive and use it like it was installed on the machine?
I would suggest a P(something).
A file server doesn't need a whole lot of processing power, but *some* is required. If you go with a 386 the bus speed on your motherboard is going to be slow. It's been a long time since I touched one of these, but if I recall PCI slots didn't start coming out until 486's?
You might find you hit problems with large drives aswell - your motherboard is unlikely to recognise anything above (thinks for a moment..) 8GB on a 386. You might have problems finding a BIOS upgrade that'll allow larger hard drive sizes too..
All in all, a 386 is likely to cause you more problems than be worth it. If I were you I'd lay out the $50 or so for a simple P2 or something and go from there.
Once you *do* get it set up, recognising drives, you can get samba to share them out and then.. yes, just map a drive on your local client to the networked drive and it'll look like a drive on your local machine.
One more thing - investment in a 100Mb card / switch is *definately* worthwhile when doing this - transferring large files (hundreds of megs) over a 10mb shared hub is painful when compared to a 100mb switch.
for me and my SO at home, its a P133 with 96Megs of ram, running Mdk8.1 and Samba. It has 15 gigs of HD space for storage.
But its not alone, I tend to gather older PCs, especially when ppl or offices I know give em away. My gateway is a P166 and it has 4 gigs shared on it...
And just 2 days ago, I set up a P90 with 128 Megs of ram, with 12 Gigs total with Debian and it runs pretty good...my friend is using it as his server.
Although to be sure, backing up all this scattered data is a pain...but keep in mind that most of it doesn't really need backing up in my mind...the stuff that DOES need to be backed up is usually burned to CDs first before storage on the network.
Just another heads up, take into consideration the size. I grabbed a mini-tower and put a P266 in with a sizable drive and hid it in the closet.
Administration can be done via ssh, vnc, swat (for samba), or if you prefer, webmin. In the worst case situation I drag it out and plug in my main monitor. This provides the storage but doesn't require yet another PC setup somewhere.
Just something random to think about.
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