Today I spent the afternoon building a NAS (network attached storage) appliance. I have been looking for a better place to store virtual machine backups, and this seems like a good solution.
I started with a 2U rackmount case, the Norco RPC-230. I like this particular case for several reasons: First, it has a shallow depth that allows it to be mounted without rails, and it is sturdy enough that it won’t sag. Secondly, being 2U allows for a standard off-the-shelf power supply unit. I do not like scrambling to hunt down an odd-ball power supply when my server goes down.
I went with a fan-less mini-itx motherboard from Asus that comes with a dual-core Intel Atom processor already integrated. This is one of the few Atom boards that met my three qualifications: four SATA ports, no fans, and a decent price.
For storage I selected two identical Seagate 1 Terabyte drives. The data on these will be mirrored (RAID 1).
I finished it by installing the fabulous and open-source FreeNAS version 8 on a 8 GB USB thumb drive, freeing the entire RAID pair to be used for storage.
For reference, here is a list of all the hardware for the appliance, cleverly linked to my Amazon affiliate account:
- Norco RPC-230 rack-mount enclosure
- Antec Basiq BP430 Power Supply
- Asus AT5NM10T-I mini itx motherboard
- Two Crucial 2GB memory modules
- Two Seagate 1 TB hard drives
- Lexar 8 GB flash drive