Bargain Network Attached Storage

Why is NAS (Network Attached Storage) important? It is important for off-PC backup. Should something happen to your PC, the backed-up data on the NAS system is safe. One advantage this setup has over the pre-built systems is the customizable setup. I have one of those mini boxes and its near useless. my DLink DNS-120 can’t even handle large files and is only USB 1.1. That was the whole reason for this project.

Ever wanted to have your own dedicated NAS system but didn’t want to spend much money? If you’ve got an older PC that you don’t use anymore, you may be able to repurpose it for network storage. You can use almost any older generation ATX PC… Celeron 500 or faster with 512mb RAM works. The faster the better.

My goal was to turn some spare parts into a working, usable NAS box. The parts i used for my NAS storage was: Generic Black ATX case, older generation ECS motherboard, Celeron 500 CPU, 512mb RAM, 4gb hard drive (boot drive), 60gb hard drive (storage drive), and my old Liteon CD-RW drive. My initial setup used Ubuntu Linux but had file permission issues so I switched to XP. It’s a bit of an art making XP run smoothly on a Celeron 500 with 512mb RAM.

If you are on more of a budget and can’t afford a Windows license for your NAS system, it’s fairly simple to set up Ubuntu Linux as the operating system. It’s all personal preference whether you use Windows or Linux – either way, it will still work.

One important thing is to set up remote access since you won’t have a monitor, keyboard, or mouse attached to the system. I personally prefer the use of UltraVNC over Remote Desktop since it has less system overhead. If you choose the Linux route, VNC is the only way.

  • I recommend http://www.logmein.com for remote controlling it form anywhere in the world, regardless of firewall setup. Choose the LogMeIn Free service and you’re away!

  • I recommend http://www.logmein.com for remote controlling it form anywhere in the world, regardless of firewall setup. Choose the LogMeIn Free service and you’re away!

  • Your ‘Related Posts’ list contains an item about FreeNAS – why didn’t you go that route? Neither Ubuntu or Win XP are intended to be the kind of lieght-weight OS that you want for a NAS box.

    Secondly, it seems far more important that you have a decent network card – possibly a teamed pair – than to worry about the speed of the processor.

  • An alternative to XP and Ubuntu is NASLite. It is a very stripped down NAS based on Linux that is not very hard to configure. It can boot from a floppy or CD. It’s free (there is pay versions but the free works fine). The only draw back to this (or any other NAS, Linux or XP) is that unless you are running a Gagabit Ethernet, streaming video from the NAS to any other computer can be choppy at times.

  • John Jones

    What are you using for backup software on your PC’s?

  • For simplicity, ease of set up, grab the Mepis distro.

    Mepis is Ubuntu Linux liveCD that installs with one click, but, it has 1% more goodness, and uses many other file repositories besides Ubuntu.

    Try out Menu>System>FileManager> “File Manager – Super User Mode”, to handle all the external and networked storage!

    There’s nothing like a couple of shared 300 GB drives on the network for file sharing!

  • Your ‘Related Posts’ list contains an item about FreeNAS – why didn’t you go that route? Neither Ubuntu or Win XP are intended to be the kind of lieght-weight OS that you want for a NAS box.

    Secondly, it seems far more important that you have a decent network card – possibly a teamed pair – than to worry about the speed of the processor.

  • An alternative to XP and Ubuntu is NASLite. It is a very stripped down NAS based on Linux that is not very hard to configure. It can boot from a floppy or CD. It’s free (there is pay versions but the free works fine). The only draw back to this (or any other NAS, Linux or XP) is that unless you are running a Gagabit Ethernet, streaming video from the NAS to any other computer can be choppy at times.

  • John Jones

    What are you using for backup software on your PC’s?

  • For simplicity, ease of set up, grab the Mepis distro.

    Mepis is Ubuntu Linux liveCD that installs with one click, but, it has 1% more goodness, and uses many other file repositories besides Ubuntu.

    Try out Menu>System>FileManager> “File Manager – Super User Mode”, to handle all the external and networked storage!

    There’s nothing like a couple of shared 300 GB drives on the network for file sharing!

  • If you are looking for a true NAS solution – and not just some additional file sharing solution – I highly recommend OpenFiler, and can also suggest FreeNAS. Each has their niche, FreeNAS for low-end sharing of course, and OpenFiler for enterprise-grade storage with user authentication capabilities, iSCSI, rsync, RAID, LVM, FTP, NFS and Windows sharing. OpenFiler requires its own system disk to run (logically separate from any dedicated storage you plan to use) – I chose to run OpenFiler on a CompactFlash card with a CF-to-IDE adapter, and it works GREAT!

    Just my $0.02…

    -b

  • If you are looking for a true NAS solution – and not just some additional file sharing solution – I highly recommend OpenFiler, and can also suggest FreeNAS. Each has their niche, FreeNAS for low-end sharing of course, and OpenFiler for enterprise-grade storage with user authentication capabilities, iSCSI, rsync, RAID, LVM, FTP, NFS and Windows sharing. OpenFiler requires its own system disk to run (logically separate from any dedicated storage you plan to use) – I chose to run OpenFiler on a CompactFlash card with a CF-to-IDE adapter, and it works GREAT!

    Just my $0.02…

    -b

  • I was using what i had… and i tried the linux route but had file permissions issues. The onboard SIS 900 lan does well. The goal was to not have to buy anything extra and have NAS sollution that used existing stuff, so spending extra money on a specal lan card was not a option. I have used mepis linux… since it now uses ubuntu as a base i prefer Ubuntu. I use Acronis True Image for backups and my dns-120 choked on the large files. The pc doubles as my overnight download pc so using a dedicated NAS oses (FreeNAS,NASLite) was not a option… its a heavily opimized XP with most services disabled. I use http://www.logmein.com for places where external access is required… for normal lan access i use vnc.

  • I was using what i had… and i tried the linux route but had file permissions issues. The onboard SIS 900 lan does well. The goal was to not have to buy anything extra and have NAS sollution that used existing stuff, so spending extra money on a specal lan card was not a option. I have used mepis linux… since it now uses ubuntu as a base i prefer Ubuntu. I use Acronis True Image for backups and my dns-120 choked on the large files. The pc doubles as my overnight download pc so using a dedicated NAS oses (FreeNAS,NASLite) was not a option… its a heavily opimized XP with most services disabled. I use http://www.logmein.com for places where external access is required… for normal lan access i use vnc.

  • I think a smaller box is preferable because of power consumption issues. I’d rather start with a mini-pc type system instead of repurposing an old mobo.

  • I think a smaller box is preferable because of power consumption issues. I’d rather start with a mini-pc type system instead of repurposing an old mobo.