Building a Homeserver/NAS livingroom style

  • Hi everybody,


    I’d like to show my new NAS/Home Server build. I’m an amateur photographer and I need reliable storage for my photos. I also host my own photopage (using duckdns.org for DDNS). Before I was using an ACER REVO RL80 running ubuntu which is great, but has only one drive. I used also a Zyxel NSA 325 NAS for storage (it is one of the faster stock NAS), but lacks in proper cold backup software.


    So I decided to build a NAS which can handle both. I came up with the following requirements:

    • It should be small
    • It should be fast
    • It should be silent
    • It should safe energy
    • It should be able to handle 4 disks
    • It should give great freedom regarding the software
    • It should have to possibility to do fast cold backups
    • It should cost about 200 Euros


    With that I was looking for hardware and found a board with a Baytrail Celeron and a small nice case, which can handle 4 disks. (see list of parts)


    It was hard to find a PSU with good efficiency that can handle 4 disks and can deal with low Power. I decided to go for an ATX based PSU because it gives better security than these PicoPSU. As I found OMV I realized that I will need a separate disk or I will have to mess around with raid partitions on data drives. As I wanted to keep the 4 SATA ports for disks I came up the a USB3 plugged SSD which is very cheap by the way. It connects on the 19 pin socket where you usually add your USB3 connector for case ports.


    As RAM I used some SODIMMs which I had left since my last notebook memory upgrade (total 4gb).


    The disk setup should contain 2 disks for RAID1 and 1 disk for backups (e.g., Timemachine backups or other things that do not need to be on the RAID). I use WD RED.


    UEFI configuration and Installing OMV


    The ASROCK mainboard I was using has a option for switching all lights off that is really nice when you have the NAS located in your livingroom or so and do not what to see the LEDs of the LAN interface.


    I configured the FANs for the lowest speeds and switched off all internal devices which I didn’t want to use (e.g., soundcard). It is so silent that when no disks are running you cannot really hear it. The main sound comes from the Harddisks, which are mounted on rubber mounts.


    I installed Debian as the 1.0 version of OMV was not ready and I needed a new distribution that supported the Baytrail processor. After installing OMV via the packages I configured the disks.


    RAID verify


    Current Harddisks have the problem that when you write a lot of data but never read it the data may get damaged by demagnetization. When harddisk finds out (while reading the data) that the magnetization is getting low it rewrites the sector. That is keeping you data save when you are not reading it often (e.g., by backing it up).


    I solved this by adding the following line to a cron job that is executed once a month in the night. It ready over the complete array, so these sectors are rewritten.


    Code
    echo check > /sys/block/RAIDBLOCKDEVICENAME/md/sync_action


    SFTP server


    I wanted to access my data over the Internet in a secure way. As I was using VPN over TCP to deal with firewalls I decided to set up an SFTP server (SSH File Transfer), because of security reasons of FTP (mostly because of passives ports needed to be opened on my home router). I added the following config in the extra config field of the FTP (proftpd) service.



    I added a group called “ftpuser“ that is used to verify if a user is allowed to login to the SFTP server. I added shares as usual and everything worked.


    Besides the described services I use also:

    • openvpn server
    • samba
    • AFP (only for timemachine backups)
    • rsync for photo backup
    • phpvirtualbox for managing VMs (I have currently 2, my webpage and a GitLab server)
    • a native setup for updating duckdns.org
    • a native teamspeak server


    Performance
    The quad core Baytrail (passive cooled) runs at 2GHz, it is fast and can handle the drives with full speed with ease. I used also rsync with checksums without a problem. The running VMs are running also fast and you cannot sense any performance impact.


    The power consumption is about 25 Watt with 3 Harddisks running (not spun down) in idle which is most of the time.


    Things to be done better the next time / improvements


    ASROCK released also a DC powered version of my board. This would avoid extra costs for the ATX PSU and would give extra space. I’m not sure if the power consumption would improve by this.


    Another PSU with removable cabled would be extremely helpful because the lack of space in the case.


    Other improvements would be a PCIe SATA card for ESATAp access. Just to enable the attachment of additional external drives/JBOD if more space is needed.



    I hope this gives you an idea of my own NAS/Home Server build. It costs about the same of a Synology NAS for 2 disks but can handle 4, is faster, looks good, is silent, can be maintained and is open. Thanks to all behind OMV for this great piece of Software!



    List of parts
    http://www.cooltek.de/en/powered-by-jonsbo/v6/97/v6


    http://www.asrock.com/mb/Intel/Q1900-ITX/


    http://www.bequiet.com/en/powersupply/278


    http://www.supertalent.com/pro…hers&category=FDM&type=79 (not recommanded anymore)


    SODIMM (Corsair, you can use any 1333Mhz)

  • Nice build. mdadm already runs a check once a month though :)

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  • Very nice... For those interested in the chassis.. It looks like it's in the US under Rosewill.


    http://www.newegg.com/Product/…aspx?Item=N82E16811147218


    I considered that chassis before settling on the Node 304.


    Edit: Also for those interested, it would be obvious I did not read the entire thread before posting. :), as someone above clearly pointed this out before me.

    Air Conditioners are a lot like PC's... They work great until you open Windows.


    Edited once, last by KM0201 ().

  • Nice build. mdadm already runs a check once a month though :)


    Yeah, I believe is the first Sunday of every month after midnight or something like that. I remember making a thread years ago about it to avoid people from freaking out.

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  • Hi,


    thank you for sharing this! I whant to build something similar but I'm a bit lost, I'm not good in selecting MOBO, PSU etc.


    For availability issues, I'm thinking to use:


    - STRAIGHT POWER E9 400 W instead of 450 W (it's also cheaper)
    - 4 Caviar Green HDD (2x4TB raid1; in 2x3TB raid1)
    - a USB3 thumb drive PCIe to SATA adptor and a 32GB SSD as installation disk for Debian, since I can't find one of those FDM here in Italy
    - Node 304 as cabinet


    Is this going to work? I'm a n00b in this field, never assembled a PC in my life :| I'm mostly concerned about PSU and USB3 drive for the operating system, I don't want to slow everything down because of poor choice of components.


    Also, I read about some issues of Linux kernel with realtek chip on the Asrok MOBO, is this true?

  • That looks like it would do just fine so far.


    About the Realtek chips, they do work but they can be somewhat flaky and they don't perform quite as good as, say, Intel. But the brand of the mobo is not the issue, just the chipset. If you can get a mobo that has Intel chips for NIC, that would be just fine. You could also add a separate PCIe NIC with an Intel chip if you have a hard time finding a board with it.

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  • You don't say where you are, but I assume you have reasonable access to the same parts I do in the US. I've been building PC's for quite a while.. as long as you can follow simple instructions, and you can use a Phillips screwdriver.. you'll be fine. Between family, friends, co-workers, etc. I've probably built at least 120, 130 since I was 14. A lot of my builds have similar component manufacturers, because it's stuff I've learned to trust over the years...


    Realtek (some of them) can be a little flaky, but they usually work OK. Mine has one annoying quirk that annoys the hell out of me (it's got several bug reports on Debian)... I shut down, and instead of shutting down, my machine reboots. Then I shutdown the second time, and the machine shuts down normally. Speed is on the low side (generally around `8-12mpbs) but that's not really a huge deal to me, as it seems to only affect file transfer. Streaming, etc.. is all done w/o issue. I'm gonna probably go ahead and buy an Intel card next week, and use it.


    Are the Green drives really going to hold up to a raid? They didn't for me, but YMMV. I've got a few Green Drives, but they are not in a raid format.. and they work halfway decent.


    The Node 304 is pretty awesome. I like it a lot. One key (to me) is to get a full modular PSU. There's not a lot of room in there to stuff unused cables. Also, pay attention to noise ratings for PSU's. If this NAS is going to sit by a TV or under a desk, you don't want it to sound like a jet engine. If it's gonna be in a closet, or otherwise hidden.. it's not that big of a deal. My favorite is the Silverstone ST455SF-G. It's an SFX power supply, but comes with a bracket to mount it in a standard ATX power supply slot. It sits by my TV and is on while I stream movies, watch TV, etc.. and I can't hear it.


    As for PC grade motherboards... I have only 1 major rule. If it's not MSI, Asus, or Gigabyte... I DO NOT buy it. I've had a lot of bad experience with several other brands (including ASRock years ago).. but those 3 have always held up and performed well for me.


    Hope that helps

    Air Conditioners are a lot like PC's... They work great until you open Windows.


  • Thanks to all!!


    If you can get a mobo that has Intel chips for NIC, that would be just fine. You could also add a separate PCIe NIC with an Intel chip if you have a hard time finding a board with it.


    I'm lost in the world of MOBO, so ok, I wanted to use the PCIe slot for additional SATA, maybe I'll use a miniPCIe wireless adaptor from intel, don't know if this is going to be as fast as flacky ethernet chip ?( any suggestion for a MOBO mini-ITX with 4 sata, intel NIC and decent performance /quietness?



    Are the Green drives really going to hold up to a raid? They didn't for me, but YMMV. I've got a few Green Drives, but they are not in a raid format.. and they work halfway decent.


    Ok, this is a great help, I'm going to switch to Caviar Red :)



    The Node 304 is pretty awesome. I like it a lot. One key (to me) is to get a full modular PSU. There's not a lot of room in there to stuff unused cables. Also, pay attention to noise ratings for PSU's. If this NAS is going to sit by a TV or under a desk, you don't want it to sound like a jet engine. If it's gonna be in a closet, or otherwise hidden.. it's not that big of a deal. My favorite is the Silverstone ST455SF-G. It's an SFX power supply, but comes with a bracket to mount it in a standard ATX power supply slot. It sits by my TV and is on while I stream movies, watch TV, etc.. and I can't hear it.


    The node 304 is going to sit in a cabinet at side of the couch, right now I'm using a raspberry pi with a bunch of disks attached. I'm not sure about the Node 304 because this cabinet i's only 260 mm wide in the inside, the dimension are WXHXD: 260x440x900 while the 304 is 250x210x374 mm, so it's gonna slip in very tight-fitting, with 0.5 mm of clearance per side, I guess this is going to be a problem for the heat extraction... Maybe the Arc Mini R2 it's better for my installation. Except for the first installation, I'm going to use the system completely headless.


    @0rtega I see you are from Italy too, did you have any luck in finding the components?

  • I ordered it on eBay in the US. It is listed in Europe also. but it is hard to get it here. It costs about 20-25€ incl. Shipping. Which is still less than ordinary SSD.


    What's the boot time with that FDM?
    for the cooltek case, is the 2x2.5" space on sacrifice for one 3.5"
    Thanks


  • @0rtega I see you are from Italy too, did you have any luck in finding the components?


    These days i buy my hardware from amazon.it
    Before the purchase, to make a comparison between the different HW components, I use eprice.it, idealo.it and trovaprezzi.it
    In my opinion amazon has great prices, but the "comparison" tool is very poor.


    The WD reds are reliable, but the NAS 4tb seagate HDs are good too...
    https://www.backblaze.com/blog…ty-update-september-2014/

  • I've managed to define my installation:

    • Asrock Q1900-ITX
    • be quiet! Pure Power L8-350W -> I think 350W are enough for this MOBO + 4 hdd + 2xRAM + PCIe + etherneth
    • 2 x Corsair Ddr3 1333Mhz 4Gb 204 Sodimm
    • DeLOCK 95233 -> Mini PCIE to 2x SATA 3, I'll install the system on a SSD connected to one of this port
    • SanDisk ReadyCache SSD 32 GB -> the SSD for the OS
    • 4x Western Digital WD30EFRX RED
    • Intel EXPI9301CTBLK PRO1000 -> in case Realtek Ethernet not working well
    • Fractal Design Node 304 -> I've asked to Fractal Design if there are minimum clearance requirements, I'm waiting for a reply


    this should do the work! :) thanks to you all!


  • be quiet! Pure Power L8-350W[/b] -> I think 350W are enough for this MOBO + 4 hdd + 2xRAM + PCIe + etherneth


    150W power supply is enough for an N40L with four 3.5" drives, esata card, and one 2.5" drive :)

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  • Hi Guys,
    just to make my PSU decision clear. I spent a lot of time researching for the best PSU option for this build.
    Finally, I found a page which gave a comparison on PSU with used at 20W (not 20%). The PSU I have chosen was had very good efficiency at this power range and was as well silent.


    I found also a lot of description of similar PSU (also from bequiet) that have bad efficiency. Be aware of that. It is the power consumption that is the problem not the cost of the power supply. (efficiency is more than 70% at 20Watts)


    The only mistake a made was that I missed the fact the power supply lacks a modular cabeling. I guess that was just bad luck ;)


    It is true that you could use a 150W power supply (if it can handle the peak current properly) but I could not get any below 350W which is not crappy.


    I hope that helps.


    If I can find the URL to the PSU comparison page I will post it

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