Iâ€™ve had it in mind to start learning linux for a while, and now Iâ€™ve found the perfect project to help me do just that: building my own NAS.
Until November I was perfectly happy with my business grade Draytek router. I bought it about 6 years ago,Â particularly because it could host its own VPN, instead of just passing through to a Windows PC. It has served me well. I was also reasonably satisfied with my Western Digital EX4 NAS unit in most respects. Then Gigabit FTTH was installed in my area, and I got a free trial â€“ all hell broke loose (very much in a Fist World Problems sense).
The first thing which became apparent is that my â€˜niceâ€™ router was outdated. Its best WAN to LAN topped out at 93Mb, while its LAN to WAN maxed at 73Mb (incidentally this also means that I already wasnt getting the benefit of my old 250Mb connection). My new connection is a Gigabit, symmetric line which realistically gives me up to about 700Mb in either direction. Not wanting to go back to relying on the equipment provided by ISPs, I went out (well, I went online) and found myself something which can cope with over 900Mb in either direction (Netgear Nighthawk R7000 if youre interested). â€˜â€Excellentâ€, I thought, â€œnow Iâ€™m all setâ€â€¦ but no. The knock on effect of getting such fast internet soon became apparent in my NAS. After adding just a few torrents to Transmission, the speed steadily rose until it was approaching 10MB/s, at which point all interfaces to the device practically stopped responding. I surmised that the cause was likely the limited 512M of RAM inside the poor thing, and so went in search of a replacement.
As I looked around, it quickly became clear that most of the available devices on the market were out of my price bracket. While I would have liked to get myself something like a Synology, it just wasnâ€™t going to happen. A friend of mine pointed me in the direction of an HP Gen 8 Proliant Microserver (http://compadvance.co.uk/en/item/323618/HP-Proliant-MicroServer-Gen8-G1610T-4GB) which he has, and after some extra checking around, I decided it looked good. I also decided to up the 4GB of RAM to 16GB, and add an SSD for the OS in the ODD bay.
Now the fun really started. Naturally I didnâ€™t want to put Windows on this thing (although this is what my friend has done), I obviously wanted to run linux. And as its intended to sit quietly, (apparently) minding its own business for the most part, I wanted to keep as much RAM as possible free by not running a GUI. Ubuntu Server seemed like the perfect choice; except I have practically no experience setting up servers, working in command line (Basic ls, cp and rm donâ€™t really count), or using Ubuntu or linux for anything at all (Iâ€™ve tinkered, but thats about it).
Well, no time like the present to learn.
Learning and testing on VMs