Network Attached Storage - NAS can cost you as low as zero and upwards of $25,000...
Running out of storage for your files? Have an old PC just
to build A Economical NAS...
After reading an article on PCMech.com
about a NAS, I
decided to tell you how to make a reliable system to backup your computer or
network computers and it will not cost as much as your house.
What is NAS? And what will it do for me?
What is it? Network Attached Storage - NAS, file storage, or Network Appliance, is a very basic computer
with large capacity hard drives. It also has 'redundancy' - that is the hard
drives have a fault tolerance that if a drive fails you don't lose your data.
This is called RAID (see this
page for explanation on
One of the NAS systems I am familiar with is
Network Appliance this is a high-end system that the storage capacity started
(in 2005) at
30 tetra bytes, they also cost $25,000 or more each.
What if you want to have 30 Tetra byte of
storage for your home or small business, do you have $25k to spend? No?
Well there is a way to get this type of
storage with out the cost.
Note: Storage has increased
in size and the price has dropped, thus it is fairly cheap to have a NAS with 10
TB of storage. And there are manufactures that are making special devices that
are true NAS, they range in price from a couple of hundred dollars to thousands. They also range in storage from 1 TB to
20 TB+ with RAID.
If your data is of high value then this
solution may not be the right solution for you, but if you want to have a place
to keep your backups, your sound and video files then this is cheaper than say
the online solutions like Carbonite. And if you follow the tech side of the
news; this solution is safer (more secure) than the current fad of "Cloud
Storage", seems that some hackers have figured out how to "attach" to them...
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So what do you need to make a Network Attached Storage?
A old computer, a raid array controller, and
the hard drives that make up your raid array.
I upgraded the drives in my server last month
and paid $260 for two 500 gig SATA drives. So I have a Tetra byte of storage. It
is not however a RAID Array, it is two drives that I use all the storage, To
make it a RAID of one Tetra byte I would need one more 500 gig drive and the
What you will need to make the
Network Attached Storage -NAS (minimum
- A computer - P III, P4, or better that is reliable,
256 meg of ram, network card, CD
- 3 drives (minimum - using a RAID array you
need 3 drives, all the same size, add up the three drives capacity, subtract
one for the parity and you have the size of the volume that will be useable.
Using my upgrade, I need one more 500 gig drive, 3x500 = 1500 subtract the
parity drive and I have 1 Tetra byte of storage with redundancy).
- A RAID Array controller (it can be either IDE or SATA - I recommend SATA)
- Two network cards of the same make that can
be teamed or bridged.
- The Operating System.
Note: These specification were
written in 2007, the processor speed, ram, and drive capacity have increased,
you would use what you have available but this is the minimum that a server
(Windows Server 2003/Linux) operating system will install on.
How to make the
Network Attached Storage:
table, or PDF was removed because it will not display on your device. Check back on a PC....
Clean up your old computer (dust / dirt) and
the data on the hard drives that you don't want to use. You may want to upgrade the network
cards to the maximum your network can handle. You may also want to upgrade the
processor and memory - not necessary.
controller, some PC RAID Array cards need to
be setup when you first start your computer. Such as with the HighPoint
controller, you pick the drives you want for your array and the type of array. I
suggest if you can afford it you use a
RAID 5 Array for you drives (see the page for an explanation of RAID Types) because if one fails you will be able to
recover your data with a replacement drive. Then install your
Your Operating System can be Linux, Windows,
or if you have the experience DOS. I suggest that you use Windows XP. Why?
Because most people are familiar with
XP, it is stable, and MS will be supporting it until 2014.
Note: All Windows Client
Operating Systems will only allow for ten (10)
consecutive connections at one
time. If you need more than ten then I would suggest you move to a
Server Operating System.
Once you have your OS installed your next task
is to setup the network. If you have two identical network cards in your
computer you can either 'Team' them or use Microsoft's Network Bridge. This will
double the network speed of the computer. You will not see the '200MBS' but you
will see a dramatic increase in your through put for the computer, this would be
the same for any computer on your network. This however will not work if you
only have two computers and want to
use a crossover cable to connect them
Next you need to
setup the volume
that will hold your files, how you setup the array volume or make it multiple
on your situation. You may want to separate applications from video and sound
files, or have a separate volume for computer drive images, or like me one for
When you have all this done your last
consideration is security. You should harden your NAS the same way a
hardened. Also you should consider turning off services not normally used such
as COM+, DCOM (see this page for a list of
Network Attached Storage services you can turn off).
Now you are ready to back up your computer(s)
to the NAS. You can use any backup software to do the deed, such as
Backup, or you can do it manually. You can do a search for programs that will do
a scheduled backup, this is one I am testing at this time:
To go a step further with your new network
attached storage you may want to use a tape backup to back up your valuable data for redundancy.
08/19/14 - A network attached storage is more reliable than a
"cloud" for storage, if done correctly it almost unhackable, so save your money,
more importantly in this day of freebies and high probability of your data
stolen by some
hacker, save your data!
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