IT: Building a NAS

The HTPC box and various computers around the house use a mix of internal drives, external USB and eSATA drives. It is quite a mess, and backups are sporadic at best. The HTPC especially has grown organically with USB and eSATA as it needed more and more space. 

So it was finally time for a decent NAS.
The hardware:
Motherboard: $132 SUPERMICRO MBD-X10SLM-F-O uATX Server Motherboard
Key features:

    Haswell 1150
    DDR3 1600 ECC ram
    Dual GigE (in case I find a cheap LACP switch one day)
    IPMI (since the NAS runs completely headless)
    and I like the real USB port right on the motherboard

CPU: $205 Intel Intel Xeon E3-1220V3 Haswell 3.1GHz
RAM: $208 2 x Kingston 8GB 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM ECC Unbuffered
Drives: $800 8 x TOSHIBA PH3300U-1I72 3TB 7200 RPM 64MB Cache SATA 6.0Gb/s 3.5"
SAS->SATA Breakout Cables: $18.50 2 x 0.5m 30AWG Internal Mini SAS 36pin (SFF-8087) Male w/ Latch to SATA 7pin Female (x4) Forward Breakout Cable
Case: $79 Fractal Design Define R4 Black Pearl Silent ATX Mid Tower Case
PSU: $40 Corsair 80+ 750W (Don't need it that beefy, but I already had it from a previous Newegg promotion)
Total: $1597.50

Most of these things were picked up during various deals so you will probably not be able to find the exact items at the prices listed. But Black Friday is coming up, so you should be able to do better! Newegg had a good deal on the drives for $99 each, but they would only let me buy 5. Bought another 3 from Amazon for $105 each. Probably not a bad idea to have drives from 2 different batches anyway. And yes, I know, a windowed case for a NAS box makes no sense. Windowed cases in general make no sense, but I like these Fractal cases with the internal sideways disk trays and the windowed version was on sale.

Carl helped me put the hardware together.

The final build:

I like how clean things are when you just have those two SAS cables that go to the controller.


I looked at a couple of different options. Rolling my own Linux-ZFS, OpenMediaVault, OpenIndiana, NAS4Free, FreeNAS and a couple of others and ended up using FreeNAS. Having a FreeBSD box back in the household seems right and my initial FreeNAS test was completely smooth.

I cross-flashed the IBM M1015 as per to look like an LSI9211-8i in IT mode. This disables any hardware raid and gives the OS direct access to the drives. I had to modify those steps slightly to use the UEFI shell to do it. You can read more about that at Then I dd'ed the FreeNAS 9 image onto a decent USB stick and stuck that stick right into the USB port on the motherboard. I had a slight issue with it not wanting to do a warm-boot from the stick, but that was solved by turning off xHCI in the Bios. That, of course, means no USB3 speeds, but I don't need it for anything. It boots plenty fast from the USB2 stick.

I created a single RaidZ2 16TB ZFS Volume. FreeNAS complained a bit about that not being an optimal configuration, but to keep things simple I prefer just having one single big volume like that. I turned on NFS and rsyncd. Performance-wise I am essentially maxing out the GigE.

sent 2047209500 bytes  received 38 bytes  110659975.03 bytes/sec
sent 55 bytes  received 2047209509 bytes  110659976.43 bytes/sec

I was slightly surprised that I could write to it at > 100MB/s. I had read that RaidZ2 writes were a bit slow. But I guess I hardware-overkilled it into submission.

I also added a dataset specifically for TimeMachine backups and turned on AFP just for that dataset. That worked surprisingly well. The ancient kitchen iMac saw it right away as a valid TimeMachine drive as did my Hackintosh. And of course the Linux-based HTPC and the various Linux servers around the house just speak NFS to it.

I do notice the link getting saturated, especially with 2 TimeMachine backups going and me trying to rsync all the various drives to it all at the same time. It makes me want to go find an LACP-capable switch on EBay and turn on link-aggregation. But having 5 different boxes all writing at the same time is a one-time setup event. In normal use that will never happen, so that would be even more overkill than the hardware this thing already has. I'll update this entry if anything else interesting comes up, but so far it has been a rather uneventful project. A bit boring really when everything just works like that.

Courtesy of: LERDORF     

Share on Google Plus

About Akins Mathew

 Hello! I’m a Programmer and  CEO/Founder of iReporter News Network Int'l [iNNi], a Creative Website Designer/Developer, Mobile App Designer, Business Enthusiast, Writer, Blogger and Musician. Currently obsessed with Mobile App Development.

"A logical person, Psychologically intelligent, and physically thrilling".

Connect with me on Facebook | Twitter | Reverbnation

    Blogger Comment
    Facebook Comment


  1. Hey woսld you mind letting me know which weƄ host yoս're
    working ѡith? I've loaded your blog in 3 completely different internet
    browsers and I must say this blog loads a lot quicker thеwn most.
    Can yoս sսggest a goߋd hosting provider at a fair price?
    Thank you, I appreciate it!

    Here is my webpage tn requin pas cher

    1. The web host is located here

  2. I аll the time emailed this webpage post page to all my frienԀs,
    for the rеason that if like to rеad it then my links will too.

    My web blog :: air max enfant

  3. Your Apple Patch Diet plan affiliate website will keep track of every order
    it makes in genuine time. The advised dose would be to take a capsule around 60 minutes before every dish.

    Here is my blog garcinia fruit extract

  4. A vacuum cleaner is the best of cleaning resources; it can be the more costly.
    You'll find various sorts of hoover with various
    features. Therefore before buying a top rated vacuum
    cleaner ensure you understand what type of vacuum-cleaner is most appropriate to your requirements.

    Choosing the best vacuum cleaner could be confusing. To simply help make things clearer you should be aware
    of what the different types of vacuum are, what the chief characteristics it is possible to find on a vacuum-cleaner, and want you type of flooring
    you will be employing a vacuum-cleaner on.

    my web page; Best vacuum cleaner 2014 (

  5. Wɦether yoou understood specific а couple of-notice terns wɦicɦ uѕе tοp quality letfers including 4-page
    phrases iո which ɡet started with P (KA, KI), yοu maу then be able to squash tҺis method աithin and
    set tҺat оn tҺe toƿ quality sq . tɦerefore doubling or eveո jսst
    tripling tɦe credit score. Plɑce terms close to terms whenevesr we can, howeѵer yօu ѕhould
    nеver up close tɦis paгticular panel. Ιt hass a brwse
    container аlong with a massive phrase lender.

    Αlso visit my web-site - The Wandering Star

  6. Incredible! This blog looks exactly like my old one!
    It's on a completely different subject but it has pretty much the same page layout and design.
    Wonderful choice of colors!

    Feel free to visit my website; dryer vent cleaning repair


Enter here your comment!

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.