Inbox.exe - NAS Build

Has The Tek or Inbox.exe considered covering the basics of building a good NAS storage server?

I mean most (big budget or graphically intensive ) games on the PC do take up a significant amount of storage space ( then again, so does Windows ). Backing up that data ( so you don't have to hog your internet connection for hours to days ) along with your movie and music collection shouldn't be too hard from what I can see.

What's your take on this?

Edit: For those stumbling onto the post, they do talk a little bit about it here: INBOX.EXE 0035: Build Your Own Router & NAS: PFSense & FreeNas

I have yet however to see a video fully discussing it however. They still haven't seemed to have finished editing it lol! Below I have added links from the discussions below to the various NAS software and hardware vendors:

Free and Open Source Software

Commercial Software

While I had a great many suggestions regarding what software to use; I am also asking about the hardware side as well:

  1. When would you build your own and when would you purchase prebuilt?
  2. If building your own, what kind of CPU, Motherboard Form Factor, etc. should be considered?
  3. Should I worry about how much RAM is in the system? What about caching with RAM (RAMDISKS)?
  4. Which brand and type of drives would you choose for storage and why?
  5. Which cases would you choose? Are they easily accessible from the outside?
  6. What hardware supports hot-swappable drives?

Thanks guys for the suggestions so far!

They did it was tutorial on Freenas which is one of the best Operating systems for that use. The plex plugin for it is a rather amazing media server too. There are out of the box solutions too like : Qnap, Synology,  and Drobo.

Unraid is pretty groovy too check it out.

I'm using a unRAID NAS. Pretty amazing!!! Similiar to FreeNAS you got many plugins to advance to functionality of your Server(Plex Plugin,Torrent Plugins, VirtualBox Plugin etc.) and free until you got more than two data drives(1parity+2data). Then you could buy 2 licences, the smaller for 1p+6data drive or the big one: 1p+21 or 24 data drives. As you like. Cache drives are possible too. Feel free to ask further details.


P.S.: i checked Qnap, Synology,  and Drobo. but they seemed to expensive to me for there functionality.

I personally roll with a Synology because it takes less space than a Freenas or Unraid box does. But, if you have a old pc put it to use as a NAS, firewall or media server.

I couldn't seem to find the tutorial they had put online. The best I could find when searching Youtube is their brief discussion on it when answering a few questions regarding a filesystem for 16TB of storage space.

  1. Building your own makes the most sense if you have a spare pc laying around and you have space for it. Buying one is useful if you have other non-tech savy people in the house.
  2.  I like itx for building one since it takes less space and most can fit a few HDDs If you have a 1u rack you could build one of those. 
  3. Ram is really a matter of how many people who use the sever 2gb is fine for most people. If you plan on doing media transcoding ala plex 4 is more the amount you want. A ram disk will set you back a bunch because of the amount of ram it needs and for enterprise they won't use them because of stability.
  4. Seagate or western digital, you really don't need high end Hitachi or IMB sas drives since it is just for home. I like the Barracudas(seagate) and Blacks (WD) since they have good drive warranties 
  5. & 6. hot swap seems really neat at first but for the average joe who doesn't have a ton hardrives sitting around, it never gets used if you want quick access hard drive just use an external or enclosure

You reduce price by droping down the cpu to a 6600k. Reduce ram to 4gb. Go with a dvd player. and only use one HDD instead of 2 in RAID.


Yeah, loading up a lot of RAM onto a machine is an expensive undertaking for sure, especially with the recent price spike. However, I don't understand how RAMDISKS are unstable exactly. I've heard of a few companies using them as cache for databases, so I figured why couldn't it apply to frequently accessed media, or documents?

I'm going to be straight honest on the fact that the NAS build I have planned will be more of a multi-function server than anything else (web server with CGI backend scripting, database, and perhaps hosting a game's server once in a while), but if I had to cut corners due to budget constraints, file storage will be it's primary task.

On another note, why would you suggest using only one HDD (or separate HDD's) vs two ( or more ) in RAID? I know there's issues regarding which RAID array type you use; some focus on performance at the cost of redundancy, others focus on redundancy at the cost of space, and others focus on performance and redundancy at the cost of complexity. Are there other tradeoffs I'm missing though as well?

Reading up on the hot-swapping issue, I've become aware that there's a little more to the story than just the hard drive. The motherboard has to support it, and the case has to have easy access as well. I'm pretty sure those constraints will drive the budget up a bit. It's just the idea of discovering an issue with a drive, while say I'm running another job on the same machine at the same time, of having to shut down everything just to switch drives. Although, then again, how often will that happen?