Tinkering about a workplace workflow: help needed to build a NAS

I'm definitively not beginning my 5000 words work tonight so let's talk PC. In the surrounding of January, I will make a new PC to my mom (primarily because the XPS Studio 6700 of my brother is becoming instable (my brother inherit the PC of my mom when she is changing of PC and we always had difficulties with the 6700 before). So first I come up with this build (the intel 750 is for the geeky inside me).

But now (and already when I made this first built) I'm tinkering of doing something different like having a NAS. That because first, I'm getting annoy to have a shoestring way of doing thing, like using Google Chrome Remote desktop so that my mother can use the PC at home and access document while being outside the city and having a very dumb down way to do it, to having to transfer every files of the computer at each time we have a new PC, to having an external HDD as a backup.

I remember Wendell saying in one of the videos that he had everything on his NAS and when he change of PC it's easy to all get setup. So how can I achieve that? I'm like the IT guy of the family and I have some good knowledge but my capacities are still very limited and I would want to implement a solution that's easy, dumb down for my parents to use and that would not be too painful to resolve if an issue arise.

To speak of the workflow for a better understanding, my parents have their own company (and are the only two employees) and 90% of the time deals with a ton of doc files, large excel files or a ton of pictures. My father have a laptop and often access to the documents on my mom's PC.

And I'm thinking also maybe have this NAS to store the emails on it as we are currently switching to POP3 to IMAP to resolve issues with email but the allocated storage provided by the domain provider is too damn small that the email address of my father is already full (also that now a POP3 email address and an IMAP email address on the phones more issues arised).

Last point, am I crazy also wanting SSDs in the NAS? (I'm serious, primarily for the noise, speed, and the peace of mind aspect)

So what are your suggestions (and sorry for the runaway sentences ^^ )

I would use FreeNAS. Next you will need to set up Port forwarding. That might require buying a new router. As for the SSDs, here is how I would do it. I would set up my main storage using SSHDs, also known as hybrid drives. Basically they use small SSDs to cache for and the rest is mechanical. I would put these in some form of RAIDZ. I would then boot off of a m.2 drive.

I'd advise not building that first PC list there

Otherwise unless you're linus you probably don't need SSDs in your NAS, hard drives will be plenty fast and store much more data

as far as parts for the NAS you'll probably want a Xeon 1246v3 with ECC memory, the 46 comes with an iGPU for video output. as for the drives either 2TB WD reds or 4TB HGST drives are what you're going to want I think.

Our router is an Asus RT-AC87U so I don't think it would be necessary to upgrade it. And I've come up with 2 new builds, for the NAS and for the PC. Not final build at all as I think I will fall down with a normal SSD for the PC to reduce the price, and I have several questions for the NAS.

So I was thinking of setuping it as a RAIDZ1, but am I better of having 4 hdd instead in RAIDZ2? Should I take the Red Pro or simply the Red? Do anyone have a good case suggestion that is relatively small and block well the noise?

Any ideas for rendering these builds more cost effective? (except putting a HDD in the PC because that's a no no)

RAIDZ1 will work just fine. RedPro is probably best. I don't really have any suggestions for the case though.

Also, one request of my father is that the NAS would do an automatic syncing. Like, my dad go outside, work on x.doc on his laptop and when he comes back home and connect to the home wi-fi, the most recent x.doc on his laptop go replace the old x.doc on the NAS. Is that possible and how I would achieve that?

Now I honestly don't know about that. My best guess is that a back up software could sync all of the documents. It would take a bit longer, but since these are just doc files not that long.

Windows has the ability to cache files from a share offline. I haven't used this feature personally, but it has the advantage of being the native option.

Here is a quick how-to guide.

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Ok, so my final build for the NAS will probably be near that: build

  • The 64 GB Sandisk is for Freenas (I know it's overkill but I read that a USB stick is not great for the purpose since the last updates and it's pretty much the same cost of a SATA DOM.
  • The 120GB Samsung 850 EVO for cache
  • 3 2TB WD Red Pro in RAIDZ1

I know that I have to install freenas first,
setup a RAIDZ1 volume and a cache volume
create a ZFS dataset
and then stress test the shit out of the HDDs with SMART
and also run a mem test for 24 hours
then I setup a periodic snapshot task (is it possible to also have a snapshot of the Windows 10 PC of my mom?)
then I migrate the data
and I setup syncing on the laptop following that

So did I get anything wrong? And does anybody know if it's possible to setup an IMAP and POP3 mail server on that also (to have all the emails from different adress being backup on it) ?