In my last post I was talking about building a home server to replace my dying Linksys NAS200, which was dying from day 1 unfortunately. I priced out and built a home server for under $226 by mixing and matching retailers ( http://pcpartpicker.com/p/loRC ). This price didn’t include the existing two 1 TB drives I already had from my existing NAS device however. I put it together and it worked great, the little Sempron processor easily overclocked to 3.6GHz and has been stable since I turned it on.
First I tried FreeNAS and quickly remembered why I hate BSD. As a Linux user, the slight command differences on the terminal quickly drove me to remove it. I played around with OpenFilr with little success and ended up settling on unRAID (http://lime-technology.com/). It’s based off of Slackware so it felt more like home than the others. The initial install WebGUI is pretty minimal and ugly, so I quickly replaced that with a plugin called SimpleFeatures, muuuuch better. The whole distro runs off of a USB key so I don’t have to use any of my array for the OS, a VERY nice feature. I got a Sandisk Cruzer micro 16GB and its working great.
unRAID limits you to only three drives on an unregistered version of the software. So with my three 1TB drives I have around 1.9TB of storage space. More than enough for my current needs. The best part is I have two paths for upgrading. 1) Upgrade each drive with a larger drive 1 by 1; 2) Purchase a license and add more drives to the array. Believe it or now #2 is actually the cheaper option. The license is $69 and a good 1TB drive is less than $100. Just adding 1 more drive gives me 2.8TB of space, and I can add 1 more if wanted. Any more than 5 drives and I would have to upgrade to the next license level, but its still cheaper than buying all new drives.