Today I’ve been cleaning up on my computer and I’ve copied a lot of the stuff on my external hard drives on to brand new hard drives. See, lately my room-mate and I have had this little project going: We’re building a NAS-station.
The thing is I have a lot of photos and video footage I hate to lose to a computer crash. Up until now I’ve kept all my stuff on an external hard drive, which have been sitting safe on my desk. I’m just as paranoid about loosing my stuff as I should be, so I also keep a backup on another external hard drive.. This have been a satisfying solution so far, but it had a couple of draw backs.
First: I had to manually take backup. Now, as a busy guy I rarely take the afternoon off to back up my hard drive. Hence, the backup was never really up to date.
Second: Since I used it to archive stuff and not work directly off the external hard drive, I had to plug it in and out every time I wanted to use it.
Third: So far it had been sitting safe on my desk, but a while back I moved in with my girlfriend and now I don’t really have a desk. So now, every time I want something on the external hard drive I have to temporary set it up and take it down after I’m done, and while I’m using it I can only hope the cat doesn’t attack it or chew the wires. In other words, the hard drive is a lot more exposed than earlier, meaning closer to destruction! It was mainly this last reason that made me look at NAS-stations.
I was originally planning to buy a NAS-station, and put in some hard drives. Then my room-mate had this idea we could make our own out of an old computer of his. So we gathered a bunch of spare computer parts and grabbed all the hard drives we could find and stashed them in there. In addition I bought two 2 TB hard drives and we also needed a SATA controller card, as we had more SATA discs than the motherboard could handle.
So after putting together a computer of spare parts laying around the house we set it up with FreeNAS. It’s a NAS software based on FreeBSD and runs off a memory stick. Not to mention it’s totally free! After a little tweaking we had a NAS station hooked up to the wireless network. So far it’s tested with my room mates PC, my MacBook and my girlfriend’s MacBook Pro so the cross-platform support is excellent. Even supports TimeMachine on my Mac.
It’s got a couple of hard drives so plenty of space, most notably two 2 TB drives being mirrored in a RAID. This way I don’t have to worry about loosing my stuff to hard drive crashes and with an additional backup on my old external hard drive it’s pretty safe.
Now, it’s still not finished. We still need to hook up the printer and preferably also a scanner, so we can use it over the network, but this requires some more tweaking. So far however, I really like this solution!