Building a Cheap NAS Server
I have a few USB2.0 hard disks lying about -- however, they're noisy, so most of the time they are unattached to the laptop, and switched off.
Apparently though, some vendors are now selling embedded-linux devices which will take a set of USB2.0 drives and share them out over a LAN; basically, super-cheap NAS appliances. This is what I need.
Here's some rough build-planning notes:
What I Want To Do
- Attach my 250GB usb2 hard disk, and offer it over the home net via NFS/CIFS/possibly DAV?
- backup mp3 collection (additional backup)
- share mp3 collection to mythbox
This actually appears to be the only real contender! Selling points:
- There are other devices from e.g. D-Link but they're pricier
- and there are no third-party firmware images available, which is extremely important
- thriving community around the "Slug"
- 'You can connect up to two stand-alone USB disk drives of any size, and access them from anywhere on your network. Installation of the Network Storage Link is simple -- just plug it directly into your 10/100 Ethernet network, and attach your USB 2.0 hard drives or flash disk. It can self-configure to your network via DHCP or you can use the built-in utility to manually configure it. With the speedy USB 2.0 interface, you'll get quick response times with even your largest files.'
Amazon page: $80-$85 -- (note: some really shite reviews there. However, these are for the native firmware -- good reason to reflash with third-party code instead.)
A few reviews note that it's quite silent. I plan to put it out of the way in a closet or attic, anyway, which would help make noise less of an issue; also, the drives themselves make a fair bit of noise.
http://www.tomsnetworking.com/2004/08/03/how_to_nslu2_hack_pt1/ : a Tom's Networking hacking guide
It's really low-power -- 1.5W! that's nothing.
Consensus is that the Linksys firmware is shite.
The "unslung" firmware sounds good, and adds ability to use FAT32-formatted partitions. http://www.unslung.org/downloads.php
more info: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/NSLU2
this wiki has lots of info: http://www.nslu2-linux.org/
the OpenSlug firmware looks interesting as a possible alternative: http://www.nslu2-linux.org/wiki/HowTo/Partitionable-Software-RAID-6-on-OpenSlug
OpenSlug uses the "ipkg" tools, same as the OpenWRT stuff; they're fantastic, so that's a big plus.
If I use this, I'll need to hook up a USB wifi adapter, since I don't want to run ethernet from the router (in a corner of the front room) to a closet or the attic (which is quite far away).
This uses a super-cheap ZD1211 USB adapter; I got one for $10 and it's what I use on the mythbox (see BuildingFreevo). works great.
Anyway, need to get another one of those for this. Might as well buy 5 of 'em next time, they're brilliant little devices
So, I have two disks and a USB wifi adapter. The NSLU2 has only 2 ports! problem!
soldering to enable extra USB ports: http://www.nslu2-linux.org/wiki/HowTo/EnableExtraUSBPorts
using a usb hub to add extra USB ports: http://www.nslu2-linux.org/wiki/FAQ/USBHubs -- not a lot of solid success stories there esp with the unslung firmware, but probably worth trying
This is a minor issue, anyway. I have one big disk and a small disk, which currently is taken up almost entirely by backups; if I just attach only the big disk to the Slug, that'd be fine.