Wednesday, June 20, 2012

FreeNAS, OpenFiler or Ubuntu Server

Lately, I have been thinking that I will digitize everything in the house and I researched for a while on what to do and what to use.

First, the media front. I read the Roku, Boxee Box, etc reviews, but they were not for me. SO I decided to go with XBMC. I am very familiar with Ubuntu and most plugins are Ubuntu native in XBMC but unfortunately the new version of Ubuntu comes with Unity. I went against my hatred for the new layout and stupid desktop environment and since I could not be bothered to remove Unity for another environment...what the hell, I said I'll try it.

The hardware was pretty simple:

I installed Ubuntu 11.10 with OpenSHH server, then XBMC. As soon as XBMC was up and running, I installed the extra repositories. Addons installed include Pandora for XBMC, Swiss Army Knife, mythtv for XBMC. Then I installed MythTV and configured the TVTuner Card. Very buggy and does not work properly.

So now I am ripping my DVD collection, arranging my pictures and fixing my music files. Now comes the time to figure out what to do for disk space. I looked at Synology, Promise, QNap which are the more respectable names in NAS boxes. Then I remembered that I installed and configured FreeNAS a long time ago so I started reading about FreeNAS and OpenFiler. A lot of people recommend the former than the latter and that reminded me why I had chosen it as well so long ago. 

The decision was made and I dug some hardware I had in the closet, bought some hard drives and started building. The hardware is a bit ridiculous but they used to belong in a former gaming rig.
  • Asus A8N32-SLI Deluxe Motherboard
  • AMD FX-55
  • I could not use the 8800GTX (too much power) so I just got a $20 video card
  • 1 80 GB drive I found lying around and 3x2TB
  • 4 GB of RAM
I read a lot about ZFS file system and I was intrigued so I installed freeNAS and I created a RAIDZ array. I could not change the configuration and it kept crashing all the time so I removed it and installed openFiler. Even worse...

So I saw that ZFS is natively supported in Ubuntu. I installed Ubuntu 11.10 server, added the ZFS repository, installed ZFS, created a RAIDZ array and everything was good to go. Then I wanted a time machine backup for my laptop and I came across a huge article on how to install netatalk(TODO) . That did not work. All you have to do is sudo apt-get install netatalk and add 2 configuration lines. After that was done, I installed and configured SAMBA.

Time Machine backup, Windows Backup, reliable NAS storage for any OS. Now why would people not choose this?
Eventually I had to remove Unity and use Xfce because the video was very choppy and there was a line in the middle of the TV. 

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