How to set up a home file server using FreeNAS

Your Answer

How To Set Up a Home or Small Business Network
If you don't want to bother setting up a server, there are many NAS drives on the market that not only provide extra storage, but can double as FTP, Mail and Web servers although without the level of customization a traditional server offers. Next, click the wrench icon to bring up the CIFS service options. You can set up RAID on most of them for improved performance, or for fault tolerance. A server, regardless of the type, needs a robust network to give it access to the Internet and allow it to communicate with other computers. We updated this guide to include the latest info on installing FreeNAS.

What you need to get up and running with FreeNAS

How to Set Up a Server Network

Plug an Ethernet cable into the networking port located on the back of each computer, including the server. To take advantage of the gigabit speeds, each computer will need to have a gigabit-capable networking card. You can check to what kind of card a Windows-based computer has by right-clicking on "My Computer," clicking "Properties," then the "Hardware" tab, followed by "Device Manager. If any of the computers don't have one of these cards, one can be purchased and easily installed by the average computer user.

Run the network configuration tool on each computer. The configuration tool will automatically detect the network and what type of computers are on it. You will be asked questions, such as what name you want to give the network, what name each computer should have, and if you want to share files and printers in addition to an Internet connection. Once the wizard has completed, restart each computer, and the server network is complete.

How to Set Up a Server Network. Share Share on Facebook. Similarly, if you're working on a document upstairs on your desktop and you want to move to the den with your laptop, you'll need the proper infrastructure working in the background to enable that kind of wizardry.

So, how can we create this "digital bookshelf? Can you build it in your garage? As it turns out, the answer is "yes" on all counts. You could go out and buy a Drobo device but in this case, we're going to assemble our own. And we're going to do that with the help of an open source storage platform called FreeNAS.

So how involved a process is that? Meet us after the break to find out. What is FreeNAS you say? Put simply, it's is an operating system based on FreeBSD that brings with it a snazzy web interface for management, and all the protocols you need to share files between Windows, Mac and Linux. In other words, a perfect solution for your digital bookshelf. Let's get to it.

Here's what you'll need, hardware-wise: A bit Intel or AMD processor. More on that later. A system board with a decent amount of SATA ports. We found 4GB worked just fine. At least three SATA hard drives.

As with RAM, the more hard drives you have, the better. This thing needs to connect to your home network, obviously. However , since the economy is tough and budgets are tight, we wanted to show that you don't necessarily need the bee's knees of hardware to get FreeNAS up and running. We had the following components lying around, and they worked stupendously: Drives are supremely important here.

If you wanted to take it one step further, you could mirror the ZIL with two solid-state drives. This would provide a very redundant and high-performing NAS. However, the scope of this how-to is strictly getting a cheap FreeNAS environment up and running with the most basic of hardware.

Especially since flooding in the Asia-Pacific areas have caused HD prices to nearly double in price, 1TB drives do not come cheap compared to a year ago. If you're one of those extremely cautious people who has to double check everything , here's a URL to the FreeNAS hardware requirements. We recommend you at least glance at them if you're going to go out and hunt down shiny new hardware.

Once you've got your hardware squared away we have to get some things out in the open: FreeNAS can not utilize the drive on which it's installed for storage. So, that's why you need that USB stick. Think about where you want to keep your FreeNAS box. Once you install the OS you can throw the box in a closet with power and a network connection, and let 'er run.

Once the initial setup is complete, you can manage the configuration using the web interface. We know your little wheels are spinning -- just forget it. Trust us on this one. Other than those three items, there's not much more to worry about -- it's time to install FreeNAS. To make things extra simple, we'll break this into numbered steps for you.

You can get the file here. Don't insert it into one of those front panel sockets; to be safe it should be in the back of the PC. Yours truly had some weird results using front panel USB ports, which included installations crashing and very slow operation. Power up your machine and head directly to your BIOS config. We have to be sure to set the boot devices in the proper order.

Since BIOS options vary from device to device, here's the basic the order you want: Save your settings, place the freshly baked CD in your drive and reboot. If everything went well with the last step you should now be booting to the first bootloader. You'll see some text scrolling and gibberish like so: Next you'll get to the bootloader, which looks like this: At this point you can either press Enter or allow the timer to count down. Whichever you choose, you'll end up in the actual FreeNAS installer here: You'll be selecting the first option: Odds are your device will be listed as da0 on this screen as well.

Double check the description and size to be sure. As you can see, in our case it plainly reads, "SanDisk Cruzer 8. Select your device and press Enter. The installer here gives us a nice little warning which states that all data will be wiped from your drive for installation. Hit "Yes" to proceed. As soon as you press Enter you'll notice the dialogue beginning at the bottom of the screen. Eventually, you'll see a message reassuring you the installation is complete and that it's time to reboot again.

It does as it's told. At this point, if you see this screen, go ahead and let out a single "woot! Congratulations, you've now got FreeNAS installed. Okay, now get a hold of yourself, as we've still gotta carve out some disk volumes and share 'em. Create disc volumes 1. Make note of the next-to-last line on the screen highlighted in green below: If a storm knocks out power to your home and everything reboots, you may have to check this screen again if your DHCP client tables gets wiped out, as the address may change.

If you happen to be running a network where you statically set IP addresses, good for you. We won't cover configuring static addresses in this how-to, so you're on your own there. Let's open up the management interface now.

Video of the Day

Leave a Reply