NAS (Network Attached Storage): Endless Possibilities

Setting up your own home server for personal or small business use has never been easier. You can get dedicated servers or appliances or configure a system yourself. We sell internal SSDs that can be used for caching, preferably in a mirror for R/W, and also docking stations for up to a whopping ten 3.5” HDDs. These and other accessories can help facilitate your deployment and extension of home storage. For those new to the idea, you can start off learning the basics pretty easily.

Those who want to start or stick with Windows can use something like StableBit’s DrivePool or Microsoft’s own free Storage Spaces. A popular paid product is Unraid which can have you up and running in no time. Other options include TrueNAS Core (previously FreeNAS, FreeBSD-based) or TrueNAS Scale (Debian-based Linux). This includes the use of OpenZFS, although it’s quite possible to deploy ZFS yourself with the Linux distribution of your choice. Take your time and experiment.

The old school way of just doing RAID - for example, with your motherboard’s storage controller for RAID0/RAID1, or using a pure hardware solution - has given way to software-defined storage (SDS) solutions. It’s a more flexible approach and often more reliable. It’s fairly easy to download and image for install (we recommend balenaEtcher), even using memory cards and card readers. Portable SSDs may also be useful. Once you get up and running, it’s as simple as accessing the dashboard.

If you have some spare hardware lying around and want to try something out, this is an easy way to start. Keep in mind that you will want a physical connection if possible; we sell accessories that can help here, too, such as a very fast 5-gigabit USB ethernet adapter. For basic streaming and archiving you don’t need to start with anything fancy, although ideally you have some robust hardware for networking. If security is a concern, pfSense may be a good option if you need to be Internet-facing, along with options for VPNs. Custom firmware for your router like OpenWRT may also be an option.

You can do all sorts of things with this sort of setup; we recommend our Docker (containers) blog for a taste. While we don’t sell hard drives or SATA SSDs, we sell everything you need to make use of both - numerous hard drive accessories and also cables, for example USB to DB9 adapters which can be used for some types of management. If your server needs more memory (RAM), we sell that too - both DDR4 and DDR5 in multiple form factors! We have fun designing and using our hardware and hope you explore it, too.