Do it yourself: NAS

I’ve always wanted my very own server. That’s why I got a raspi in the first place. Attached 2TB drive to it, packed it with webservers, services and other weird stuff that I wanted to test. Moreover, I’ve expected this under powered, little raspberry to work flawlessly no matter what I throw at it. But then, BAM! reality: 2MB/s, lost usb packets, hangs, reboots, nuclear war, cold etc. My (cheap&used) new server has come to put an end to it.
You might ask – ‘wait, wait, it’s a raspberry-centric blog! why you are telling me about your server?’. That’s right – it’s a raspberry-centric blog but as our blog name states – it’s about raspberry at home and how raspberry works with different devices around our house. Nowadays, lots of people are getting NASes and I want to show you some uses of it with raspberry pi.  Believe me, you won’t be disappointed.

However, let me brag about my work first;)
I wanted to put together a pc that meet following requirements:

  • small
  • quiet
  • low power
  • cheap, don’t mind used

I’ve done a bit of research and found Intel Atom CPUs and AMD APUs so stared searching for some motherboards with integrated processors and found used asrock ad2550 with 2GB of RAM included for 199 PLN.

Main component of my nas

Main component of my nas


It was a bit of a impulse buy and now I would choose something different, but definitely it was a very good deal. Next I bought a akyga 920-01u case, then put mine 2TB WD Green drive and a pendrive with a system. Before going to software I’ve put there, some hints if you would like to do something similar:

  • if you want a linux there, don’t buy anthing with intel gma3650 – there are no linux drivers, works fine with cli but it’s a big minus there, AMD APUs are better in this matter or intel atom with nvidia ION graphics.
  • if you have bigger budget try putting something with celeron/pentium processor and motherboard with integrated power supply, those are marked as intel all-in-one or thin itx boards.
  • intel atom does not have virtualization, it’s obvious but now I would love to have something powerful with it – flexibility and ability to test new setups without much hassle cannot be overstated.
  • I definitely don’t recommend this case, it’s loud as … very loud.

Secondly, software. My first try was a freeNAS, gone through all configuration and worked fine but I’ve read that ZFS requires lots of ram to work properly, at least 8GB – didn’t want to put there more ram so I’ve tried ubuntu, but intel GMA got in my way and I’ve ended up with xpenology. Against freeNAS was also my little knowledge about freeBSD, ZFS that was not easily mounted under linux. Xpenology is a project that let’s you run a synology DSM software on most of the pcs. It’s stable for me and works like a charm, makes me almost regret that I didn’t go with synology nas instead of homemade solution. I’m sure one of synology nases will be under my consideration when I decide to buy something better. Performance results exceeded my expectations – above 60MB/s read and around 50 MB/s write (large files). That’s more than enough to serve multimedia around the house.

To sum up, Raspberry is a great little computer, but it’s not the best hardware to serve multimedia around home. If transfers were stable I would stay with raspberry as nas, but they weren’t. As a result I’ll try to split raspberry chores, nas will be there to serve multimedia and raspberry will be to play them. What do you think about it? Did you try to use raspi as NAS? Do you have a DIY NAS or mass-produced one? Let me know in comments if you would like me to continue this series. Thank you!

Here is your raspberry pi ampilight system!
  • Mang123

    I’m not *quite* using mine as a NAS.
    I’m using BitTorrent Sync with various computers, and have it as an ‘always on’ syncing client, so I don’t have to leave one of my more power-hungry machines on just to sync with anything I might happen to turn on.
    And I use it to play my nicely synced music too :)

  • Paulino Padial

    While I was using RaspberryPI, my config was:
    SAMBA (more than 4 USB HDs Connected) + DNS + DHCP + IPTABLES + PVR (Sickbeard,Couchpotato) + TOrrent (Transmission-Daemon) and all Works Fine.

    From another Raspi, I could play mkv (more or less 4 GB of File) from the same HD USB used at the same time to write Downloads from transmission… and in a 100 MB network using PLC.

    Finally, my choice was move to my old Mac Mini Server and Virtualized machines to centralize all servers. Now this raspis are Multimedia centre and Lab for fun =)

  • Cubytus

    Of course the RPi isn’t made to be a NAS and does not pretend being so! No Gigabit Ethernet? No SATA port? Who wants to add the large USB overhead on top of this meager ARM? The RPi does fine as a download machine and multimedia player, but definitely not for I/O hungry applications.

  • Kasun

    Try Amahi home server simply do what you want

  • Sergio

    I kinda use the Raspberry PI as a NAS more focused in managing the data backups of the devices (PC’s, home server, etc) into a set of external USB Hard Drives connected to the Raspi through a yepkit switchable hub.

    I use the setup described in

  • Mikey

    For opensource NAS software for the PI use openmediavault

    • Madwaxer

      I was using my Pib+ with OMV but when i recently tried to update to the latest version i’ve been having some problems. Even got the Pi3zero and now working on setting it up. Think i killed my SD card so now i have to get a new one. :-(
      But it was a nifty Network share for transferring files between systems especially when i didn’t trust the malware-aware etiquette of laptops and desktop users.
      I tend to end up fixing Mac, Windows and Linux systems for friends and its nice to be able to send them onto my NAS with its own wifi so they stay off my network but can get to useful software without having to wait for them to download again.

  • MI TB

    I’ve done the same here, a 2nd hand DS216j plus a 3rd hand Raspberry Pi 2 B+ under OSMC, and everthing is well balanced :)