BackstoryI bought my Netgear ReadyNAS NV+ in 2010 after I suffered my very first HDD failure where I lost hours of video footage. Luckily, it was archival video, nothing urgent. The scenario left me yearning to never let it happen again.I learned all about the available redundancy options for storage and backup, and set my sights on Netgear's X-RAID feature with their ReadyNAS platform, allowing for 1 of 4 hard drive failures. I thought that would be enough for my budget at the time.Around 2017, I received a notice that the machine would no longer be supported with software updates. Great. It was bound to happen. On a tight personal budget, I looked for new options but never committed to anything.
Inciting IncidentA late-Summer 2018 Florida thunderstorm sent my dog into a static-electricity induced panic attack, including heavy panting and a neediness where she was attached to my leg with imaginary heavy-duty Velcro.Despite the many UPS units around my home, I failed to connect the coaxial cable that carried my broadband internet connection to the UPS. A lightning strike hit a nearby coaxial terminal that fed surrounding apartment buildings their internet. The surge carried itself to my modem which let out a internal thunderclap that also sprinkled its way through two additional WiFi routers, which were also destroyed in the surge.The last in the chain was my ReadyNAS which was hit too. I was able to power on the device again, and after a file system check, it booted. But no network connectivity. The NIC was fried.
Call to AdventureAfter the disappointment faded, action needed to take place. I needed to:
- Get access to my data.
- Find and implement a new solution. I narrowed my options to:
- Buying a more modern ReadyNAS device
- Building a DIY NAS using FreeNAS or other similar software
Crossing the First ThresholdIt turned out that one could purchase a used ReadyNAS of the same model. Finding a version that matched my version was difficult, and often times I waited too long to bid before an auction was purchased from under me. After a few weeks I finally found a compatible version on eBay.The moment I was able to re-install all my drives, boot, and see my data appear was a million pounds of stress off my shoulders. My data was safe, but I need a new solution to backup my main computer as soon as I could.While I did have a great experience with ReadyNAS and Netgear products in general, I felt that I needed personal and professional growth, and FreeNAS would be my choice. I've built many computers in my life, but this would be the first that was specific to being a server and maintain it.
Land of AdventureAfter nearly a month of research and deciding on a budget and components, I chose the following:
- SUPERMICRO MBD-X9SCM-F-O Server Motherboard. This motherboard is now discontinued, which helped get it at a reasonable price.
- Intel Pentium G2140 3.30GHz Processor BX80637G2140. A simple dual-core ECC-compatible processor
- 3x Kingston ValueRAM 4GB 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM ECC Unbuffered DDR3 1333 Server Memory Model KVR1333D3E9S/4G. They say 1GB of RAM for each terabyte of data.
- 4x White Label SATA 6 GB/s 3TB Hard Drives. These White Label drives reduced my price considerably, but as you'll later learn, it was not the best choice.
- BitFenix No Power Supply MicroATX Tower Case BFC-PHM-300-KKXKK-RP. I thought this would be an excellent low-profile case. Wrong.
- EVGA 450 B3, 80+ Bronze 450W, Fully Modular, EVGA ECO Mode. I simple somewhat eco-friendly power supply.
- 2x SanDisk Ultra Fit 32GB USB 3.0 Flash Drive - SDCZ43-032G-GAM46 . The 2 USB sticks house the FreeNAS OS and are mirrored for boot redundancy.
- CyberPower CP825LCD 450W. A dedicated UPS for the new NAS.
- 50cm 10Pin Motherboard Female Header to Dual USB 2.0 Adapter Cable. Help connect the case cable to the motherboard
- 19-Pin USB3.0 to USB2.0 Adapter Header Cable. Connect case's USB 3.0 power buttons to USB 2.0 motherboard header.
- 2 Port Internal USB 3.0 Motherboard Header Adapter Cable
- Easily connect the USB drives to the motherboard for a cleaner external aesthetic