How To Build Your Own NAS From Scratch (With Parts List!)

DIY Build Your Own NAS

Computers and data storage are almost as important to photographers and cinematographers as cameras. If you’re serious about keeping all of your photos and videos safe and secure in one place – sooner or later you will want a network attached storage solution (NAS).

There are many commercially available NAS options, but with a little elbow grease you can also build your own high performance NAS from scratch and save money – continue reading to learn how!

The following article has been re-published with permission from Chicago based photographer and film maker Gabi Bucataru. Gabi’s work can be licensed through his portfolio at Stocksy United.

The Gabstor

So, what do you do when your storage bursts at the seams with your ever growing photo, audio and video library? You could do of course several things beside drink and forget. One of them is falling for a dedicated NAS (Network Attached Storage) as I did about 1 year ago which works just fine, if you have nothing to do with your cash. Second is to actually build yourself a storage that will overshadow any consumer dedicated NAS systems in speed performance, storage, price and plain fun.

THE NEED FOR SPEED

I bought my 27″ iMac (made mid 2010) right after Apple announced Thunderbolt. Looks like I always have that luck, thinking that I am getting the greatest and latest, only to discover the next day that the world moved on. No complaints, it’s a great machine, really. It runs daVinci Resolve just fine with 1080p 24 fps ProRes 422 HQ footage (176 Mbps at 1080p24) at real time pulled off my current Synology DS214+ via a gigabit connection, with read speeds averaging 110 MB/s. Which is really what’s expected from a gigabit connection (theoretically we should be getting 1gigabit/8bits = 125MB/sec).

So, considering with my limited iMac connection ports USB2.0/firewire800/gigabitLAN, the LAN is at this point the fastest one.

For a dedicated video editing environment, a NAS (Network Attached Storage) connected via a 1gigabit is usually a no-no and should be avoided if possible due to it’s limited 125MB/sec bandwidth. A Direct Attached Storage (DAS) via a Thunderbolt connection (10Gb/sec speeds) would be ideal. Or if you can wing it, getting 10 gigabit network cards on your NAS and computer (and switch of course).

But again, my only option was to only use my existent 1 gigabit network connection. You might be a little more luckier.

DIY Build Your Own NAS

BUY OR BUILD?

As I mentioned, I currently own a 2-bay Synology with 2x 3Tb drives in a Synology Hybrid RAID, totaling 3Tb capacity (with data protection of 1 disk fault-tolerance). All good, except that it runs at 91% capacity with my ever-growing photo and video library. So I thought of just buying a 5-bay expansion unit that connects via an eSATA connector. Problem solved, right?

Well, not really. The RAID configuration would not extend to the expansion storage so the unit will end up just to be a pricey way of just make more room.

I tripped over numerous Youtube videos detailing how to build your own NAS server even from an old computer you might have laying around (like the folks at Tek Syndicate NASFeratu). All this at ridiculous small prices.

It started becoming more obvious that you can build a system that’s much cheaper, more performant and ultimately more fun than actually invest cash in a dedicated NAS out there. And it’s really not that intimidating as it looks. You simply need to know how to match the components features and have some basic knowledge of computer hardware.

DIY Build Your Own NAS

THE GABSTOR

So I thought of a system that would serve me well, pulling as much as I can out of this aging iMac with it’s connection port limitations. In the mean time I thought that if I’m already building a pretty performant NAS media server, I might as well plan on use it as a Direct Attached Storage (DAS) though a Thunderbolt connection, in which case it’ll be lightning fast (pun intended). My main inspiration was the NASFeratu which the folks from Tek Syndicate built beginning of 2014 and use that as a starting blueprint for my build.

Everyone, please welcome… The GABSTOR!

I started with the Fractal Node 304 case for housing, having a mini ATX form factor, and great airflow (two smaller fans in the front and one bigger in the rear). Noise is a big factor in these builds (with 5 HDD) and as mentioned by others who are using this case, it’s pretty minimal considering all the fans and spinning going on. The HDDs are sitting on rubber grommets, efficiently isolating them from transmitting the whirring noise to the chassis.

To make easier for you, I documented my build so you don’t have to spend time on matching processor sockets with motherboards, cases, PSU wattage, etc.

DIY Build Your Own NAS

FREENAS

Free what? Every computer needs an operating system. The GABSTOR being just that, needs one also. Luckily, there’s an amazingly stable and able operating system out there called freeNAS, which will fulfill all your NAS interfacing needs (like creating datasets, UNIX, Windows or Apple shares, setting permissions, end so on). And yes, it is FREE, and backed up by an amazingly helpful community, on which I depended like water for all the quirks I encountered along the way installing freeNAS.

I installed version 9.10 using two USB sticks. One on which I created an image of the download (becoming the installation USB) and one on which the installed freeNAS OS lives. Took me a while to figure out the steps but it’s primarily:

1. Download the current stable release of FreeNAS (.iso)
2. Prepare the installation USB by burning the downloaded .iso file
3. Boot your freeNAS from this USB and install it to the secondary USB

Detailed process to prepare the installation USB in the freeNAS 9.10 documentation here.

I have to mention here that I ran into some trouble by initially installing version 10 ALPHA of freeNAS. That was a no no, since it’s still in development. So I installing version 9.10 (stable) I had trouble crating a RAIDz2 volume since the manager got confused seeing some remnant signs of the initial freeNAS 10 installation. I ended up re-installing freeNAS 9.10 on a brand new USB drive and that did the trick.
The lesson here is no NEVER install a version that’s in development.

PERFORMANCE

So, I ended up reading up quite a bit about making this box as efficient as possible and pulling the most storage I could without sacrificing data integrity in case something fails. There are lots of talks about the RAID configurations one should use, so I won’t go into details here. I ended up going with a RAIDZ2 where I have 3 drives for storage and 2 for parity out of my 5 total. Plenty room.

And getting 110MB/sec read and 110MB/s read speeds is plenty for me to deal with ProRes 422 HQ in daVinci Resolve.

DiskSpeedTest

DiskSpeedTest

THE GABSTOR’S SPECS

Processor: Intel Core i3-4160 Haswell Dual-Core 3.6 GHz
RAM: 16Gb
Storage: 9Tb (RAIDz2 double-parity configuration)
Enclosure form factor: Mini-ITX
PSI power: 500W

Have You Built Your Own NAS?

Have you built your own NAS? How did it go?

What would you change or do differently from this build?

Would you only trust a commercially available NAS solution?

Leave a comment below and let us know!

via DIYPhotography.net – Photography and Studio Lighting – Do It Yourself
How To Build Your Own NAS From Scratch (With Parts List!)

9 tricks to appear smart in brainstorming meetings

The following is an excerpt from Sarah Cooper’s new book, 100 Tricks to Appear Smart in Meetings (October 4, Andrews McMeel)

In a brainstorming meeting, the pressure of coming up with incredible new ideas can be debilitating. Luckily, the last thing most corporations want is new ideas.

During these largely pointless exercises, the point is to contribute using the mere gravitas of your presence, make other people’s ideas seem like your ideas, and look like a true leader by questioning the efficiency of the whole process.

Here are 9 tricks to make you look like you’re the creative force on your team.

  1. Leave to get water and ask if anyone needs anything

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Just before the meeting starts, get up and ask if anyone needs anything. People will think you’re so thoughtful, kind, and giving, plus you’ll be able to disappear for 10 minutes no questions asked. Even if no one wants anything, return with bottles of water, soda, and snacks.

Your colleagues will feel compelled to start drinking and snacking, and your foresight will make them think you can really predict the future.

 

  1. Grab a pad of sticky notes and start drawing

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While the topics are being introduced, grab one of those sticky note pads and start drawing meaningless flowcharts. Your colleagues will look over at you with worried interest, wondering how you’re coming up with so many complex ideas even before you know what this meeting is for.

 

  1. Make an analogy that’s so simple it sounds deep

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When everyone is trying to define the problem, make an analogy about baking a cake, or something just as completely unrelated. Your colleagues will nod their heads in agreement, even if they really don’t understand how what you’re saying is related to what they’re talking about. Talking completely over their heads will make you seem wildly transcendent and intimidatingly creative, even though the truth is you really just like cake.

 

  1. Ask if we’re asking the right questions

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Nothing makes you seem smarter than when you question the questions by asking if they’re the right questions. If someone responds by asking you what you think the right questions are, say you just asked one.

 

Sidebar: How to strategically shoot down small ideas

Wonder if an idea seems too small so your colleagues see you as a big thinker and a gamechanger.

Use one of these phrases:

  • But how is it disruptive?
  • Is this 10x?
  • Is this the future?
  • I thought that was dead.
  • What’s the big Win?
  • But isn’t Apple doing that?

 

  1. Use an idiom

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Using an idiom to question an idea is a subtle, smart way of questioning it. Here are some idioms to choose from:

  • Isn’t that gilding the lily?
  • Isn’t that putting lipstick on a pig?
  • Seems like we’re polishing a turd.

 

  1. Develop a quirky, creative habit that ‘gets your juices flowing’

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Develop a quirky habit that ‘helps you think’ and ‘gets your creative juices flowing.’ This could be anything from showing up in your pyjamas, meditating on the floor, jogging on the spot, throwing a ball against the wall, air drumming with your favourite drumsticks, or all of those things at the same time. Even if you’re not actually coming up with any ideas, your colleagues will be intimidated by your uncontrollable creative energy.

 

Sidebar: How to strategically shoot down big ideas

Wonder if an idea seems too big so your superiors see how much you care about company resources.

Use one of these phrases:

  • Is it too disruptive?
  • How does this fit into the roadmap?
  • This seems like a pivot.
  • Isn’t that a non-starter?
  • Isn’t that out of scope?
  • But how would you test that?
  • Will that work internationally?

 

  1. Say how you think the CEO would respond

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Make your colleagues think that you have a very close relationship with the CEO by bringing up how you think she would respond to an idea. Mention your CEO by her first name. Say you might run this by her during your next powwow. Congratulate everyone for coming up with something she’d like. By associating yourself so closely with the CEO, people will start to think of you as some kind of CEO-in-training.

  1. Ask if we’re creating the right framework, platform, or model

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You will always appear as if you’re thinking bigger than everyone else by bringing up a framework for moving forward, or a model of thinking, or how we can turn this into a platform. It’s a very meta way of blowing everyone’s minds and masking the fact that you have no idea what everyone’s talking about.

  1. When everyone seems to like an idea, yell out ‘Ship it!’

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There’ll come a point when everyone seems to be really excited about an idea or direction. At this point you should try to be the first person to yell out ‘Ship it!’ Sure, it’s a funny thing to say that will make people laugh, but doing this will also convey some authority on your part to both end the meeting and make a final decision, even though you have no power to do either.

100 Tricks to Appear Smart in Meetings will be released October 4th. Pre-order it here and read more at 100Tricks.com.

 

via TechCrunch
9 tricks to appear smart in brainstorming meetings

Google opens up its machine learning tricks to all

There may now be an easier way to implement advanced machine learning models in your projects. Google has opened up its Cloud Machine Learning to all businesses in a public beta, after a few months of testing it in private alpha. The tool makes it easier to train models at a much faster rate, and is integrated with the Google Cloud Platform. This has applications for businesses in areas such as customer support (learning how to automate responses to a variety of queries and complaints) or any kind of repetition-heavy task.

In a blog post, Google described how its customer Airbus Defense and Space used the tool to automate the detection and correction of satellite images that contain imperfections such as cloud formations. According to the blog, an Airbus employee said Google’s tool "enabled us to improve the accuracy and speed at which we analyze the images captured from our satellites. It solved a problem that has existed for decades."

That speed and ease of use are what really stands out about Google’s algorithms. To facilitate adoption, the company also launched a Machine Learning Advanced Solutions Lab that gives companies access to a Google engineer to help solve complex problems. It also debuted a Cloud Start program for businesses to learn the basics of the public cloud and how to identify opportunities to implement machine learning.

Google is also introducing a certification program to teach people how to "design, train and deploy accurate machine learning models." The curriculum will be taught by Googlers, and is based on internal education methods.

While this news may mean more to startups and other enterprise users, Google’s apparent efforts to mainstream machine learning will affect a far larger audience. The company also announced today that it will implement the advanced learning method in its popular Docs, Drive and Calendar services to make them more productive. It also isn’t the only tech titan to be trying to simplify artificial intelligence adoption. Facebook has already publicly shared its AI bot-building code, as well as its similarly smart image recognition tech.

Via: TechCrunch

Source: Google

via Engadget
Google opens up its machine learning tricks to all

How to Keep Your Employees Happy Without Giving Them a Raise

Money isn’t everything; in fact research shows that beyond a certain point (roughly $70,000 a year) money doesn’t motivate people very much at all. So how do you make sure that your employees are happy, engaged and ready to stay with your company without reaching… Read More

The post How to Keep Your Employees Happy Without Giving Them a Raise appeared first on Business Pundit.

via Business Pundit
How to Keep Your Employees Happy Without Giving Them a Raise

Content Marketing Sins and How to Avoid Them

Content marketing is “the way forward” in the digital age. The idea is simple – create content and keep your audience consistently engaged with your brand. The trouble is that in practice; this isn’t so simple and there are a lot of brands delivering content… Read More

The post Content Marketing Sins and How to Avoid Them appeared first on Business Pundit.

via Business Pundit
Content Marketing Sins and How to Avoid Them

Draw: The Best Free to Use Flowchart Software for Small Businesses in 2016

Flowcharts are an integral part of business life today. Whether you are designing a process or a network diagram or just want to put something together for a presentation – you’re sooner or later going to want to make a flowchart. The trouble is that… Read More

The post Draw: The Best Free to Use Flowchart Software for Small Businesses in 2016 appeared first on Business Pundit.

via Business Pundit
Draw: The Best Free to Use Flowchart Software for Small Businesses in 2016

“Patents are bulls–t,” says Newegg Chief Legal Officer Lee Cheng

(video link)

Lee Cheng is one of the few attorneys to fight back against patent trolls and prevail. And at the latest Ars Live event, we talked to him about his most famous case, how people can fight patent trolls today, and what the future of patent abuse will look like in coming decades. His answers, as expected, were incredibly candid and hilarious.

In 2007, a patent troll known as Soverain had already gotten millions of dollars out of The Gap and Amazon for their online shopping cart patent when they hit Newegg with a suit. Cheng’s colleagues in the legal community said you’d better just pay up—this patent is legit. Cheng didn’t see it that way. Newegg had just reached a billion in sales, and he thought this piece of litigation would be the first of many lawsuits brought by companies that wanted a piece of Newegg’s success. And sure enough, soon after the shopping cart claim, Newegg was hit with patent claims on several aspects of online search. Cheng decided he wasn’t going to lie down and take it. He thought he could win on appeal if he could just make it through the courts in the Eastern District of Texas, where 40 percent of patent infringement claims are brought.

Read 10 remaining paragraphs | Comments

via Ars Technica
“Patents are bulls–t,” says Newegg Chief Legal Officer Lee Cheng

Donald Trump Jr. Talks Second Amendment

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SilencerCo. sat down with Donald Trump, Jr., son of Presidential candidate Donald Trump, to talk about firearms and firearms-related issues.

According to SilncerCo’s CEO Joshua Waldron, meeting with Trump Jr. is a risky move for his company but it’s something they felt compelled to do because of the need to protect the Second Amendment.

“The Second Amendment for us – for me, the Second Amendment isn’t just a passion and a hobby that I do every weekend,” Trump Jr. says. “It’s a lifestyle. It’s the thing that they thought of—that our Founding Fathers thought of—after Free Speech and religion… It’s a basic right of an American.”

Check out the full video:

 

The post Donald Trump Jr. Talks Second Amendment appeared first on Bearing Arms.

via Bearing Arms
Donald Trump Jr. Talks Second Amendment