This is going to be a series about how I built a home network storage server for all my photos, music, videos, software etc.
I now have many computers at home, no central storage for them, and an incoherent backup regime. I've been planning a home NAS (network attached storage) server for some time.
The basic requirements are that I have at least 1 terabyte of usable storage, it must be available on the network for everyone in the house to use, and it must be regularly backed up. Additionally I'm planning that it will use RAID to give it some resilience, it should be easily and cheaply upgradable, and it will be fully encrypted to prevent catastrophic loss in case of theft.
Now the architecture is a bit unusual. Dedicated NAS systems are quite expensive, so instead I'm planning to use USB 2.0 external drives attached to a tiny Viglen MPC-L computer. This setup sacrifices some performance for an exceptionally low price (but then again, performance isn't too important when the only way to access it will be over a wireless network).
The Viglen MPC-L is a small, cheap, AMD Geode-based Linux box, akin to a Mac Mini (but considerably cheaper at £80 inc. tax and delivery). I also bought three 500 GB USB drives. The total cost (inc. delivery and UK sales taxes) is £260 (approx. US $400). That doesn't yet include backup which will be another 1 TB USB drive for around another $150-200.
Here are the three drives. Externally these are rather elegant FreeCom cases, and internally they are standard Samsung drives:
Here I'm formatting and testing the drives using my laptop. I'll cover the precise setup in a future article: