Building an Open Source NAS

Software Options

Operating system selection for your NAS :

  1. Synology DSM 5.x  – Friendly UI, good performance on lower end hardware 
  2. FreeNAS – UFS and ZFS file shares, additional memory required 
  3. Openfiler – UFS
  1.  Synology DSM 5.x:

    Synology DSM
    Synology DSM needs no introduction, most favored OS among most users. Much thanks to the remarkable work from the guys who recompiled DSM source code, it is proven that DSM can be installed on non Synology appliances. However, you have to keep it to yourself that it is an unlicensed, unsupported installation. 
    Below link for Synology DSM 5.x Demo UI. 

    Login with
    Account: admin
    Password: synology


    XPEnology is an operating system based on Synology DiskStation Manager (DSM). This is possible because Synology DSM has developed under the GPL license . As a result, it is free to use and adapt by third parties.
    The advantage of XPEnology is that it is compatible with many different hardware and so you almost any old PC / server can use as a NAS. Also you can also XPEnology as a virtual machine (VM) running on ESXi for example, Hyper-V, VirtualBox. With this flexibility, functionality and ease XPEnology offers a good alternative to a Synology NAS or other NAS solutions.Synology DSM 5.x Which is customised by

     XPEnology consists of two components

    • Bootloader
    • DSM software

    The boot loader is the most important in the installation. The boot loader allows for booting the NAS, given the DSM version and contains drivers for the existing hardware or VM. At present there are two bootloaders available Gnoboot and Nano boat. The bootloaders are based on the Synology DiskStation DS3612xs (x64) and DS214play (x86) and are developed separately by the respective community members. On a regular basis the bootloaders are updated with new drivers and if necessary adapted to new DSM software.
    Obviously, the DSM software are not lacking. Using the original Synology DSM software there. After installing the bootloader is made some changes. This ensures that everything related to the DSM software functions correctly.

    2. FreeNAS 

    It’s free and popular among self built NAS. Simple GUI with ongoing developments. The highlight of FreeNAS is it’s ZFS RAID feature which I will cover on the next topic.
    Based on FreeBSD OS tuned for NAS appliance to provide UFS and ZFS shares.
    FreeNAS uses the ZFS file system to store, manage, and protect data. ZFS provides advanced features like snapshots to keep old versions of files, incremental remote backups to keep your data safe on another device without huge file transfers, and intelligent compression, which reduces the size of files so quickly and efficiently that it actually helps transfers happen faster.

    FreeNAS Data Protection feature:

    ZFS is designed for data integrity from top to bottom. RAID-Z, the software RAID that is part of ZFS, offers single parity protection like RAID 5, but without the “write hole” vulnerability thanks to the copy-on-write architecture of ZFS. The additional levels RAID-Z2 and RAID-Z3 offer double and triple parity protection, respectively. A software mirror option is also available. The FreeNAS Volumes screen lists each possible parity arrangement based on the number of disks you select when creating a new volume.

    Every ZFS filesystem is also verified with checksums from top to bottom to ensure data integrity. If inconsistencies are found, parity blocks can be used to repair corrupt data. A regular scrub is turned on by default and can be rescheduled or configured from the web interface.

    3. OpenFiler:
    Openfiler converts an industry standard x86_64 architecture system into a full-fledged NAS/SAN appliance or IP storage gateway and provides storage administrators with a powerful tool to cope with burgeoning storage needs.
    Openfiler ensures that storage administrators are able to make the best use of system performance and storage capacity resources when allocating and managing storage in a multi-platform network.
    Openfiler Open Source Edition (OSE) is perfect for cost-constrained budgets and delivers block-level (basic iSCSI target) and file-level storage export protocols.
    Openfiler Commercial Edition (CE) builds upon Openfiler OSE to provide key features such as iSCSI target for virtualization, Fibre Channel target support, block level replication and High Availabilty that are the mainstay of any business critical storage environment.
    Openfiler addresses all the key data storage concerns:

    • Reliability – Openfiler supports both software and hardware RAID with monitoring and alert facilities; volume snapshot and recovery
    • Availability – Openfiler supports active/passive high availability clustering, MPIO, and block level replication
    • Performance – Linux 2.6 kernel supports the latest CPU, networking and storage hardware
    • Scalability – filesystem scalability to 60TB+, online filesystem and volume growth support

Hardware Options

1) ASRock C70M1 Combo Motherboard

CPU: AMD Dual-Core Ontario C-70 APU                     9W CPU TDP
Motherboard components 30W
1 X 4GB DDR3 4W
2 X WD 4TB RED Drives 15W Max
1 USB drive 3W
80mm Cooling Fan 4W
                                                  Recommended power supply: 65 W

2) ASRock E35LM1 Motherboard Price: Rs. 4,199

CPU : AMD Zacate E-240 APU + AMD A50M Chipset   18W CPU TDP
1 X 4GB DDR3
2 X 4TB RED Drives
1 USB drive  
                                      Recommended power supply: 78 W

3) BIOSTAR A68I-350 COMBO MOTHERBOARD :      Rs. 4449
CPU : AMD Fusion APU 350D Dual-Core Processor   18W CPU TDP
1 X 4GB DDR3
2 X 4TB RED Drives
1 USB drive
Recommended power supply: 78 W