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What is a NAS?

There is never much disk space. Probably, everyone was faced with the choice of what to remove and free valuable megabytes for new photos or music. And the constant recording of films on DVD to watch them on the big screen, conveniently lounging on the couch with the second half? Or the virus hit the system and you with fear and hope that everything will be able to be restored, looked at the specialist reviving the dead system. There are many situations when you want to combine all the equipment in the house into a single “organism”, increase comfort and feel safe. And a simple home network in such a situation is only part of the solution. You need a reliable storage place, available for any equipment in the house.

What is a NAS?

NAS (en. Network Attached Storage) – a network storage system. In simple words – a set of hard drives connected to a local network. It differs from a simple external drive connected to the router via USB with great functionality, scalability, the provision of additional services and greater fault tolerance (in case of using RAID). In fact, it is an inexpensive mini-server for home or for your company.

What for?

From the name it is clear that for data storage in the first place. If the house has more than one computer, then increasing the volume of hard drives in each will cost more. And backup copies of your data must be stored somewhere in case of a computer or virus failure. The DVD collection can also be attached and no longer afraid that the disc will be scratched and can no longer be read. Download your favorite music and listen to it from anywhere through the network. Post a photo of your favorite cat and show it to friends. Many modern TVs have a built-in media player and can connect to the network, so the need for a DVD player will disappear immediately. No need to wait until a file is downloaded from the Internet – he gave the task to the server and calmly went to sleep. Or use as a print server. You can show your home video or photo to relatives in another city: recorded, opened access, threw a link to relatives.

Which to choose?

There are two options: buy ready-made or assemble it yourself. It all depends on your capabilities and desires.

In the first case, everything is limited only by financial capabilities. The cheapest option at the time of writing is NAS D-Link DNS-323, which costs about 6 thousand rubles without disks. If you add a couple of disks, you get a good miniature home server. The only advantage of the purchased option is simplicity: bought, turned on, configured, working. Everything else is cons. Not very high speed, the impossibility of updates and improvements in terms of hardware, limited opportunities to expand the software functionality. And the price for more serious options bites.

In the second case, full scope for creativity. Any components, any software, a variety of services. There are options already developed by enthusiasts, and it is worth exploring them before making a decision. It’s easy to find them, type in any search engine “NAS do it yourself” and read.

The main points to consider when developing:

NAS will work around the clock, so it is desirable to reduce power consumption and heat dissipation. Do not tinker with a server based on motherboards from personal computers or servers and powerful processors. Mini-ITX boards with an Atom processor are quite suitable.

The server should be as inconspicuous as possible. If he will shine light bulbs and make noise around the clock, then the home will be outraged and will have to redo everything. Therefore, from the very beginning it is worth considering cooling and noise reduction, especially if the noise from the selected components is higher than 30 dB (level of loud whisper). For hard drives, there are special enclosures that, in addition to reducing noise, also reduce vibration and temperature. The fan can be replaced with quiet ones or reduced to a reasonable minimum rotation speed of existing ones.

The server should not require daily intervention, work quietly without a monitor, keyboard and mouse and be controlled via a web interface or remote desktop.

If you collect yourself, what do you need?

Motherboard. As already mentioned above, mini-ITX with an integrated Atom processor is quite suitable. The last “atoms” at the moment are 525, but previous implementations are quite suitable. It is worth paying attention to the number of SATA connectors on the board, so that is enough for all your drives. The built-in video and sound can be anything, they will not be used anyway.

Memory. One or two gigabytes will be enough. You just need to choose a supported motherboard.

Body. Anyone, if only everything came in and the case cooled well and did not make noise. If the power supply is built-in, then it should be quiet, and the power connector should fit the selected motherboard.

Disks. Here only your preferences and needs play a role. There is no sense in chasing the Green series (reduced power consumption and heat dissipation, reduced rotation speed) if you have a torrent or other services constantly accessing the disk.

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