Initial setup of (FreeNAS) file server

Components used:

AData Speedy Compact Flash card: NZ$30
Lian Li PC-A06FB Aluminium Case: NZ$170
ASUS p5kpl/epu Mobo: NZ$96.40
Celeron 1.8Ghz single core #430: NZ$70
Corsair 2GB KIT (2x1GB) DDR2 800Mhz DIMM PC6400 – Desktop RAM – TWIN2X2048-6400C4: NZ$104
P/S ZM750-HP NZ$257:33
2 x HDD swap trays. 3 SATA 3.5″ in 2 5.25″ bays just under NZ$300 incl shipping (havn’t got these yet).
5 x WD7500AACS HDD’s (already had these)(only using 3 for now).
Cold cathode tubes that were lying around.

The Lian Li case I chose had 4 x 5.25″ bays for HDD trays.
Using the 3 in 2 hot swap trays, I can get 6 HDD’s in to 4 5.25″ bays.

At this stage I didn’t get the 3 in 2 hot swap trays due to lack of funds.
Plus I’ll only install 3 750GB drives (I already have) at this stage.
I’ll put more drives in once I acquire a decent RAID card.
Something similar to the Adaptec RAID 3805.
The p5kpl/epu has a Gbit LAN interface, which is essential for me, as my ESX server guests will have most of their data on it.
Further down the track I’d like to get another Gbit NIC (maybe with several ports) and use LACP (Link Aggregation Control Protocol) to share the load between the NIC’s.
My current Cisco switch only has 2 Gbit ports though so I’ll need an extra Gbit switch that supports LACP.
Or may use Roundrobin or Loadbalance as the aggregation protocol in FreeNAS.
Yet to be decided.

Had quite a bit of trouble trying to install to a AData Compact Flash 2GB in a CF Card to IDE HDD adapter.

The BIOS (latest revision) wouldn’t detect it.
Tried another adapter/16MB CF SanDisk from one of my other embedded project machines in the file server and it was recognised fine.
Tried previous adapter (the one I purchased for this project) and another 16MB CF SanDisk from one of my other machines in the file server and it was recognised fine.
Tried the previous adapter (the one I purchased for this project) and 2GB CF card in another old machine and it was recognised fine.
So looks like the P5KPL/EPU BIOS has a problem detecting the 2GB AData CF card.

I had an old USB 1GB thumb drive I decided to use, this worked.
I’d rather use a CF Card to IDE HDD adapter with CF card as it’s all hidden inside the case.
May end up trying a SanDisk 128MB CF card.
They have 2 x packs on ebay for US $24 incl shippping.
All I have to do once I acquire a compatible CF card is redo the install (10 seconds)
and replace the config file that I’ll save once I’ve got FreeNAS setup and configured.

The file I used to do the install was from source forge.
You can find it from http://freenas.org/downloads -> http://sourceforge.net/projects/freenas/files/
I got a copy of the FreeNAS-amd64-LiveCD-*.iso.
Burnt the image to a CD.
And used an old CD ROM drive to do the honors.
I chose option 9) Install/Upgrade to hard drive/flash device, etc.
Then option 1) Install ‘embedded’ OS on HDD/Flash/USB
I don’t need swap as I have 2GB of RAM, and I don’t want to be writing to my flash memory.
Installed in aprx 10 seconds.
Removed CD and rebooted to FreeNAS.

Now to setup the NIC’s and set the LAN IP address.
Choose option 1) Assign Interface and follow the prompts.
Choose option 2) Set LAN IP address.
Once you’ve done this, you can login to the Web UI. http://<the ip address you chose>
Default username is admin. Default password is freenas.
Make sure you change these credentials as soon as you can.
I was using an old version of the installer, so I downloaded the FreeNAS-amd64-embedded-*.img from sourceforge.
From the FreeNAS WebUI System menu -> Firmware I choose the img I downloaded and hit Upgrade firmware.
It’s important not to interupt the upgrade while it’s working.

Once you have everything setup and configured, you can save the FreeNAS config to a safe place for a restoration at a later stage if the need arises.

Most of the details I used were here:

Informative videos on setting up FreeNAS:

http://freenas.org/contrib/sloan/freenas1.htm

Informative video for ZFS on FreeNAS:

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