Low Power NAS Project


Alright so project one of this log of geekery is my attempt to make a low power NAS solution for my home.

I got running down this road when my single drive NAS enclosure that cost me $30 started to require frequent “reboots” to see my data and the drive is very hot and the enclosures fan doesn’t work any more.  Time to move my important data.  But where to?

I looked at buying a raid based enclosure but found them all a bit to expensive for my taste so I started looking at a home grow solution.  Check out this category to see how the project is going and what I’ve choosen to use and why.  It should be interesting ….

NOTE – this log was started after starting this project so the timeline very well may be off as I go back to things I already discovered and/or decided.


Goal: Replace failiing NAS with a more redunant option

Criteria for Replacement –

  • Low Power – As comptuers are a hobby/heavy part of my life there is no reason my hobby has to consume so much energy.  This is an ongoing hobby of its own.  Low power items or rather appropriately powered items rather than having everything over powered all the time.  Reduce is the first of the three R’s, Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle.
  • Create as little electrornic waste as possible – Either Reuse what I have or find homes for the left over parts. Upgrading that doesn’t get me anything more and just creates waste is less responsible than I feel like being.
  • RAID – Part of the concern with the currnet NAS solution is that it is a single drive.  If it dies it all goes with it.  I realize RAID doesn’t protect me from myself or others deleting things but right now it is only me accessing the NAS and well if I delete it… its my fault. Its a limitation I’m willing to take.
  • Inexpensive – I’d rather not spend a lot of money on it…sort of why I didn’t buy a commercially available RAID enclosure for 700 – 1000 dollars or something.
  • Scalable – Ideally I’d like to be able to put a little money into it now and keep adding things to it to grow. Either in storage space or roles in my apartment/life.  Right now it is only a NAS but perhaps one day it would like to become a full fledged home server doing who knows what.  I want it to have that potential to grow both for economic, ecological, and just lazy reasons. No reason to waste money, resources, or do things twice.

So Lets Go!


One response

9 01 2012
Adam Cheney

Hi there!

You might be interested in my experience on this front – I’m also looking put together a low-power NAS. In fact, I’ve just commissioned it!

Mine is a FreeNAS system running ZFS (self-healing filesystems rock!) and my main storage is a ~2.6TB raidz volume (4 physical drives), with 2 much smaller SSDs which I’m trying to get set up as a cache volume. Current power consumption is around 40W under load (although I need to collect more data on consumption) – I’m thinking of trying to reduce this by dropping in a picoPSU (the existing PSU will go to another project), which should be much more efficient at the lower power levels I normally seen (I allowed too much headroom). However, I still have 4 unused drive bays, so I need to track my current usage carefully and recalculate, as these will eventually be filled.

Feel free to drop me an email to discuss further…


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