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Roelof Jan Elsinga
Roelof Jan Elsinga

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Researching Home Servers

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Researching Home Servers Ever since I got a Raspberry Pi 2, on December 2015, I've been very interested in setting up a home server to be able to save all my files and access them from anywhere I want. Besides file storage, I've been looking at ways to integrate this with my web development projects. Using the Pi 2 for this is great, especially being able to use SSH to remotely access it and use Git to load all the up-to-date files on it.

So an ideal home server would be able to do both of these things for me, both file storage and local web hosting. Additionally, I would be able to use this home server for video streaming purposes. Originally I was using my Raspberry Pi for this, and this worked well for the web hosting, but not so much for file storage. It was a hassle to get my external hard drives hooked up to it, to manage all the folders and to keep it organized.

A solution presented itself to me in the form of FreeBSD, in particular, FreeNAS. This way I can simply install the Operating System(OS) on a flash drive and boot the entire system from that while using multiple hard drives for file storage. Looking at guides and videos on YouTube, I figured that 4 hard drives would be ideal for this setup. I will also need a sufficient amount of RAM memory and CPU power to be able to use a ZFS file system with FreeNAS. This way the data on the hard drives is safe in case 1 or 2 hard drives stop working.

On the downside, this system would mean it's not as energy efficient as a Raspberry Pi, but which system is? I will have to research how I can make sure this new system, built with FreeNAS, is quick, reliable, but also very energy-efficient and low in power usage. More posts will follow on this and hopefully, at that point, I have more concrete ideas about system specifications, specific components I'd like to use and the estimated cost of this whole project.

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