Backup Concerns: Building Process

This is a continuation of my Backup Concerns series. Part one covered my choices and I decided to go with a Network Attached Storage box. Part two covered the equipment I decided to use, namely my old computer, and around $300 in parts to convert it into what I needed since I decided to build my own network attached storage device.

Now, I finally have all the pieces to build my network attached storage box. I have two 500 GB serial-ATA hard drives from Western Digital, and a PCI serial-ATA controller card that supports Raid-0 and 1. I ordered all of these parts from NCIX, my favourite online computer store.

I dusted off the old computer, and checked to make sure it still was able to boot. Thankfully, it was able to, but for some reason I couldn’t get into the BIOS. I removed the small battery on the motherboard, which resets the BIOS, and after fixing the lost configurations, I was off to the races.

The hard drive it currently had in it was 120 gigabytes, and so I decided that I would use it as the operating system drive, and maybe put a copy of my music collection on it, as it would have more than enough room. Having this drive already in the system was paramount to making this all work as I envisioned it. I wanted to make sure that I could use the two new hard drives in RAID 1, which would allow me to save backups to one drive, and have it mirrored over to the other. That way, there is redundancy.

At first, I was going to use FreeNAS to power my computer, but I decided to try Ubuntu first. Pretty much any Linux distro can be changed into a headless server. And really, that’s what a network attached storage device pretty much is.

Unfortunately, I didn’t have a current Ubuntu CD laying around, and without any blank CD’s, I decided to throw Ubuntu 6.10 on the computer. I put the CD into the CD burner that was already in the old computer, nicknamed beastly, and began to install the operating system.

The biggest issue that I can currently see is that there are no instructions on how to get RAID 1 set-up easily on the new computer, as well as making it easy to send my backups to the RAID drives. So now I need to learn how to make my Ubuntu box into a headless server that allows for SSH, FTP, and of course serial-ATA RAID 1. Each of these issues will require a fair bit of reading, and lots of guess and test work, but in the end it should hopefully fulfill my needs.

If you have any tips, tricks or advice. I would love to hear it as I continue to work on building up a reliable and fast backup point for all the computers in my home.