Joys of the Opensource NAS – Part 2: OpenFiler

After spending most Saturday and Sunday fixing, coding and logging bugs, I finally got to moving ahead. Very likely it is about time, because the NSLU2 keeps producing strange sounds

The box has now additional IDE 160 GB IDE disk, which will hold Linux installation as well as “temp” share, which will not be RAID-ed. Sort of staging area for the stuff in flux.

After contemplating for a while which distribution to use – and generally, whether to build more generic Linux server with Samba or more appliance-type box, I went on with trying OpenFiler first. The truth is that my old Linux box did 99% of his services as Samba fileserver and very little as Web server / Java application server. Most of the fancy GUI applications were barely used – including pretty loaded Gnome and KDE installation (one can never decide which one is actually better). So why to repeat same mistake twice ?

Nevertheless, I have created a shortlist of distributions and prepared the media. Here is the shortlist:

a) Ubuntu
b) Fedora Core
c) Open Suse

I have no real rational reason why exactly these 3 distros and why this order – decision was partially based on reviews from Net and partially on personal recommendations.

Installation of OpenFile (still running) was very straightforward. Of course, you have to select manual partitioning, not automatic if you want to create RAID. I have created 4 partitions on /dev/hda – /boot, /, swap and /var – occupying the rest of the system – as ext3. The SATA disk got created one large partition each, formated as Software Raid. The actual raid – /dev/md0 – was created right in disk partitioning tool. The only uncertainty was the number after ‘Number of spares’. I was not sure what it means “spare” – but then decided that it should be the number of spare partitions actually not participating in the RAID, just available, in case something would fail. I have left the default value 0 and moved on.

The created RAID was as expected, over 915 GB large (4×305 GB disks in RAID5 = 3×305+parity). After that, the installer requires to set time zone, IP address and hostname and starts formatting the partitions, which will take long, long long time – it is running now for over an hour …

Few good links to the topic: Linux SATA RAID FAQ, explanation Why software RAID,
To be continued

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One Comment on “Joys of the Opensource NAS – Part 2: OpenFiler”

  1. Thaed Says:

    I’m really enjoying reading how you did this. I’ve been on the same track myself. Discouraged with FreeNAS, I’ve moved on to Openfiler. It only gives me RAID 0 or RAID 1 as an option, though. No RAID 5. Maybe because I have to use the 32 bit version for this box? I’m not sure. In any event, I’m wondering at this point if Fedora Core isn’t for me.


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