Over the years we have been asked countless times for recommendations on making a ‘homebrew’ or ‘DIY’ Network Attached Storage system. For many this was because they were dissatisfied with the ‘performance’ NAS-appliances such as those offered by Qnap, ASUStor, or Synology had to offer. For others it was the asking prices those appliances demand. For others still is was their lack of easy expandability – as you cannot (easily) stick a 5th hard drive in a 4bay NAS appliance. Others still were simply because enthusiasts like to tinker and did not want to buy a pre-packaged, pre-built system… after they had built dozens and dozens of computer systems.
The reasons for wanting to make your own NAS really do vary. One common theme though is the ease and sheer luxury of having a secondary backup to push all your data to that is not ‘on the cloud’… and ask anyone involved with the Fappening or countless other data breaches about how secure cloud storage really is.
In this article we are going to go over a sample build. Along the way we will go over typical alternatives and solutions that we did not opt for. As we discuss in this article, it is not the be all and end all. No two scenarios will be the same. You may disagree with our personal opinions. These opinions are shaped by our experience, our requirements and since we do have access to a lot of parts ‘for free’ some of our component selections may not be optimal for you.
Nothing used in our guide though would be parts we would not recommend to others. As such this article will come with a somewhat limited list of alternatives.
As we go through the build we will give you our reasoning why we picked A over B or C, and when B or C may be more optimal for you. We will only talk about serious options. Their benefits and their negatives. Be it software, hardware… or even configuration of the NAS. We will do our level best to show you what questions you should be asking yourself and what would be right for you before you pull the trigger and order any part.
At worst you can consider this a good introduction guide on building a NAS that is easily expandable, and upgradable, using parts we would recommend to you if we were talking in person. It will not be the cheapest but with tweaking to better fit your budget and needs is a good safe place to start. So while some may find our selection… odd, we hope you at least find it worthy of reading. Enjoy, and please feel free to comment in the forum. We will always do our best to give you an honest assessment and honest answer to any question(s) you may have.