Turning old hardware into network storage


To create a filesystem on the drives intended for the NAS as mass storage, first open Storage | File System Manager. After clicking on Create File System, a clear-cut dialog appears where you can assign a name to the filesystem, select the appropriate drive from a list of mass storage devices built into the system, and specify which RAID level you want to use for creating the drive (Figure 2).

Figure 2: Creating new drives in the File System Manager.

In addition, you can set a compression level here and define how the NAS mounts the drive. It is important to note that when specifying the RAID level, if there is only one storage drive in the system, you must specify the JBOD level. Also, the filesystem name should be at least eight characters. To apply the settings, click Save. The system then confirms successful creation of a new filesystem.

Next, switch to Storage | Volume Manager and create a new volume. After clicking on Create Volume, a self-explanatory dialog appears that is limited to essential information. Because no users or groups exist initially, the administrator still appears in this dialog as the User Owner. If you created several filesystems in the first step, then specify the filesystem to be used for the volume in a selection field in this dialog. You also need to name the volume and, if applicable, assign permissions to manage access to it.

The basic setting activates read and write permissions for users, and the group only has read permission. If you create quotas, you also conveniently assign storage quotas in this dialog. After completing all the settings, press Save to save the new volume. Similar to creating a filesystem, the volume now appears in a list in the Volume Manager, which you can use to modify the settings later on if needed (Figure 3).

Figure 3: EasyNAS uses the same dialog design for all categories, like the dialog shown here for creating a volume.

Groups and Users

To use the memory quota sensibly and securely, you must create groups and users using System | Groups Manager and Users Manager respectively. Depending on which option you select, you will find the Create Group or Create User links, much like the drive settings. I recommend creating the groups first and then assigning the users to the groups by selecting the desired group in the corresponding selection field in the Create User dialog.

When creating a user, you can also define quotas and assign permissions. After completing the settings, press Add to create the group or user. The dashboard will then display the total number of logged-in users in Users. Clicking View Details under Users opens detailed information about the users in a table format. Under Actions, you can manage the entries, delete users, or modify their settings (Figure 4).

Figure 4: EasyNAS comes with a small but workable user management feature.


To gain access to the NAS system's resources, the final step is to specify which access protocols you want to use. EasyNAS offers a total of eight different access modes, ranging from Apple's AFP protocol to CIFS/SMB, which is common in the Windows world. The SSH, NFS, and FTP protocols commonly used on Linux are also available.

You can enable support for the individual protocols under System | Addons, where you will find the individual options listed in a table in the File Sharing area. To integrate an option into the system, press the installation button on the right in the Actions column. EasyNAS now downloads the corresponding package from the Internet, integrates it, and then displays a confirmation message.

To access the NAS system using the respective protocol, you need to enable the protocol first. To do this, EasyNAS creates a new File Sharing category in the sidebar on the left, which shows the currently installed protocols. You can enable them via the sliders. The protocols are then immediately available without rebooting the system.

To access the individual volumes from a desktop PC, open the respective desktop environment's file manager and connect to the desired storage via the corresponding settings option (Figure 5). The volumes can then be used like any conventional folder.

Figure 5: The common file managers offer simple dialogs to connect to network storage.

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