How to convert an old PC into a modern server

Don't recycle that aging desktop PC--give it a new purpose in life.

By David Murphy , PC World |  Data Center, hardware, PCs

To set up your storage volumes, click the Storage button in the upper-left corner of the FreeNAS Web-based configuration screen. From there, click the Create Volume button that appears in the main window. Give your volume a name, select the number of drives you'll want to use to create the volume, and select ZFS as the file system type. You'll find that ZFS delivers a number of benefits that the Unix File System does not. If you're combining multiple drives, you'll have an opportunity at this point to select which RAID type you want to use.

Click the Add Volume button when you're ready. If you want your storage to be a shared resource in your office, so that you won't have any individual user account permissions to manage, click the Change Permissions icon and grant write access to both Group and Other users (be sure to select the Set Permissions Recursively option, too). Press the big Change button to cement your configuration.

Next page: Set up shares, and configure your backups.

Setting Up Shares

You've created a basic storage volume on your FreeNAS-powered machine. Now you need to set up your sharing arrangement so that other users can find and access your drive's contents.

CIFS shares are the way to go if your office uses a blend of Mac, Linux, and Windows systems. If you have a Mac-only setup, you might be better served (no pun intended) by configuring the drive for AFP shares. In the spirit of inclusivity, we'll walk through a CIFS setup.

Click the Sharing button in the Web configuration screen's left-hand sidebar, and select Add CIFS Share. Give your share drive a name and select your volume by clicking the Browse button on the 'Path' line. Hint: The name you previously assigned to your volume should appear within the /mnt/ folder. Click it and click the Close button. Make sure that the box next to Allow Guest Access is checked, and then click OK.

Finally, click the Services button on the left sidebar and select the Control Services option. Flip the switch on the main panel's CIFS setting to on. Voilà! Type two bakslashes and then the FreeNAS IP address (for example, \\192.168.0.1), into a Windows Explorer window and press Enter; your shared drive should appear. Use Windows to map this network drive, and you'll never need to hunt it down with an IP address again.

In covering this series of steps, we've glossed over some configuration options that could play a big role in allowing you to see your shared network drive--such as making sure that the CIFS settings (Services, CIFS) are using the correct workgroup for your network configuration. If you find that this basic setup guide isn't working for you, a network configuration issue is probably holding you back. To resolve the issue, make sure that your FreeNAS network settings basically match those of the other computers on your network.


Originally published on PC World |  Click here to read the original story.
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