Build a NAS system with OpenMediaVault and a Raspberry Pi


OpenMediaVault, like most dedicated NAS operating systems, provides the option of integrating add-ons into the system. In the System | Plugins menu, you will find a wide range of additional applications sorted into sections. You can integrate any of these applications into the operating system with a mouse click.

Install an application by ticking the names and then clicking Install (from the list view). The system loads the desired program packages from the Internet and installs them. OpenMediaVault keeps the plugins at the same update level as the system by means of the update routine.

Disk Carousel

You must configure the existing mass storage for OpenMediaVault to function as a NAS system. Select Storage | Physical disks menu for a list of the devices connected to the system storage and their key technical parameters. It does not matter whether you are using hard disks or SSDs. However, the system does initially sideline mass storage devices that are connected via external USB interfaces. You must manually click on Search at the top of the list area to enable these devices.

The routine displays the disk drives in an overview table, along with technical specifications such as filesystem and memory usage. Drive-specific options such as the write cache or the power management settings can also be changed with a left-click on one of the drive letters, followed by Edit at the top of the list view.

You will find the S.M.A.R.T. menu item on the left under the Physical Disks entry (Figure 2). This item allows you to adjust the hardware monitoring for hard drives so you can anticipate and detect defects and secure the data saved on the drive in good time. However, please note that some external hard drives have their own controller electronics and will not fully implement the SATA interface commands. This phenomenon occurs especially frequently in external hard drives that offer further connectivity options in addition to the USB interface. Because these devices do not usually transfer any S.M.A.R.T. values to the host, checking routines do not run.

Figure 2: Choose configuration options in the tree view in the left pane of the OpenMediaVault main window. S.M.A.R.T. and RAID Management appear in the Storage folder.

Activate the slider in the Settings tab of the S.M.A.R.T. menu, sliding it to the right and then clicking Save. Then select the drives to be monitored by means of the S.M.A.R.T. daemon in the Drives tab. The aim of this process is to manually activate monitoring for any mass storage devices connected; click on Edit and then confirm the activation rule. Your next move is to specify automated checking routines after clicking on Add in the Scheduled tests tab.

It is worth creating a fault-tolerant disk array via the RAID Management menu item on a system with two or more hard disks. Click on Create in the display pane and define the RAID level, drives, and designation for the array in the resulting window. OpenMediaVault can allow the drives from a selection list by checking a box (with the exception of system drives). If there are too few physical mass storage devices for a particular RAID array, the software displays a note to this effect.

Click on Save after completing the RAID configuration. At this point, the system creates the disk array (as shown in Figure 2), which can consume quite some time, depending on the size of the mass storage device. You then generate a filesystem for the data carriers in the next menu item: File Systems. Select the array or the desired drive in the corresponding dialog and mark a suitable filesystem from the selection list. OpenMediaVault supports the default Linux filesystems Ext3/4, JFS, and XFS. You can close the dialog with OK; writing the filesystems takes some time.

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