Build a Raspberry Pi NAS Server

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Build a Raspberry Pi RAID NAS Server

Today I’ll show you how to build a Raspberry Pi 3/4 NAS server using either a USB flash drive or external SSD/M.2 drive and OpenMediaVault. This is an intermediate guide and supersedes my previous guide “Build a Raspberry Pi RAID NAS server” which has been retired. If you want to learn how to build RAID arrays (including on Raspberry Pi), I have created a dedicated page Linux RAID Arrays using mdadm.

Contents

Hardware

Raspberry Pi Motherboard

I recommend either a Raspberry Pi 3 or Raspberry Pi 4 with as much RAM as you can afford (I’m using a RPi 4 with 4GB RAM in this guide). You’ll need a good quality micro-USB power supply (RPi 4 Power Supply or RPi 3 Power Supply).

USB SATA/M.2 Drive (Recommended)

I recommend using USB3.0 external case with an SSD or M.2 drive and case (or you can buy them assembled).

USB Flash Drive

You can buy USB2.0 flash drives for this guide if you’re using a Pi 3, or USB3.0 drives if you’re using a Raspberry Pi 4 (which has 2 USB3.0 ports). Stick with known brands like SanDisk, Kingston, Samsung etc.

Raspberry Pi Case

There are a lot of options when it comes to a case for your NAS (or you can choose not to use a case). Best to choose one that has a slot for an SSD/M.2 drive. Here are a few:

Initial Setup

Follow my guide How to install and configure Raspberry Pi OS with the following settings:

  • Choose “Raspberry Pi OS (Lite) 64bit”
  • Set your “Hostname” to something cool like “RASNAS”
  • Enable SSH
  • Keep username as “pi”
  • Don’t enable Wi-Fi

Update & Install OpenMediaVault

Once you’ve installed RPi OS, insert the SD card and boot up your pi without the external drive attached. We need to find your Pi’s IP address, and we can do this two different ways:

  1. Login to your router, go to DHCP leases and look for your Pi’s hostname (i.e. RASNAS) then write down the IP address.
  2. If you have a screen and keyboard attached, enter the ip address command and look at the eth0 IP address, write it down.

Now you can login using an SSH client like PuTTY, then update the system:

sudo apt update && sudo apt upgrade -y

Then reboot:

sudo reboot

Login to your Pi again, then install OpenMediaVault (OMV) but note: that is can take up to 15 minutes to finish installing (it will automatically reboot, see screenshot below):

wget -O - https://github.com/OpenMediaVault-Plugin-Developers/installScript/raw/master/install | sudo bash
After installing OMV you will see the success screen

Once your Pi has finished rebooting, attach your USB drive to either USB3.0 (blue) or USB2.0 port (black).

Login and Initial Set Up

There is a possibility your Pi’s IP address may have changed after installing OMV, so go through the same process as before to find it. Once you have that info, login to OpenMediaVault by opening a new tab in your browser, and enter the IP address.

Enter the IP address of your Pi into web browser

Once you reach the login screen, enter username admin and password openmediavault:

Login to OpenMediaVault

You will be prompted to setup your dashboard. Click the Settings link. I recommend you enable the following widgets:

I suggest you enable these widgets on OMV dashboard

You will be redirected to your dashboard.

Viewing your OMV dashboard

Click the “Gear” icon top-right of your screen, then click “Change Password” and enter a new password, click “Save”

Change you password

Configure Disk

NOTE: The following process will completely destroy all data on the hard drive. Click “Storage” -> “Disks” and select your hard disk (usually /dev/sda). Click the “Wipe” icon, check “Confirm” and click “Yes”, then choose “Quick” for format option:

Wipe your hard drive

Next, select your disk again and click the “Edit” icon.

Select disk and edit

Under “Advanced Power Management” choose the “Maximum performance, maximum power usage” option, check “Enable write-cache” option, then click “Save”:

Edit disk options

Create and Mount File System

Click “File Systems” -> plus “+” icon -> “Create”:

Create file system

Choose your device/disk and select “EXT4” for file system type:

Select EXT4

Staying on “File Systems”, Click plus “+” icon, then “Mount”

Click Mount

Choose your file system and click “Mount”. You will need to apply and confirm changes:

Select file system then mount

Configure Shared Folder

Click “Shared Folders” then click the plus “+” icon. Give your shared folder a name (i.e. NASShare) and select your file system. Leave other settings at defaults and click “Save”. You will need to apply and confirm changes:

Create a shared folder

Click “Shared Folders” and select your shared folder. Click the “Edit Privileges” icon:

Click edit privileges

Select “Read/Write” for user “pi” and group “pi” and click “Save”. You will need to apply and confirm changes:

Give read write access to user Pi

Configure SAMBA/CIFS

Click “Services” -> “SMB/CIFS” -> “Shares”, then choose your NAS share folder and click “Save”. You will need to apply and confirm changes:

Create a SAMBA shared folder

Click “SMB/CIFS” -> “Settings” and check the “Enabled” checkbox, then click “Save”. You will need to apply and confirm changes:

Enable the SAMBA service

Create User Password

Click “Users” then “Users” again, select user “pi” then click the “Edit” icon:

Edit user password

Enter your email address (optional), then enter a strong password and confirm, click “Save”. You will need to apply and confirm changes:

Enter a new password for user pi

Configure Windows Network Discovery

On your Windows PC, open File Explorer, then click “Network”. If you get a warning that “Network discovery is turned off” click “OK”. If you didn’t get any warning, skip the next two steps:

Click OK to Network discovery is turned off warning

Click the yellow warning toolbar, then click “Turn on network discovery and file sharing”:

Click the yellow warning toolbar, then click Turn on network discovery and file sharing

Click “No, make the network that I am connected to a private network”:

Click No, make the network that I am connected to a private network

Click on your NAS icon (in my case it’s RASNAS):

Click on your NAS share icon

Enter username pi and password (the same password we entered earlier) and check the “Remember my credentials” checkbox, then click OK:

Enter user pi and password. Click remember credentials.

You should be able to enter your new NAS shared folder, congrats!

Test Transfer Speed

Now it’s time to test your speed. Find a large file between 1GB and 5GB (perhaps a movie file), copy it, then paste into your NAS shared folder, and see how fast your transfer is. For USB2.0, you should get between 20MB/s and 40MB/s, and for USB3.0, you should get between 100MB/s and 130MB/s.

Transfer speed using USB3.0 of 110Mb/s

Conclusion

I hope everything went well for you and you now have a cool Raspberry Pi NAS up and running. If you did have an issue, hit me up in the comments, or socials/email.

ETA: If you had trouble formatting your disk on USB3.0, try setting up everything (the entire guide) on USB2.0 port, then shutdown the system, plug you drive into the USB3.0 port, and boot up again. That’s what I had to do but my RasPi 4 is the very first version and apparently they were buggy with USB3.0.

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Categories Raspberry Pi OS, Raspberry Pi

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