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NAS How To

FreeNAS Installation

We need to work directly on the T5700 for the initial software installation. That means connecting a VGA display and keyboard to the system. Since the T5700 doesn't have a PS/2 type keyboard connector, I used a USB keyboard.

To start the process of building the software load, you'll need to download the live CD ISO version of FreeNAS. At the time of my installation, this was v 0.686.4 (stable). The live CD is used when you want to boot the software from CD, and it stores its configuration files on a floppy disk or USB key. If you're using a traditional PC as the host platform you can run FreeNAS in this manner without ever installing it to a hard drive.

For our purposes, we want to take advantage of a menu option that allows you to install FreeNAS to some other media (disk or flash) present on the host platform. This is the easiest way to install FreeNAS to the disk in the T5700. What is needed is a small boot partition (30 MB) for FreeNAS, then the rest of the disk (232 GB once formatted) as a separate partition for the SqueezeCenter software and music library.

To boot to the CD, I used a portable external CD drive in a USB housing. My T5700s are set to boot to their USB port if not other media is present. You may need to set the BIOS in your device to boot to USB attached device (Figure 11).

FreeNAS boot menu
Figure 11: FreeNAS boot menu

Start by selecting the option to install FreeNAS to the internal hard drive. Then on the following menu, select the option to establish separate partitions for FreeNAS and other data. Once the install process is complete, disconnect the external CD drive and reboot. Once rebooted, we can address configuration of other core elements.

Since the T5700 has only one network interface, it doesn't need to be assigned. You can set the device to DHCP if desired, or change the IP address to something suitable for your network. From this point, you can complete the configuration using the web based GUI.

There are quite a number of configuration possibilities in FreeNAS, many of which are beyond the scope of its application as a dedicated music server. If you wish to investigate these further, please read the excellent documentation provided at the FreeNAS web site. You can also check out Brandon Teska's review.

Configuring The Disk

Once FreeNAS is running, you need to configure it to use the remainder of the hard drive space as a share point. Connect to the web interface by pointing a browser at the system's IP address. The default web login is admin with a password of freenas. Once logged in (Figure 12), you may elect to change this login & password for security purposes.

Figure 12: FreeNAS basic status display

Start by going to the Disk Management menu and add the disk to the system (Figure 13).

Disk Management menu
Figure 13: Disk Management menu

Only one drive will be offered (ad0) as available for use. Edit that drive and check that the lower setting for Preformatted file system should be set for UFS with soft updates. (Figure 14). Then select Save to store the configuration.

FreeNAS disk management process for adding the disk
Figure 14: FreeNAS disk management process for adding the disk

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