Mathew Inkson

The N40L NAS with the Icy Dock DuoSwap

March 19, 2013   |   Technology

A recent tech buy was an HP ProLiant N40L MicroServer, which serves as a NAS, a Sick Beard/SABnzbd+/Deluge server, and as a backup server.

I’ve added an IcyDock Duo Swap to the 5.25" bay. I use its 3.5" bay for rotating HDD backups, and its 2.5" bay for the system SSD. Having the OS drive in a hotswap bay is pointless, but it kept the case neat.

There is a fifth SATA port on the motherboard, but to use a sixth drive I was required to use a SATA to eSATA cable and poke it out to the eSATA port at the back of the case. I also found the case fan a bit noisier than I liked, so I replaced it. Concerned by the possibility of buying an incompatible PWM model as warned by this article, I used a non-PWM fan and set the RPM manually.

In order to make the drives hot-swappable I was required to install a modified bios and alter some advanced configuration settings.

Ubuntu-server 12.10 is installed, along with Sick Beard, SABnzbd+, and Deluge. At some point it may also host an XBMC database, so to handle these services better I’ve upgraded the box to 8GB RAM.

Both AFP and CIFS are used to allow my MacBook and HTPC to connect to it with ease. I briefly played with NFS but couldn’t get the bindings and permissions to work correctly. I like that the client machines use their own native mechanisms, anyway.

I’ve also made it a printer server by installing CUPS, and I made it work for iPads by installing Avahi, roughly following this method.

I played around a bit with software RAID via mdadm (the advertised integrated RAID is only FakeRAID), and it works well, but ended up just going straight with the various HDDs I had sitting around. I don’t need redundancy, I just wanted backups of my documents and photos.

Local backups are made using rsync and rotating external HDDs in the DuoSwap. Automated external backups are performed using the excellent little tool encrb to upload encrypted data to a private server.

That’s about it.