Setting Up Nas

I finally picked up my helios NAS from customs and started setting it up. Building it was straightforward using the instructions published on their wiki. I am using the Armbian image provided by the creators, with the intent of using OpenMediaVault to administrate the NAS. Due to OMV 5 not being recommended for production use just yet, I used the Armbian version based on Debian 9 instead of the recently released Debian 10.

Install and setup were a breeze. OpenMediaVault was installed using the armbian-config tool. In the ‘System’ section, I set up a new admin password, the system clock, email for notifications, installed the LUKS and snapraid plugins and then moved to the important part of setting up the disks.

I wrote about testing my disks previously. With two 4TB disks, my aim is to have one parity disk using snapraid and one data disk. In future I can add new data disks, either the same or a different capacity to the array, and would merge all data disks using mergerfs. One thing to take care is that the disk with the highest capacity must be the parity drive. Also I plan to encrypt the drives, just so that I can resell or discard used drives without having to worry about exposing personal data. Since the whole system is meant to be WORM (write-once read-many), encryption penalty should be negligible. Also note, the SoC of the Helios NAS has a hardware encryption module.

All steps can be performed in the ‘Disk’ section. Both my disks were found automatically by OMV. I did not change any ‘Physical disk properties’. I enabled SMART monitoring in IDLE state, then moved on the Encryption section. I created a key file to use for encryption made out of random data using dd if=/dev/urandom of=/root/keyfile bs=1024 count=4. Keep this keyfile safe, you will need it at each reboot to unlock the drives! After encrypting both drives unlock them. I skip the RAID section (because we will use Snapraid) and created an XFS filesystem on both disks. One gets the label ‘parity1’ the other ‘data1’. Mount both file systems.

Now we move to the SnapRAID section under ‘Services’ to set up the parity. Choose the parity drive and enable ‘Parity’. Choose the data disk and enable ‘Content’ and ‘Data’. Make sure to understand the concepts of sync and scrub in Snapraid. Setup up sync and scrub frequencies as necessary.

In the ‘User’ section the armbian user I had set up was added by default. Here you can add other users as needed. Now the NAS is setup and we can start all necessary services (e.g. backup) and such.