|At a Glance|
|Product||Server Elements NASLite-2 HDD|
|Summary||Lightweight Linux-based NAS application that installs on any supported hardware.|
|Pros|| Gorgeous web-based status pages
Runs on anything supported by the 2.4.36 kernel
Good offering of network protocols
|Cons|| Console only administration
No folder-level permission settings
No folder-level service export control
No software RAID options
Why build your own NAS? Simple. Because there are plenty of great NAS applications, like NASLite, that are ready to turn an old (or new) computer into a lightweight NAS device. As NAS distros go, NASLite is extremely light, weighing in at less than 7 MB! It's Linux-based and very easy to deploy and administer.
NASLite sports the usual collection of file transfer services including CIFS (SMB), NFS, AFP, and FTP all topped off with a rsync server. NASLite runs on a pretty extensive list of hardware—pretty much anything supported by the Linux kernel 2.4.36 tree.
NASLite has a set of nice built-in status webpages but, surprisingly, is not administered via the web, but rather via Telnet. NASLite packs a few other handy features such as SMART disk monitoring and disk capacity alarms.
NASLite comes in three flavors: the "HDD" version (hard drive installed) that I'll be reviewing; the "CDD" version that boots directly from CD; and the "USB" version that boots from a USB flash stick. Each version is priced at $29.95.
NASLite uses a text based installer (Sorry folks, no fancy screenshots for this one!). As I've said before, it's not pretty, but it gets the job done.
Figure 1: Text only install
The installation process is actually as easy as advertised; all you have to do is select the right drive and start the install. The whole install process takes under 5 minutes.
Figure 2: Formatting the disks
I had a bit of trouble getting my Belkin F5D5000 Ethernet adapter working again, as I did with FreeNAS, but this isn't NASLite's fault. However, a D-Link DGE530T worked wonderfully. My NASLite system specs are shown in Table 1. To spice things up a bit, I decided to install NASLite on the same machine I had FreeNAS running on for a bit of head-to-head comparison.
|NASLite System Specs|
|Hard Drive|| Western Digital WD200AB 20Gb
Seagate U5 ST310211A 10Gb
|Ethernet Adapter|| D-Link DGE530T|