Sunday, December 28, 2014

pcDuino3 Nano - NAS or ???

This is another in the series documenting my setup of a new home server with the Linksprite pcDuino3 Nano.  A listing for the entire series can be found here.  More information on the pcDuino3 Nano can be found at Linksprite’s website and the pcDuino website.

I started this project with the goal of replacing my home network attached storage (NAS) system.  When I originally set the NAS up I had looked at a number of software NAS solutions before deciding on Open Media Vault (OMV) running on a Raspberry Pi.  I decided on OMV because I had a Raspberry Pi and OMV had a binary distribution image for the Raspberry Pi and an installed base.

For this upgrade I was using the pcDuino3 Nano with an AllWinner A20 which is an ARMv7 processor.  While OMV has a good installed base within the RasperryPi (ARMv6) community it doesn’t have the same level of adoption with the ARMv7 processors.  Given the ARMv7 installed base situation with OMV I decided I would look at other software NAS Solutions.

The two software NAS solutions that have the largest installed bases are FreeNAS and NAS4Free.  These systems have common roots that diverged in 2011 and run on FreeBSD.  What turned me away from them is that while FreeBSD has ARM ports and lists the Allwinner A10 and A20 as supported it doesn’t appear to be widely used on pcDuino systems.

While reviewing the additional software NAS offerings I came to the realization that NAS was really just one component that it would be nice to host on this server.  As I looked at other solutions it turned out that most of those targeted at the home market provide additional services through plugins or bundling in other software. 

As I couldn’t find an existing solution that met my needs I decided that I would create a bundle of packages that meet my requirements.

The heart of software NAS, and many hardware NAS solutions, is the SAMBA.  SAMBA is defined on the main page of www.samba.org as “standard Windows interoperability suite of programs for Linux and Unix … providing provided secure, stable and fast file and print services for all clients using the SMB/CIFS protocol, such as all versions of DOS and Windows, OS/2, Linux and many others.”  Given my file sharing requirement the first package in my bundle would need to be SAMBA. 

One of the things that I really liked about OMV is the webgui.  Anything I needed to do to my OMV NAS could be done through the web interface.  Any replacement for my existing NAS would need a webgui and that seemed like a good place to work on next.

6 comments:

Anonymous said...

pcDuino Nano as NAS - is not usable because it is not stable :-(. At least i tried on Ubuntu, Ubuntu14 and Fedora 21. Network speed when copying is about 17-21MB/s with 1 core at full speed and then it freeze random (it can be only restarted with button or power off). The same problem is with FTP server but there is only 15MB/s transfer speed. Also when i tried Ubuntu14 at first with default screensaver on - it freezes also randomly because of CPU usage.

digitalhack said...

Anonymous,

Based on my testing I found the pcDuino3 Nano work successfully as a NAS and while not breaking any speed records was much faster than my current home server.

The results are posted here:

http://digitalhacksblog.blogspot.com/2015/03/pcduino3-nano-home-server-nas.html

digitalhack

Anonymous said...

digitalhack,

Based on my experiences with this board the testing results are pretty the same - i think the speed is good. The board itself is realy good but main problem with using it as NAS is that random freezing when high CPU usage. First i thought that power source im using is the problem so i bought 5V 4A adapter - but it makes no difference. Under all of the named OS distros - it is freezing randomly when i copying large files to local attached SATA 2.5HDD :-( Do you have similar experiences?

digitalhack said...

Anonymous,

I have not experienced any lockups in all my testing.

digitalhack

Anonymous said...

Anonymous,

if you have lockup problems this might be an issue with overheating. Have you tried a heat sink on the CPU?

Tom

Benjamin Choy said...

Hi,

I have the freeze problem as well and I already have a big fat heat sunk on it. It does get quite hot. Thinking I might put a fan on it just to see if it make any different. BTW, I have a Raspberry Pi Model B running as well and it has been running best of 1yr now, was rock solid no hang (not as fast as PCDuino since it only have 512M and Single core).

Bench