I’d read on various blogs and how to sites that you should install FreeNAS to a USB stick, and boot from that. This leaves hard drives free to be proper network attached storage, and not have to use a partition on them just for the OS.
What I ended up doing was use VirtualBox with USB pass-through to install a VM onto a USB thumb drive. The USB stick I tried was an old Sandisk Cruzer Slice I’ve had since 2010, and has usually been my OS install disk since I don’t have a DVD-ROM drive any more.
While booting I was having no end of problems. It took a good 10 minutes to go from POST to grub, and after Grub it would drop to the “mountroot” screen. The mountroot screen looked a bit like this:
This lead me down a rabbit hole where I started to wonder if maybe there was something wrong with the server I was using.
After several days head-scratching, I swapped to a different, newer USB stick, which worked fine. I guess I must have ruined the Sandisk over time.
At the moment, the NAS contains only a single hard drive, which is only 350GB. The plan was to use this to experiment with, and once I’m happy, to replace it with several large capacity drives in some kind of RAID configuration.
Even with this limited capacity, it’s actually still enough to store all of my photos and all of our music, so it’s a good test of the system’s capabilities and a good way to muck about with the various share options.
Music: CIFS read/write, and NFS read.
Films: NFS read/write
Photography: NFS read/write
Music needs to be CIFS read/write because Sarah’s laptop is where all digital music is managed, because of Itunes (we hates it FOREVER).
It needs NFS read so that Kodi, running on the Raspberry Pi, can access it and NFS is faster for reads over the network than CIFS is.