How To Build & Use Your Own Network Attached Storage Using A Ubuntu Netbook

00 Ubuntu Netbook   How To Build & Use Your Own Network Attached Storage Using A Ubuntu NetbookIf you live in a multiple computer environment, you will know of the advantages of using NAS (Network-Attached Storage). Instead of storing common files inside a personal computer and synchronizing all those computers on a regular basis, it would be easier to store the files inside NAS and have all the computers within the network access the files there. NAS is perfect for collaboration in a small computer network, or for storing and sharing files.

But getting a NAS means spending more money on hardware. If you are within a personal network, have a computer with Ubuntu and some storage space to spare (either an internal or external drive(s)), you could build your own NAS using all the ingredients you already have.

Installing Samba In Ubuntu

The first thing you need to do before anything else is make sure that your computer is connected to a local network.  A wireless network is OK, but a wired network is highly recommended as it will give you a more stable connection.

01a Wireless Connection   How To Build & Use Your Own Network Attached Storage Using A Ubuntu Netbook

The second thing to confirm is that you have a computer with Ubuntu installed. I used a netbook and Ubuntu Netbook Edition for my experiment. If you don’t want to install Ubuntu on your computer, you can install the OS on a USB drive instead.

To be able to share storage within a local network, you need to add Samba to your Ubuntu. Samba is the most commonly used file server system. It is the open-source implementation of Microsoft’s network protocol which means that it will work with all Windows, OS X and Linux machines on your LAN.

  • Start by opening “Applications” from the side menu and search for “Synaptic Package Manager“. This is the utility to add and remove packages (applications) within Ubuntu.

02a Synaptic Package Manager   How To Build & Use Your Own Network Attached Storage Using A Ubuntu Netbook

  • Open Synaptic Package Manager and search for “samba“.

03a Search Samba   How To Build & Use Your Own Network Attached Storage Using A Ubuntu Netbook

  • From the search results, right click on “samba” and choose “Mark for Installation“.

03b Mark Install   How To Build & Use Your Own Network Attached Storage Using A Ubuntu Netbook

  • Then click the “Apply” button to install it.

03c Apply Marked   How To Build & Use Your Own Network Attached Storage Using A Ubuntu Netbook

  • A confirmation window will appear. Click “Apply” to continue.

03d Summary   How To Build & Use Your Own Network Attached Storage Using A Ubuntu Netbook

  • Ubuntu will download and install the package. The process might take a while depending on the speed of your internet connection.

03e Downloading   How To Build & Use Your Own Network Attached Storage Using A Ubuntu Netbook

  • Another confirmation window will appear after the installation is complete.

03f Apply Changes   How To Build & Use Your Own Network Attached Storage Using A Ubuntu Netbook

  • Now you are ready to share some storage space within your network.

Create And Share Folder(s)

The next step is configuring the folder(s) to be shared to other users on your network. If you want to use an external drive as the Network Attached Storage, you can attach it to your system. If you don’t want other users to mess up your existing folders, just create new folder(s) to share inside this storage space by right clicking on an empty space and choosing “Create Folder“.

04a Create New Folder   How To Build & Use Your Own Network Attached Storage Using A Ubuntu Netbook

  • Right-click on any folder that you want to share to access the “Sharing Options“.

04b Sharing Options   How To Build & Use Your Own Network Attached Storage Using A Ubuntu Netbook

  • Since we are going to use this storage inside a personal network, check all the boxes and fill in the required fields. Please consult the network administrator (or friends who understand networking) if you plan to use your Network Attached Storage inside a public network.

04c Folder Sharing   How To Build & Use Your Own Network Attached Storage Using A Ubuntu Netbook

  • You need to give permission to your machine before you can share the folder.

04e Add Permission   How To Build & Use Your Own Network Attached Storage Using A Ubuntu Netbook

After that, your shared folder(s) will appear in the network and everybody within the network can use the folder(s) to store their files. Repeat the process to other folders that you want to share on the network.

Accessing The Shared Folders

To access the shared folders from any computer within the network, point the computer’s file manager to:

smb://ubuntu

  • In Mac, you can do this by going to the “Go – Connect To Server” menu (or by using “Command + K“).

05a Go Connect Menu1   How To Build & Use Your Own Network Attached Storage Using A Ubuntu Netbook

  • You can write down the address manually and click “Connect“, or you can use the “Browse” button to find the location of the shared folder(s).

05b SMB Ubuntu   How To Build & Use Your Own Network Attached Storage Using A Ubuntu Netbook

  • The available folder(s) will appear on the list. Click “OK” to mount it.

05bb Mount   How To Build & Use Your Own Network Attached Storage Using A Ubuntu Netbook

  • After the folder is mounted, you can use it as if it’s a folder inside the local hard drive.

05c Browse Ubuntu Shared   How To Build & Use Your Own Network Attached Storage Using A Ubuntu Netbook

I can’t give an example of accessing the shared folder on NAS from a Windows machine because my Windows is installed on the same machine where I installed Ubuntu. But the process should be similar. You should find the “Connect To Server” menu from “Control Panel – Network“.

I also used a rather unstable wireless network, so my results of building my own NAS are a bit disappointing. If you are able to try this on a stable network and/or also able to try accessing the shared folder(s) from a Windows machine, please share your results in the comments below.

Image credit: animaster

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14 Comments -

Ankit Saini

Does i Need a special laptop with special specs to run ubuntu on it.
Thanks

bluehz

I love Ubuntu and run my servers with it – but I gotta say in terms of fast and easy NAS.. perfect for an old laptop – a bootable FreeNAS is plain simple http://freenas.org/FreeNAS

Ankit Saini

Does i Need a special laptop with special specs to run ubuntu on it.
Thanks

Anonymous

No you don’t. Download it and burn it to a CD or (preferably) to a USB drive and try it out without messing your computer up.

Ankit Saini

Thanks @vs8 and @thurana for great reply…
But can you tell me the minimum requirement to run ubuntu.

bluehz

I love Ubuntu and run my servers with it – but I gotta say in terms of fast and easy NAS.. perfect for an old laptop – a bootable FreeNAS is plain simple http://freenas.org/FreeNAS

MrThirsty

I think my coffee maker is capable of running ubuntu

vs8

I have a similar setup at home. I connected and external HDD to my router’s USB port. I will try this, just to have fun.

Thank’s for the article, loved it!

thurana

Ubuntu is much less demanding when it comes to computer specs. You can even use older generation computers without performance issue.

Adding to vs8 comment, here’s the link to article on how to set Ubuntu up to run from USB drive: http://www.makeuseof.com/tag/c

Anonymous

I have a similar setup at home. I connected and external HDD to my router’s USB port. I will try this, just to have fun.

Thank’s for the article, loved it!

AnkammaRao

Thanks for such a cool article. Need to try and make my PC a NAS.

Ankit Saini

Thanks @vs8 and @thurana for great reply…
But can you tell me the minimum requirement to run ubuntu.

Kyith

great suggestion i will try this with my netbook.