How to get started with the open-source OMV & net­work at­tached stor­age

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1 GET OPENMEDIAVAULT

We’re as­sum­ing you’re in­stalling this on a blank sys­tem — we’re not at­tempt­ing to run any­thing along­side OMV, dual boot or so on. So we can safely wipe the en­tire boot sys­tem drive. You could run it off a USB stick, but an old sub- 64GB SSD would be ideal. We’ll add data drives later. Head to www.openmediavault.org/ down­load.html and down­load the lat­est ISO file. Cur­rently, that’s v4.014 amd64 (64-bit). See the box ‘How to in­stal an OS’ over the page, on how to get this on to a DVD or USB drive, and boot from it.

2 START THE IN­STALL

If the tar­get NAS PC has booted from your OMV me­dia cor­rectly, you should see an OpenMediaVault boot menu. En­sure ‘In­stall’ is se­lected and press Re­turn. ‘Ad­vanced op­tions’ has a hard­ware de­tec­tion tool, handy for check­ing if your drives have been cor­rectly iden­ti­fied. If your boot de­vice/DVD isn’t de­tected, see the ‘How to in­stal an OS’ box over the page again for op­tions on boot menus and ad­just­ing the BIOS/UEFI.

3 BA­SIC OP­TIONS

For­get your fancy graph­i­cal in­stall­ers, we’re kick­ing it old-school with textbased in­ter­faces. Use the cur­sor keys to se­lect op­tions. There are some mun­dane op­tions: Lan­guage, Lo­ca­tion and Key­board. Host­name is the name dis­played to the net­work. Use the de­fault for the Do­main. Then you need to set a ‘root’ ad­min­is­tra­tor pass­word; you’ll rarely need to use this, but it con­trols sys­tem changes, and re­mote sys­tem log-ins (via SSH), so is rec­om­mended to en­sure it’s se­cure.

4 EN­HANCED OP­TIONS

The in­staller at­tempts to set the time zone via a net­work con­nec­tion. It’s likely this will fail, so se­lect a time zone from the pre­sented se­lec­tion — don’t worry, you can ad­just this later. In­stal­la­tion ini­tially be­gins, and you’re prompted to se­lect a suit­able mir­ror lo­ca­tion. Do so, ig­nore any op­tion for a Proxy, and wait for the in­staller. This takes a few min­utes; time for a cup of cof­fee.

5 IN­STALL A BOOTLOADER

Do not en­ter the boot de­vice man­u­ally. Choose the gen­er­ated op­tion be­low this, it should read some­thing along the lines of: /dev/sda (com­plex name of your drive). If you hit ‘En­ter Man­u­ally’ by mis­take, press Esc and re­s­e­lect the ‘In­stall the GRUB boot loader’ op­tion. There’s a few more up­date di­alogs, and it prompts you that the in­stal­la­tion is done, and it can re­boot.

6 IT’S LINUX

A blank ter­mi­nal — what now? It’s like a choose your own ad­ven­ture. OMV is de­signed to be con­trolled via a web dash­board, and for the ‘box’ to be run head­less. So you need to dis­cover the IP ad­dress of the OMV PC. To do this, you could use a smart­phone net­work scan­ner, like Fing, use a Win­dows-based scan­ner, such as Ad­vanced IP Scan­ner, log into your router and dis­cover the de­vice’s IP, or log in to the OMV ter­mi­nal us­ing the user­name ‘root’ and your root pass­word, then type “ip addr show”. It spits out a bunch of net­work­ing non­sense, but the IP ad­dress is the sec­ond-to-last line, end­ing with a /24 — some­thing like 192.168.1.10/24.

OMV is con­trolled via a web in­ter­face — you log into this via a stan­dard browser, run­ning on any de­vice, con­nected to your lo­cal net­work. In the browser’s ad­dress bar, en­ter the IP spat out in Step 6, such as 192.168.1.10. To log in, the user­name is “ad­min” and the pass­word is “openmediavault”. Con­grat­u­la­tions, you’re up and run­ning. You start view­ing the Dash­board sec­tion, un­der Di­ag­nos­tics. All con­trols are down the left-hand menu, re­boot and power con­trols are in the top-right menu.

8 PLUGINS

Be­fore we con­fig­ure any stor­age, we’re go­ing to look at the plugin sys­tem. You add ad­di­tional of­fi­cial and third-party ex­ten­sions via the plugin sys­tem, which is ba­si­cally a wrap­per for the Linux soft­ware in­stall (pack­age man­age­ment) sys­tem. Un­der the ‘Gen­eral > Plugin’ sec­tion, you’ll find a num­ber of de­fault bun­dled of­fi­cial plugins. We need to add the flash­me­dia plugin, which isn’t in­cluded. Head to http://omv-ex­tras.org — this is the of­fi­cial repos­i­tory for OMV plugins. Click Guides, scroll to In­stal­la­tion, then click and down­load the ‘For OMV 4.x open me­di­avaul t-om v ex­tras org_ lat­est_ all4.deb’ pack­age to your PC.

9 IN­STALL THE EX­TRAS

Back in the OMV in­ter­face, se­lect Up­load in ‘Gen­eral > Plugins, click Browse, lo­cate the .deb file you down­loaded, click OK, and let it up­load. Scroll to the bot­tom of the Plugin list, click the check­box next to the ‘open­medi­avaultomvexr­ta­sorg 4.x.x’ en­try, and click the +In­stall but­ton. Af­ter a few sec­onds, the browser reloads, and a new sec­tion called ‘OMV-Ex­tras’ is avail­able. This has added a bunch of ex­tra fea­tures, and en­ables you to eas­ily add new plugins, as we’ll see...

If you’re run­ning OMV from a flash de­vice, you’re rec­om­mended to in­stall the flash-me­dia plugin. This re­duces di­rect drive writes to ex­tend the flash life via a mem­ory cache. With the ex­tras in­stalled and a Check run, there’s now an openmediavault-flash­mem­ory plugin un­der the Filesys­tems sec­tion. This re­duces the write load on flash me­dia by caching to mem­ory. Click the check­box and click +In­stall. With ev­ery­thing set, let’s add some data drives and user fold­ers.

11 AT­TACH YOUR DRIVES

Power down and con­nect the drives that you want to store files on. We’re go­ing to cre­ate a RAID with four drives at­tached. These all need to be wiped be­fore OMV will al­low you to do any­thing. Se­lect ‘Stor­age > Disks’. Ig­nore ‘/dev/sda’ — that’ll be your boot drive. Se­lect the oth­ers in turn, and click Wipe.

12 RAID TIME

Switch to ‘Stor­age > RAID’ and click +Cre­ate. Give your RAID a name, se­lect the drives you’re go­ing to add to the RAID, and if you’re not happy with the de­fault RAID mode, choose an­other. Once done, click Cre­ate. The RAID re­quires syn­chro­nis­ing — even though it is blank — and this takes a few hours, de­pend­ing on the size and speed of the drives. You’ll also note the fi­nal ca­pac­ity is some­what less than the to­tal, which is due to an en­tire drive be­ing used as re­dun­dancy, so if one fails, data is not lost.

13 FILESYS­TEM

Once the RAID is in a clean state, you can add a filesys­tem to it. Un­der ‘Stor­age > Filesys­tems’, click +Cre­ate. Se­lect your RAID from the De­vice pull-down menu, give it a name — we’re case-sen­si­tive around here — and leave the Filesys­tem as EXT4. OMV does sup­port ad­vanced filesys­tems, such as Btrfs, that sup­port anti-bi­trot check­sums, among other things, but that’s way be­yond the scope of this ar­ti­cle. Once cre­ated, se­lect the new drive, click Mount, then Ap­ply.

14 FOLD­ERS

You’ll want to add shared fold­ers to keep dif­fer­ent files for dif­fer­ent rea­sons, groups, users, and so on. Have a think about who and how files will be shared and ac­cessed. We’ll cre­ate a generic Pub­lic to be­gin with. You cre­ate shared fold­ers un­der ‘Ac­cess Right Man­age­ment > Shared Folder’. Click +Add, choose a name (“pub­lic”), your RAID de­vice, ig­nore the Path, and choose Ev­ery­one for ‘Per­mis­sions’. For more on net­work shares and Win­dows ac­cess, see the box above.

15 ME­DIA SERVER

Be­fore we leave you, let’s kick a Plex Me­dia Server into ac­tion. We’ll pre­tend ev­ery­thing is stored in the pub­lic folder (you could cre­ate video and mu­sic fold­ers). En­able ac­cess to the Plex repos­i­to­ries, so we can in­stall it. Se­lect ‘OMV-Ex­tras’, dou­ble-click the Plex­me­dia en­try, click ‘En­able, Save and Up­date’. Switch to ‘Sys­tem > Plugins’, search for Plex, se­lect the check­box, and click +In­stall — this ac­tu­ally in­stalls Plex. Once done, the web in­ter­face re­freshes. Se­lect the new Plex con­trol un­der ‘Ser­vices > Plex Me­dia Server’. Click En­able, se­lect your main de­vice and Save. Click the Plex Web Client to con­fig­ure Plex. Happy NASing!

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