How to get openmediavault up and running for a reliable NAS solution

If you're looking for a solid Network Attached Storage solution, follow these simple steps to install and start using openmediavault within 20 minutes.

Image: iStock/tonymax

The bigger your business grows, the more you will rely upon Network Attached Storage (NAS). There are many solutions for such a service, but few are as easy to get up and running and will serve you as well as openmediavault.

Openmediavault is a next-gen NAS solution based on Debian Linux that contains the services you need, including SSH, (S)FTP, SMB/CIFS, DAAP media server, RSync, BitTorrent client, and many more. Openmediavault is designed to perfectly suit home and small businesses, but thanks to numerous plugins, it can easily support medium-size businesses, too. Learn how you can start enjoying your new NAS solution.

SEE: Network-attached storage: The smart person's guide (TechRepublic)

Installing openmediavault

You can either install openmediavault on a stand-alone server or as a virtual machine (VM). No matter which route you choose, you'll need to download the ISO image and burn it to disk, insert it into your server, boot up and install, or use the ISO image to create a new VM. I'll use VirtualBox to create a VM of openmediavault, so I'll go through the standard procedure for creating a new VM using the openmediavault ISO image.

Regardless of which path you take, the installation process is very simple. It is, however, an ncurses-based installation (there is no fancy GUI). You'll be presented with a number of ncurses screens (Figure A), none of which are a significant challenge.

Figure A

Figure A

This is how the ncurses installation windows will look.

The steps you'll walk through are:

  1. Select a language for the installation process.
  2. Select a location.
  3. Select a keymap for the keyboard.
  4. Set a hostname for the server.
  5. Set the root password.
  6. Configure the clock.
  7. Select a Debian archive mirror.
  8. Set a proxy (if needed).
  9. Select where to install the GRUB boot loader.

That's all there is to the installation. It shouldn't take more than 20 minutes to have your openmediavault server up and running, although this will depend upon your network connection speed.

Once the installation completes, you need to reboot the system. When the reboot completes, log into the server as the user root and the password you created during installation--this will land you on a bash prompt. Issue the command ifconfig to find out your server's IP address and then head over to another machine on your LAN and point a browser to that address.

Logging into openmediavault

Log into the openmedivault web interface. You cannot use the root credentials you created during installation; instead, log in with the username admin and the password openmediavault and immediately follow these steps.

  1. From the main window, click General Settings (Figure B).
  2. Click the Web Administrator Password tab.
  3. Enter and verify a new password for the web admin user.
  4. Click Save.
  5. Click the menu button (three vertical dots in the upper right corner).
  6. Select Logout.
  7. When prompted, click Yes.
  8. Log back in with your new credentials.

Figure B

Figure B

The openmediavault admin dashboard

Make openmediavault work for you

You can set up openmediavault to do exactly what you need--create users, add shares, set up services, install name it. I highly recommend you start by going to System | Update Management and applying all available updates. Once your system is updated, go to Services and set up only those services you know you'll need such as SMB/CIFS (which is disabled by default). When you need to expand your server, you can add services and plugins.

Openmediavault will serve you very well as a NAS solution. Spin this up, and see if it becomes your go-to NAS server.

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