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Your business or family probably uses something akin to Google Drive to store files and folders. That makes perfect sense, given how everyone needs ready access to data at all times. But there are some pieces of data you don’t want to be housed by a third-party service, such as sensitive information you don’t want to risk becoming public.

When you have such information, or simply want easy access to file storage within your LAN, you should turn to open-source solutions such as TrueNAS.

SEE: 40+ open source and Linux terms you need to know (TechRepublic Premium)

TrueNAS recently released TrueNAS SCALE, a hyper-converged storage solution capable of meeting high demand. With TrueNAS you can create integrated Linux virtual machines and containers, deploy it as a single node or to a cluster, expand it with third-party apps, manage data with snapshots and so much more. TrueNAS is truly your one-stop shop for NAS storage needs.

TrueNAS might well be one of the most powerful, flexible NAS solutions on the market. And even better, it can be deployed on commodity hardware or as a virtual machine.

The installation of TrueNAS is relatively easy, as it is done via a traditional Linux distribution. If you’ve ever installed Linux, you won’t have any problem getting TrueNAS up and running. Once it’s up and running, however, you might not know the next steps to take. I will lend you a helping hand with what to do once you have TrueNAS up and running.

What you’ll need

To make this work as expected, you’ll need TrueNAS installed and extra drives added for storage purposes. If you’re deploying TrueNAS as a virtual machine, you’ll need to attach a couple of extra drives. When deploying TrueNAS via VirtualBox, you can follow this tutorial to find out how to add extra storage drives.

And that’s all you’ll need. Let’s get started.

How to add a new pool

The first thing you must do is add a new pool that will house our shares. Log into TrueNAS with the root user account and the password you created during installation, and then click Storage in the left navigation (Figure A).

Figure A

The TrueNAS Dashboard is the page that will greet you upon the first login.

When you land on the Storage page, you’ll be prompted to create a new Pool (Figure B).

Figure B

The TrueNAS Storage page is currently empty, so a new Pool must be created.

Click Create Pool to reveal the Pool Manager (Figure C).

Figure C

The Pool Manager is where you create your pools.

It should automatically detect your available drives. If not, click Suggest Layout and TrueNAS will guess the type of layout which is best suited for the available drives.

As you can see (back in Figure C), TrueNAS has laid out my pool with the two drives I’ve added to VirtualBox. All you should have to do is give the new pool a name and click Create.

Once the pool is created, you’re ready to move on.

How to create a user

I’m going to assume you’re not connecting to either an LDAP or AD directory and will create users manually. To create a new user, click Credentials in the left navigation, and then in the resulting pop-up panel (Figure D) click Local Users.

Figure D

The Credentials side panel in action.

In the resulting window (Figure E), click Add.

Figure E

The Local User management window.

You should see a new pop-up panel (Figure F) where you can fill in the necessary information for the new users.

Figure F

Creating a new Local User in TrueNAS.

Make sure, at the bottom, you check the box for Samba Authentication. You can also add an SSH Public Key for even more secure access. Once you’ve finished adding the user details, scroll to the bottom and click Save. Continue this process until you have all the users you need.

How to create a share

Now that you have both a pool and users, we can create a new Share, which will be accessible by the local users you’ve created. Click Shares in the left navigation and then click Add under Windows (SMB) Shares.

In the resulting pop-up (Figure G), fill in the necessary information for the share. As for the Path, you will be limited to the directory of the Pool you created earlier.

Figure G

Creating a new SMB Share in TrueNAS.

For Purpose, select Default Share Parameters from the drop-down, give the share a name, make sure Enabled is checked, and click Save. If you want to allow Guest Access so users who do not have a local account can access the share, you must click Advanced Options and then click the checkbox for Allow Guest Access (Figure H).

Figure H

Allowing Guest Access in TrueNAS.

Of course, most won’t want to allow Guest Access, unless you have a specific need for it.

With your Pool, Users and Share created, TrueNAS is ready to serve. Those with a local TrueNAS account should be able to access the share via their OS file system and start adding files and directories.

Congratulations! You now have a powerful NAS solution attached to your LAN that can expand to meet and exceed your needs.

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