I use my homeserver for storing my files and running the software for my WiFi access points and some various other stuff. Recently I’ve been on a power usage hunt through my house. Then I found out my server has a power consumption (with various stuff attached) of 66 watt. That’s a whopping 579Kwh on a yearly basis which will cost me (in the Netherlands) about 121 euro. This is quite a lot for something I mostly use for storage but I keep running for 24/h. Some parts of my power usage hunt are hard to fix myself but this one I can do. So a new replacement for my homserver let’s get started! This post will be part of a small series of posts.

After figuring this out then I need to figure out what to buy. So generally you can do one of three things:

  1. Buy a dedicated NAS
    A dedicated NAS is a small box that has an ethernet and a power jack. The box has multiple bays in which you can slide a hard drive. QNAP and Synology are large companies that make them. These have a very rich ecosystem of apps that can be installed like Plex or Torrent clients etc. The list of features really depends on the model you buy. These don’t come with harddisk drives build in so you need to buy those yourself.
  1. Store stuff in the cloud
    You can store a lot of stuff in the cloud. But you will pay for it! You can use the Google Cloud (drive), Dropbox, Amazon Cloud en Microsoft Cloud (Azure)
  2. Build your own
    I have the luck that before beginning as a dev I learned to be a systems administrator. I also worked as a sysadmin while I was in school. So I know how to build a PC and can work with Windows and Linux (though i’m not an expert). So I can build my own new server.

My requirements

I have the following requirements that I need to satisfy:

  1. Low power consumption when idle
  2. Have at least 4 bays for disks (I mirror my stuff to ensure I don’t loose data when a disk fails). I currently only needed 2 disks, but i wanted to have some additional room for extension in the future. Also please remember that Raid is not a backup
  3. Have the ability to run ‘apps’.
  4. Store at least 4tb
  5. Price!
  6. It must be fun!

What to do?

Since price is a things, cloud storage was to expensive for me (and no apps as well). So the question for me was: Do I buy one? or create one myself? I was fully planning on buying so I did some general research, looked at the Synology site at diferent models. However at that point I found a topic on a forum about low power home servers. There are people there who have been able to run a server with an idle load of 3/4w. Which is really low, so I decided to dive into the topic and read all about it.

I also did a comparison for power consumption numbers between an system on that forum and a synology 4 bay NAS (the DS918+). So lets see some numbers for that NAS:

  • 28.w (Idle usage with 4 1tb disks in the station)
  • 12.6w (Usage with 4 1tb disks in system and the disks have spun down)

These are quite nice numbers (I’ve got them from the synology NAS itself. So these were the numbers to beat.

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