The first thing that strikes you when you discover this Kobol Helios64 project is the quality of the overall design, which really contrasts with many projects of this type. This attention to detail is not often the priority of this kind of solutions and yet here it has been clearly worked.
The NAS proposed here a design that has nothing to envy the big names of the genre: Products from Synology or QNAP will not blush project Helios64 Kobol. The proposal is particularly good with a very attractive and well thought chassis to house mechanical drives in well-ventilated conventional berries.
The Kobol solution stands out for the use of open source software to drive an accessible equipment. The case supporting 5 3.5″ bays measures 25 cm wide by 22.2 cm deep and 12.4 cm high. It costs only $ 95 and can drive 5 classic 3.5″ SATA bays with a Hot-Plug rack system. It offers a USB 3.0 Type-A port on the front, control LEDs and has two 8 cm side fans. The housing includes a location for the batteries to manage an integrated UPS solution. Batteries are sold separately, however, the Panasonic models are available for $ 12 option.
Please note, for this price you will only have the chassis, the 10V/10A power supply and the motherboard are offered separately. The first will cost only $14 and therefore will not really be too important an addition especially since you can also recycle a device that you already own.
The motherboard is a bit more expensive and it is she who is really the heart of this project Helios64 Kobol. This is a proposed solution to $189 and embeds everything you need to control the case. it has a Rockchip RK3399 SoC associated with 4 GB of DDR4 RAM and 16 GB of eMMC 5.1 storage. It is she who will manage the software part of the project and integrate seamlessly with the case described above.
It therefore has 5 shared SATA 3.0 ports with one port in M.2 SATA format. This means that if you use the SATA port M.2 you can only use four 3.5″ bays. It also offers a 2.5 Gbe Ethernet connector and a second Gigabit Ethernet connector, a USB Type-This port, three USB 3.0 ports (one of which will be connected on the front) and a MicroSDXC card reader.
The Kobol Helios64 card also offers a double power input as well as a solution for managing a UPS. It even goes as far as to embed conventional pinouts of development with management of GPIO, I2C, SPI and UART. Finally, to control the 8 cm fans, two specific pinouts will allow you to vary their speed according to your settings. The entire card fits in a 12 cm Nano-ITX format.
The big strength of this solution is the possibility of installing the system of your choice. The Kobol Helios64 should drive the specialized Linux distribution OpenMediaVault which will perfectly support the use of this NAS. It is also possible to control the whole with adapted versions of Debian or Ubuntu supported by Kobol.
The whole is very relevant, the card alone will allow you to mount various data management projects under Linux: A NAS obviously but also why not a more complex mini server. With this type of solution you can easily mount an advanced RAID solution and host your own data or make a homemade cloud system.
The set allows you to mount your own NAS with its software choices and thus benefit from the features added by the community. It is also an excellent teaching aid to explain how this type of device works: NAS or server.