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What I do with 5 Raspberry Pi single board computers

dreadfullyposh (Jeremy Gimbel)
5 min readSep 8, 2020

Up until this year I’ve always avoided the itch to buy a Raspberry Pi or any of the other single board tinkerer/hobbyist computers on the market that are popular among nerds like myself. From what I saw, they were always more focused on tinkering with electronics and robotics and less of a usable PC replacement. In high school and college, I did a lot of tinkering with hardware and electronics, and since then my interests have shifted more towards software, so revisiting the world of hardware wasn’t really something I was looking to do.

But this year as Covid-related boredom set in over the summer, and I spent many hours mindlessly watching YouTube videos, I learned that the latest generation of the popular single board computer, the Raspberry Pi 4 model B, was much more powerful than previous models. I came across some interesting projects built with Raspberry Pi computers with web development and infrastructure technologies that interest me, so I decided now was the time to re-ignite my teenage passion for setting up networks and servers, albeit in a much smaller and more energy efficient form factor than I had in the late 90s and early 2000s. It’s been years since I’ve done any projects with “bare metal” as most of my infrastructure has been in the cloud.

After a couple of months and five Raspberry Pi computers later, here are some of the projects I’ve built and kept around.

1. Network attached storage (NAS) server

Building a NAS was my first Pi-powered project. For the last 5 years or so, I’ve had a Mac Mini from 2010 acting as a file server. It can no longer update to new versions of MacOS, and even with the latest version it supports, everything about this setup was slow.

During my YouTube binges, I came across OpenMediaVault, a Debian Linux-based, open source NAS platform that runs well on a variety of hardware, including the ARM-based Raspberry Pi. (Interestingly, the creator of OMV, as it’s known by its fans, was the lead developer of FreeNAS before it was acquired by another company.)

I bought a 4 bay external USB-connected RAID array enclosure to house the hard drives and provide me with nearly 11TB of redundant storage. While the enclosure and drives were not super…

dreadfullyposh (Jeremy Gimbel)

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