First Home Lab Build, NAS, PLEX, HASSIO, Security Cameras

Hey there,

I am making a Home Lab set up to run a number of application. I have been having a hard time trying to digest everything.

My needs are as follows:

  • NAS (looking at unRAID, FreeNAS)
  • Plex server (using the NAS also Linux OS)
  • Home Assistant (Linux OS)
  • Security Camera Application ( Considering Blue Iris, Windows app, Also using the NAS)


  • Have the different VMs/Applications only running when needed (Dynamic allocation of resource). From my understanding, this can be done with containers.
  • Spin a VM up for whatever needs (Windows, Linux)

What I am struggling with:

  • I am unsure what application will fill my needs: unRAID, Proxmox, Docker, VirtualBox, VMware, FreeNAS?
  • How should I build the foundation of this server/home Lab?
  • I have a bunch of hard drives of mixed sizes I have collected, What would be the best application to take advantage of them for the NAS? (unRAID, FreeNAS Zpools ???, RAID 5)
  • Right now I want to do this with just the spare computers I have laying around the house. The main computer that I want to run these specific applications from has 4 real 4 viral cores. Would this be enough? If not could I use another computer in a cluster or something (this is where I am really not sure)?

Any help on how to build out a system like this would be great! I have watched many videos on how to do a specific task like a NAS build (unRAID, FreeNAS) or a PLEX server but I don’t know how to warp them up and package them in a single server. Also, I am super confused about how to use Zpools vs unRAID and the like.

Thank you for any advice in helping me get started with my home lab!

PS: I would love to be at this level:
I don’t have the computer power to get there yet I think.

1 Like

If you are proficient with FreeBSD, then FreeNAS may be a good choice for you. I ran it for a while, but ultimately gave up on it. I am NOT proficient in BSD. I’m in the midst of converting that machine to a project called Ansible NAS. It installs over Ubuntu Server. I believe it has provisions for Plex, Home Assistant, and a range of other things.

The reason FreeNAS got to be too much trouble to mess with for me is the poor quality of support. They have forums where questions can be asked. Some are very helpful there. But there’s this one guy. He really does know it all. And he’s a jerk. All the time.

So I’m dumping it for something I’m more proficient with. And for which there is a much wider range of help.

My $0.02