A once very sheltered child of windowz

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Apr 24, 2018
For ten years I have been it admin / server and desktop support for a construction company out of the midwest. I felt i was pretty on top of my game rolling out all these premade servers with everything essentially handed to me on a platter.

I decided to dip my feet into FreeNAS. Total linux newbie, FreeBSD new, etc..

I like some others came in thinking gaming hardware was "good". I've learned that definition is not always true when it comes to a home production NAS build.

The majority of my home NAS runs Plex, but I also keep a 12 or so TB of personal media that we have made as a family. In total I currently have about 20TB of data. I used to run two windows computers acting as file servers both loaded up with plex and direct access to the files on both. I then used third party software to keep both inline.

Reading about the benefits of ZFS and the light small platform afforded by FreeNAS i decided to take my "backup" rig and update it. It needed some more HDDs anyways, so i figured i would convert the old gaming computer into a NAS. to start I used a 9211-8i controller, and i LOVE it, thank goodness i started good there. Had nothing but great success with that. Shortly after getting it running and starting to hit it pretty hard on plex, i started running into network drops and odd errors. So I replaced with Intel. All gone. Then started getting odd boot drive problems, failed devices, massive error counts, etc. Turns out the usb controller on the "gaming" computer couldnt handle the io i was asking with a pair of usb drives. So i replaced with a few 120gb SSDs over onboard sata and perfecto.

This old 4 core i7 with 32gb of ram is holding my files like a star and can host plex with far better quality and speed than my 6 core i7 can running on windows!!

So i started thinking, maybe its time to dump the windows machines altogether, and get a NAS build going properly on some decent server equipment.
Enter yesterday, i unboxed my used r710 dell server i picked up cheap, dual x5650 xeons 72gb ram, etc. I know I know its ancient. BUT i got the entire system for 400 bucks. One key component to this setup was that i was going to need to run a few VMs on it to host ANOTHER windows computer in the house that currently controls my camera server. BlueIris ONLY works on windows as of now, so Im stuck there. And also I have a few other small apps I plan to run in Ubuntu or maybe a windows VM. Then the goal is to stack the r710 on top of a Norco 4224 case, going to run a pair of cables down to a HP SAS expander in the 4224 and allow up to 24 drive setup!

So unboxing was fun, simple, i decided to see what i could do to get a freeNAS setup going and start playing around a bit, so i tossed a flash drive in for the OS, got an extra 500gb SSD laying around and tossed that in for storage. Within no time, like an hour I had a working VM wth windows server running 16 cores 24 gb ram and more! So i decided to load up my blueiris config and see how it would do.. Well what used to use about 80% of a 3770k i7, now uses less than 20% of the dual old xeons! yay! one computer to shut down.

Now i feel like I am going to have to keep that setup going, and just add on to this, I am going to add another 9211-8i in this computer with the SAS expander and start with the 12 4tb drives i currently have in the windows computer.

Have to run with the wife to do a few errands here shortly, so Ill wrap this up for now, as not much has progressed past that.

But in summary, HUGE ZFS/FreeNAS fan and really looking forward to understanding more and being able to help instead of just being a bother on the community.
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