Building a Freenas Server ASAP - Raid and questions on what version to run.

Status
Not open for further replies.

QUiKSR20

Cadet
Joined
Nov 3, 2011
Messages
3
Hello All,

I havent been on here ( old v7 forum ) in probably close to 2 years ( wow time flys ) Anyway I came back for questions as you guys have always been great...

Building a new NAS box and had a few questions :

Looks like freenas has changed owners or went in a diff direction and is now totally different. It use to have such modest specs needed for a server and now v8 requires a ton more.. I dont mind the jump in specs as I am buying new hardware. My main concern is which is better for my home built server? v7 or v8 ? I know with v8 I can run ZFS but I dont have 100% grasp on what new features or ways I will be able to do stuff vs UFS ( still researching go easy guys lol )

This server is going to be used for a few things in my home environment.

  • A backup hub for my 3 workstations + 2 laptops
  • Central Media Share ( pictures / music / software )
  • Stream the occasional show to a HTPC ( just to load from share )

Thats pretty much it, I have no problem loading my server with 8 gigs of ram and running v8 just want to pick whichever version is best for my personal needs and what will allow me to expand the easiest. I will be starting with 2 drives at first
and then expanding to 4 or 5 possibly use the 5th just for backups of my raid.

The hardware I think I am going to go with is an HP Proliant Micro Server N36l
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16859105905

I can pick this up for pretty cheap $250 or so used + drives, it seams powerfull enough, its quite and sips power.

n36lp.jpg


So my main questions are :

  • V7 or V8 ( leaning towards v8 ) and maybe a reason why? can be basics.
  • Whats the best raid setup, At first Ill only have 2 drives and want to expand later to more space with minimal downtime( is this where ZFS helps ? )

I know if I go with v8 ill max out the ram at 8 gigs, The enclosure can house 5 drives in the device, and I can run an external drive to backup the raid.
The OS will be running off a nice internal USB port.

If you guys can recommend any good drives ( in the past I heard WD Black drives ) that work good and are pretty quite I would appreciate it.

Appreciate all points on my first home built NAS.

Thanks,
DG
 

survive

Behold the Wumpus
Moderator
Joined
May 28, 2011
Messages
875
Hi QUiKSR20,

I think you need to use 8 on the Microservers in order to support the newer hardware in them. This might not be true for the latest builds of 0.7...check to be sure. There are a number of good threads here detailing the various experiences people have had with them so be sure to do a little searching & read up. Personally I really like them, I don't have one and wish I could come up with a reason to get one!

0.7 is older, more mature and has many of the "extras" a home user would want. If you want a BT client or streaming ability it's pretty much the only choice till the plug-in system is released with 8.1 in a couple of months.

That said, form your list of requirements there isn't anything you need that 8 can't do (just to be clear, the HTPC can read a CIFS share, right?)

As far as drive go...right now is about the worst time to buy drives in recent memory due to the flooding in Thailand, if you can wait a few months for the industry to get back up & running you will save a wad of cash. As far as drive makes or models go I don't know that there are really any bad drives out there, it just gets down to which one failed you last! Personally I'm a big fan of the Samsung 1TB 7200RPM drives, before that it was WD Blacks for everything and that's just because the Samsungs are (were) such a deal.

There are some rules for expanding ZFS that you have to be aware of. You can't just add a drive to a ZFS volume and grow the array. That's what sucks about the the Microserver, you are kind of "land-locked" as far as expanding it goes. If you started with a mirror you could add another mirror and that's about it. If you started with 4 1TB drives you could swap each drive in turn for bigger drives and the array will expand itself when the last drive rebuilds but there is not a good path to incrementally growing it as you need more storage.

Personally I would start with 4 drives in raidz and just be done with it, weld the box closed and never have to touch it again! I'm not a big fan of stuffing that 5th drive in there because I'm not sure what the airflow is like in the extra bay & I firmly believe a cool drive is a happy drive.

There is actually a new model Mircoserver out, the N40L that has a slightly faster proc and 2 GB of RAM...I wouldn't necessarily get one, but I would be on the lookout for a deal on the old model.

-Will
 

kashiwagi

Dabbler
Joined
Jul 5, 2011
Messages
34
Just chime in to say pretty much the same thing. The N36L (or now N40L) will definitely be more than enough power to do what you are describing, with the nice bonus of low energy consumption.

As Will mentioned, you can not expand (the ZFS version in FreeNAS does not support it....might be a yet to be released feature of a future ZFS version though....) from let's say 2 to 4 drives. This is in my opinion the biggest down side of using ZFS right now, so I sucked it up and put it 5x2TB drives from the start, with the plan to go 5x3TB or maybe 5x4TB when they become available. In any case, the situation in Thailand will put off any upgrade plans by a year or two at least anyway :/

The benefits of ZFS are plentiful (dedup, snapshots, end to end checksumming etc), but some things you expect out of a home-NAS, such as drive expansion isn't there.

As for 7 vs 8, I might not be the best person to ask. I waited for v8 because I wanted ZFS, but it still does have quite a few rough edges (no plugin system, my afpd segfaults etc). Version 7 will naturally be more stable, have lots of plugins and stuff. There is a comparison chart on the front page.

As for the fifth bay in the N36L, I have had no heat issues using a WD Green drive. Just make sure you flash the bios to get the full speed of the fifth sata port. Also, HP doesn't include cables for the 5th drive bay.
 

5teve

Dabbler
Joined
Nov 3, 2011
Messages
16
Hi

Total freenas / Linux / FreeBSD newbie here. I have just setup an n40l took the RAM to 8gb and added an Intel nic (thought the spiky cfs performance was the Broadcom). I added 5 2tb samsungs (robbed from external usb2 Samsung story enclosures as they were half the cost) also flashed the BIOS to the latest hacked BIOS.

Setup freenas 8.02 release on a 4gb ish stick on the internal usb port using an external dvd.

Found it easy to install, easy to setup (once I realised I had to turn cifs on!) And am just putting the last tweaks together.

I'm running zfs in raidz as a single 8tb volume purely for a backup device for my server.

I'm still suffering with spiky transfers but can average 85MB/s when copying files from the server to the freenas box with the latest tweak. I suspect running through a crappy switch and billion 7800n router to get to the freenas box isn't helping!

I guess what I'm saying is that the n40l is a great little box that works great with 8.02. No heat and barely any power usage!

As a side note you can squeeze 6x 3.5" drives and a 2.5" too at a push or 4x 3.5 and 4x 2.5 using a supermicro bay and a pcie sas / SATA card

Any more info required then just ask. (as long as its not about cli based tweaks!)

Thanks

Steve
 
B

Bohs Hansen

Guest
Just want to chime in on the HDD choice factor. As said, now is a bad time for it ... but that aside, I really love my Seagate SV35.5 2TB drives (5900rpm enterprise class). Back when the prices where "normal" it was only about 15$ more then the 2TB consumer green drives.
There aren't many reviews of these drives on the web, but I've had 4 of them running for about half a year now @ 31degrees C in a small tight case. Noise levels are pretty low as well, and in a good case prolly virtual silent (compared to rest of the hardware).

The drives are mainly produced for video surveillance recordings but also recommended for NAS operations
 

5teve

Dabbler
Joined
Nov 3, 2011
Messages
16
enterprise or 24/7 availability should always be the way to go.. when available and not phenominally expensive!

I only went the samsung route as the story enclosures came on offer at $89aud each, while the bare drives were $160+ aud. My first choice is alway hitachi. I used to design raid systems for a company called nexsan, and we only evey used hitachis due to the reliability in punishing environments (like 48 drives in a 5u enclosure)

The nas box was a budget box.. so i wasnt too fussed, plus the story drives also power down very quickly so idle power must be really low.. they take a few seconds to wake up however.. but as its backup... it doesnt matter!

Thanks

Steve
 

QUiKSR20

Cadet
Joined
Nov 3, 2011
Messages
3
Guys,

Thanks for all the reply's, Ive put this on hold due to drive prices but appreciate all the insite.. Cant wait to get this thing built already.

-daryl
 
Status
Not open for further replies.
Top