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ESXi, FreeNAS and AMD

Western Digital Drives - The Preferred Drives of FreeNAS and TrueNAS CORE

Evertb1

Neophyte Sage
Joined
May 31, 2016
Messages
555
After a year or so running FreeNAS as a VM on my ESXi lab server I am pretty happy with it. So I have decided to migrate my "production" FreeNAS server to a new to build ESXi box. I have been hiding money for the wife so I have a decent budget :tongue: . No mather what components I buy I want to have a system with at least 64 G ECC nonreg memory and a CPU with at least 4 cores 8 threads (more would be welcome). My first inclinition is to stay with the usual suspects. SuperMicro motherboard and a Intel Xeon cpu. But I wonder if anybody out there has been succesfull with an AMD CPU (Ryzen?) running ESXi and FreeNAS. And if so, I would like to know what CPU, what memory and what motherboard. Thanks in advance.
 

John Doe

Senior Member
Joined
Aug 16, 2011
Messages
515
i have the same in mind.

decent budget. want a 8 cores 16 threads min 1xxgb ecc not reg ram

suggestion for motherboard / cpu?

Does freenas care what hardware i use if i run esxi?
 

Evertb1

Neophyte Sage
Joined
May 31, 2016
Messages
555
decent budget. want a 8 cores 16 threads min 1xxgb ecc not reg ram

suggestion for motherboard / cpu?
For the first time in many years and the first time ever for a server, I decided to go with an AMD CPU. I will use a Ryzen 7 3700X cpu (that for the time being is used in a new desktop I build 3 weeks ago). And I intend to use an Asrock Rack X470D4U2-2T motherboard. I want to start out with 64 Gb ecc memory (2 * 32), brand still to be decided.

The Ryzen CPU has 8 cores 16 threads. I already tested the CPU with a test ESXi build and it worked great. As far as I can tell anyway after a limited time of testing. The motherboard and CPU support unreg ECC ram.

By the way: Asrock is afaik the only manufacturer that also has consumer grade motherboards with real ECC support. With most of the manufacturers of consumer grade motherboards with ecc support in the specs it just means they are able to run with ecc ream but don't utilize the ecc function.

Does freenas care what hardware i use if i run esxi?
I don't think so. Al the hardware is virtualized and optimized for the guest OS. If it is supported by ESXi it should be good for FreeNAS. But keep in mind that FreeNAS needs control over the HDU's. Most of the time that is done by providing an HBA trough PCIe passthrough. That also worked great with the Ryzen CPU.
 

John Doe

Senior Member
Joined
Aug 16, 2011
Messages
515
10gbe is on my wishlist, but the motherboard you mentioned has only 2 x 16 lanes

i find it somehow stupid, as ryzen has plenty lanes.

one port is blocked for hba 2nd would be blocked for pcie to 4x m.2 adapter

that board in atx would be great
 

Evertb1

Neophyte Sage
Joined
May 31, 2016
Messages
555
If you want to utilize a Ryzen CPU on a server grade motherboard there is not much to choose from on the market. I think that at the moment Asrock Rack is the only manufacterer with some models for AM4 socket (three or four I believe). Personally I only need a PCIe slot for one HBA (for pass through to a FreeNAS VM). As the board is already equipped with sufficient NIC's and I dont intent to put a graphics card on it, the board fits my needs perfectly. And even if I want to add a second PCIe card, a x16 link will not be needed.

At the end it's all depending on your needs.
 
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