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First Production Build

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Zredwire

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Nov 7, 2017
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I am new to Freenas as well as new to the forums. First I would like to say these forums have been invaluable! Thanks for all you guys who post guides and respond to questions. Anyway I needed a new NAS at home and came across Freenas. I set it up on a test box (no ECC ram, Sync turned off, etc.) and it is great and exactly what I am looking for. So I decided to build a low cost, decent, production system for home. Here is what I have:

FreeNAS 11.0-U4
HPE ML10 v9/ Pent. G4400 / 12GB DDR4 2133 ECC
Chelsio PCIe Dual SFP+ 10GBE
Intel PCIe quad port 1GB
Dell PERC H310 PCIE Controller
Pool: 6 x 3TB Mirror (4x WD Red, 2x Seagate IronWolf)
SLOG: Intel S3700 100GB
Boot: Dual PNY Turbo 32GB USB

The first thing you probably notice is I have 7 drives in a case made for 6. This is true. It happened because I purchased parts over 6 weeks and the project grew during that time, lol. Anyway I can mod the case a tad to make it work fine. A new case will probably be a purchase next year.
Use case. This will be the main storage for my home. It will have a couple of SMB shares for Windows and it will be the back end storage for my ESXI (v. 6.5) server. I have used ISCSI some in the past but I really like and prefer NFS shares for the ESXI storage. With that in mind I plan to set up Mirrors and use a SLOG.

So I have a couple of questions:

1) My original plan was to hook all the hard drives up to the on board SATA connectors and hook the SLOG to the H310 controller. After reading some threads about how many on board SATA chips are inferior to dedicated HBA controllers, would it be better for me to hook all the drives to the H310?

2) On the SLOG I have read different post about how some people partition a small amount for Freenas to use and some people don't worry with it and let Freenas use all of it. As far as write leveling does it matter? If so, how do I partition a small amount for Freenas to use?

Also any more thoughts or critiques on my system and setup are welcome and encouraged. Thanks!
 

Chris Moore

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Chelsio PCIe Dual SFP+ 10GBE
Intel PCIe quad port 1GB
Why would you need all those ports?

1) My original plan was to hook all the hard drives up to the on board SATA connectors and hook the SLOG to the H310 controller. After reading some threads about how many on board SATA chips are inferior to dedicated HBA controllers, would it be better for me to hook all the drives to the H310?
I would say yes, but that would probably be considered a matter of opinion. I think the SAS controller is a more reliable interface to provide consistent performance.
 

Zredwire

Explorer
Joined
Nov 7, 2017
Messages
85
Why would you need all those ports?

I certainly do not need all those ports. I do not have a 10Gb switch so I will run 10Gb directly between the NAS and the ESXI server. Then for the other shares I could just use the built in Intel nic. Some parts of the build I already had from past projects. One of those is the Intel quad port nic. My thought was to run a 2 port LAG between the NAS and switch for redundancy (as I understand it will probably not really give me much in the way of extra bandwidth when we are talking a home situation with a hand full of clients). I can certainly leave the Intel NIC out of the build if you think it is a waste of heat and electricity for no real gain. I also have an Intel 2 port nic I could use (sadly I don't have a single port nic laying around). Anyway I have the cards and the switch ports for LAG but it may be more beneficial to save on the power and heat by not putting in the card and using just a single Gbe to the switch. What are your thoughts?
 

Chris Moore

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My thought was to run a 2 port LAG between the NAS and switch for redundancy (as I understand it will probably not really give me much in the way of extra bandwidth when we are talking a home situation with a hand full of clients). I can certainly leave the Intel NIC out of the build if you think it is a waste of heat and electricity for no real gain. I also have an Intel 2 port nic I could use (sadly I don't have a single port nic laying around). Anyway I have the cards and the switch ports for LAG but it may be more beneficial to save on the power and heat by not putting in the card and using just a single Gbe to the switch. What are your thoughts?
I tried the LAG thing when I first setup my NAS and ultimately took it out because it didn't help. Since the LAG won't give you much on the home network, I would save the card slot and power burn. Can you not use the 1GB network interface that is built into the system board?
 

tvsjr

Guru
Joined
Aug 29, 2015
Messages
959
As always, I will advocate for replacing the USB boot sticks with a real drive. Find somewhere to stick it in the case. A single, small, cheap SSD will be infinitely more reliable than two USB sticks. I also hope you don't have a hugely massive vSphere load... with only 3 stripes, you aren't going to have massive IOPS capability.
 

Zredwire

Explorer
Joined
Nov 7, 2017
Messages
85
I tried the LAG thing when I first setup my NAS and ultimately took it out because it didn't help. Since the LAG won't give you much on the home network, I would save the card slot and power burn. Can you not use the 1GB network interface that is built into the system board?

I could just use the built in Intel NIC. I may do that as I could always add a card later if I want.

As always, I will advocate for replacing the USB boot sticks with a real drive. Find somewhere to stick it in the case. A single, small, cheap SSD will be infinitely more reliable than two USB sticks. I also hope you don't have a hugely massive vSphere load... with only 3 stripes, you aren't going to have massive IOPS capability.

Ok I looked through my box of extra stuff and found two SSD drives. Would one of these be better than mirrored USB?

Samsung SSD 830 64GB
Crucial SSD M4 64GB

I can certainly use one (and I guess even both) if you think that is better.....

No the ESXI disk load is low. I have seven VM's but none that use the disk extensively. In fact I would probably be fine with a 1Gb link but I was able to get two 10Gb cards and a twinax cable for very low cost.
 

tvsjr

Guru
Joined
Aug 29, 2015
Messages
959
Either of those should be perfectly suitable. You can mirror them if you want to be extra paranoid, but, as long as you're backing up your configuration routinely, it's not a huge deal even if you lose the boot drive. I bought a bunch of Intel 320 40GB drives off eBay for $20/ea. and they work great.
 

Chris Moore

Hall of Famer
Joined
May 2, 2015
Messages
10,080
Ok I looked through my box of extra stuff and found two SSD drives. Would one of these be better than mirrored USB?

Samsung SSD 830 64GB
I would go with the Samsung.
You might want to connect it to a Windows system first so you can check it with the Samsung Magician software to ensure it is all healthy.
The USB drives do tend to die prematurely. When I first started doing FreeNAS, I had two of them fail on me within six months of one another.
 
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