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FreeNAS 8 Drawbacks or User Errors?

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DoS

Cadet
Joined
Jun 20, 2011
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I'm sure this post is going to irritate those anal users who need posts topics in specific forums. But after searching the thread I think this is probably the best place to put it...

I have many years of experience dealing with enterprise class SAN/NAS devices & deployments in data centers, disaster recover & virtual environments, etc. I have recently started looking to the "Open NAS" arena to see how they stack up. I have been playing with some various solutions and picking them apart and rejecting them for their apparent or not so apparent downfalls.

I find myself coming back to FreeNAS, as it seems to be on the right track with some of the right ideas on how to implement a robust NAS/SAN. The problem I am having is despite the type of deployment, wether its a virtual appliance or bare metal install on enterprise class hardware the performance seems to just be weak link in the chain. We have setup a couple FreeNAS labs in a mixed VMware environments with both iSCSI & NFS. Despite the various configurations we find the I/O is atrocious to say the least. Copying a 5GB .vmdk that was thin provisioned down to 1.5GB took 15 minutes to copy from one FreeNAS box to another. and approximately 12 minutes from an ESX SCSI DAS storage to a FreeNAS box both with iSCSI & NFS.

(Lab Setup - FreeNAS boxes are installed on various HP ProLiant servers with SmartArray controllers with 6 drives & 8+GB of RAM, ZFS RAID-Z Pools. ESX boxes are on like hardware with either 8 or 12GB of RAM on x64 hardware, SAS/SATA RAID controllers, 1GbE Networking)

I understand I wont get all my questions answered but hopefully this will open the door to more interesting topics, as the more I read through the forums I see most people don't have much to say on "Enterprise" baselines or how somethings are the way they are or why they are done. For example, why NFS is preferred over iSCSI in a VMware environment. If anyone has any questions regarding enterprise SAN/NAS/VMware topics and how they relate to their FreeNAS environment, I would be more then happy to return the favor. That being said, here are a few questions I have hopefully you gays/gals can chime in on for a n00b.

1) Are our performance results of 6 - 11MBs normal for this build of FreeNAS? Or are we missing some magic step? OpenFiler, NexentaStor, etc, don't seem to exhibit these same issues.

2) Is drive failure completely MIA? When testing a disk failure in either a VM deployment or bare metal, other then briefly in console there is no alerting or reporting that a disk has failed / been removed. Looking through the GUI & CLI continues to show everything running just fine. Only on reboots do i see any type of degradation displayed anywhere.

3) Is there any support for Fibre Channel going to be added?

4) Is there support for DeDupe going to be added?

5) NDMP support?

6) is there any support for PCIe SSD cards like Fusion-io, OCZ, Super Talent, etc?

7) any way to turn memory into a RAM drive and use that as a cache drive?

8) any APIs for tying into the FreeNAS for custom software like backup & recovery?

These few things would make this product fantastic and easily on par with the better enterprise solutions.


Again, sorry for the long winded post but I'm sure there are a bunch of smart MF'ers who can shed some light of this.
 

louis-m

Dabbler
Joined
Jun 7, 2011
Messages
34
some interesting questions there. i think the thing to remember is v8 is very young. i think the devs must have been under pressure to get some kind of release out as it came out with hardly any functionality compared to the previous 7x version.
i think most people are still hanging out at the old forum so you may struggle to get those answers here. i've played around with the various nas's too and there was a point where i was going to stick with nexenta but i just did'nt have time to play with it.
i'm familiar with freenas so the jump to 8 wasn't bad but it is quirky to say the least.
give it another 6 months or so and it should be up there hopefully and then that's the time to run the tests against the others.
they'll have their work cut out as fedora has already announced btfrs as their default file system in f16 which although not as mature as zfs, may swing a few people over to linux eg openmediavault etc.
 

pauldonovan

Explorer
Joined
May 31, 2011
Messages
76
1) Are our performance results of 6 - 11MBs normal for this build of FreeNAS? Or are we missing some magic step? OpenFiler, NexentaStor, etc, don't seem to exhibit these same issues.

Those performance results do look abnormally low. To give an example, my Atom 525 based machine with 4GB RAM and a RAID1 of WD Caviar Green drives gives write figures of 50-60MB/s.

6) is there any support for PCIe SSD cards like Fusion-io, OCZ, Super Talent, etc?

There's a kernel module for fusionio cards in FreeNAS, and the developers (ixSystems) sell hardware with Fusion-io cards in them so I imagine it works though I have no experience of them.

Paul
 

headconnect

Explorer
Joined
May 28, 2011
Messages
59
I'll also chime in from a performance perspective stating that your numbers look quite low compared to what I'm experiencing with 'basic' hardware.

Last night I started my copy of ~3TB of data to my FreeNAS 8 set up on an AMD E-350 (1.6GHz dualcore, 8GB ram, 5x 2TB 'green' disks in RAID-z1), and this morning I'm seeing the average speed of approximately 60 MB/s. The contents of the 3TB are highly mixed, but generally into two categories - 30k+ images (500k-11mb in size, mainly around the 2mb side) and innumerable small video files (300mb-6gb in size, mainly around the 500mb mark).

When it comes to your questions, I think the deDupe support will be relying on FreeBSD progress in ZFS implementation, so definetely not before the next major version I would presume (but there are quite a lot of others around which might be able to answer this in more detail).

For me though, I am highly interested in checking out API's - since the gui/backend are a dojo/django style setup, it shouldn't be completely impossible to allow external systems to get through - but for backup&recovery I'm not entirely certain I understand the usefulness of an API (other than being able to export configuration in a centralized way). There should be plug-in support coming where it would be technically feasable to install an agent for such things. I think for me, the API's would be more useful for monitoring than anything else, and being able to roll FreeNAS status and logs into a more abstract portal of devices.
 

DoS

Cadet
Joined
Jun 20, 2011
Messages
4
thanks for the responses, it's all very much appreciated.

@headconnect
the reasoning behind having api for backup & recovery would be to implement a variation of sorts for vds & vss. also the plug-in potential is huge for products like vsphere, to connect in and provision storage and perform snapshot based backups ah-la netapp.
 
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