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FreeNAS 8 or 7 recommendation + ?'s ZFS + raidz + iSCSI (to ESXi) single disk failure

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Sep 20, 2011
I am looking to build myself a new storage server. I have been using FreeNAS 7 to share out single drives over my network (via NFS and samba) for years.

My current plan is to build some redundancy into the new setup.

My Goals and build would be as follows

Hardware (for those curious)
Intel Celeron G530 2.4Ghz Dual Core
ASRock H61DE/S3 motherboard
Rosewill RSV-R4000 Case
6x500GB SATA drives

Share a part of this storage (should have ~2.5TB of useable space) out to my network for access by windows / linux PC's

Share another part of this storage to my ESXi 4.1 server through iSCSI
I plan to add a second gig nic to the ESXi box and this NAS box to dedicate to iSCSI traffic.

I would obviously like to get as much performance out of this setup as I can, but its not a #1 priority. A lot of what this storage is used for is recorded TV shows from my TV tuner (non HD at the moment) I would like to be able to move largish files (<1GB) back and forth at reasonable speed and probably more importantly record the TV shows directly to this storage ( dont think that would require that much performance wise maybe I am wrong)

Question #1

Based on the info from my other thread (http://forums.freenas.org/showthread.php?2443-FreeNAS-8-raidz-incorrect-size) and from (http://support.freenas.org/ticket/208) it seems the reason for allocating swap space to every disk (FreeNAS 8 seems to default to 2GB) is to provide a cushion to account for differences between that drive and a new drive that may replace it someday. It seems to me that 2GB is an awful lot (particularly for 500GB drives). But maybe I am wrong. I suspect that if I have a drive failure I'll go online and find another 500GB drive. Or worst case a 1TB drive and just give up the extra 500GB of storage. I think I understand why running ZERO swap isnt recommended to account for small differences between two different 500GB drives in my case. But isnt 2GB a bit much? Or am I way off here?

Question #2

My whole reason for rebuilding here is to gain failover. Its just my home network, but it is a lot of stuff I dont want to lose. I would like to be able to survive 1 drive failing (if 2 of them or more go at once well so be it). I don't want to do hardware raid as it requires a significant investment in controller cards (most still really are software raid cards anyway), also should the controller go bad I dont want to have to find an exact replacement. I would rather build a raidz with 6 straight up sata drives. Which sounds like the right idea. I would also be a good learning experience for ZFS.

Am I better off going with FreeNAS 7 to make sure I can replace a drive successfully later on? Are there features in 8 that I will miss if I go with 7 given my goals? (8 seems to have better integration of ZFS and raidz??)

I currently have a VM on my esxi box up and running with FreeNAS 8 and have successfully created a 3 disk raidz setup and created an iSCSI target on it to share to my ESXi box. havnet gotten around to figuring out how to share out the other part of that storage out to windows yet but I suspect that shouldnt be to much of an issue.

Once again I'd greatly appreciate any advice / recommendations any of you have.

Thanks for the help



Nov 24, 2011
Hi Snow,

I bought the same mainboard as you (ASRock H61DE/S3) and was just curious about your experiences so far.

My idea is to build a zfs based nas. Which can be solaris 10/11, freebsd 9.0 or freenas.

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