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FreeNAS as SAN for 2 esxi host (E5-1620v4 Supermicro mbd-x10srh)

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Aug 28, 2014
Hello there,
first time writing here.
I'm thinking to build a FreeNAS system at work that should be used as common datastore for 2 esxi 6.0 hosts (2xDL360gen9 with actual on board raid5 datastore each). I've build some FreeNAS system for me (HP Gen8 Microserver) and friends but nothing as big as the one i'm thinking of. So, let's begin. I'm here to listen every advice (and i've read i think 10 pages of this section...)
Main Goal : build a datastore for the 2 host (and maybe one third host for testing pourpose). Becouse a supplier ask me 20.000€ for 2xMSA2040 with dual controller and SAS drives, some fiber optic modules and one fiber fabric switch. I'm try to look if there is a viable alternative.

Main system spec:
  • Intel Xeon E5-1620v4
  • Supermicro mbd-x10srh-cf-o
  • Supermicro SuperChassis SC216BAC-R920LPB
  • Intel SSD DC P3700 400GB, PCIe 3.0 x4
  • LSI Logic Controller Card 05-25600-00 9300-16i 16Port 12Gb/s SAS x8 PCI-Express
  • Mini SAS SFF-8643 a SFF-8643 Cable Lg 1mt (4x)
  • Samsung PM863, 480GB, SATA 6Gb/s, VNAND, 2.5" SSD - MZ7LM480HCHP-00005 (16x)
Then, for connecting the host (first i will connect it to only one host and then i will made some fabric to connecter the other host):
  • 40gbe DUAL Ethernet 56 Gbps FDR IB QSFP + LONG Mellanox ConnectX 3 HP 649281-b21
P3700 will be SLOG device. I want to made an mirror striped array with the PM863

I have some thoughts on the Mellanox Connectx3 cards. I've never work with them, and reading on the forum i've understood that the driver are mature in freebsd 11. Reading online i see that there is no iSER support still in FreeNAS, but i think that i could go with iSCSI over Infiniband.

What kind of VMs i have? here a little list:
  • 2x Exchange 2013 VMs (DAG) with 32GB ram each and about 2Tb of data
  • 2x Files Server Win2012R2 with about 1Tb of production files
  • 1x Management software: Win2012R2 VM custom software + oracle 11c DB (~1 gb)
  • 1x VOIP ASTERISK Appliance with about 20 lines
  • 20x Var. Custom Linux machines
I know that the system WOULD BE overkill for that kind of load but...
We are expanding very fast. This solution should costs about 15.000€ and it is less money than HP solutions (and i have more performance)
So... the question is: what you guy think migrating from the datastore local solution (the raid5 i've now) and switching to a commond datastore on a machine like that?


Senior Member
Jan 30, 2014
Well, migrating from any type of standalone storage to shared storage is a it! The real question sounds like which shared storage solution would be best for you? We don't know, but we can give you our opinions. For me personally, I like to keep downtime to the least amount possible. If you use FreeNAS as your production datastore, this will be very hard to do because it offers no HA/Failover component (you'd need TrueNAS for that). It all comes down to cost and your RTO and RPO. What can you live with? Only you (or your boss) can answer that one. It's not a matter of if the system goes down, its when. I'd look at a more resilient storage system than FreeNAS like one of the following: TrueNAS, VMware vSAN, one of the other countless number of NAS/SAN solutions out there (Dell SC4020, Nimble, etc. $$$$). I'd investigate TrueNAS and vSAN ($2500 for standard/$4000 for advanced, per physical socket) myself.
Aug 28, 2014
Hello bigphil,
thank you for your answer! I've inquired iXsystem for quote. I will see what it will be the best option.
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