FreeNAS for Crashplan build

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Feb 27, 2018
Hi everyone.

I am planning to set a FreeNAS build to help me with my crashplan backup.
As crashplan in moving to end the family subscription, and with the dollar rates floating, we won't be able to keep more than 2 machines. The plan is to keep my main machine and a spare one to achieve the 3-2-1 backup strategy (3 copies, 2 different devices, 1 offsite).

Let me explain my case:
I have a 2012 microserver from HP (N40l), wich I use with windows 10, 2gb of ram and a windows share for each drive (yeah, it is the worst case possible but this worked for 5 years), with a 250, 320, 750 and a 3 tb HD. To control it I have set ultr@Vnc. Booting time is about 4 minutes. I synced the drives using GoodSync (a nice piece of software if you ask me), with crashplan backing up all the stuff. Then I used a 2tb my passport to sync pictures only for a second copy, just in case, as our internet speed is only 300kbps, so I can avoid being worried during the time crashplan takes to upload the files (better safe than sorry).
My main goal is to keep my docs and pictures safe. By pictures I mean A LOT. We are scanning family pictures that date to the 1940s, VHS, etc, plus all our cellphones, DSLR, and other stuff.

I used windows because of memory issues over FreeNAS (1gb of ram per TB of data was expensive for me at the time).

Now, I want a good NAS, a proper one. I was considering a pre-built solution, from sinology but the "closed system" scares me a bit and, as I live far from any support (Roraima state - Brazil - AKA: nowhwere), I will need to get my hands dirty. I saw that I can get a new unit from sinology and replace the dead one, but this is time consuming and I would need to buy one, get it shipped, deal with customs... I read a lot already and there are many workarounds to get crashplan over FreeNAS so, I will keep with it.

So, today I have about 2.5 Tb of data scattered across multiple drives. I want to consolidate it on a single build with FreeNAS. I want to build something able to last at least 4 years with minimun maintenance from me, as I am a Medstudent here and I am planning to take the USMLE so, time is critical. My goal is to have until 30tb on this box, with the ability to lose a drive, or expand the array if necessary.

So, the questions:

1) Is FreeNAS suitable for this scenario?
2) How much RAM should I get?
3) Can I add drives "on the go" and keep it all as a single drive? I do not want to have the nightmare that is to look different drives every single time I want a file.
4) CPU, mobo and RAM that would be suggested? I will fire it up with 2x4tb drives (each drive I add on the pc will be added to the build). Cost is important but quality is the main concern.
5) Sorry for my grammar. Lacks of practive.

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Aug 29, 2015
1. Yes, FreeNAS is suitable.
2. FreeNAS requires 8GB minimum. If you intend to run jails, you'll need more. The memory should be ECC.
3. You can add vdevs to an existing pool, but you can't add one drive at a time.
4. Look in the "will it FreeNAS?" forum, there are many reviews of various builds there. Supermicro is a very common choice. Starting out with two drives limits you to striped mirrors, which means you get 50% of the capacity of the drives you install, and you'll have to install them two at a time. If you're going to 30TB, that's going to be somewhat costly (you'll need 8 10TB drives to get there). You would be better off going with something like 6x 8TB drives in RAID-Z2, providing you pretty close to 30TB effective storage.


Powered by Neutrality
Jan 1, 2016
I'll have a go at answering:

1. Maybe, but you may also want to reconsider the scenario with Crashplan basically dropping the home plans... Backblaze (B2) is now well integrated into FreeNAS, so if it meets your needs, then probably better than looking at Crashplan.
2. 8GB minimum, more is better...
3. You need to carefully balance your need for fault tolerance with the ability to expand the array. If you start with a 2x4TB Mirrored pool (single mirrored VDEV), you can expand by adding another mirrored VDEV to the same pool (same size is probably best here), so no adding a single drive at a time as you seem to want while retaining redundancy. In a few years, ZFS (as implemented in FreeNAS) will possibly have the ability to extend RAIDZ2, etc, arrays and will perhaps allow what you want, but not for right now).
4. Plenty of suggestions out there. Look at the Resources section (particularly http://
5. Everything was clear to me.

Hope it helps.

Chris Moore

Hall of Famer
May 2, 2015
You should do some more reading about FreeNAS. We have a great "Resource" section on the forum.

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