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From Ubuntu multipurpose server to FreeNAS ?

Western Digital Drives - The Preferred Drives of FreeNAS and TrueNAS CORE
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kriegalex

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Jan 15, 2016
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Hi everyone,

First of all, I know that I often write too much when asking a question/starting a discussion so I'll try to be brief as much as possible. I'll put a TLDR at the end anyway.

I'll start by exposing what I have and why I have it that way :

I have a 14.04 LTS Ubuntu server running ZFS on Linux in RAIDZ1 with 5 * 4TB HDDs (WD Red Pro) inside a 5 slot Supermicro hot swappable front HDD bay. Ubuntu is installed on a separate SSD (250GB). This server is equipped with a Xeon 1200v3, a Supermicro X10SLL-F and 32 GB ECC RAM. As far as I've seen on this forum, this is pretty much OK and recommended hardware for FreeNAS.

Strictly speaking, it's currently overkill for what I have :

- Samba shares, timemachine backup for the network, ...
- Plex media server, 2-3 HD streams sometimes concurrently -> CPU choice made from this and samba + futur proofing
- Rtorrent+rutorrent
- Teamspeak 3 server
- VPN client (not server)

I've made that choice to have room in the future and also because I wanted my server to be multipurpose and not only a file server. An example is the teamspeak server easily installed on Ubuntu and an even better example is when the game ARK Survival Evolved launched, I was able to save ~100 bucks by not having to rent a server for a few month because I simply put it on my server. That's why I didn't go with FreeNAS in the first place and used Ubuntu+ZoL combo.

Now it has been running a few months without any problems, but what I realized is that I do everything through command line, which is precise and handy, but sometimes having a nice GUI is not bad. And that's what is offered by FreeNAS (plus the ZFS implementation on BSD is more solid than ZoL, I guess).

The problem is that I am afraid that if I install FreeNAS on it, it will be even more overkill because I loose a lot of opportunities to install additional server "stuff".

So I can already ask you this : would my server resources be wasted by installing only FreeNAS on it ?

Now the second part : virtualization. I've seen this post. I am aware that it's generally a bad idea. But if virtualization is done properly through recommended hardware and PCI passthrough and with good configs and tested for a while with "dummy" data, wouldn't it allow for me to have a VM for FreeNAS and another VM for Ubuntu and general purpose "stuff" (like teamspeak server, ...).

Now the problem is also that I'm a beginner with virtualization even if I am familiar with computer science adn programming. I would have to learn ESXi which doesn't seem too bad (installing, managing it, allocating the resources and everything).

So is virtualization really that bad ? The only other way around would be to have a second computer to run all the things that won't run on the main FreeNAS box, thing that I can't have right now. That still leaves the problem of : if I wanted a computer only for FreeNAS, I probably would have scaled down some things : maybe less expensive CPU, 16GB RAM, ITX MB, smaller case, ...

I also plan to move away from RAIDZ1 for the same reasons we can read on this forum on multiple threads. I don't know what to choose between RAIDZ2 (adding 1 HDD to my server) or maybe Raid 10 (also adding 1 HDD, to have 3 RAID1 stripped together). From what I understood, it's basically choosing between bad write performance and more storage or better IO but less storage.

TLDR : I have a server running Ubuntu and ZFS, running file server things, plex media, torrenting, teamspeak server and sometimes other things like game servers and I am wondering how to keep that multipurpose quality while using FreeNAS for the file server part. I've bought my server to be futur proof and be able to run a ton of stuff if needed, not only file sharing.

Only installing FreeNAS on my server could be a waste of resources and of functionalities because then I can't run that much more things than what is available in the plugins. I'm also wondering if virtualization could be the answer. I've seen on this forum that people advise against it. I also plan to move away from RAIDZ1 while moving to FreeNAS (RAIDZ2 or RAID10).

I wish you the best for this year 2016 :)

P.S. : Staying brief --> mission failed :(
 
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danb35

Wizened Sage
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I'm not in the least familiar with Teamspeak, but this thread suggests it can be installed in a jail on FreeNAS. Everything else you list can be done either by the base system, or with plugins. Given that, I'm not sure if virtualization needs to be on the table at all.
 

SweetAndLow

Sweet'NASty
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Nov 6, 2013
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Check out jails they will probably do everything you need.
 

kriegalex

Member
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Jan 15, 2016
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@SweetAndLow : I thought the jail were kinda limited, I'm probably document myself better on FreeBSD and the jails to see what are the limits to the stuff you can install versus a standard Linux server.

If anyone has any comments on changing from RAIDZ1 5 disks to RAIDZ2 6 disks or RAID10 6 disks, you are welcome.
 
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SweetAndLow

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@SweetAndLow : I thought the jail were kinda limited, I'm probably document myself better on FreeBSD and the jails to see what are the limits to the stuff you can install versus a standard Linux server.

If anyone has any comments on changing from RAIDZ1 5 disks to RAIDZ2 6 disks or RAID10 6 disks.
Should have just about everything you can install on Linux. Some of it might have some extra configuration but eventually will work. Spin up a vm and create some jails to see if it does what you need.
 

pirateghost

Unintelligible Geek
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Feb 29, 2012
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I'm not in the least familiar with Teamspeak, but this thread suggests it can be installed in a jail on FreeNAS. Everything else you list can be done either by the base system, or with plugins. Given that, I'm not sure if virtualization needs to be on the table at all.
I run teamspeak in jail. There's really nothing to it. Just install, enable in rc.conf and that's it
 

kriegalex

Member
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Jan 15, 2016
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37
I'll will look it up myself, but in the meantime if someone knows : if I put a torrent client in a jail, can I simply route it through VPN tunnel while not affecting other programs/jails ? On the other hand can I apply the tunnel to the whole freenas or maybe only some jails if I wanted ?

EDIT : first question
 
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kriegalex

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I think I'm convinced by FreeNAS and RAIDZ2. I will still try it in a VM and check what kind of stuff we can install in jails (and also discover BSD world). After that, I will order the 6th HDD, an IBM m1015 to flash in IT to connect to the 6 HDDs and a new 5 bay HDD rack.
 

danb35

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Robert Trevellyan

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I will order the 6th HDD
Just in case you're unclear, note that you don't have to have 6 disks to use RAIDZ2. You only need a 6th disk if you want the additional storage capacity. FreeNAS will let you do RAIDZ2 with as few as 4. At the CLI you can even do RAIDZ2 with 3 disks, even though it's an absurd vdev layout.
 

kriegalex

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Just in case you're unclear, note that you don't have to have 6 disks to use RAIDZ2. You only need a 6th disk if you want the additional storage capacity. FreeNAS will let you do RAIDZ2 with as few as 4. At the CLI you can even do RAIDZ2 with 3 disks, even though it's an absurd vdev layout.

I seen in numerous places that for some reason I can't remember and explain right now, it's good to use 2^n+2 disks for RAIDZ2, so 4 or 6 or 10 but not 3 or 5 or 9 (which are good numbers for RAIDZ1, 2^n+1).
 

Mlovelace

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I would say use what you're more comfortable with. ZoL is fully implemented, its not included in the Linux kernel because of licensing restrictions. You can easily do what you're currently doing on both systems. I have a Linux server (centos) running ZoL because I prefer Linux for certain tasks.
 

Bidule0hm

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Kevin Horton

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I seen in numerous places that for some reason I can't remember and explain right now, it's good to use 2^n+2 disks for RAIDZ2, so 4 or 6 or 10 but not 3 or 5 or 9 (which are good numbers for RAIDZ1, 2^n+1).
As I understand it, the recommendation for 2^n+2 disks for RAIDZ2 was based on making the best use of the space on each sector of each disk. That all went out the window when CPU performance became good enough so data compression became the default. With compression enabled, there is no way to predict how much space each chunk of data will consume on disk, so there is no point to pick a certain number of disks to match chunk size to sector size.
 

kriegalex

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Jan 15, 2016
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I have another question for you guys and I don't want to start a new thread since I already exposed my hardware and situation here : if I migrate to FreeNAS (which I'm about to do, the backup of data should end tomorrow), I will probably use a good quality USB flash drive (like sandisk extreme 3.0 16GB) to boot FreeNAS, but then my 250GB SSD that hosts right now Ubuntu will stay unused and I have no use for it in my desktop PC. Should I use it as L2ARC cache, but using only 120GB partition (because I have 32GB RAM) ? Or maybe I can add it as storage in FreeNAS and use it for some jail that required high IO speeds ?

The other solution is sell it but ... I'd rather find a use for it ^^
 

icsy7867

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Dec 31, 2015
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163
I'll will look it up myself, but in the meantime if someone knows : if I put a torrent client in a jail, can I simply route it through VPN tunnel while not affecting other programs/jails ? On the other hand can I apply the tunnel to the whole freenas or maybe only some jails if I wanted ?

EDIT : first question

Also just wanted to add... (Of course this solution may not work for you!)

For my setup, my VPN client is ran in my router that has custom firmware (OpenVPN of course). I use iptables to setup some policy based routing. so everything below x.x.x.100 gets routed through the VPN and Tun0, and everything above x.x.x.100 gets sent to my Wan0 interface. This way I can control what gets routed where simply by assigning the correct IP address.

I actually have two separate deluge installs setup in two separate jails currently :D
 

kriegalex

Member
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Jan 15, 2016
Messages
37
Also just wanted to add... (Of course this solution may not work for you!)

For my setup, my VPN client is ran in my router that has custom firmware (OpenVPN of course). I use iptables to setup some policy based routing. so everything below x.x.x.100 gets routed through the VPN and Tun0, and everything above x.x.x.100 gets sent to my Wan0 interface. This way I can control what gets routed where simply by assigning the correct IP address.

I actually have two separate deluge installs setup in two separate jails currently :D

Very smart and interesting, thanks
 
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