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Help with FreeNAS

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abelloni

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Sep 22, 2011
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We are working for one large education group here in Brazil and are suggesting utilization of FreeNas as NAS server. We are facing some issues trying to convince the decision makers of the benefits of FreeNAS over other NAS products. They have some issues regarding the performance and scalability of FreeNAS. Please, someone could tell us which documentation we should look to help us answer the following questions:

- Hom many concurrent I/O requests a typical FreeNAS server, serving SMB/CIFS shares, can support ?
- Who is using FreeNAS ? Is there large deployments of FreeNAS here in Brazil ?
- Who provide paid technical support ? We know that IX System has a paid support option for TrueNAS, but they can support FreeNAS also ? Is there any organization offering paid support of FreeNAS here in Brazil ?
- FreeNAS features compared to others solutions (Openfiler, Windows file server, Linux with Samba).

Best Regards,
Antonio Belloni
 

jgreco

Resident Grinch
Joined
May 29, 2011
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The performance of a "typical" FreeNAS server is a pointless question. There is no typical server. It's a function of the hardware you choose. It's possible to have a very reasonable filer on last century's hardware (Intel ISP1100, 1GB RAM, UFS and some SATA drives) but it's going to be blazingly slow. You can have a box built on SATA SSD's and an Intel i7 CPU and 16GB of RAM and it'll fly for most operations. Then you can go up to the next level of performance with fusionio's offerings.

Those of us who have been building storage solutions for years will tell you that performance is a function of the slowest link in your chain. If you buy the fastest CPU, memory, and drives, but attach the drives via USB2 in an external chassis, you're going to be limited to the bandwidth of the USB bus. There's no way to tell you what the "typical" FreeNAS server will do. What's a typical server? On the lowish end, if you're buying new hardware, you buy something like an HP Microserver N36L, and you can find all sorts of discussion of the performance people are getting out of those. On the highish end, there are people buying i3/i5/i7-based systems in Norco 24-drive cases, and you can find those numbers on the forums too. But neither of those represent the extremes available, and are not even necessarily representative of the sides of the bell curve either.

What I can say is that FreeNAS will be in the same general range as Openfiler on similar hardware, and Openfiler is essentially equivalent to Linux with Samba. There are differences, to be sure, but you shouldn't see order-of-magnitude differences or anything like that. The different featuresets of the ZFS filesystem, for example, will cause some differences.
 
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