Install FreeNAS on 2008 mac pro

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Jab2870

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Hi, I am new to FreeNAS and BSD in general so my apologies if I'm missing something obvious.

I have been given a 2008 Mac Pro that has been upgraded quite a lot and I thought could be used as a storage server, mostly because it can be upgraded a lot.

It currently has 8GB of ram and I have another 8 ordered that should be coming soon. I have 3 6TB drives to work as my main storage (I thought probably raid 5) and a separate 2 TB drive that I am not sure what I'll do with yet.

I have got 2 16GB USB drives for the OS.

I created another memory stick with the install media and tried to boot to it.

I have rEFInd installed on the mac which found the memory stick but when I booted to it, I got the following message:

Code:
error: no suitable video mode found.
Booting in EFI blind mode
Press any key to continue...


When I press a key on the keyboard, nothing happens, I have to force shutdown by holding the power.

Following advice gleaned by googling etc. I tried installing FreeNAS onto the memory sticks using another computer which I did, choosing the EFI option when prompted.

This seems to have worked successfully and was able to boot of these on a different computer.

After plugging the memory sticks back into the Mac Pro, rEFInd discovers them and boots to them, I am then presented with a grub screen where I can choose to boot into normal, single user or verbose mode. All three result in the same error I had when trying to install FreeNAS using the Mac Pro.

Thank you in advance for any help you are able to provide.
 
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Try installing FreeBSD directly to a drive in the mac and see if it works.

I will say this however, more than likely you will not be able to do VM's with Bhyve since that is likely a xeon 5462 which will not support the software. Performance will be less than stellar as well.

It may be that it will not work due to some setting in their version of BIOS or it may need to be installed to something connected to a sata port so a small hdd or ssd.

If you are going to use RaidZ1 (raid 5 does not exist in FreeNAS in fact never use the word raid without a Z here) you had better have good backups with 6TB drives. http://www.zdnet.com/article/why-raid-5-stops-working-in-2009/

But overall the system you are trying to use will work fine as a testbed or a filer if done right but don't expect to do a ton with it and when you get the itch to run a bunch of jails including a media server it will be time to start planning a new complete build.
 

garm

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This is off topic but still

I went down the same road as you. I got my hands on a 2006 Mac Pro that I intended to use as my FreeNAS host. I ended up dumping that idea, installing a Radeon 7970 and turning it into a low budget gaming rig...

The reason is all the hassle of running non native code on them. I did get it to work but when a $300 Dell T20 ended up outperforming it I bought one of those instead for my home storage.

Appel ships drivers for windows, Ubuntu makes their own but getting FreeBSD and FreeNAS to play nice on a Mac Pro was a dead end, to me at least.
 

Jab2870

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Thank you both for your input.

I will see if I have got any spare drives lying around. Am I right in thinking that, regardless of the hdd size, i can't use any of the OS drive for storage? This is annoying because I don't really want to have the 2TB drive holding the OS then not be able to use any more of it.

I am interested in what you were saying about not being able to run VMs. They are not the same as jails are they? I was hoping to also run a DNS server from the machine in a Jail. Would that be possible?
 

Jab2870

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It might also be relevant to say that I am able to boot into a live Ubuntu instance from a memory stick so I'm pretty sure that the problem isn't the fact that I'm trying to boot off a memory stick
 

Jab2870

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Hi everyone.

I managed to boot from the memory sticks by adding the line
Code:
insmod all_video

To the grub config.
 

Chris Moore

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Hardware drivers will be the biggest problem. Good luck.

Sent from my SAMSUNG-SGH-I537 using Tapatalk
 

danb35

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Am I right in thinking that, regardless of the hdd size, i can't use any of the OS drive for storage?
Yes, that's correct. That's one of the reasons that the recommended configuration has the OS on a small flash device.
 

Jab2870

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Thanks for the warning but so far I haven't had any issues with drivers. The only thing I think the system needs now is a bit more ram.

I read in am old forum somewhere that you need about 1gb of ram per 1tb of storage. Is that still a good guideline? I can't seem to find the forum post I read that on but I think it was quite old.
 

Chris Moore

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Thanks for the warning but so far I haven't had any issues with drivers. The only thing I think the system needs now is a bit more ram.

I read in am old forum somewhere that you need about 1gb of ram per 1tb of storage. Is that still a good guideline? I can't seem to find the forum post I read that on but I think it was quite old.
It is a "thumb rule" not a hard guideline. The more RAM you can get, the better the responsiveness of the server.

Sent from my SAMSUNG-SGH-I537 using Tapatalk
 

Beau Slim

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Only the 2006 and 2007 Pros have the 32-bit EFI that FreeBSD/FreeNAS doesn't support.

I have an old MacPro that I am still very fond of. It can be fun to play with these old beasts, so by all means tinker. You will be happier with a recent i3 for FreeNAS, though.

These old machines suck power like crazy (120W+ at idle). Sleep and wake-on-lan probably won't work. Fan control may be an issue.

I ran ESXI 6 (with a FreeNAS vm) on it for a while and Ubuntu for even longer, but my old Pro is currently back to running El Capitan. It sleeps properly, Wake-on-LAN works and I still have a local ZFS store for VirtualBox VMs or whatever. And iTerm2.

If you insist on FreeNAS or Linux or ESXI on an old Pro, here are some tips:

Yes, stuff RAM in there. It should be cheap. I think I paid $70 shipped for 32GB a couple years ago. Try to get matched DIMMs in a set.

Pay attention to temperatures. If FreeNAS isn't properly managing your fans, first boot into MacOS, set the fan speeds with MacsFanControl and reboot into FreeNAS without powering down. This will give you reasonably high static fan speeds, at least until the next power-down.

Try pulling the video card and running headless to save power.
 
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