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Multi-purpose FreeNAS server

Western Digital Drives - The Preferred Drives of FreeNAS and TrueNAS CORE
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Hello,

I have been reading the forums for a while as i am planning on building a multi-purpose FreeNAS system. After reading through the hardware guide and researching some options, i am left with a few questions i could use some input on.


First, what i want to do with the system:
- File + media + backup storage server (4-8 disks)
- Media streaming
- Virtual machine host

What would be nice to have:
- Some computing power for development projects (AI, rendering etc.)
- Temporary mining rig (got ~6000kWh/year leftover from solar panels for now, which will eventually be redirected to heating)


Foremost, i am unsure about the tradeoffs involved in putting the computing and storage components in the same machine (saving on hardware costs) versus building separate systems (saving on energy when the development system can be off a lot of the time). I know most components (GPUs especially) can be turned off or disconnected and disks can be spun down when not in use for longer periods of time. However, it is hard to come by reliable data on processor idle power consumption. I am not too concerned about power and heating issues as i assume they can be solved by placing the GPUs outside the main system and on a different power supply.


So this brings me to two main configuration options for the FreeNAS system (other components to be researched):
- storage-only: Supermicro X11SSL-cF motherboard with Intel Core i3-6300T processor
- with more processing power: Supermicro X10SRL-F with Intel Xeon E5-1620 v4 processor

Considerations:
- the first option comes with 6xSATA + 8xSAS vs 10xSATA for the second one; 10 disks should be enough for my purposes (and the MB with SAS is double the price)
- the second option has seven pci-e slots available (on 40 lanes), wheras the first one has three (on max 16 lanes, but the MB seems to allow using only 13 of them)


Questions:

- Would the idle power consumption of the second system be significantly higher than the first? (TDP obviously is, but doesn't say much about idle usage)

- I saw refurbished Xeon E5-26xx's on sale for ~100EUR; can i use these on the second MB? (they use the same socket afaik, but supermicro lists only v3 / v4 Xeons in the specs.) Any idea about differences in performance / idle usage vs the E5-1620 v4? (I.e. how much does the generational difference affect performance and power?)

- Anything else i should be aware of in relation to the proposed configurations?


Kind regards,
Maarten
 

SweetAndLow

Sweet'NASty
Joined
Nov 6, 2013
Messages
6,395
The mining and computing part will not work with FreeNAS and should be a separate box anyways.

Spinning down disks cause more wear and tear on the disks and is not advised.

The idle power consumption of the 2 systems will be about the same. I like the e5 system because the i3 might not be enough depending on how you watch your media.
 
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Chris Moore

Wizened Sage
Joined
May 2, 2015
Messages
10,068
Hello,

I have been reading the forums for a while as i am planning on building a multi-purpose FreeNAS system. After reading through the hardware guide and researching some options, i am left with a few questions i could use some input on.


First, what i want to do with the system:
- File + media + backup storage server (4-8 disks)
- Media streaming
- Virtual machine host

What would be nice to have:
- Some computing power for development projects (AI, rendering etc.)
- Temporary mining rig (got ~6000kWh/year leftover from solar panels for now, which will eventually be redirected to heating)


Foremost, i am unsure about the tradeoffs involved in putting the computing and storage components in the same machine (saving on hardware costs) versus building separate systems (saving on energy when the development system can be off a lot of the time). I know most components (GPUs especially) can be turned off or disconnected and disks can be spun down when not in use for longer periods of time. However, it is hard to come by reliable data on processor idle power consumption. I am not too concerned about power and heating issues as i assume they can be solved by placing the GPUs outside the main system and on a different power supply.


So this brings me to two main configuration options for the FreeNAS system (other components to be researched):
- storage-only: Supermicro X11SSL-cF motherboard with Intel Core i3-6300T processor
- with more processing power: Supermicro X10SRL-F with Intel Xeon E5-1620 v4 processor

Considerations:
- the first option comes with 6xSATA + 8xSAS vs 10xSATA for the second one; 10 disks should be enough for my purposes (and the MB with SAS is double the price)
- the second option has seven pci-e slots available (on 40 lanes), wheras the first one has three (on max 16 lanes, but the MB seems to allow using only 13 of them)


Questions:

- Would the idle power consumption of the second system be significantly higher than the first? (TDP obviously is, but doesn't say much about idle usage)

- I saw refurbished Xeon E5-26xx's on sale for ~100EUR; can i use these on the second MB? (they use the same socket afaik, but supermicro lists only v3 / v4 Xeons in the specs.) Any idea about differences in performance / idle usage vs the E5-1620 v4? (I.e. how much does the generational difference affect performance and power?)

- Anything else i should be aware of in relation to the proposed configurations?


Kind regards,
Maarten
You might be able to get all the things you want, but you will need to use something like ESXi for the virtualization and pass the storage controller through to FreeNAS inside the VM. I have not done so, but theoretically, it should work. The virtualization support for FreeBSD is just not that good yet.

Sent from my SAMSUNG-SGH-I537 using Tapatalk
 

Chris Moore

Wizened Sage
Joined
May 2, 2015
Messages
10,068
So you would virtualize FreeNAS instead of creating virtual machines inside FreeNAS?
Because of the things you are wanting to do, if you want to do all that in a single system, the only way would be with vmware (ESXi) because it would let you setup a virtual guest and pass a video card through to have your high performance system and setup another virtual guest and pass a SAS controller in to run FreeNAS and control the storage.
Here is a good build log that will give you some ideas about how it might be done:
https://forums.freenas.org/index.ph...-node-304-x10sdv-tln4f-esxi-freenas-aio.57116
@Stux used a small system for his build, but for what you want to do, I think you will need a large system so you have room (PCIe slots) to mount all the hardware.
You can have an internal virtual network connecting all the guest OS instances inside ESXi so that any of them can actually store their data on the storage that is shared by the virtual FreeNAS instance. It will take some work, but it can be done, however the virtualization support within FreeNAS is just not up to the task for now and it may be some time before it is, if it ever is.
- the second option has seven pci-e slots available (on 40 lanes), wheras the first one has three (on max 16 lanes, but the MB seems to allow using only 13 of them)
You will definitely need all those PCIe lanes if you want to do what you are thinking of doing.
 
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