Register for the iXsystems Community to get an ad-free experience and exclusive discounts in our eBay Store.

New Build - Advice

Western Digital Drives - The Preferred Drives of FreeNAS and TrueNAS CORE
Status
Not open for further replies.

immad

Cadet
Joined
Jul 13, 2016
Messages
1
Hello, I'd be grateful for some advice on how people think I should proceed and if what I suggest makes sense.

So basically I have a HP N-54L microserver currently which has Windows 7 installed. This machine is primarily used as a plex server. The machine contains about 3 different hard drives of varying sizes with one hard drive primarily used to store media for plex.

I have now purchased an Nvidia Shield TV, my intention is to now use this as my plex server and media player. I would like to set-up the microserver as a nas to which the nvidia shield can access the data from. My reasons for doing this:

-Greater transoding ability
-less noise as the nas will now be relocated away from where the media will be viewe

As I wont be needing access to the microserver much, Is it possible to set-up the nas to only power on when access is required by the plex server on the shield?
 

Robert Trevellyan

Pony Wrangler
Joined
May 16, 2014
Messages
3,778
I don't know what an nVidia Shield TV can do, but using an N-54L with FreeNAS as a basic NAS seems reasonable. However, with RAM capacity limited to 8GB, which is the minimum for FreeNAS, you have no headroom for doing anything else with it.
Is it possible to set-up the nas to only power on when access is required by the plex server on the shield?
This would be 'wake-on-LAN' or WOL. Depends on the hardware, BIOS and driver, as far as I know. Most members who have an opinion would counsel you to leave it running 24/7 unless you plan to use it less than, say, once a week.
 

Nick2253

Wizard
Joined
Apr 21, 2014
Messages
1,610
The machine contains about 3 different hard drives of varying sizes with one hard drive primarily used to store media for plex.

Your three differently sized hard drives may be a problem. We usually recommend RAIDZ2 for true data protection, but you'll want at least some kind of parity/mirroring to take advantage of ZFSs scrubbing and data correction features.

If you go that route, you'll be limited by the size of your smallest drive. For example, if you have a 500GB drive, a 1TB drive, and a 2TB drive, a RAIDZ1 array of those three drives would be 500GB x (3 drives - 1 parity drive) = ~1TB. Now, FreeNAS does support auto size increasing, so you'll be able to replace your smaller drives and your pool will grow once your smallest drive is replaced.

Also, since FreeNAS uses ZFS, you'll be forced to reformat the drives before you can use them (unless you were using ZFS with Plex, which I'm guessing you are not). What that means is that you'll have to backup the data somewhere.

Most members who have an opinion would counsel you to leave it running 24/7 unless you plan to use it less than, say, once a week.

I also agree with this. The most wear you put on your server is when you start it up. Leaving it running is not very hard on the components, and with modern hardware idling so efficiently, the power cost from running it 24/7 will probably be very minimal (I can't say with certainty, since I've never worked with the HP Microservers).
 

adrianwi

Guru
Joined
Oct 15, 2013
Messages
1,216
The HP NL microservers run quite happily with 16GB RAM even though HP say the maximum is 8.
 

melloa

Wizard
Joined
May 22, 2016
Messages
1,747
The HP NL microservers run quite happily with 16GB RAM even though HP say the maximum is 8.

With this RAM limitation, is he looking for an upgrade soon, as he's planning on use it to store media for Plex? and Perhaps running Plex in it?
 

Robert Trevellyan

Pony Wrangler
Joined
May 16, 2014
Messages
3,778

melloa

Wizard
Joined
May 22, 2016
Messages
1,747
OK, good to know.

I would expect 8GB to be enough for storage-only, and 16GB to be enough for storage and running Plex.

I guess we are "guessing" here as I didn't see the pool size @immad is planning, only that he has different HD sizes, but to quote the stick post: https://forums.freenas.org/index.php?threads/hardware-recommendations-read-this-first.23069/

"For most home users 16GB is a very good sweet spot. If you plan to run lots of jails like Plex or Minecraft you should consider going with 32GB of RAM. It is better to have too much than too little. Be careful bout filling your slots with low-density RAM. It is better in the long term to buy 2x8GB sticks than 4x4GB sticks as this save you money in the long term when upgrades are going to be desired."
 

adrianwi

Guru
Joined
Oct 15, 2013
Messages
1,216
In my experience, the HP NL microservers don't make very good Plex servers as they don't have the horsepower to transcode a single 1080p file. That might not be a problem if all your media is in a format to Direct Play, but if it's not expect lots of buffering.
 

gpsguy

Active Member
Joined
Jan 22, 2012
Messages
4,473
I've got 16GB ECC RAM in my N54L. A lot of FreeNAS users have done it with the NxxL series servers.

However, with RAM capacity limited to 8GB, which is the minimum for FreeNAS, you have no headroom for doing anything else with it.
 

gpsguy

Active Member
Joined
Jan 22, 2012
Messages
4,473
It was only $129 on Amazon Prime Day. I wasn't really interested, but might have picked up one at that price. But the deal had expired by the time I found out.

Somehow I missed the opportunity to plug my favorite entry-level solution, which is a Dell PowerEdge T20 @ $179 (plus RAM and drives).
 

melloa

Wizard
Joined
May 22, 2016
Messages
1,747
Status
Not open for further replies.
Top