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New Build - Backup/Light ISCSI

Western Digital Drives - The Preferred Drives of FreeNAS and TrueNAS CORE
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Robby0328

Cadet
Joined
Feb 22, 2016
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I will be using this as a backup server that will be backed up to crashplan as well. I currently use unRaid which I like the fact I can add disks as needed but I would like iSCSI support mainly to install larger applications from single computer no other machine will be accessing the iSCSI protocol but others will be accessing a few shares via SMB. What are your thoughts on this?

Build Specs:
Case: Node 804 (Link)
Motherboard: Asus M5A78L-M/USB3 (Link)
Ram: 4x Kingston Technology 8GB DDR3 1600MHz PC3-12800 ECC (Link)
Processor: AMD FX-6120 (Link) (I have this laying around)
HDDs: 6x 2TB Hitachi Ultrastar (RAID-Z2) (Link) (I have these laying around)
PSU: EVGA 500W W1 (Link)
Battery Backup: APC Back-UPS Pro 700VA (Link)
I think that's everything. Let me know what you think :D
 
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Arwen

Wizard
Joined
May 17, 2014
Messages
1,939
In general, we don't recommend PC or Workstation boards for use in a FreeNAS server. PC
or Workstation boards can mostly be identified as having audio, extra video and possibly
even old PS-2 keyboard / mouse ports.

Server boards tend to leave off un-needed ports, sometimes have extra network ports, and
many times have IPMI. Using the IPMI, (aka BMC or LOM), allows remote administration,
even through the console using a network port, (generally dedicated network port).

People around here recommend Supermicro boards. But some of the Asrock Rack boards
also seem quite good. Asus, Gigabyte, Tyan, MSI and such make good PC and Workstation
boards, with some dabbling into server boards. But, you have to look at the board from a
different perspective.

You should also understand some of the benefits and limitations of ZFS using in FreeNAS.
One thing that unRAID likely had that ZFS does not, is re-configuring your RAID. When
ZFS was designed, it was for Enterprise use. ZFS currently has no provision to change the
layout of the data disks, except by;
  • Replacing existing disks with larger, (whence all are done, pool grows in size)
  • Adding new disks in it's own Mirror or RAID-Zx
Basically you cant't shrink your data pool, nor re-configure without backup and full restore.

So, if you don't know ZFS, read up and understand it's benefits and limitations. If the limits
are not acceptable, then continue to look for a NAS solution. (I'm not trying to be rude, just
making sure you won't be surprised and or disappointed.)
 

Robby0328

Cadet
Joined
Feb 22, 2016
Messages
6
Arwen,

Thank you for your response. I have read quite a bit and I do understand I can't add drives to a ZFS pools which I kind of like. Less chance of an issue by adding a drive and forces me to get my drives up front. I like that. I was thinking about using the board only because I had the processor laying around. I defiantly appreciate the advice and will look into making the changed you suggested about getting some server grade parts. :)
 

Arwen

Wizard
Joined
May 17, 2014
Messages
1,939
Yes, ZFS's immutable vDevs tend to have less problems that some other systems
where you can add or remove a drive from it's RAID set.

iSCSI tends to like multiple Mirror vDevs. But if it's light duty enough, then you
can use the same RAID-Zx for iSCSI and backups.

Just understand that iSCSI and any VMs benefit from "sync=always" on the dataset
or Zvol. It's a reliabilty thing and if writing is too slow, then a SLOG, (external write
intent log), would help. Generally SLOGs are SSD but could be battery backed up
RAM disks, (more expensive).
 

Robby0328

Cadet
Joined
Feb 22, 2016
Messages
6
So what you're saying is I should get something like this (more so the case) set up it up like this:

2x 16gb Sandisk Cruiser USBs (Mirrored)
2x2x1tb Drives (Haven't decided yet maybe even some SAS drives) for iSCSI set to "sync=always"
8x2tb Hitachi Ultrastar (I like symmetry)
Put maybe 32ish gb of ram
and don't use an adaptec use an LSI in IT mode

I wouldn't mind doing a rack mount build. 4u's shouldn't be too noisy I believe

:P I like it
 

gpsguy

Active Member
Joined
Jan 22, 2012
Messages
4,473
I concur with what Arwen has already said.

We do have some forum users, using that Asus mobo with s FX CPU and ECC RAM. You would also need to add a better NIC, like an Intel Pro/1000 CT.

@joeschmuck had been using this combo until he upgraded to a Skylark based Supermicro system.
 

melloa

Wizard
Joined
May 22, 2016
Messages
1,748
Processor: AMD FX-6120 (Link) (I have this laying around)

Don't make the same mistake I did, buying a motherboard for couple xeons/ram I had. At the end of the day, I spent good $150-200 to build something to not be happy :)

You have the drives, six of them, good for a raidz2 that will give you 8TiB usable space. You know you can increase in the future changing the drives, so go for something more "modern" and up to recommended specs.
 

joeschmuck

Old Man
Moderator
Joined
May 28, 2011
Messages
9,357
@gpsguy Thanks for linking me in on this one.

@Robby0328 If you are considering the ASUS motherboard you listed above, I can tell you that it's a good product with my first hand experience. I could go into a long speech (just ask anyone around here) but I won't this time because, I'll try to keep it short.

With the advent of FreeNAS 10 there have been some doubters that the new virtual machine software Bhyve will work properly on an AMD CPU. From what I've read there "should" be no problem, however with that said, Stay clear from AMD CPUs for the time being until after FreeNAS 10 Release comes out and someone have verified everything works fine.

When you think of the cost of all the parts you should realize that the motherboard and CPU are not that expensive compared to the hard drives. Keep that in mind because purchasing the correct parts up front will save you money in the long run. I would recommend a Supermicro motherboard, not because they are very solid products but rather because there is a lot of support for them. Support matters a lot and I have no issues getting support from Supermicro when I needed help (problems of being an early adopter) and more so the support from the forums because we all have these boards.

My last piece of advice is to know what you plan to use the system for covering at least a 5 year period. Think about what you might want to do in the future and type to buy for that. This is especially true when it comes to storage capacity. I tell everyone to plan for 3 to 5 years on how much storage they will need and then double it. Most people become data hoarders by accident. Realize that you need to keep 20% of your capacity free (unused) for your system to operate at a good speed, ZFS is picky.

Good luck on your purchase, whatever it is.
 
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