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UncleFester's FreeNAS Beginners Guide

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

gpsguy

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I just buy Velcro or its generic equivalent on a bulk roll and cut the lengths to fit the job.


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Sakuru

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danb35

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I believe @jkh is working on bringing up wiki.freenas.org soon.
That would be great. I'm happy to host a wiki on my server (and I think I will go ahead on trying to load the content there), but it makes more sense (IMO) to have it somewhere on freenas.org. But weren't the docs previously in a wiki?
 

Nick2253

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jkh

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That would be great. I'm happy to host a wiki on my server (and I think I will go ahead on trying to load the content there), but it makes more sense (IMO) to have it somewhere on freenas.org. But weren't the docs previously in a wiki?
We're aiming at something different than the DOCs (which are now bundled with FreeNAS itself). This will be more of a FAQ / general resources page than an attempt to be comprehensive.

That said, I'm now reading "Uncle Fester's guide" (just now noticed it) and I like that approach too - maybe we can figure out some way to give it a section of its own under "New User Guides" or something... I'm open to all sorts of ideas, just give me a chance to roll out wiki.freenas.org "officially" first (that should be happening this week sometime, God and IT willing).
 

UncleFester

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Hello @Mirfster,

Thanks for your further comments regarding the guide.

I think the dislclaimer is fine as it is, but thanks for the suggestion. Appreciated.

Agreed Samba is single threaded, but that is "per connection".
Thanks for that. I was unaware this.
Your feedback on CPU selection has made me realise this is quite a thorny issue and it will not be easy to change the guide text to something more universally suitable for the beginner.
However, your advice on this has made me realise my original recommendation needs replacing.

They don't really require a particular CPU speed, but just make a vague statement.
Yes, a more generalised statement maybe the way to go. However, I would like to avoid vague statements in a beginners guide. As a FreeNAS beginner I tend to like very directed advice until such a time I have enough knowledge to work these things out for myself.

Side Note: I do think it would be wise to mention that "Server" class hardware is recommended
This is a great idea. I'm fairly certain the guide does not mention this anywhere. Thanks.

Not sure really, it is always a good thing to have IPMI (also known as BMC or even iLO in HPs). Even better when it is dedicated. I guess that is fine to recommend a dedicated NIC for this since most Server Class hardware nowadays should have it anyways...
danb35 has taken care of Fester's little moment of madness in the wiki. He kindly stripped this part out. It most definitely needs to be removed or changed in the word doc and PDF.
Don't know what I was thinking with this :rolleyes:.

However, for the most part Hardware Raid cards are to be avoided IMHO.
I think something like that should be in the guide. Something that explicitly warns or recommends avoidance of RAID cards.

Thanks :D.
 
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Mirfster

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The difficulty I think you will discover is that since FreeNas is so darn versatile it makes it rather hard to have some statements that are "Set in stone". Aside from the standard "Rules of Engagement" recommendations can/will widely vary depending on the actual "Use Case".

If someone wanted a FreeNas box for 3rd Tier Archival purposes, I would more than likely recommend something totally different opposed to a FreeNas system that was an ESXi VM Datastore.
 

UncleFester

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Hello @danb35,

In the course of wikifying the guide, I just removed the two-NIC recommendation.
Thanks for that. I am glad you removed it. It's incorrect and misleading.
As soon as I get a moment I will follow you on this and take it out of the word doc and PDF. Just very busy at the moment with another project. Don't panic :eek: it is not related to FreeNAS (the FreeNAS forum breathes a collective sigh of relief :D).

With respect to the four NICs, yes, I think so. I'm not sure that it's harmful as such, but it isn't going to help anything. The "right" way to group multiple NICs together for the sake of increased bandwidth is via link aggregation, but see https://forums.freenas.org/index.php?threads/lacp-friend-or-foe.30541/ for more information on that (in short: it's rarely useful in a home environment).
I will look into this, thanks for the link.
I really just connected things up that way because I thought that was the correct manner. Didn't have load balancing or link aggregation in mind when setting things up. Just thought to myself I've got four NICs, let's use them :D.

Any objection to breaking that out into its own section, and linking it to both places?
Fantastic idea and should save some time.
The reason it appears twice was to avoid a potential problem with the more advanced user jumping straight into the "final installation" section (and not early onset Alzheimer's).

Thanks.
 
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adrianwi

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Impressive work and quite an undertaking to complete. I've only really scanned through it, but when I got to the end of page 240 my overriding though was 'wouldn't someone be better served RTFM' which at 297 pages in PDF format isn't that much bigger?

I think sections of this would make the basis of an excellent wiki and with some of the 'how to guides' on the forum would be a great place for someone to get some basic step-by-step instructions for areas not particular well covered in the manual.

Just my thoughts though, so of very little value :D
 

UncleFester

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Hello @anodos,

Thanks for the feedback on CPU choice.

It is becoming clear to me that a succinct, "one size fits all" statement on this matter is going to be impossible in a guide.
As you demonstrate in in your response the choice of CPU is a lot more nuanced than I first imagined.
One thing is clear, my original statement in the guide will need to be changed and refined.

As a beginner I would like a guide that gives a definitive answer to the CPU choice question. But as you have shown, this is not possible as the question is a lot more contextual that I first realised.
I am beginning to think a CPU recommendation cannot be made in any kind of FreeNAS guide without first asking "What are you going to do with your FreeNAS server?"
The problem is that beginners like me don't always know what they want to do beyond the obvious stuff like "centrally share files", "stream media", etc.

Tricky one this :confused:.

One thing that does stand out clearly is the statement about RAM.

ZFS lives and dies by its cache. More RAM often helps performance more than more GHz (even with samba). If you're on a tight budget, more RAM will give you more bang for the buck than more GHz.
Something like that should be in the guide.

Thanks.
 
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danb35

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@AdrianWilliamson, as I see it, the greatest value in Fester's guide is that it's intended to talk a newbie through what needs to be done to get a server up and running. The FreeNAS manual is, IMO, one of the best pieces of documentation in free/open source software, but it's less of a guide than a reference.
 

UncleFester

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Hello Adrian,

Thanks for the feedback.

Yes, I think someone who has experience with servers, operating systems, etc would indeed be better off reading the............manual :D. One thing you can be sure of with the manual is that the information in it is correct (can't always say that about Fester's guide).

In fact if I'm not mistaken the beginners guide says something to that effect, albeit in a somewhat oblique way:

It is no substitute for the excellent official guide that accompanies the FreeNAS OS.
The idea behind the beginners guide was a step-by-step thing with lots and lots of pictures.
"Go here", "Click there" kind of thing. To take a complete beginner from the start and get them a basic working FreeNAS server without being patronising in the process.

I also think a really good beginners guide (I am not referring to my guide now) will open up FreeNAS to people who would not normally be aware of it, or consider it as an OS choice.

Although the FreeNAS manual is excellent and well written, as a beginner I got a lot more mileage out of some of @cyberjock , @Ericloewe , @jgreco , @joeschmuck , @Glorious1 , @diedrichg , @depasseg , @anodos and @qwertymodo guides (to name but a few) than the official one.

In fact without the people mentioned previously there would be no Fester's guide.

Thanks.
 
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danb35

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I don't have all the content in it yet, and I'll probably want to play with themes a bit, but I won't have much time over the weekend to work on loading content into the wiki, so I think I'll go live with it and see what you all think. You'll need to register for an account to edit pages.
 

Mirfster

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Is this a shameless plug for a certain "DocuWiki" contrib for SME Server? ;)

'Cuz if it is; I am sold! Looks great and I am going to have to play around with that contrib....
 

danb35

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Not intentionally, but if you want to take it that way... The contrib is packaged with a number of plugins, including a pretty decent GUI editor, so you don't really need to mess with wiki markup syntax much. That editor also lets you copy/paste images, at least in Firefox (but not in Chrome), which has been pretty convenient. To do so, use one of the paste buttons on the editor toolbar; don't just paste into the text window. The latter will appear to work until you save, when the image will turn into a long string of base64-encoded data.
 

joeschmuck

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I have a lot more to read. The only thing I'm not a fan of is having links to download the documents. I really like the Wiki idea and have visited it briefly and it looks pretty good.

@UncleFester Are you taking all the comments others have proposed into account, not saying you have to follow their advice but I agree with most if not all of what I've read, and when will you do another update of the document?

EDIT: Moved to How-To-Guides section.
 
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