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# 213794 12-Apr-2017 20:59
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I am wishing to build a freenas box, reading that ecc components are a must, is this true in that Freenas needs this feature? Can you guys recommend components to me, not really sure what to go with.

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  # 1763421 12-Apr-2017 21:06
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I looked at this a couple of years back. ZFS, SuperMicro, Xeon, ECC RAM, it got super expensive. I ended up just using my PC. There are many, many resources that give you their opinion, they all conflict.


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  # 1763425 12-Apr-2017 21:23
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Any particular reason for freenas?

 

If you are, generally any of the Nahelem core series onwards is perfectly fine with PCI gen 2 for HBA cards to drive the HDDs.  Would need some more parameters to know what you're trying to achieve.

 

With respect to ECC, it is not essential for FreeNAS but recommended for all storage systems in general.  FreeNAS, for example, can checksum and rebuild data from parity that has been corrupted but if the data was corrupted in memory before writing then all the protection in the world will not bring that data back; ECC ram will help stop that by checksumming the data in ram before it is written out.

 

My storage system is an X8DTE-F with a single Xeon L5630 and 32GB DDR3 RDimm with ECC.  It runs Xpenology (a bootloader to load synologys DSM) and I have capacity up to 12 HDDs in mixed format.  FreeNAS requires all HDDS to be the same size and you cannot expand a vdev once created, only add more vdevs.  Everytime you want to increase storage of a vdev, they all must be replaced to get the new size.


 
 
 
 


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  # 1763444 12-Apr-2017 21:36
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solar flares 


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  # 1763446 12-Apr-2017 21:37
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macuser:

 

solar flares 

 

 

Random?  Unless you're trying to indicate that in the case of an extreme solar flare event would cause mechanical HDDs to have issues?




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  # 1763485 12-Apr-2017 22:11
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Benoire the reason for freenas is that for the price of a low end arm qnap nas I could build the equivalent of a high end i3 i5 qnap nas using freenas, it's not for a commercial use so not too worried about losing data (touch wood).

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  # 1764258 14-Apr-2017 11:32
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Here is my advice. It is based on experience of running a large (by home standards) FreeBSD/ZFS system.

 

That is not quite the same as FreeNAS but it is close enough to be valid.

 

ECC - get it if you can but do not pay attention to those who say that it is essential. If you cannot build an ECC system, do not let that put you off FreeNAS.

 

Unless you need to run de-dupllcation, you do not need lots of RAM or a fast CPU. Four gigs of ram and any old core 2 duo CPU is a decent minimum.

 

Take care around compatibility with particular regard to network interfaces and disk controllers.

 

There are some NICs that are not supported by FreeBSD and which never will be. An example is the so called "Killer NIC" chip which is found on a few high end gaming motherboards. The chip interface is not public and you can only get binary drivers for windows.

 

There are some cheap multi-port SATA cards that are not supported. If you need more ports that you get on your mobo, look at cards on amazon and aliexpress. I have bought several cards from both outlets and I have reviwed them with comments as to FreeBSD compatibility. Other have done the same.

 

Do not dismiss the idea of using SAS controllers for your SATA devices. A modern SAS controller can handle 255 (or so) drives via fan out cables and expanders and the SAS interface works just fine from one chassis to another even with separate power supplies. The LSI 2008 controllers with external SAS ports are exactly what you need for this. They have no onboard RAID - that is just what you need for FreeNAS. You can get the controllers from amazon and pickup expanders from ebay. If you do go the SAS route - perhaps if you have more than a dozen drives, trust the cables from aliexpress. I have never had a bad cable or interconnector from there and they are cheap.

 

Back to ECC, one way to get there is with a high end server mobo and a top of the line xeon but that is expensive and there are plenty of cheap options out there.

 

Cheaper intel processors - pentiums for example - will run ECC on a suitable motherboard. That will cut the price of the CPU but still, in Intel land you will often still be looking at a lot of cash for a mobo because few of the cheap chipsets support ECC so you are back in server grade motherboards.

 

AMD systems on the other hand do support ECC. It is built into most of their CPUs and chipsets so a typical AMD desktop mobo/cpu will support ECC and that is a much cheaper option than the Intel route.

 

Older used servers are great as well. You can get an IBM x3650 for less than a hundred bucks and add in a 4U chassis from an obsolete server for another ten bucks then you just need the SAS controllers and expanders and you can build a system that supports 80 3.5 inch hard disks if you need it in a sort of poor man's backblaze rig. The only downside there is the noise from the server fans. Your neighbors may call the police and report that you are testing jet turbine engines in the garage for another one of those projects to build a cruise missile in your garage.

 

My last suggestion is probably the cheapest and best performing idea. I list it last as I have not yet personally verified that it is good.

 

If you go to aliX or ebay, you can pickup a first gen E5 xeon for around fifty bucks. According to cpubenchmark, that is a fair bit faster than say an i7 4790k which will set you back a lot more cash.

 

The only problem is where do you get an old lgs2011 mobo for the processor. That is why they are so cheap. But here is the twist: a vendor on amazon has started to build x79 motherboards to address exactly this market. So for a total spend of around US$200 you can get a mobo/CPU bundle that will outperform an i7 that costs twice as much for the processor alone and it will run ECC. My kit is in the post, I will report back when I have built it all up if there is interest.

 

 


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  # 1764272 14-Apr-2017 12:17
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Re FreeNas,

 

There has just been a statement released about the failure of FreeNas Coral, I believe the lead developer of this project has resigned, This has stalled the development/stability of the Coral Branch, 

 

FreeNas 9.3 is life as usual, 

 

 

 

If you were longing for the feature set of Coral you like me are lost right now.


 
 
 
 


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  # 1764457 14-Apr-2017 17:03
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Update, 

 

Just installed Unraid , due to frustrations with FreeNas, (I don't need enterprise storage)

 

It's awesome the plugin and apps repo is what I assume Corall was trying to achieve,

 

Unraid is not free but give it a look.

 

p.s I am to impressed with the features to start looking at the downsides of Unraid today


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  # 1764471 14-Apr-2017 17:39
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To be honest, unraid doesn't have too many from a general storage perspective.  Reading is only as fast as the drive the data is on due to no data spanning, writing is a lot slower as its not distributed parity, and there is no iscsi service.  But generally its good.

 

I personally prefer Xpenology which is a boot loader to load Synology's OS, DSM, on to my esxi cluster.


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  # 1764476 14-Apr-2017 17:47
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JeremyNzl:

 

Update, 

 

Just installed Unraid , due to frustrations with FreeNas, (I don't need enterprise storage)

 

It's awesome the plugin and apps repo is what I assume Corall was trying to achieve,

 

Unraid is not free but give it a look.

 

p.s I am to impressed with the features to start looking at the downsides of Unraid today

 

 

 

 

unraid is my prefered machine however..

 

 

 

It is not the fastest, atleast historically (i understand the newer 5.x releases support another filesystem).

 

however for me, the conditions of my storage needs are..

 

- Large mass storage

 

- Limited overhead/requirements

 

- Ability to rebuild in the unfortunate event of a failure.

 

- Essentially mainly cold storage.

 

 

 

I'd totally, and have been very close to... consider building a ZFS based storage machine if i needed speed out of an array.

 

 

 

I stick the toshiba 5TB's in my machine, they peg gbit with ease, push a good 350MB/s for most of its spindle - Impressive for unraids stack (on a old Athlon X2!)





#include <std_disclaimer>

 

Any comments made are personal opinion and do not reflect directly on the position my current or past employers may have.


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  # 1764680 15-Apr-2017 11:54
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johny99: Benoire the reason for freenas is that for the price of a low end arm qnap nas I could build the equivalent of a high end i3 i5 qnap nas using freenas, it's not for a commercial use so not too worried about losing data (touch wood).

 

 

 

You should evaluate your requirements, if a arm based nas is deemed too expensive then why are you looking to use a product that needs expensive ECC ram for enterprise grade features that you likely dont need?

 

 

 

Have you looked at readynas and openmediavault? These are reputable DIY nas platforms that will remove the "requirement" for expensive ECC ram. 





 

 

 

 

 


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  # 1764684 15-Apr-2017 12:00
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Again, I'll reiterate that unless you do not need to expand HDDs (or can afford to upgrade a vdev once built) then ZFS/FreeNAS will be good.  Even a four disk raidz1 moving from 3tb to 4tb drives will cost around $800 for 3tb space due to the requirement to upgrade ALL drives to get the new space.

 

My personal preference is currently Xpenology / DSM 6.1 with SHR1/2 to giving raid 5 or 6 parity protection but the ability to run mixed drive sizes and actually use them.  Xpenology can run on most hardware and can then bootstrap in the custom DSM OS used by synology (http://xpenology.com/forum/index.php).  My wish is that it had the bitrot protection of ZFS but then that should be coming as BTRFS matures.


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  # 1764817 15-Apr-2017 22:11
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ratsun81:

 

johny99: Benoire the reason for freenas is that for the price of a low end arm qnap nas I could build the equivalent of a high end i3 i5 qnap nas using freenas, it's not for a commercial use so not too worried about losing data (touch wood).

 

 

 

You should evaluate your requirements, if a arm based nas is deemed too expensive then why are you looking to use a product that needs expensive ECC ram for enterprise grade features that you likely dont need?

 

 

 

Have you looked at readynas and openmediavault? These are reputable DIY nas platforms that will remove the "requirement" for expensive ECC ram. 

 

 

Sorry but this is just wrong. Actually, the phrase arrant nonsense comes to mind.

 

First, it is already established and understood that FreeNAS does not need ECC ram.

 

Second, have your looked into the pricing? Last time that I checked, ECC ram was cheaper than non ECC ram for many applications. That was last Tuesday and I looked at DDR3 pricing from amazon and aliexpress.


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  # 1764823 15-Apr-2017 22:26
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Benoire:

 

Again, I'll reiterate that unless you do not need to expand HDDs (or can afford to upgrade a vdev once built) then ZFS/FreeNAS will be good.  Even a four disk raidz1 moving from 3tb to 4tb drives will cost around $800 for 3tb space due to the requirement to upgrade ALL drives to get the new space.

 

My personal preference is currently Xpenology / DSM 6.1 with SHR1/2 to giving raid 5 or 6 parity protection but the ability to run mixed drive sizes and actually use them.  Xpenology can run on most hardware and can then bootstrap in the custom DSM OS used by synology (http://xpenology.com/forum/index.php).  My wish is that it had the bitrot protection of ZFS but then that should be coming as BTRFS matures.

 

 

Where do ideas like this come from? The last upgrade to my FreeBSD/ZFS system came about by adding a single 6TB drive. I use raidz2 vdevs and that additional 6T drive gave me an extra 4T of useful data storage for a cost of less than $250. If you do not understand how to configure ZFS for this sort of flexibility then you should most likely avoid such comments. My main ZFS system has a mix of drives with capacities of 1.5, 2, 3, 4, 5 & 6TB and I can up the capacity by adding additional drives or swapping out small drives for larger drives one at a time.


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  # 1764825 15-Apr-2017 22:31
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So within FreeNAS, how did you do this?  I will admit that my limited knowledge has obviously prevented this, hence why I've gone back to Linux and MDADM software raid (Synology DSM is built on this).  I was under the impression from all the information that once you configured a single vdev that you couldn't add more drive and that you needed all drives at the same size to then expand the vdev and therefore pool?


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