Home · Register · Search · View Winners · Software · Hosting · Software · Join Upload & Sell

Moderated by: Fred Miranda
Username   Password

  New fredmiranda.com Mobile Site
  New Feature: SMS Notification alert
  New Feature: Buy & Sell Watchlist
  

FM Forums | General Gear-talk | Join Upload & Sell

  

Archive 2012 · FreeNAS, take a look if you need a high-end storage server.
  
 
CAlbertson
Offline

Upload & Sell: Off
p.1 #1 · p.1 #1 · FreeNAS, take a look if you need a high-end storage server.


I just put a FeeNAS system together and I've been testing for a couple weeks.

If anyone needs a high performance NAS storage server, look at FreeNAS. As the name implies the system software s free. It runs on PC hardware. It is easy to set up if you know a little about computers.

The best use case for this is if you need more than 4TB storage and 100MB/sec or better speed. Perfect for large photo or video libraries.

Some of the features are
0) Ultra reliable, data is checksummed from end to end and stored redundantly.
1) point in time snapshots, you can checkpoint the storage and then revert to that point later, good to have after a major "user error" Checkpoints take zero time and space
2) the array can survive multiple hard disk failures and continue with no lost data
3) very high performance, can support many workstations. Can "flood" multiple gigabit Eithernet cables simultaneously
4) runs on a "headless" server, no monitor or keyboard, controlled via a web interface. So you can place the server in a closet, out of the way.
5) Not the best system for small scale needs. Although it does make a good "backup server." That means a place on your network where you but backup data. I use this NAS to backup several computers
6) it is easy to set up "replication". This means a second or third NAS that keeps itself in sync with the main NAS. Typically people will have a second one in a different building or even different city to backup in case of fire or theft of equipment. Only the changes are sent so the data rate can be kept down. Replication solves the problem of "How do I backup my 20TB NAS server?"

Basically you use this as the central data storage facility for a small office or larger home network.

Take a look at
http://www.freenas.org

BTW, this is obviously not going to run on that 10 year old notebook PC you found at a garage sale. You need a medium performance CPU, lots of RAM and, of course a chassis that can hold the desired number of hard drives. I'm putting one inside one of these
http://www.fractal-design.com/?view=product&prod=99
key specs are "silent" operations and 8 hard drive trays.





Dec 22, 2012 at 11:12 PM
hondageek
Offline
• • •
Upload & Sell: Off
p.1 #2 · p.1 #2 · FreeNAS, take a look if you need a high-end storage server.


I built a FreeNAS machine a few weeks ago. 6 drives in a raidz2 config. It's an incredible system but I'm having trouble with random restarts that I can't figure out.


Dec 25, 2012 at 07:13 PM
hondageek
Offline
• • •
Upload & Sell: Off
p.1 #3 · p.1 #3 · FreeNAS, take a look if you need a high-end storage server.


I just built a new workstation in a Fractal R4. Best case I've ever seen.



Dec 25, 2012 at 07:14 PM
CAlbertson
Offline

Upload & Sell: Off
p.1 #4 · p.1 #4 · FreeNAS, take a look if you need a high-end storage server.


The first place to look is in the log files on /var/log. Good chance you are having hardware problems.

I good way to verify the software on known good hardware is to run the NAS inside a "VM" either in VMware, or Virtual Box (https://www.virtualbox.org) The later is free. THis way it runs on your desktop or notbook system that you KNOW doesn not have a hardware problem

One other possable cause is a kernel panic when it runs out of memory on systems with only a tiny amount of RAM. You need at least 4MB to run and more to run well. If you have much less and try to run large ZFS data sets and you can get it to crash. The documentation says "At Least 8GB Memory"



Dec 25, 2012 at 08:34 PM
pingflood
Offline
• • •
Upload & Sell: Off
p.1 #5 · p.1 #5 · FreeNAS, take a look if you need a high-end storage server.


What is the main advantage of something like this over a ready made NAS box (like e.g. a Synology DS412+)? Price? Performance?



Dec 26, 2012 at 08:51 PM
hondageek
Offline
• • •
Upload & Sell: Off
p.1 #6 · p.1 #6 · FreeNAS, take a look if you need a high-end storage server.


It's expandable, basically free except for the price of the drives, user serviceable, rebuildable, etc.


Dec 26, 2012 at 08:54 PM
colinm
Offline
• • •
Upload & Sell: Off
p.1 #7 · p.1 #7 · FreeNAS, take a look if you need a high-end storage server.


It also (generally; you can configure FreeNAS for hardware or software RAID) uses ZFS, which is completely system-independent across equal or later versions.

If you decide you don't like FreeNAS, or your server dies, or a dozen other scenarios, you can pop the same drives right into any other system with ZFS support. There's no data loss, no prolonged import process, and no arcane set of cryptic configuration options. Drives in, data ready.



Dec 26, 2012 at 09:24 PM
CAlbertson
Offline

Upload & Sell: Off
p.1 #8 · p.1 #8 · FreeNAS, take a look if you need a high-end storage server.


pingflood wrote:
What is the main advantage of something like this over a ready made NAS box (like e.g. a Synology DS412+)? Price? Performance?


The FreeNAS system will have better price and performance after you pas a certain threshold. For low-end systems the ready made NAS is very cost effective but once you get past four disk drives and once you start wanting better then 30MB/Sec performance the ready made NASes are expensive, like low to mid four digit prices. FreeNAS is very competitive in this range.
Or if you simply need good performance, Those $1,000 NAS boxes are slow, you can do btter witha $1,000 FreeNAS system

Also features. I think if you need the feature set it might be worth going with the FreeNAS system. For example (1)the ability to take frequent snap shots in zero time and zero space. And (2)replication is a big feature the low-end NAS boxes lack. (3) end to end checksums. If you need those features



Dec 27, 2012 at 02:49 AM
TheBearman
Offline
• •
Upload & Sell: On
p.1 #9 · p.1 #9 · FreeNAS, take a look if you need a high-end storage server.


The cost of the drives has always been the highest expense when I build a NAS. The enclosure was about $550, but the drives....$400x4 (3tb each). Yea, you can get drives for less but packing 4 or more inexpensive drives close together can result is shorter life.


Dec 27, 2012 at 03:15 AM
 

Search in Used Dept. 



hondageek
Offline
• • •
Upload & Sell: Off
p.1 #10 · p.1 #10 · FreeNAS, take a look if you need a high-end storage server.


That's one of the benefits of FreeNAS, you can use a regular mid-tower case with multiple fans to keep them cool. Retail NAS enclosures pile a bunch of drives into a tiny enclosure with poor cooling systems.


Dec 27, 2012 at 03:22 AM
pingflood
Offline
• • •
Upload & Sell: Off
p.1 #11 · p.1 #11 · FreeNAS, take a look if you need a high-end storage server.


CAlbertson wrote:
The FreeNAS system will have better price and performance after you pas a certain threshold. For low-end systems the ready made NAS is very cost effective but once you get past four disk drives and once you start wanting better then 30MB/Sec performance the ready made NASes are expensive, like low to mid four digit prices. FreeNAS is very competitive in this range.
Or if you simply need good performance, Those $1,000 NAS boxes are slow, you can do btter witha $1,000 FreeNAS system

Also features. I think if you need the feature set it might be worth going with the FreeNAS
...Show more

I was looking at something like the Synology DS412+ which has dual gigabit connections, holds 4 disks, and seems to have pretty decent performance. It runs around 660 bucks (disks not included). Would a FreeNAS system perform that much better assuming roughly similar hardware budget?



Dec 27, 2012 at 06:01 AM
CAlbertson
Offline

Upload & Sell: Off
p.1 #12 · p.1 #12 · FreeNAS, take a look if you need a high-end storage server.


pingflood wrote:
...
I was looking at something like the Synology DS412+ which has dual gigabit connections, holds 4 disks, and seems to have pretty decent performance. It runs around 660 bucks (disks not included). Would a FreeNAS system perform that much better assuming roughly similar hardware budget?


At $600 and a four drive system you are right in the grey area where it is not clear. I think you could build a PC for $600 that would perform as well as the DS412 but on one hand you don't have to build a DS412. You save a ton of work. But on the other hand your $600 PC could hold 8 disks and run with a ZFS file system.

If you said you were going to buy a DS2413+ (for $1,800) then I'd say you could save $900 by going with FreeNAS. but you can't save money by building your own DS413 sized NAS.

Is the NAS going to be primary storage or a backup device? And if it is primary how will you backup the NAS? If the NAS will be primary then FreeNAS has some adavantage in that you can run RAIDZ2 that will survive two drive failures and ZFS allows instant snapshots (that can be backed up while users continue to edit files.



Dec 27, 2012 at 07:36 AM
15Bit
Offline
• • • •
Upload & Sell: Off
p.1 #13 · p.1 #13 · FreeNAS, take a look if you need a high-end storage server.


I do everything i want with a standard Ubuntu box. Setting up RAID and LVM for disk management is a bit of a pain admittedly, but there is plenty of documentation online (howtos etc). Samba sorts out file sharing and rsync can do incremented backups (snapshots). I don't get the snazzy web interface (which is most likely just a pretty front end to LVM, samba, rsync etc anyway), but i can use the machine as a media PC /workstation/firewall etc at the same time as it is doing its' NAS duties.

Cost? Well, whenever i upgrade my main workstation i shuffle the hardware down to the Ubuntu machine, so not a lot. I could probably get a few Kroner for the old hardware, but nothing like what a NAS box costs, so its a big saving in my view. Additionally, if the hardware goes belly up, i can just plug all the drives into another Linux box and the array will be readable.



Dec 27, 2012 at 10:09 AM
CAlbertson
Offline

Upload & Sell: Off
p.1 #14 · p.1 #14 · FreeNAS, take a look if you need a high-end storage server.


15Bit wrote:
I do everything i want with a standard Ubuntu box. Setting up RAID and LVM for disk management is a bit of a pain admittedly, but there is plenty of documentation online (howtos etc). Samba sorts out file sharing and rsync can do incremented backups (snapshots). I don't get the snazzy web interface (which is most likely just a pretty front end to LVM, samba, rsync etc anyway), but i can use the machine as a media PC /workstation/firewall etc at the same time as it is doing its' NAS duties.

Cost? Well, whenever i upgrade my main workstation i
...Show more

Linux, I think gives better performance on low-end NAS systems but..

1) Linux will not run ZFS. Rsync is absolutely NOT a "snapshot". It is a way to copy files that takes some time. A snapshot is truly a "zero time" and "atomic" operation ("Atomic means it cannot be divided into smaller operations and happens "all at once".)

Try a real example. You are editing your photo library, moving files and the software is updating the index and thumbnails. If you do this while an rsync backup is on going some files get copied at one time and some at some other time and you are making changes. It is possible you backup the "old" copy of the meta-data and the edited copy of the image and who-knows-when copy of the database index. With ZFS you can literally "snapshot" the entire system in one "atomic" instant so all the files are saved at the same exact nanosecond. Also because this snapshot takes zero space, you can afford to do it very frequently, every 15 minutes if you like.

Then when you do the backup you copy the "snap shoot" and not the live data so your backup is an exact point in time. "ZFS Replication" takes this one step further. It in effect does a snap shot followed by an Rsync and keeps a second (or third or fourth) NAS exactly up to date with the last snapshot. So the replication can run continuously 24x7. If the building burds down you loose only the last 15 (or whatever) minutes of work, assuming your second NAS is in some other building.

These problems are not so important if the NAS is small and has only one user. Do your backup at night when you are not making changes and so what if it takes hours? And I think you get better performance on lower cost hardware using Linux although I still need to finish some testing. It's likely that Linux can run a NAS even on something like an Intel Atom CPU while FreeNAS needs at least an i3 and 8GB of RAM.

I think more people need a small NAS then a big one. But onthe other hand there is little money to be saved on a small NAS and not much reason to build your own small NAS. But there is the potential to save thousands on the larger system.



Dec 27, 2012 at 06:00 PM
nikse
Online

Upload & Sell: Off
p.1 #15 · p.1 #15 · FreeNAS, take a look if you need a high-end storage server.


Why not have 1 or 2 dedicated HDDs (2 for mirroring) and install FreeNAS as VMWare image, explained in link below and use same physical machine for NAS duties (VM image) and as media PC/workstation/firewall etc ...

This will also allow running Windows as a primary OS and FreeNAS iso image via VMWare.

http://www.freenas.org/features/videos

Any thoughts?



Dec 27, 2012 at 06:20 PM
15Bit
Offline
• • • •
Upload & Sell: Off
p.1 #16 · p.1 #16 · FreeNAS, take a look if you need a high-end storage server.


ZFS is pretty awesome, and it is unfortunate that Linux can't/won't support it.

Rsync will do incremented backups via symlinks (rsync --link-dest...), which works extremely well as an incremented backup solution using minimum disk space. You could do this every 15 mins if you wished, and it doesn't take any additional disk space (though you would end up with a lot folders full of symlinks). It's not quite a true snapshot, but its close enough for anyone not doing serious sysadmin stuff.

I think it is possible to do proper snapshots with LVM, though i haven't tried it myself.



Dec 27, 2012 at 06:26 PM
CAlbertson
Offline

Upload & Sell: Off
p.1 #17 · p.1 #17 · FreeNAS, take a look if you need a high-end storage server.


nikse wrote:
Why not have 1 or 2 dedicated HDDs (2 for mirroring) and install FreeNAS as VMWare image, explained in link below and use same physical machine for NAS duties (VM image) and as media PC/workstation/firewall etc ...

This will also allow running Windows as a primary OS and FreeNAS iso image via VMWare.

http://www.freenas.org/features/videos

Any thoughts?


That would work, but
(1) Most people run a NAS so they can access their data from many different computers.
(2) if the data is not on a network then it is not a NAS (The N is network.) we call Direct attached Storage "DAS".
(3) you need one big and powerful computer to run both your photo editing suite NAD FreeNAS. The requirements are additive. So if your editor needs 16GB and a dual core and the NAS in the VM needs 16GB and a dual core then your computer needs 32GB and four cores. But that is a common configuration today.
(4) one must continue to run the computer that hosts the VM even when you are not editing photos if the data are to remain available on the network. This could cost you more electric power than you think.

(5) it is a very good way to experiment with NAS software because the cost is zero, so you can try out lots of ideas with no money invested



Dec 27, 2012 at 06:32 PM





FM Forums | General Gear-talk | Join Upload & Sell

    
 

You are not logged in. Login or Register

Username   Password    Retrive password