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FreeNAS hardware

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March 4, 2010 8:17:53 AM

Hello all,

I'm new here on the forums. :hello:  I'm redoing my home NAS server and thinking of going with FreeNAS for the OS. Just wanted to post my build to see if its overkill or not.

Currently, the NAS server is running Ubuntu Server 9.10 with the following specs. EXT4 is the file system and using Samba (SMB) for network sharing protocol. I'm able to get 100 MB/s to 115 MB/s read and write speeds.

ASUS P5N32-E SLI Plus mobo
C2Quad Q9650 proc @ 3.0Ghz
1 x 2GB OCZ DDR2 800 ram
Onboard GigaEthernet ports
Areca ARC-1220 8-port raid controller
5 x 1.5TB Seagate HDDs in RAID 5
1 x 250GB Seagate HDD for OS

I understand this was overkill but I had the parts available and did not realize NAS requirements at the time of the build. :o 

Here is the new build I'm configuring.

ASUS AP5KPL-AM EPU mobo - http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
C2Duo E7500 proc @ 2.93Ghz - http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
2 x 1GB Kingston HyperX DDR2 800 ram - http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
2 x Intel GigaEthernet PCI adapters - http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
Areca ARC-1220 8-port raid controller - http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
6 x 1.5TB Seagate HDDs in RAID 5 - http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
1 x USB flash drive for FreeNAS loader

I'm wondering if FreeNAS would give me similar read / write speeds with UFS file system and CIFS / SMB protocol. Also, if anyone has another suggestions for other NAS operating systems that would work better or any hardware changes, I'm open to suggestions. Thanks. :D 

More about : freenas hardware

a c 126 G Storage
March 4, 2010 12:03:15 PM

Try not to use CIFS, Samba is just such a messy program that has many performance issues. Instead, use NFS when possible.

Also know that using PCI may result in very high latencies and limit performance as well. A modern computer should not have any PCI device. The onboard gigabit Ethernet is mostly superior to any NIC, as its tied directly to the southbridge.

As far as OS go, what do you want with your NAS? You want to experiment? Have you tried running ZFS yet? It would mean you will be using the Areca RAID adaptor as simple SATA controller. Else you'll miss the great ZFS features like Self-Healing.
March 7, 2010 11:28:02 AM

jibesh101, that hardware is way more than needed for freeNAS. If you're set on that hardware, you'll be fine.

White the Areca ARC-1220 is a nice pci-e card, you don't need hardware raid with that system. The quad core cup can easily do software raid on a dedicated nas box.

Additionally, freeNAS has zfs built in. It's a fantastic file system. You can use zfs raidz, which is equivalent to raid5. You want to present the disc as JBOD to zfs. There is no need to present the discs as hardware raid array to zfs.

The nice thing about zfs is that you can transfer the data drives to any other pc running zfs with no problem (whether its freeBSD based freeNAS or opensolaris / solaris). It's just an export command existing system followed by an import command in the new system. With hardware raid, you have to either move the hba or have the same hba in the other pc (and then you have to worry about drivers for the OS).

I found freeNAS limitation to be throughput. It's a know issue and you'll see recurring threads on it in the freeNAS forum. In using freeNAS for about 1 year I could only get 25MB - 35MB transfer speeds on a gigabyte, jumbo frame enabled network. Same hardware with opnesolaris gives 85MB-95MB transfers. (When I changed from freeNAS to opensolaris, able to transfer over the data discs with all data intact thanks to zfs - even with different running OS.)

If you want to save money, any dual core system with 4GB ram and either sta or pci-e hba will suffice for using zfs file system at home.
!