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Questions for a NAS build......

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June 30, 2010 10:47:23 PM

Hey community. I have been reading a bit on the subject of building a NAS but its all new to me so I thought I would run by the current plan and questions i have.

current hardware list for a build (all flexible):

SUPERMICRO MBD-X7SPA-H-O Mini ITX Intel Atom D510 processor Server Motherboard - $195
CORSAIR 4GB (2 x 2GB) 200-Pin DDR2 SO-DIMM DDR2 800 (PC2 6400) Laptop Memory Model- $91
APEX AL-8250SFX 250W SFX12V Ver.3.1 Power Supply - $18.99
Rosewill R101-P-BK 120mm Fan MicroATX Mid Tower Computer Case - $30
ICY DOCK MB454SPF-B Mulit-Bay Backplane Module - $112

new egg total - $447.08

So heres what I need it for:
1)I have a 8-core mac and a 4-core i7 hackintosh. I do maya and after effects rendering. I would like this to act as a server so i could have a mini render farm. i was thinking of setting up a fast 1-2tb raid that would serve as the place for current project files to go. If it available works well i could add a few more 4-core machines to the farm in the future.

2)back up of project files. I have 2.5 TB of project files now. and I am trying g to get in the habit of taking all the jobs i work on off site home with me at the end. these files can get pretty big...

3)set up an FTP so i can have files when i am offsite.

4) media server consolidate all my movies/itunes library/and photo video stuff. i just got a DSRL camera that does awesome hd video (rebel t2i) so there could be a lot of video files to back up. currently the 4-core hackintosh works as a HTPC and a render node (although having no central file system has ment render jobs on this are a pain in the ass)

Thoughts/questions:

1)I originally looked at something like the qnap 459-pro or 859-pro. but they are kinda pricey and i like building stuff anyways (the hackintosh was fun. but maybe this is what i need and a lot simpler.....

2) OS. I was thinking original about freeNas and was pretty sure i was gonna go this route. however after reading about ZFS and submesa's thoughts on this and started thinking maybe freeBSD is the way to go. I haven't used either. However maybe FreeNAS would be ok for me without ZFS...not sure about the benefits of each although i am sure freeNAs would be a lot simpler to set-up. one reason i started looking into ZFS was speed......

3)speed....I would like to get this thing working as fast as the gig network can handle. anyone have experience using a NAS for serving files to a small render farm? am i dreaming here? will a NAS be quick enough? my guess from what i have read is yes, but i have no experience with this at all.

4)power consumption. Obviously a big deal with the power bill. That was the reason for the d510. however from what submesa has said in the past i was thinking maybe a i3....more speed and with a good PS probably not bad on power consumption....anyone use the SUPERMICRO MBD-X7SPA-H-O board in a NAS?

5) not sure what i am talking about here but........the supermicro board has dual NIC's. a friend at work mentioned something about the server at work using two ethernet ports, one for upstream and one for down stream. is this possible to set up..is there a speed benefit?

6)drives and raid. I was planning on getting a bunch of 2TB drives, maybe 4 to start with...I was thinking some kinda raid with 2 of the drives configured with some kinda speedy raid setup. is a ZFS raid super fast, i was under the impression that this is one of the main benfits of ZFS. this part would be setup for the render farm. The rest of the drives could be used for the backup and storage of files. this part of the NAS should have some redundancy but need not be super fast.

7) the icy dock. I like the idea of having easy access to the drives. I am thinking since i don't have a ton of sata ports with the super micro board (just 6) maybe i could fill some drives up with backups and then just remove them. that way i would have a fail safe incase of worst case events. however i guess this kinda of setup would work best if the drives were formatted in some type of easily readable format. that way i could pop them into any computer if i need to get the data back.....

Ok so there are my ideas/thought about building my NAS. The main thing is having a central location to serve files for render jobs and collect them. i would like to add some more cpu power to the farm in the future (max another 2 quad cores). Is my idea of using a NAS which has a small footprint feasible for this? anyways thats where i am at with what i have researched, but i possible have been on the wrong track. is something like a macmini server more what I need? of course its a lot more expensive.

anyways sorry for being all over the place here with my ideas...just thought i would post where I am at, in hopes somebody could confirm whether i am going down the right path.

thanks!!


More about : questions nas build

a b G Storage
July 1, 2010 1:56:14 AM

First things first, I'd get a more reliable power supply. If it's gonna be running 24/7, you won't want something of questionable quality. The only Apex PSU I've owned worked fine for 3 months, and then died for no reason. Go with a Corsair 400w or something similar.

auze1 said:

1)I originally looked at something like the qnap 459-pro or 859-pro. but they are kinda pricey and i like building stuff anyways (the hackintosh was fun. but maybe this is what i need and a lot simpler.....


Don't see a question there, but I will still comment :p  The pre-built NAS's are much more expensive as you mentioned, but are generally much less stressful to set up. Mind you, if you enjoy building computers, odds are that you don't mind messing around with some software. :) 

auze1 said:

2) OS. I was thinking original about freeNas and was pretty sure i was gonna go this route. however after reading about ZFS and submesa's thoughts on this and started thinking maybe freeBSD is the way to go. I haven't used either. However maybe FreeNAS would be ok for me without ZFS...not sure about the benefits of each although i am sure freeNAs would be a lot simpler to set-up. one reason i started looking into ZFS was speed......


I suggest just reading into ZFS as much as you can to understand exactly what it is. It's great for some applications, but does have it's downfalls for others. Read up on both ZFS and then compare it to standard software-RAID, and hopefully you'll be able to tell which is better for you.

auze1 said:

3)speed....I would like to get this thing working as fast as the gig network can handle. anyone have experience using a NAS for serving files to a small render farm? am i dreaming here? will a NAS be quick enough? my guess from what i have read is yes, but i have no experience with this at all.


What speed of home network do you have? If you have 100mbit, you won't get any spectacular speeds. If you have gigabit, then the maximum theoretical transfer speed is 125MB/s. In the real world however, 100MB/s is a good speed to shoot for. If this isn't fast enough, you may have to consider a fast, much more expensive home network.

auze1 said:

4)power consumption. Obviously a big deal with the power bill. That was the reason for the d510. however from what submesa has said in the past i was thinking maybe a i3....more speed and with a good PS probably not bad on power consumption....anyone use the SUPERMICRO MBD-X7SPA-H-O board in a NAS?


Assuming you get an efficient PSU, this type of system shouldn't draw too much power; just make sure you get an 80-plus model. An i3 system wouldn't draw very much power, assuming you don't have a powerhouse graphics card (which you'd have no reason to have really). Most simple systems like this will draw only around 300W.

auze1 said:

6)drives and raid. I was planning on getting a bunch of 2TB drives, maybe 4 to start with...I was thinking some kinda raid with 2 of the drives configured with some kinda speedy raid setup. is a ZFS raid super fast, i was under the impression that this is one of the main benfits of ZFS. this part would be setup for the render farm. The rest of the drives could be used for the backup and storage of files. this part of the NAS should have some redundancy but need not be super fast.


You could run something like RAID 1+0. This both stripes and mirrors the disks, but requires that you have a minimum of 4 disks. Striping will yield an increase in performance, while mirroring will give you redundancy, allowing for the failure of one disk without data loss. RAID is not backup, and that's important to remember. Using RAID 1+0 with 4 2TB drives would yield in 4TB of storage space.
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July 1, 2010 4:53:41 AM

Thanks Pyroflea for anwering so many of my incoherent ramblings......

Quote:
The only Apex PSU I've owned worked fine for 3 months, and then died for no reason. Go with a Corsair 400w or something similar.


yeah I guess this was a weak choice. i will def get a good power supply...

Quote:
What speed of home network do you have? If you have 100mbit, you won't get any spectacular speeds. If you have gigabit, then the maximum theoretical transfer speed is 125MB/s. In the real world however, 100MB/s is a good speed to shoot for. If this isn't fast enough, you may have to consider a fast, much more expensive home network.


I will have gigabit networking for sure. but i am really inexperienced when it comes to this kind of application. if anybody who deals with render farms and serving up files could give me some kind of an idea as to wether this would be a bottle neck. typical i don't have huge texture files or anything, so I am thinking that wont be too bad.





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a b G Storage
July 1, 2010 5:01:57 AM

auze1 said:
yeah I guess this was a weak choice. i will def get a good power supply...


It's all good. Unfortunately there's not really much for reliable, budget PSU's. It sucks, but it's something we all put up with :) 

auze1 said:
I will have gigabit networking for sure. but i am really inexperienced when it comes to this kind of application. if anybody who deals with render farms and serving up files could give me some kind of an idea as to wether this would be a bottle neck. typical i don't have huge texture files or anything, so I am thinking that wont be too bad.


I don't have any experience with render farms, but I know most people generally run gigabit networks, and are fairly happy with the results. Go check out www.smallnetbuilder.com and see if they can help you out at all :) 

Good luck.
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July 2, 2010 11:58:39 PM

Quote:
Go check out www.smallnetbuilder.com and see if they can help you out at all :) 


Thanks for the sugestion. i put a post up there too.

i have changed gear a bit. this is my new planned setup:

Rosewill R101-P-BK 120mm Fan MicroATX Mid Tower Computer Case $29.99
ECS H55H-M2 LGA 1156 Intel H55 Micro ATX Intel Motherboard $94.99
SeaSonic SS-300ES Bronze 300W ATX12V V2.3 80 PLUS BRONZE $39.99
Intel Core i3-530 Clarkdale 2.93GHz LGA 1156 73W Dual-Core Desktop $114.99
CORSAIR XMS3 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) $99.99

after reading about power consumption at ideal, this setup should be to far of the d510 pinetrail. of course at load its different, but i think i can deal given the extra room in terms of cpu power. I dropped the 5in3 HD cage for now...just gonna start slow.....
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a b G Storage
July 3, 2010 12:09:06 AM

Looks pretty good; should give you tons more processing power than the previously state setup. Sneaking up on that 300w limit, but you still have enough headroom to be safe.
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