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FreeNAS system with 24 drives.

post #1 of 26
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So work wants my opinions on a storage server. I have something in mind, but would like the input of the community.

Norco RPC-4224 w/ 24 SATA hotswap bays
Intel Core i3 - 2100
16GB of RAM
24 x 2TB 7200 RPM HDDs
8 or 16GB USB drive for FreeNAS

We would like to use FreeNAS, and are stuck at the point of trying to figure what to use to connect the drives. The motherboard is not picked out yet, but will only have 6 SATA ports anyways. A RAID card with SFF-8484 connectors and breakout cables seems the best way to go, but I've seen that FreeNAS and ZFS work better without hardware RAID. Ideally this unit would have ~40TB of space on one array for reasons that make things easier elsewhere. So what is a good way to connect 24 HDDs and have them function as a single volume?

As a second and long-term thought, what is the expandability of this system in the future? I saw that FreeNAS arrays can be moved without regard to hardware, but is it possible to expand on them? If in 2-3 years, we decide we need 48 disks at 4TB each, or similar, is that possible?
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post #2 of 26
If i'm reading you right, you are going to put all of these into a single array on FreeNAS? Does FreeNAS stripe data? There's so much that could go wrong in a striped array and could cause you to lose the entire array, so most stick with 5-6 drives per array in those situations. I'd love to suggest something like unRAID or FlexRAID if you really want ~40TB on a single array, but they really don't support the read/writes that the business probably wants... and you can't really do anything other than share files over the network with them (can't really install programs on them). If FreeNAS doesn't stripe and allows you to have 2-3+ drive failures without complete data loss then you should be fine with that many drives in a single array.

3TB drives are pretty much the same price per gig as 2TB drives if you wait for sales, you could probably go with 16x 3TB drives instead of 24x 2TB drives. Leaves MUCH more room for expanding.

I use simple SAS controllers on my unRAID servers, they have no RAID or anything fancy: http://www.provantage.com/supermicro-aoc-sas2lp-mv8~7SUP92PM.htm

I wish I could help more, i've just never messed around in FreeNAS, I don't know if it needs RAID cards or can just use simple SATA/SAS cards. If it's anything like unRAID, and doesn't stripe data, then RAID cards are usually a no-go.
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post #3 of 26
ZFS is fairly expandable, haven't had to do it yet on my FreeNAS system, but from the reading that I've done on it, its not too terribly difficult.

The main reason for my post was on your hardware side of things, ZFS recommends 1GB of memory per TB of space, not saying that you're definitely going to need that much, but you'll probably want to start with 32GB of memory to ease in expandability.

With my system I have Raid cards setup, but don't use their RAID functionality [you could definitely use SAS cards, that would be a bit more $$ but offers better expandability as you can fit more drives per card], I have that all set up through FreeNAS which seems to work perfectly fine.
Edited by appleg33k85 - 7/18/12 at 9:45am
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post #4 of 26
In the sun ZFS best practices guide they say not to create a ZFS raidz array with that many drives, but rather create two arrays. I would personally choose raidz2 or 3 (3 is not supported in freenas as of yet).

Freenas 8.02 (stable) cannot grow an array. I believe the very latest implementation of ZFS (version 33) can, but the version in Freenas 8.02 is version 16.

I love freenas as a system at work, but we only have 2 mirrored drives with hardly any data. I'd hate to try and use it to expand arrays. With Free/Open BSD you can use the ZFS filesystem up to version 32 i believe, but there is a lot more work to do in configuring it.

I would strongly advise you to try freenas before you commit to it at work.
 
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post #5 of 26
^this^. Despite being based on freebsd freenas tends to lag behind a bit. I wouldn't run raid 2 or 3 thou. Your 40tb goal will be hard to reach with 48tb maximum without giving up some reliablity, something i don't think you'd want to do. I would do this: 4x6disk raid 10. Thats 6tbs or storage per array (24tb total) with up to 3 drives per array and 12drives in total failing before loss of data. (if your lucky) once you hit 24tbs of storage adding drives in pretty simple
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post #6 of 26
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Murlocke View Post

If i'm reading you right, you are going to put all of these into a single array on FreeNAS? Does FreeNAS stripe data? There's so much that could go wrong in a striped array and could cause you to lose the entire array, so most stick with 5-6 drives per array in those situations. I'd love to suggest something like unRAID or FlexRAID if you really want ~40TB on a single array, but they really don't support the read/writes that the business probably wants... and you can't really do anything other than share files over the network with them (can't really install programs on them). If FreeNAS doesn't stripe and allows you to have 2-3+ drive failures without complete data loss then you should be fine with that many drives in a single array.
3TB drives are pretty much the same price per gig as 2TB drives if you wait for sales, you could probably go with 16x 3TB drives instead of 24x 2TB drives. Leaves MUCH more room for expanding.
I use simple SAS controllers on my unRAID servers, they have no RAID or anything fancy: http://www.provantage.com/supermicro-aoc-sas2lp-mv8~7SUP92PM.htm
I wish I could help more, i've just never messed around in FreeNAS, I don't know if it needs RAID cards or can just use simple SATA/SAS cards. If it's anything like unRAID, and doesn't stripe data, then RAID cards are usually a no-go.

My understanding of FreeNAS is still growing, but the goal is to have this system show up as having one large volume on the network. I was under the impression that I needed to have one logical array within FreeNAS to do that. I may be wrong.
Quote:
Originally Posted by appleg33k85 View Post

ZFS is fairly expandable, haven't had to do it yet on my FreeNAS system, but from the reading that I've done on it, its not too terribly difficult.
The main reason for my post was on your hardware side of things, ZFS recommends 1GB of memory per TB of space, not saying that you're definitely going to need that much, but you'll probably want to start with 32GB of memory to ease in expandability.
With my system I have Raid cards setup, but don't use their RAID functionality [you could definitely use SAS cards, that would be a bit more $$ but offers better expandability as you can fit more drives per card], I have that all set up through FreeNAS which seems to work perfectly fine.

32GB of RAM is certainly doable, the 16GB listed was 2x8GB sticks anyways.

I'm looking at this card: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16816117157

And possibly three arrays.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Boyboyd View Post

In the sun ZFS best practices guide they say not to create a ZFS raidz array with that many drives, but rather create two arrays. I would personally choose raidz2 or 3 (3 is not supported in freenas as of yet).
Freenas 8.02 (stable) cannot grow an array. I believe the very latest implementation of ZFS (version 33) can, but the version in Freenas 8.02 is version 16.
I love freenas as a system at work, but we only have 2 mirrored drives with hardly any data. I'd hate to try and use it to expand arrays. With Free/Open BSD you can use the ZFS filesystem up to version 32 i believe, but there is a lot more work to do in configuring it.
I would strongly advise you to try freenas before you commit to it at work.

RAIDZ2 looks good, and I need to read more into that. Thanks for the link.
Quote:
Originally Posted by jrl1357 View Post

^this^. Despite being based on freebsd freenas tends to lag behind a bit. I wouldn't run raid 2 or 3 thou. Your 40tb goal will be hard to reach with 48tb maximum without giving up some reliablity, something i don't think you'd want to do. I would do this: 4x6disk raid 10. Thats 6tbs or storage per array (24tb total) with up to 3 drives per array and 12drives in total failing before loss of data. (if your lucky) once you hit 24tbs of storage adding drives in pretty simple

The goal is loose. Really the minimum is 20TB, but not necessarily right now, more is better but not losing the data is important. I may start with one controller card and do a 8 disk array first and add arrays as needed. We already have the disks, 3TB disks are possible, but we have 24+ 2TB disks now. I read a bit about SAS and SATA expanders as well, but I'm starting to think those would not be a good idea, but rather three PCI-e RAID controllers (using software RAID) I think I may take some of this home to work on further to increase my understanding, which seems to be lacking right now redface.gif
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post #7 of 26
No problem.

You should be aware though that freenas 8 is developed and maintained by a company called ix systems that sell NASs. They deliberately leave out some stuff that businesses would like so they can sell more copies of... truenas I think it's called.

You're right that ZFS prefers raw access to the disks, so avoid hardware raid, even in jbod mode. If you're set on something like hardware raid 10 then i'd actually suggest another OS.
 
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post #8 of 26
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Boyboyd View Post

No problem.
You should be aware though that freenas 8 is developed and maintained by a company called ix systems that sell NASs. They deliberately leave out some stuff that businesses would like so they can sell more copies of... truenas I think it's called.
You're right that ZFS prefers raw access to the disks, so avoid hardware raid, even in jbod mode. If you're set on something like hardware raid 10 then i'd actually suggest another OS.

I'll have to look into truenas.

When you say avoid hardware RAID... I was under the impression that I could run something like http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16816117157 in JBOD mode and have a software RAID on the system. Do you have a better suggestion for cards to use?

After talking with others in the office, having three (software) RAID arrays on the system would work well for us.
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post #9 of 26
I don't think you're supposed to even run JBOD mode on raidZ. Just refresh my memory, does JBOD pool the drives? If it does I wouldn't use it. I basically just use my 'raid' card as an extra 4 sata ports.

That's what most people who have large freenas servers have, a very expensive enterprise raid card but not even operating in raid mode because they use ZFS because obviously no motherboard has 24 SATA ports.

I believe you can only get truenas if you buy your hardware from ixsystems. I've not heard a lot about it, but freenas used to be a community project but they sold to a company. I doubt that this company is going to maintain and update a piece of software that gets them no revenue at all.

If you're interested, the people that made freenas forked off after version 7 to create "nas4free", but I think it might be orientated towards home users.
 
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post #10 of 26
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Boyboyd View Post

I don't think you're supposed to even run JBOD mode on raidZ. Just refresh my memory, does JBOD pool the drives? If it does I wouldn't use it. I basically just use my 'raid' card as an extra 4 sata ports.
That's what most people who have large freenas servers have, a very expensive enterprise raid card but not even operating in raid mode because they use ZFS because obviously no motherboard has 24 SATA ports.
I believe you can only get truenas if you buy your hardware from ixsystems. I've not heard a lot about it, but freenas used to be a community project but they sold to a company. I doubt that this company is going to maintain and update a piece of software that gets them no revenue at all.
If you're interested, the people that made freenas forked off after version 7 to create "nas4free", but I think it might be orientated towards home users.

I've read reports of people using this Intel card http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16816117157 and updating the firmware to the IT version of the LSI firmware, and it works well with ZFS and freeNAS.

I'm not sure about pooling...

Thanks for all the help so far!
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Intel 330 - 180GB LG HDDVD & Blu Ray Reader Cooler Master Hyper 612 Windows 7 Ultimate 64bit 
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HP ZR30w Samsung 2243BWX Ducky! PCP&C 750w Silencer (coppa) 
CaseMouseMouse PadAudio
Lian Li PC-E8 G9x S&S Steel Onkyo Receiver/Design Acoustics 2.1 system 
CPUGraphicsRAMHard Drive
Core i5 2410M HD 3000 8GB 120GB SSD 
Optical DriveOSOSOS
Super Drive OSX 10.7.2 Win 7 Enterprise (In VB) Ubuntu 10.04 (In VB) 
MonitorPower
13" 1280x800 65w Magsafe 
CPUMotherboardRAMHard Drive
Q9300 Gigabyte P35 8GB DDR2 2TB WD 
Hard DriveHard DriveHard DriveHard Drive
2TB WD 2TB Seagate 1.5TB Seagate 1.5TB Seagate 
Hard DriveHard DriveHard DriveOptical Drive
1TB Hitachi 1TB Hitachi 500GB WD DVD-RW 
OSMonitorKeyboardPower
Win Server 2012 Headless/15" touchscreen Apple mini USB PC P&C 500W 
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Overclock.net › Forums › Components › Hard Drives & Storage › RAID Controllers and Software › FreeNAS system with 24 drives.