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Considering an iSCSI NAS build

post #1 of 4
Thread Starter 
Greetings,

I'm considering constructing an iSCSI server/NAS for the purposes of large networked storage. Basically, here's what I'd like the server to be able to do:

  • Tolerate the failure of any two hard drives and continue to operate with data integrity (degraded performance during rebuild is acceptable)
  • Saturate a gigabit link for sequential reads/writes. It's not going to have heavy IOP activity (maybe three or four users pulling files worst case)
  • Link flawlessly with Active Directory. We're going to have a full AD Domain and permissions for folders need to be assigned by our DC.
  • Be able to trigger an email alarm when a disk fails
  • While it's unlikely, it's possible that the server will host the disks for a few VMs. They won't be very intensive, but they do necessitate iSCSI
  • 4TB capacity minimum. 6TB preferred.

I am probably going to use an 8-drive chassis. I am quite happy with performance numbers I've seen out of the PERC 6/i, etc and so 8 seems like a good number. Unfortunately, options for two-drive tolerant arrays are annoyingly rare. RAID6 seems like a possibility but I am dreading the write penalty that comes with it. RAID50 can't take two drive failures and RAID10 only sort of can.... RAID60 just murders effective capacity too. /rambling

What OS would you use? My budget for the whole project is about $1000. I already have a Gigabyte Z68 board, Dell PERC 5/i, and a Pentium G620 which I assume would be enough. I've heard some good things about FreeNAS, but I'm not as familiar as I should be with it and its iSCSI setup.

Thanks very much for your input!
Heisenberg
(10 items)
 
Redemption
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CPUGraphicsRAMHard Drive
Intel Core 2 Extreme @ 2.8GHz (upgrade) Intel GMA 950 2 x 2 DDR2 667MHz (upgrade) 120GB Mushkin ECO2 
Optical DriveOSMonitorPower
Replaced with 42 W/hr aux battery Mint 17.3 1280x800 Dell 65w Dell Adapter 
CaseOther
Latitude D630 Chassis Intel 7260-802.11ac 2x2 
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
Not telling AsRock something Pixel Pusher 2 x 8 GB AMD Radeon RAM @ 1600mhz (All the VM's) 
Hard DriveHard DriveHard DriveOptical Drive
Crucial M4 128GB (8 second boot) Western Digital RE4 1TB Western Digital RE4 2TB Pioneer Blu-Ray Reader/Writer 
CoolingOSMonitorKeyboard
Cooler Master Hyper 212 Evo Windows 8.1 Pro x64 Dell U2713HM IBM Model M (CLICKY!!) 
PowerCaseMouseAudio
Antec HCG-900 NZXT Source 210 (it was cheap) Logitech G502 Schiit Modi 
AudioAudio
Sennheiser HD 598 M-Audio AV40's 
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
Intel Core i5-4200U Microsoft BGA1168 Intel HD 4400 8 GB LPDDR3 Dual Channel @ 1600mhz 
Hard DriveOSMonitorKeyboard
SK Hynix 256GB SSD Windows 8.1 Professional 1920 x 1080p IPS Display Microsoft Touch Cover 2 
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48w PSU 
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Heisenberg
(10 items)
 
Redemption
(18 items)
 
 
CPUGraphicsRAMHard Drive
Intel Core 2 Extreme @ 2.8GHz (upgrade) Intel GMA 950 2 x 2 DDR2 667MHz (upgrade) 120GB Mushkin ECO2 
Optical DriveOSMonitorPower
Replaced with 42 W/hr aux battery Mint 17.3 1280x800 Dell 65w Dell Adapter 
CaseOther
Latitude D630 Chassis Intel 7260-802.11ac 2x2 
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
Not telling AsRock something Pixel Pusher 2 x 8 GB AMD Radeon RAM @ 1600mhz (All the VM's) 
Hard DriveHard DriveHard DriveOptical Drive
Crucial M4 128GB (8 second boot) Western Digital RE4 1TB Western Digital RE4 2TB Pioneer Blu-Ray Reader/Writer 
CoolingOSMonitorKeyboard
Cooler Master Hyper 212 Evo Windows 8.1 Pro x64 Dell U2713HM IBM Model M (CLICKY!!) 
PowerCaseMouseAudio
Antec HCG-900 NZXT Source 210 (it was cheap) Logitech G502 Schiit Modi 
AudioAudio
Sennheiser HD 598 M-Audio AV40's 
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
Intel Core i5-4200U Microsoft BGA1168 Intel HD 4400 8 GB LPDDR3 Dual Channel @ 1600mhz 
Hard DriveOSMonitorKeyboard
SK Hynix 256GB SSD Windows 8.1 Professional 1920 x 1080p IPS Display Microsoft Touch Cover 2 
Power
48w PSU 
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post #2 of 4
If this is for a business, I'd highly recommend a pre-built solution such as a QNAP, Synology, Thecus, or similar system. a 4-bay system with 4 4TB drives in RAID10 would yield ~8TB of storage. Or 4 3TB drives would yield ~3TB of storage. If you feel you would expand, go ahead and buy a 6-8 bay model, but that alone will be your $1000.

Basically anything that falls in what I recommended above will support CIFS/NFS, giving you NAS functionality, and iSCSI (many of these have 2 gigabit NICs so you can configure LACP or MPIO), as well as Active Directory integrated.

PERC 5/i and PERC 6/i (and anything below this) will only work with 2TB or smaller. I would not recommend using either of these outdated, EoL controllers for a production storage system. Also, I would avoid RAID 5/6, and highly recommend against using 50 or 60. Seriously, use RAID 10 and you will be glad you did. Less work on the system, better redundancy, no parity calculations, better random I/O, etc.
post #3 of 4
Thread Starter 
What sort of IO performance would you see going with, say for example, a Synology DS414? And how would that compare to a server running a PERC (newer model than a 6/i probably)

Also, if you were to build your own, what OS would you use for iSCSI traffic? I'd like to attach a few iSCSI LUNs to a Windows 2012 R2 file server hosted in another building (linked by multi-mode Gig fiber). Then have people access shares on that server rather than accessing the iSCSI NAS directly.
Heisenberg
(10 items)
 
Redemption
(18 items)
 
 
CPUGraphicsRAMHard Drive
Intel Core 2 Extreme @ 2.8GHz (upgrade) Intel GMA 950 2 x 2 DDR2 667MHz (upgrade) 120GB Mushkin ECO2 
Optical DriveOSMonitorPower
Replaced with 42 W/hr aux battery Mint 17.3 1280x800 Dell 65w Dell Adapter 
CaseOther
Latitude D630 Chassis Intel 7260-802.11ac 2x2 
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
Not telling AsRock something Pixel Pusher 2 x 8 GB AMD Radeon RAM @ 1600mhz (All the VM's) 
Hard DriveHard DriveHard DriveOptical Drive
Crucial M4 128GB (8 second boot) Western Digital RE4 1TB Western Digital RE4 2TB Pioneer Blu-Ray Reader/Writer 
CoolingOSMonitorKeyboard
Cooler Master Hyper 212 Evo Windows 8.1 Pro x64 Dell U2713HM IBM Model M (CLICKY!!) 
PowerCaseMouseAudio
Antec HCG-900 NZXT Source 210 (it was cheap) Logitech G502 Schiit Modi 
AudioAudio
Sennheiser HD 598 M-Audio AV40's 
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
Intel Core i5-4200U Microsoft BGA1168 Intel HD 4400 8 GB LPDDR3 Dual Channel @ 1600mhz 
Hard DriveOSMonitorKeyboard
SK Hynix 256GB SSD Windows 8.1 Professional 1920 x 1080p IPS Display Microsoft Touch Cover 2 
Power
48w PSU 
  hide details  
Reply
Heisenberg
(10 items)
 
Redemption
(18 items)
 
 
CPUGraphicsRAMHard Drive
Intel Core 2 Extreme @ 2.8GHz (upgrade) Intel GMA 950 2 x 2 DDR2 667MHz (upgrade) 120GB Mushkin ECO2 
Optical DriveOSMonitorPower
Replaced with 42 W/hr aux battery Mint 17.3 1280x800 Dell 65w Dell Adapter 
CaseOther
Latitude D630 Chassis Intel 7260-802.11ac 2x2 
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
Not telling AsRock something Pixel Pusher 2 x 8 GB AMD Radeon RAM @ 1600mhz (All the VM's) 
Hard DriveHard DriveHard DriveOptical Drive
Crucial M4 128GB (8 second boot) Western Digital RE4 1TB Western Digital RE4 2TB Pioneer Blu-Ray Reader/Writer 
CoolingOSMonitorKeyboard
Cooler Master Hyper 212 Evo Windows 8.1 Pro x64 Dell U2713HM IBM Model M (CLICKY!!) 
PowerCaseMouseAudio
Antec HCG-900 NZXT Source 210 (it was cheap) Logitech G502 Schiit Modi 
AudioAudio
Sennheiser HD 598 M-Audio AV40's 
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
Intel Core i5-4200U Microsoft BGA1168 Intel HD 4400 8 GB LPDDR3 Dual Channel @ 1600mhz 
Hard DriveOSMonitorKeyboard
SK Hynix 256GB SSD Windows 8.1 Professional 1920 x 1080p IPS Display Microsoft Touch Cover 2 
Power
48w PSU 
  hide details  
Reply
post #4 of 4
Quote:
Originally Posted by coachmark2 View Post

What sort of IO performance would you see going with, say for example, a Synology DS414? And how would that compare to a server running a PERC (newer model than a 6/i probably)

Also, if you were to build your own, what OS would you use for iSCSI traffic? I'd like to attach a few iSCSI LUNs to a Windows 2012 R2 file server hosted in another building (linked by multi-mode Gig fiber). Then have people access shares on that server rather than accessing the iSCSI NAS directly.

You will typical see about 70 IOPS per 7200RPM drive, so 4 of them in RAID10 should yield ~280-300 IOPS. Sequential speed will definitely be enough to saturate a gigabit link, with ease. This is true regardless of the Synology or something like a PERC H710.

In my home environment, I run Windows Server 2012 with a hardware RAID controller. I use the Windows iSCSI Target for my iSCSI needs. That's not to say FreeNAS/TrueNAS or any other *NAS can't do it just as well. I would hate to see a company use, and rely, on a storage infrastructure backed with FreeNAS. TrueNAS is their commercial equivilant, which comes with several hardware choices. While I have no experience with it, I think it would be worth looking into. When it comes to a business critical system, support should ALWAYS be thought #1, with performance and compatibility behind that. Community support is nice and all, but not so nice when you are down and you are waiting for someone to answer you on a forum while your boss is screaming at you.
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