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FreeNAS vs. FlexRAID vs. UnRAID vs. SnapRAID

53225 Views 15 Replies 7 Participants Last post by  LukasRadek
So I've been looking into all 4 of these solutions over the past few days for converting my current arrays into one big NAS. My current setup consists of the following hardware:

Current Plex Media Sever:

Processor: Q6600 2.4Ghz
Memory: 8GB RAM DDR2-667 RAM
Storage:
  • 160GB SATA OS Drive
  • 4x2TB in RAID10 array (Perc 6i)

Current Backup Server (also being used as a test VM server):

Processor: i3770K OC'd to 4.5Ghz
Memory: 32GB DDR3-800
Storage:
  • 64GB SSD OS Drive
  • 2x128GB SSD's (test VM's)
  • 4x2TB SATA's in RAID10
Secondary NIC: Intel EXPI9301CT Gigabit CT Adapter

I also have a few extra 500GB SATA's (2-3), 1-2 cases, a PSU, 1-2 8GB micro flash drives, and 8GB of DDR3-800 RAM laying around in case I needed to build another box.

Now for my NAS options:

FreeNAS: It seems like ZFS is the most advanced file system but I can't use that without buying server grade hardware (board, ECC RAM, Xeon, etc.). I was really hoping to make use of what I already have so as much as I want to go with the best, I think FreeNAS is out.

FlexRAID: Next I really looked at FlexRAID because it runs on top of Windows (which I'm most familiar with) and has some attractive features. However the main reason for undergoing this project was to get rid of running a solution on top of an OS so I think that takes out FlexRAID for me.

SnapRAID: Also seems to have to run on top of another OS so that appears out as well.

UnRAID: It is its own OS and has many of the same features of FlexRAID and SnapRAID. It looks like UnRAID might be my best option by DEFAULT. I don't exactly like picking a solution by default but sometimes there's no other choice.

So...give me better choice or tell me I'm right in my determination
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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
My other option is to add my the 4 drives on my VM server to my Dell Perc6i so I'd have 8 drives on that controller. I could either just add a second RAID10 volume or maybe expand my current array on that card to an 8-disk RAID10 array (although I'd have to move all my data off the current array first right?). But regardless, I'd want to use something like FreeNAS or some other small OS to get read of the my bulky Windows install. I don't want windows on this server anymore because I want no temptations of using it for other purposes at the same time of being a NAS.
 

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If you are debating between FreeNAS and UnRAID, definitely go with FreeNAS. UnRAID only gives the performance of a single drive and it's not free.

You don't necessarily need to have ECC RAM for FreeNAS/ZFS, but it's definitely recommended.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Quote:
Originally Posted by tycoonbob View Post

If you are debating between FreeNAS and UnRAID, definitely go with FreeNAS. UnRAID only gives the performance of a single drive and it's not free.

You don't necessarily need to have ECC RAM for FreeNAS/ZFS, but it's definitely recommended.
Yea see that's the thing, everything I'm reading about FreeNAS it's all about ZFS. The whole point of going FreeNAS is for ZFS. And ZFS was designed with ECC in mind. Therefore I'd have to basically build a new server to go that route. I haven't 100% ruled it out because ZFS looks very attractive. But still, my original intention was to work with that I have. I'd be looking at roughly $700 to build a ZFS-rated server to run FreeNAS. I'm sure it would be the most optimal setup, but still I have to swallow the money and let my current hardware sit there collecting dust
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PuffinMyLye View Post

Yea see that's the thing, everything I'm reading about FreeNAS it's all about ZFS. The whole point of going FreeNAS is for ZFS. And ZFS was designed with ECC in mind. Therefore I'd have to basically build a new server to go that route. I haven't 100% ruled it out because ZFS looks very attractive. But still, my original intention was to work with that I have. I'd be looking at roughly $700 to build a ZFS-rated server to run FreeNAS. I'm sure it would be the most optimal setup, but still I have to swallow the money and let my current hardware sit there collecting dust
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Then go with UnRAID so you can use your existing hardware.
 

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I agree with Ty on this one,imo Freenas would be the way to go.Given the choices and what your looking for. There are countless examples of people using consumer grade components to run freenas.

I'm away from home for a bit.And I'm using my phone for these post(sucks) otherwise I'd point you to the examples.

But I'd use either setup for your server,both are overkill for freenas by the way.It doesn't take much for freenas.With the exception of ram maybe.

I'd run 4-disk raidz 1 to begin with, transfer your data then setup another 4-disk raidz 1 to expand the array.

Or sell one of the setups,order more disk and start off with bigger array.So you don't have to worry for a while.
If you do some searching in the server section of the forum there's a guy who run a 18TB freenas server (with I think 12TB's usable).And he's running it on desktop components.

EDIT:Although ZFS works excellent for home use. It was designed for with the enterprise environment in mind.E.g. for companies that can afford to expand arrays 4+ drives or more at a time.
With that said server grade parts are optimal but not necessarily needed.There's also a mechanism with in the software 2 account for bit rot or data errors.So really no need for ecc memory and the like.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by PuffinMyLye View Post

So I've been looking into all 4 of these solutions over the past few days for converting my current arrays into one big NAS. My current setup consists of the following hardware:

Current Plex Media Sever:

Processor: Q6600 2.4Ghz
Memory: 8GB RAM DDR2-667 RAM
Storage:
  • 160GB SATA OS Drive
  • 4x2TB in RAID10 array (Perc 6i)

Current Backup Server (also being used as a test VM server):

Processor: i3770K OC'd to 4.5Ghz
Memory: 32GB DDR3-800
Storage:
  • 64GB SSD OS Drive
  • 2x128GB SSD's (test VM's)
  • 4x2TB SATA's in RAID10
Secondary NIC: Intel EXPI9301CT Gigabit CT Adapter

I also have a few extra 500GB SATA's (2-3), 1-2 cases, a PSU, 1-2 8GB micro flash drives, and 8GB of DDR3-800 RAM laying around in case I needed to build another box.

Now for my NAS options:

FreeNAS: It seems like ZFS is the most advanced file system but I can't use that without buying server grade hardware (board, ECC RAM, Xeon, etc.). I was really hoping to make use of what I already have so as much as I want to go with the best, I think FreeNAS is out.

FlexRAID: Next I really looked at FlexRAID because it runs on top of Windows (which I'm most familiar with) and has some attractive features. However the main reason for undergoing this project was to get rid of running a solution on top of an OS so I think that takes out FlexRAID for me.

SnapRAID: Also seems to have to run on top of another OS so that appears out as well.

UnRAID: It is its own OS and has many of the same features of FlexRAID and SnapRAID. It looks like UnRAID might be my best option by DEFAULT. I don't exactly like picking a solution by default but sometimes there's no other choice.

So...give me better choice or tell me I'm right in my determination
thumb.gif
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Go with freeNAS\NAS4Free I have 2 file servers running on NAS4Free we use iSCSI to connect to our XenServer and FTP and file sharing. the hardware is a core2duo and some DDR3 ram none of it is server grade just some 3-4 year old hardware at the end of there life. We have had zero problems for the past 6 months
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Quote:
Originally Posted by m1ndb3nd3r View Post

Go with freeNAS\NAS4Free I have 2 file servers running on NAS4Free we use iSCSI to connect to our XenServer and FTP and file sharing. the hardware is a core2duo and some DDR3 ram none of it is server grade just some 3-4 year old hardware at the end of there life. We have had zero problems for the past 6 months
Are you using ZFS in NAS4Free?
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Quote:
Originally Posted by m1ndb3nd3r View Post

For our iSCSI array we are using ZFS. For the file share we are not.
You're not at all concerned about the integrity of your data without ECC?
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by PuffinMyLye View Post

You're not at all concerned about the integrity of your data without ECC?
No as this is for a classroom and the amount for data being written daily is small. The VM's are AD, a small mail server, and a RDP computer. Files are ISO's and other classrooms documents.
 

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Personally I use FlexRAID and it just works. I like the fact it is on top of Windows, so I can use the box as my XBMC PC also while still acting as a server to the rest of my network. The only limitation I do not like is you can only do one array with it and I would like at least two, one for personal data and the other for media. Anyways, very easy to use and setup.
 

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I currently don't have a home file server but one down fall of flex raid is you need to pay for the OS and then pay for the software. What about support for iSCSI, NFS, and FTP? Nas4Free is free and easy to use. I must admit there is one thing i like about FlexRAID and UnRAID but that 1 thing will not make me shell out money to buy it.
 

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If you are debating between FreeNAS and UnRAID, definitely go with FreeNAS. UnRAID only gives the performance of a single drive and it's not free.
Old thread, but in case anyone uses it to guide their decision, just like me, you should know, that the above mentioned has its very important flip side.

UnRAID only gives the performance of one drive, BUT that is because it doesn't stripe the data among all drives. Meanwhile FreeNAS (and other standard RAID5/6 implementations) do strip data among all drives, meaning that if you lose more that the allowed number of failed drives (1 for RAID5, 2 for RAID6) you will lose ALL data in the whole array.

If 2 drives fail (even out of lets say 10) in RAID5 (FreeNAS) array, you will lose all the data on all 10 drives. Meanwhile with UnRAID if you lose 2 drives (again out of 10), you will still have the 8 drives with intact data.

FreeNAS is therefore not better in that sense... it is different. If you care more about speed, go with FreeNAS, if you care more about preventing data loss, go with UnRAID.
 

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I run TrueNAS (Former FreeNAS). Your statement concerning TrueNAS is false. RAIDZ2 tolerate 2 disk failures. Likewise RAIDZ3 would tolerate 3 disk failures. Keep in mind that RAIDZ can be slow. If speed is important than you need to consider a RAIDZ Mirror. More on this @ the TrueNAS forums where valuable info is available.
 

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I run TrueNAS (Former FreeNAS). Your statement concerning TrueNAS is false. RAIDZ2 tolerate 2 disk failures. Likewise RAIDZ3 would tolerate 3 disk failures. Keep in mind that RAIDZ can be slow. If speed is important than you need to consider a RAIDZ Mirror. More on this @ the TrueNAS forums where valuable info is available.
The point was that RAID implementations WITH striping will lose all data when more than the number of parity drives fail. The RAID implementations WITHOUT striping will only lose data on the lost truly lost drives (if lost more than the number of parity drives).

That still stands with RAIDZ.
 
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