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School me on building a NAS

1804 Views 7 Replies 5 Participants Last post by  sultanofswing
So I am getting to a point where I feel that I want to build a NAS just for my personal use. I would like to be able to put all my larger files on it so I can not have to re-download large files/games etc etc anytime I do a Fresh install.
So I have been doing some research and it seems that it should be an easy task I just want to make sure I am going about it the right way.
Currently I have some spare X299 parts that I plan to build the actual NAS out of.
I did some research and I will either go with FreeNAS or Unraid and those require the use of a HBA card?
I was looking at this HBA card which I am told with a firmware flash works with FreeNAS- Amazon.com: SAS9211-8I 8PORT Int 6GB Sata+SAS Pcie 2.0: Electronics
It appears that card is a SFF8087 so I would need those adapters.
I did some more research and the one thing I want to make sure is that Write speeds are of a decent speed. My PC that I use already has a 10Gbe port and I also would have to get one for the NAS.

From what I am gathering although a little harder to configure the FreeNAS ZFS file system is better than unraid?

Anything I am missing feel free to school me on as I am new to NAS.
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I've got FreeNAS with ZFS, and it was straight forward to setup. A little more fuss because I chose to put the FreeNAS into a Hyper-V VM and pass the drives to it, but it's been working flawlessly for over a year now. Very, very satisfied with FreeNAS (not so much Windows, but... what else is news?)
If you're doing strictly NAS, you will not make use of the extra paid features you would get with Unraid, so why bother?
You only need an HBA if you're planning to use more HDD's than you have ports on the MB, or if you have some VM setup that would force you to use it. If you're doing a handful of drives, HBA is not needed.
Write speeds will depends on whether you're doing large sequential writes vs bunch of small files. For large files, it'll likely be whatever your HDD's can support after you fill up the buffers - so anything over a gig, roughly. For small files, you will be network bound for sure, regardless of GBe or 10GBe. When I have to transfer large install files, it's best to zip them up on my local machine (NVMe drive, etc), then transfer the ZIP file over network.
How many drives and what kind of arrangement are you planning to go with?
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I've got FreeNAS with ZFS, and it was straight forward to setup. A little more fuss because I chose to put the FreeNAS into a Hyper-V VM and pass the drives to it, but it's been working flawlessly for over a year now. Very, very satisfied with FreeNAS (not so much Windows, but... what else is news?)
If you're doing strictly NAS, you will not make use of the extra paid features you would get with Unraid, so why bother?
You only need an HBA if you're planning to use more HDD's than you have ports on the MB, or if you have some VM setup that would force you to use it. If you're doing a handful of drives, HBA is not needed.
Write speeds will depends on whether you're doing large sequential writes vs bunch of small files. For large files, it'll likely be whatever your HDD's can support after you fill up the buffers - so anything over a gig, roughly. For small files, you will be network bound for sure, regardless of GBe or 10GBe. When I have to transfer large install files, it's best to zip them up on my local machine (NVMe drive, etc), then transfer the ZIP file over network.
How many drives and what kind of arrangement are you planning to go with?
I was thinking to start with 8 drives.
I would also like to setup a Steam Cache as this is what the NAS would mostly be used for.
 

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With 8 drives, it may make sense to start out with an HBA, as I doubt your Mobo has that many + another drive for system (unless you go with a USB install).
Lots of used Dell HBA cards on eBay. They are not worth much. Here's one example with SATA breakout cables included for almost half the amazon price: For LSI 6Gbps SAS HBA 9240-8I IT Mode ZFS FreeNAS unRAID + 2*SFF-8087 SATA US 930698092172 | eBay
Feel free to check out my NAS build thread where I posted some benchmarks:
 

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I have a Truenas Core(former Freenas) setup with a 10G sfp+ connection to my 10G switch and it is really very fast. Normal bandwidth is 600-800MBps between NAS, and pc, I used 2 X520 intel DA adapters one added to the nas, and one to the pc. Platform wise i'm on a b450 + 3400g combo and that hasn't caused issues so far. I also have a 1TB nvme drive that is configured as z-pool cache. For 8 disks on x299, you may be fine without add-in cards. I run the Truenas Core OS from a usb drive, as once it's in memory there is no performance difference.
 

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Is there any benefit to using more powerful hardware? I recently upgrade my personal PC and was going to use my old x99 /5930k PC as a hyper visor but I've also got another set of components I wanted to use as a NAS setup. I suppose I could follow ymetushe's path and just do the one setup but with Esxi and just pass over the drive to the VM. Ive got a HP dl380p now that I cant stand how loud it is and wanted to go to something quieter so that's partially why I updated out of the x99.
 

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Is there any benefit to using more powerful hardware?
if you're not going to use the extra horsepower, no?

I've got a G5500 with two X540s as my NAS and the disks are the bottleneck, not the CPU.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
So I stayed up way too late last night testing both TrueNAS and UNRAID.
Both were easy to setup, I grabbed some old 1tb spinning disks I had laying around and setup 4 of them plus 2 sata SSD's to see if I could get that working.
In TrueNAS I got it running with installing TrueNAS to 1 SSD and using the other SSD as a Cache drive.
A few test shows it saturates the 1gbe connection in the house without issues.
After that I setup UNRAID and got that running off the Flash drive with both SSD'd setup as a Cache and the spinning disks as normal.
This once again was still enough to saturate the 1gbe network in the house.

As far as which one is better? Going to play around some more with both today, but UNRAID has an easier interface to understand but the initial Parity check takes a long time.
I still have a lot to learn and today I am going to simulate a failing drive on both setups and see how that goes. From my understanding UNRAID is better in that aspect but I shall find out.
 
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