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I was looking into building a NAS for a few VMs to boot from as well as to have some iSCSI extents for bulk data/file server storage. The plan was to build a machine and run FreeNAS on it.

Well after looking into it more and finding that FreeNAS essentially demands a medium-duty server to run (Quad core w/ Hyperthreading recommended, Dual Intel server NICs, 16GB (!!!) at a minimum of ECC RAM and a server motherboard.... I started looking elsewhere. Trying to build a system that would match that ended up being a frustrating endeavor just to stay below $1000.

Thus, the system builder in me begrudgingly accepted Ty and other's advice here on OCN to look into a dedicated NAS unit. Which leads me to Synology.....

Do you see this? This completely destroys any thoughts I ever had of making my own FreeNAS. It's <$1000, has 8 drive bays, supports a multitude of RAID configs, has native iSCSI support, and a company to stand behind it. And automatic email alerts for disk failure.

So.... for iSCSI performance and quality of company support.... should I look elsewhere? Or is the guy to get?
 

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I used to run freenas and loved it. I bought a synology 1813+ which is the same as that one but with 4 lan ports and it is awesome. iSCSI is super easy to set up and works great with my xenserver hypervisor. Super easy to setup and the web control panel is very easy to use. Being a power user i loved freenas, but it has so many bugs and problems. I have the 1813+ set up with 4 port link aggr and it is fast as hell. Also the hard drives install with zero screws. Love the no screws. I highly recommend synology to everyone.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Good to hear!
smile.gif
Thanks! While I like to build and tinker with just about anything I can get my hands on, I understand when the pre-built appliance yields better results. :/

Any other thoughts?
 

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I built a FreeNAS box recently and I'm running the 9.2.1 release. I built it with an AMD A10 motherboard/CPU combo, 8GB's of RAM, 8 2TB WDs and two SanDisk SSDs (for caching) and an extra Intel PCIe NIC all for around $1000. The most expensive part of the build was the drives. Thinking about also getting an Intel 4 port NIC at some point in the future, but I need to get a better switch first (it never ends!)

When I started thinking about building this NAS I looked at getting a synology case but I also wanted new HDDs so the cost just kind of sky rocketed. My FreeNAS box hosts a few CIFS, runs as my Plex Media server, my ownCloud server and also serves up iSCSI drives to my desktop and Hyper-V host and this thing hasn't missed a beat. The spec's you listed seem kinda high to me. Trust me, you don't NEED 16GBs of RAM to run FreeNAS. ZFS loves to cache so the more RAM you have the better the performance. With my 8GB setup however, I have yet to see it slow down or act sluggish. You can also use SSD drives for layer 2 caching if you want.

Synology is great if you want just a no nonsense NAS. If you've already got the drives, I'd say go with the product you linked. If you want to fill it with drives then you're going to go way over your $1,000 budget. You also have QNAP who make great NAS boxes.

Of course when you build your own you can always upgrade components as needed so that's something to consider. When you get a pre-built NAS box the only thing you can change are the drives.
 

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One thing I did notice is that the transfer speed on my freenas box were not nearly as fast as the synology with the same link aggr. Your can add more ram to the synology box as well, at least the 1813+ you can. The ram must be ordered from synology. I have never seen the ram or cpu usage above 10%.
 

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Hmmm....that's something I'll have to test out. I'm currently not running any link aggregation but I max out my Gbit NIC when transferring files from my desktop to my NAS. That's why I wanted to get the 4 port intel nic (2 ports for regular network, 2 ports for storage between Hyper-V host and NAS, plus 1 management) and unfortunately my switch is pretty basic and doesn't support LACP or VLANs
 
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