New user with FreeNAS 8.04 on Atom based servers

Discussion in 'FreeNAS 4 N00bs' started by luisvale, Apr 18, 2012.

  1. luisvale New Member

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    luisvale, Apr 18, 2012

    Hi all

    First time posting here, although I've been following several threads for some months.

    First, I'm migrating my WHS 2003 servers to FreeNAS 8.04.
    I have 2 servers (both are the TranquilPC SQA-5H) which are based on Intel Motherboards with Atom 330 and 2GB RAM and SIIL 3124 Sata cards and Networked on a Gigabit Apple Extreme.

    Server 1 has 1 TB + 4x 2TB disks plus an external enclosure connected by eSATA with 5x 2TB disks.
    Server 2 has 1 TB + 4x 2TB disk2 plus an external enclosure connected by eSATA with 4x 1TB disks.

    All disks are WD Green varying between EADS and EARS drives. As I bought the disks in pairs at different occasions I believe I'm quite safe with these.

    At the moment what I'm storing in these servers are the collections of all my CD's (1500+) in Flac format, and all my DVD's (2000+) as ISO's, and also all my digital photos (since 1996) and a great number of scanned photos, and a large number of copies of miniDV tapes.

    Also I have a very large iTunes library, with a transcoded copy of the music and and videos, suitable to use on the AppleTV and other iDevices…..

    I've already migrated one server to FreeNAS 8.04 and I've followed this procedure:

    Created 2 USB pens with FreeNAS 8.04 so that I could boot the servers from these and use all the disk for data.

    First, I tried to consolidate all data on the fewest disks possible on the WHS boxes so that I could have at least 5 disks free for the first FreeNAS server.

    What I'm trying to do is to have FreeNAS server 1 with 2 volumes on RAIDZ1 each, Volume 1 with all the internal disks (5x2TB) and Volume 2 (5x1TB) with all the external disks, and on FreeNAS server 2 also with 2 volumes on RAIDZ1 each with internal disks (5x2TB) and external disks (4x2TB)

    Sidenote: Before going for FreeNAS I've tested Windows Server 8 Beta running from an USB pen(16GB), because I believe that the Storage Spaces approach is much more versatile than the current implementation of ZFS (adding or removing disks at any time and creating the volumes as RAID, Mirror2 or Mirror3 on top of the Storage space), but after a few days of testing I gave up, because the system is slow as molasses if running with the GUI, and running from powershell is a pain in the……. :), and could only have SMB shares, and one of the reasons I considered moving out from the WHS 2003 was to have a more friendly environment for iDevices (AFP).

    At the moment I'm finishing the transfer of data to my first FreeNAS server and I would like your opinion about the performance I'm getting from the system, because I see that everyone around here is using quite powerful systems compared to my humble Atom powered servers (and the 2GB RAM), so I'm adding some screenshots from the the Reporting Screen taken while the server was being filled from 2 different PC's.

    Also, any advice on settings or changes in the configuration are welcome and desired (I've already "hacked" the Gigantic Banner :))

    Screen Shot 2012-04-13 at 17.11.55 .jpg Screen Shot 2012-04-13 at 17.12.08 .jpg Screen Shot 2012-04-13 at 17.12.20 .jpg Screen Shot 2012-04-13 at 17.12.32 .jpg Screen Shot 2012-04-13 at 17.13.39 .png

    Best regards

    Luis
  2. ProtoSD Active Member

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    ProtoSD, Apr 18, 2012

    Hi Luis,

    I have an Atom D510, 1.6Ghz board and recently just upgraded to 8GB of RAM. Before that I had 4GB of RAM and performance was really still quite good. I think you'll find that performance on Atom boards can really be quite remarkable, but you've got to have more RAM!!
    Especially having 2 pools! I think you'll get better performance if you instead create one pool of two 5 disk vdevs and just create datasets, but RAM is a must.

    Also I've noticed you have a Realtek network controller which from seeing other posts from people doesn't seem to be a good choice. I'd start with the RAM, but swap that out next.
  3. luisvale New Member

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    luisvale, Apr 18, 2012

    Thanks

    Unfortunately these Atoms are 330's and the Motherboard Intel D945GCLF2 won't take more RAM (I've tried with several configurations).

    Regarding the disks, unfortunately I had to go this way because I didn't have enough free disks to create a single pool (specially because we can't add disks to vdev's freely as its possible on Win8 Storage Spaces.

    But for now, peaking at 300MB/s I can't say that I'm not happy with the performance.

    btw: I'm quite limited on what I can do on these machines :

    it_photo_142663_52.jpg
  4. louisk Member

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    louisk, Apr 18, 2012

    Unfortunately, w/o more memory, you are likely to have either performance issues (slow transfers on/off) and/or crashes. Typically, these don't happen right away, they take a little bit. Frequently based on how much you transfer on/off the box.

    I say this so you will have a better understanding of whats going and to potentially give you enough information to make better decisions down the road when the time comes.
  5. luisvale New Member

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    luisvale, Apr 18, 2012

    Thanks louisk

    When I "jumped" to the FreeNas I was aware that these systems are somewhat substandard to a full fledged NAS system, but the risks of losing data (which I did on Windows Home Server) are lower IMHO with FreeNAS, even on these substandard servers.

    I don't plan a heavy utilization of the system besides this initial period of transferring the existing data to the FreeNAS (server 1 has already +/- 10 TB) - just TimeMachine from 2 Macs, and the occasional usage of the iTunes library (I'm not planning on using Firefly because it does not handle video).

    Any hints of reducing the risks?? I'm thinking on having replication tasks of some datasets (Photos for sure) between the 2 servers, and periodic snapshots. Any good strategy??

    luis
  6. louisk Member

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    louisk, Apr 19, 2012

    In what ways is the FreeNAS system more riskier than a "full fledged NAS system"? Can you provide some examples of what a full fledged NAS system?
  7. luisvale New Member

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    luisvale, May 12, 2012

    Sorry I missed your reply.

    What I mean with substandard systems is referring to my own servers based on Atom330 cpu's with 2GB RAM when compared with some members systems with core ix/Xeon CPU's servers with 16+ GB RAM, specialized Hard disk interfaces, etc.......

    I don't want to compare FreeNAS with other systems (Enterprise) like EMC, HP, Dell, NetApp, etc, because it's not the purpose for a home system.

    I believe that FreeNAS might have deviated a little from the initial goal of a very lightweight system, used primarily to repurpose old hardware, and it lacks some "user friendliness" to appeal non techies.

    The recent initiative of the Storage Spaces on Windows Server 8, if MS would want, could be an attractive solution for a WHS replacement (which was a good consumer ready approach to NAS), and a formidable competition to all Open Source/Free/Low Cost NAS solutions.

    IMHO FreeNAS really needs to be more automated on the "basic" NAS objectives (a better Web interface would help), and i'm eagerly waiting to see the implementation of some "self-tuning" objects, and also a more ambitious roadmap of features, to get it "at least" at the point where FreeNAS 7 was, and beyond that....

    just my 2c

    luis

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