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Omniman
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Recommended NAS Devices

Tue Jan 16, 2018 11:22 am

I'm looking to start queuing up the replacement of my Windows Home Server 2011 server. I really only needed it for storage of my music and family pictures. Anyhow, I'm looking for a NAS that is a RAID1 or RAID5 that can allow for hot swapping if a drive starts to fail. Any recommendations?
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Re: Recommended NAS Devices

Tue Jan 16, 2018 11:40 am

FreeNAS seems to get a lot of recommendations every time this kind of question comes up.

My approach is to use an old PC (preferably one that can use ECC RAM) and install a copy of Ubuntu Server on it, but unless you've got prior Linux sysadmin experience setting up FreeNAS would be much easier since it is purpose-built to be a NAS distro and provides an integrated web admin GUI.

If you're looking for a canned hardware+software solution, I have no idea what's good these days.
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Re: Recommended NAS Devices

Tue Jan 16, 2018 11:44 am

I'm doing something similar for a NAS which is going to be primarily for backups, music and photo archiving. It's a DIY project with a small form factor, mini-itx build using this case InWin MS04 which has four (3.5") swap bays and room to add two (2.5") drives. It is coming together well and the case has nice features like a removable motherboard tray. I went with ASRock's C236 WSI mini-ITX board and for ECC support an i3-6100 CPU and Crucial ECC-UDIMM. I'm leaning toward unRAID as the operating system but I am still reading up on it and comparing it with FreeNAS.
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demolition
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Re: Recommended NAS Devices

Wed Jan 17, 2018 3:09 am

FreeNAS is great indeed but you should be aware that the ZFS file system which is the standard and recommended choice is designed to be used with ECC memory so it should be used with an ECC-capable platform only.

I run FreeNAS on an HP ProLiant Microserver Gen8 and that gives me plenty of power and functionality for a really low cost - much lower than any decent dedicated NAS device from QNAP/Synology/etc. Here's a review of the MicroServer:
http://www.techradar.com/reviews/pc-mac ... 460/review

I have the smallest config with the G1610 CPU which is plenty of power for my needs, but upgraded the memory to 2x8GB ECC memory (with ZFS it is recommended to have 1GB memory per 1TB of disk space which is why you would want to stuff it to the max). I use 4x6TB disks with it.

Relative to your requirements it is missing the hot-swap functionality though. If a disk goes bad, the machine should be powered down, the faulty HDD replaced and the system rebooted. Then the array can be rebuilt (or resilvered as it is called with ZFS) with the new disk.
 
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Re: Recommended NAS Devices

Wed Jan 17, 2018 4:04 am

demolition wrote:
FreeNAS is great indeed but you should be aware that the ZFS file system which is the standard and recommended choice is designed to be used with ECC memory so it should be used with an ECC-capable platform only.

I have the smallest config with the G1610 CPU which is plenty of power for my needs, but upgraded the memory to 2x8GB ECC memory (with ZFS it is recommended to have 1GB memory per 1TB of disk space which is why you would want to stuff it to the max). I use 4x6TB disks with it.


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DragonDaddyBear
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Re: Recommended NAS Devices

Wed Jan 17, 2018 8:12 am

Just a thought, maybe consider adding 10 gb/s link to your requirements? It's really easy for a NAS to saturate a 1 gb/s link. It's going to add cost but it should be a little more future proof. Asustor just announced a low-ish cost one.

I can't speak to the boxes you can buy. I, like many other gerbils, roll my own with FreeNAS on a Dell PowerEdge R710 with dual 6-core/12-thread CPU's and 48GB of RAM. I run it all on an ESXi box, though, for a home lab, PFSense Router, WLAN controller and Plex hosting. My requirements are a bit different. It's quite powerful, though. Unfortunately the power draw is quite large. Just sitting it's about 180W. I also recently added a 10 gig NIC and picked up an excess Cisco 3850 for under $200 for all the needed hardware to upgrade my network to a 10 gig backbone.

The down side is it has been a single point of failure and a time sink at first. It's a lot to learn, even if you're experianced in IT. I would suggest looking at QNAP and Synology unless you have crazy plans like me and like playing with this stuff. They are on the higher end but are the top two from the research I've done.

I usually frown on promotting sites that are not the host in a forum, but in this case I really think you should head over to smallnetbuilder.com. The site has some really quality reviews over there.
 
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Re: Recommended NAS Devices

Wed Jan 17, 2018 8:43 am

@demolition - ZFS doesn't require ECC. ECC is always desirable on any file server (regardless of file system) to help protect against bitrot and downtime; but ZFS isn't going to burn down, fall over, and sink into the swamp just because you put it on a non-ECC system. I suspect that part of this "ZFS requires ECC" thing got started because ZFS tends to be used in high-reliability, high-availability systems, and (given this), it would be kind of silly to degrade availability/reliability by using non-ECC RAM.

DragonDaddyBear wrote:
Just a thought, maybe consider adding 10 gb/s link to your requirements? It's really easy for a NAS to saturate a 1 gb/s link. It's going to add cost but it should be a little more future proof. Asustor just announced a low-ish cost one.

I'd be more inclined to upgrade the NIC later, and just make sure I've got a spare PCIe x4 or better slot to drop the 10Gb NIC into. No advantage to 10Gb until the rest of the network infrastructure supports it.

DragonDaddyBear wrote:
I usually frown on promotting sites that are not the host in a forum, but in this case I really think you should head over to smallnetbuilder.com. The site has some really quality reviews over there.

The purpose of the forum is to facilitate the sharing of information. If that information is only available at another site, so be it.
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Waco
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Re: Recommended NAS Devices

Wed Jan 17, 2018 9:04 am

demolition wrote:
FreeNAS is great indeed but you should be aware that the ZFS file system which is the standard and recommended choice is designed to be used with ECC memory so it should be used with an ECC-capable platform only.

I run FreeNAS on an HP ProLiant Microserver Gen8 and that gives me plenty of power and functionality for a really low cost - much lower than any decent dedicated NAS device from QNAP/Synology/etc. Here's a review of the MicroServer:
http://www.techradar.com/reviews/pc-mac ... 460/review

I have the smallest config with the G1610 CPU which is plenty of power for my needs, but upgraded the memory to 2x8GB ECC memory (with ZFS it is recommended to have 1GB memory per 1TB of disk space which is why you would want to stuff it to the max). I use 4x6TB disks with it.

Relative to your requirements it is missing the hot-swap functionality though. If a disk goes bad, the machine should be powered down, the faulty HDD replaced and the system rebooted. Then the array can be rebuilt (or resilvered as it is called with ZFS) with the new disk.

I love FreeNAS but almost everything you posted here isn't true.

ECC, while recommended, is required no more than with any other filesystem.

DRAM requirements aren't governed by space, but by workload - 8 GB will keep almost every NAS file storage user happy, more just helps for non-typical workloads since ZFS has an excellent read cache (the ARC).

Hot-swap is 100% governed by your hardware choices - if your SATA/SAS controller supports hot-swap (which nearly all from the past decade do), you're good to go.

The learning curve on ZFS is a bit steep but not really more so than any other filesystem/volume manager/RAID controller that requires user interaction. ZFS covers a lot more than traditional filesystems so it's quite complicated in a 1:1 comparison.

/signed ZFS sysadmin/architect with 100+ PiB at work and a 17 drive FreeNAS box at home.
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Re: Recommended NAS Devices

Wed Jan 17, 2018 9:11 am

just brew it! wrote:
DragonDaddyBear wrote:
Just a thought, maybe consider adding 10 gb/s link to your requirements? It's really easy for a NAS to saturate a 1 gb/s link. It's going to add cost but it should be a little more future proof. Asustor just announced a low-ish cost one.

I'd be more inclined to upgrade the NIC later, and just make sure I've got a spare PCIe x4 or better slot to drop the 10Gb NIC into. No advantage to 10Gb until the rest of the network infrastructure supports it.

Good suggestion. 2.5/5/10 GbE is supposed to start being afforably showing up in switches before 2020. I think it's a good idea to keep that in mind if you buy a NAS. Even if it doesn't have it you will probably want it in the next couple of years.
 
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Re: Recommended NAS Devices

Wed Jan 17, 2018 10:00 am

Waco wrote:
I love FreeNAS but almost everything you posted here isn't true.

ECC, while recommended, is required no more than with any other filesystem.

In the interest of (hopefully) putting this to bed, here's a post from Matt Ahrens (one of the original developers of ZFS) regarding the ECC issue: https://arstechnica.com/civis/viewtopic ... #p26303271
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Re: Recommended NAS Devices

Wed Jan 17, 2018 10:02 am

Just remember to buy raid specific hdds.
Even so, I recommend that if you do a diy not a nas box that's alread made to buy, do not raid your drives. Just copy and paste your files.
Every single raided hdds I owned died. I lost folders and folders of my photos this way. (raid).
don't raid the 8tb seagate archive drives. (Although seagate waranty process is the easiest) shhhh..... (they may change it).
Also you probably won't have he hot swap ability if it's an older system with old non uefi bios. read the downloadable manual before you make a decision on mobo purchase.

edit: Also if you are going to use linux and you don't have any linux experience, why install ubuntu server? just install ubuntu desktop. it' has all the server stuff andit comes with a nice user friendly gui.
just raun sudo apt-get samba and you are done.
Also, when install ubuntu or any other linux, make sure your storage devices stay ntfs or ntfs-3g. otherwise if you decide to use windows down the line, it's giant pain. windows can't see any files made with the linux file system.
Last edited by Darthutos on Wed Jan 17, 2018 10:08 am, edited 1 time in total.
 
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Re: Recommended NAS Devices

Wed Jan 17, 2018 10:07 am

DragonDaddyBear wrote:
picked up an excess Cisco 3850 for under $200


WHOA, what, where?

Those are thousands of dollars USED: The modules cost more than that, for regular SFP.

Like, if you personally got some insane firesale deal, I'm totally glad, but that is, like, entirely not relevant as advice to anyone else (Oh, you are looking for a car? Just get a Ferrari--my dad gave me one!).

...And I'm saying this as someone with Point to Point 10G link (an affordable ~50 USD for 2x Mellanox + Direct Attach cable!) between his NAS and Main server, so I'm not even totally against the general idea.

If you want something that isn't outrageously expensive but has one-two 10G ports so that you can deal with multiple clients simultaneously at 100MB/s+ each without crazy schemes or bonding, Mikrotik has some decent stuff between $200-300, but even that's sort of orthogonal to most enthusiast/hobbyists like us.
 
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Re: Recommended NAS Devices

Wed Jan 17, 2018 10:23 am

Darthutos wrote:
Just remember to buy raid specific hdds.

Yes, this is recommended, but (like ECC RAM) not required. I've used non-RAID/NAS drives in RAID arrays at home and work for more than a decade, and have never had a problem that could be specifically blamed on the "non-RAID-ness" of the drives.

Darthutos wrote:
Even so, I recommend that if you do a diy not a nas box that's alread made to buy, do not raid your drives. Just copy and paste your files.
Every single raided hdds I owned died. I lost folders and folders of my photos this way. (raid).

Well first of all, RAID in and of itself is not a backup. If you were relying on a RAID array as your only "backup", you were doing it wrong. A failing PSU or power surge can take out all the drives at once, just to list a couple of reasons why it is not a backup (there are many more that I won't bother mentioning here).

Second, unless you were using RAID-0 (which improves performance but actually decreases reliability), you would have needed to have multiple drive failures at roughly the same time to lose your data. If a drive in a RAID-1/5/6 array dies, you need to replace it to maintain the redundancy.

I have not seen unusually high failure rates with HDDs used in RAID arrays. In fact, anecdotally the reverse seems to be true -- given the large number of drives I've had in my file servers over the years, the failure rate is lower than drives in desktop systems. This may have something to do with the fact that I tend to keep my file server in the crawlspace (so the ambient temperature is moderate and hardly varies at all), and the drives almost never get power cycled; both of these factors will improve drive reliability.

Darthutos wrote:
don't raid the 8tb seagate archive drives. (Although seagate waranty process is the easiest) shhhh..... (they may change it).

I'd avoid the archive drives in general, unless cost/byte is your overriding concern. And this is regardless of whether you plan to RAID them or not.

Darthutos wrote:
Also you probably won't have he hot swap ability if it's an older system with old non uefi bios. read the downloadable manual before you make a decision on mobo purchase.

Hot swap and UEFI are not related. In general, for hot swap you want AHCI which is a completely different thing (and pre-dates UEFI by several years). Any SATA controller made in the past decade (at least) should support it.
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Glorious
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Re: Recommended NAS Devices

Wed Jan 17, 2018 10:24 am

Darthutos wrote:
Just remember to buy raid specific hdds.


Outside of error recovery silliness where certain firmwares might suffer responsiveness issues because they just don't want give up on that bad sector, I'm not sure how much difference this really makes...

People in the industry like Waco and JBI can chime in, but I have a bunch of RAID1 volumes and RAID6 set, and it's pretty much all desktop drives and so forth.

I'm fine (as far as I know anyway haha).

I mean, if they cost the same I'd obviously prefer them, but they don't, not usually.

Darthutos wrote:
Even so, I recommend that if you do a diy not a nas box that's alread made to buy, do not raid your drives. Just copy and paste your files.


The whole point of mirroring/parity is that the system is basically doing that for you, behind the scenes. You can't forget to do it.

You should still do offsite backups and so forth, but that's good idea in any scenario.

Darthutos wrote:
Every single raided hdds I owned died. I lost folders and folders of my photos this way. (raid).


That sounds like RAID0, which is bad idea. That's just striping, without any redundancy or fault tolerance.

The idea of RAID1/5/6 etc... is that with mirroring/parity, you can recover seamlessly without resorting to backups to restore your data.
 
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Re: Recommended NAS Devices

Wed Jan 17, 2018 10:35 am

just brew it! wrote:
Waco wrote:
I love FreeNAS but almost everything you posted here isn't true.

ECC, while recommended, is required no more than with any other filesystem.

In the interest of (hopefully) putting this to bed, here's a post from Matt Ahrens (one of the original developers of ZFS) regarding the ECC issue: https://arstechnica.com/civis/viewtopic ... #p26303271

Thanks for posting that! Further, the default in newer versions is to checksum in memory before transactions are committed - the window of vulnerability even if you're running a version that doesn't do that is the transaction group limit, by default 5 seconds.


Darthutos wrote:
Just remember to buy raid specific hdds.
Even so, I recommend that if you do a diy not a nas box that's alread made to buy, do not raid your drives. Just copy and paste your files.

I wholeheartedly disagree with this tactic. RAID specific HDDs (or NAS specific) are designed to work well with hardware RAID controllers thanks to TLER support and a few other niceties. They do not help for software protected arrays.

Further, relying on multiple copies on multiple drives is both a waste of money and prone to an awful lot of human error.

just brew it! wrote:
I'd avoid the archive drives in general, unless cost/byte is your overriding concern. And this is regardless of whether you plan to RAID them or not.

This I agree with 100%. If you don't know what you're doing, you can get into hot water very easily by tossing the drive-managed SMR drives into a RAID array. They're quite a bit better in software arrays like ZFS thanks to the niceties of copy-on-write filesystem semantics, but they're still not just a drop-in replacement without forethought.
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Re: Recommended NAS Devices

Wed Jan 17, 2018 11:05 am

I will buck the trend of "build your own using freenas or whatever" recommendations here and instead suggest a Synology device.

I bought a ds415play (4 drive with some hardware accelerated media transcoding capabilities) a couple years ago after getting frustrated with my "roll my own" NAS box.

They have 2-drive and 4-drive devices that aren't too expensive and they will do just what you need: provide redundancy and hot swap capability. But there's more.

When I started off with the ds415play I had 3x2TB drives in my self-built NAS. I used this initially, but after a year or so of ripping media I needed more space. I picked up 4x4TB drives, refurb enterprise drives from Amazon, and popped one in. The system slowly migrated to a 4-drive RAID over the course of a week. After that was done I pulled a 2TB drive, waited for the device to recognize a "degraded" state, and then installed the next 4TB drive. A day later it was back to normal, so I repeated this process twice more. When the last drive was installed it automatically increased the overall capacity and I went from roughly 3.5TB to about 10.5TB with no downtime.

It supports even the newest 12TB drives, so I can continue to expand its storage needs easily (though, them drives aren't cheap!)

It is managed through a very slick web interface, so you can configure it from any system on your network.

I've got an external USB3 drive connected to use as "cold" storage. It serves it up as just another share, took just a few clicks to format/configure it.

I've got it their "cloudstation" app running on it, and installed Synology's photo app on my and my wife's iPhones, so they automatically back up pictures and videos to it whenever we are on the home wifi.

It's set to act as a time machine target for backups of my wife's Macbook.

It's running a Plex server so I can stream music to any device on the network, and stream my DVD and blu-ray rips to an HTPC or my PS4 or Xbox One (if Plex ever unbreaks the Xbox One app). It will auto-transcode supported file formats on devices that can't play them (CD rips in FLAC transcode to MP3 on the fly for iTunes streaming, for instance).

I'm using it's built-in "download station" to seed ocremix and ubuntu torrents independent of any of my PCs having to be online.

It's connected to a tiny desktop UPS device via USB so if I lose power it will execute a graceful shutdown automatically, to avoid potential data corruption.

And I haven't even come close to using all of the capabilities it has.

I think I paid about $450 for mine a few years ago. The newer version, the ds418play, is currently on sale on Amazon for $430. A "budget" model, which will do what you want (and more) is the ds418j, currently at $300 on Amazon.

2-drive versions are cheaper, with the 218j being a real deal at $170. You get your mirroring, hot-swap, easy replace-to-expand capabilities and you can run it as a "dumb NAS" just serving up shares if you want. But you can also run a lot of the apps that might make things a little more useful to you as well.

I appreciate the nerd factor in building your own NAS, but my frustration with the typical open source style of documentation for a lot of those projects (zfs configuration was designed by engineers, for other engineers) combined with the pain in the ass of managing my storage pools manually (even once I could figure out how to build them properly), plus not being able to find updated versions of some softwares which had since been abandoned (mt-daapd) made me decide that my time was worth more to me than the $450 an appliance would cost.

Also, I have had just one run-in with Synology support since I've owned this device due to a weird error that might have been related to my UPS, but the speed at which their team responded and the thoroughness of their responses (and willingness to cut out a lot of the "have you tried X" steps after I told them I already had, instead of making me do it again on the phone with them) was incredible.

Really can't recommend them enough.
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Re: Recommended NAS Devices

Wed Jan 17, 2018 11:22 am

I've been using a DS415+ for a couple years now, with 4x3TB WD reds, RAID 10. Its been flawless.. apart from being my file server, it runs Plex, Unifi Controller software (in Docker), DHCP, and Surveillance Station. I have an external 4TB drive hooked to it for backups, and it also backups to Elephant drive.

Fire and forget. small form factor, and very energy efficicient.
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Re: Recommended NAS Devices

Wed Jan 17, 2018 11:30 am

DIY NAS is certainly an endeavor you have to commit yourself to spending some time and thought on - you can do things very badly if you're not careful.
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Re: Recommended NAS Devices

Wed Jan 17, 2018 11:33 am

deruberhanyok wrote:
I appreciate the nerd factor in building your own NAS, but my frustration with the typical open source style of documentation for a lot of those projects (zfs configuration was designed by engineers, for other engineers) combined with the pain in the ass of managing my storage pools manually (even once I could figure out how to build them properly), plus not being able to find updated versions of some softwares which had since been abandoned (mt-daapd) made me decide that my time was worth more to me than the $450 an appliance would cost.


I'm not thrilled with the nerd-factor. I'm just horrified by the price.

I got a ML10v2 for ~200 dollars, which had a haswell-based i3 at like ~3.5Ghz or something, with 8 gigs of ECC memory (up to 32), and space for 6 drives. Also has slots for expansion cards etc...

The new DS418play is 4 drives, a 2C2T atom-based celeron at ~2.0Ghz, 2GB of NON-ECC installed (but up to 6) with no expansion for TWICE as much.

Hence the value proposition just isn't there for me.

I wouldn't recommend the DIY to just anyone, mind you, but since we're in a forum of people who typically build their own computers and so forth it doesn't seem like much of a reach.
 
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Re: Recommended NAS Devices

Wed Jan 17, 2018 2:34 pm

Price? Heard this before. It doesn't really hold up IMO.

If you are buying 4x 8TB WD Red drives at $250 each, you're looking at $1450 + a few clicks setup time for the Synology solution or $1200 + building a PC + installing software (might cost money) + longer setup time for a roll-your-own.

It's only "TWICE as much" if you buy the device and never install storage.

Also I get easy-to-use drive swap bays. :) I specifically wanted something I could "fire and forget" and another computer in the house to build and manage was the exact opposite of that. Being able to upgrade the RAID without ever having to look at a user interface was a huge plus.

I have yet to find a situation (for my use) where the device's processing power / memory is insufficient, so while I understand the need for ECC in some workloads, or while you might want a faster processor and more RAM for something or other, when someone says to me "I just need a box to serve storage with some hot swap capabilities" I think simpler is better. You've got a nice home server there but some people just want a NAS.
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Re: Recommended NAS Devices

Wed Jan 17, 2018 2:44 pm

deruberhanyok wrote:
Price? Heard this before. It doesn't really hold up IMO.

It's a hell of a lot more if you need something with more than a few slots - I have 24 bays in mine and last I checked the 8+ bay prebuilts get steep very quickly.
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Re: Recommended NAS Devices

Wed Jan 17, 2018 3:01 pm

deruberhanyok wrote:
Price? Heard this before. It doesn't really hold up IMO.

If you are buying 4x 8TB WD Red drives at $250 each, you're looking at $1450 + a few clicks setup time for the Synology solution or $1200 + building a PC + installing software (might cost money) + longer setup time for a roll-your-own.

It's only "TWICE as much" if you buy the device and never install storage.


The component in question does indeed cost twice as much.

Just like how, when I bought my I7-8700k recently, getting 32 Gigs of memory cost twice as much as getting 16 Gigs.

It doesn't "cost less" because I unavoidably spent hundreds more on the CPU-motherboard that went with it.

I mean, you measure things by marginal cost, not by absolute percentage. If you don't, the feedback can ruin you: the more you spend, the cheaper every additional option/fringe costs!

---

Look, if that 200 dollars isn't worth your time, then it isn't. I fully respect that. But don't forget, you started this by dismissing the "nerd factor".

Well, that's not why I did it, and that's what I said: It's cheaper, and I get much more, including 6 drives not 4. Which, by the way, since the price seems to be roughly 100 per drive, would make an equivalent replace just for STORAGE roughly THREE times as much.

If it cost the same with the same features, I'd likely decide different: the flexibility of openness probably isn't worth the time involved to me either.

deruberhanyok wrote:
I have yet to find a situation (for my use) where the device's processing power / memory is insufficient, so while I understand the need for ECC in some workloads, or while you might want a faster processor and more RAM for something or other, when someone says to me "I just need a box to serve storage with some hot swap capabilities" I think simpler is better. You've got a nice home server there but some people just want a NAS.


But we're talking to bunch of hardware enthusiasts, not random someones.

And, I mean, for me hot swap isn't worth a whole lot. I've only seen (I think) three drive failures in the last two years between my NAS and main server, which have something like 16 drives between them if you count the USB3 external ones. I don't think that's particularly good either, one of the three was an ancient drive from years and years ago.

I can take 30 minutes to turn it off and replace a drive once a year. I'm not running NASA here.
 
deruberhanyok
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Re: Recommended NAS Devices

Wed Jan 17, 2018 11:14 pm

Just because we are all "enthusiasts" doesn't mean we all want to constantly tinker with hardware, tweak settings and spend Saturday morning googling a bizarre BSD jail error code in FreeNAS. Sometimes you want a little box that "just works" so you can sit back and stream episodes of Firefly to your TV.

Anyways, I don't disagree with anything you guys are saying about the tech. But the original question was:

Omniman wrote:
I'm looking to start queuing up the replacement of my Windows Home Server 2011 server. I really only needed it for storage of my music and family pictures. Anyhow, I'm looking for a NAS that is a RAID1 or RAID5 that can allow for hot swapping if a drive starts to fail. Any recommendations?


It was not "what is a good all purpose storage platform that I can build myself and will have capabilities far beyond storing pictures and music?"

So sure, if we're all talking as a bunch of techgerbils, roll your own NAS if you want. Go hog wild, get 12 drives, a hardware SAS controller and a Xeon. Do custom cooling to keep the noise down and build it into a rackmount enclosure to store in the rack you keep in your basement. Whatever tickles your fancy. But... if someone just wants a box to serve up pictures and an iTunes library, that's a lot of extra effort. And I think maybe you guys are overlooking that part.

Glorious wrote:
The component in question does indeed cost twice as much.


Yes, the individual component costs a little more than twice as much. And by itself, your individual component and this other one doesn't actually DO anything. The total cost of the system, to do what you want it to do, is what you should be comparing. And an empty storage server or an empty NAS is useless.

Your "whole PC cost" example is flawed. You're talking about, all other parts being the same, getting double the memory costs you twice as much. If you are building a whole new system, it doesn't. Because in isolation, sure the memory price is double. But what good does just 32GB of RAM do you? I guess you could use it as a really nifty bookmark? Maybe 2-4 bookmarks depending on the size of the kit you bought?

All other specs being the same, do you feel like your i7-8700k + Z370 motherboard was worth double the cost of a Ryzen 5 1600X and a B350 motherboard? Is it 100% (harder/better/faster/stronger)?

If you were to take into account whole system cost, buying all new parts, and assuming as many specs in common between two builds, would you still say the Intel build cost you double what a Ryzen build would have? No, of course not. It'd be something like, $800 for the Ryzen box or $1000 for the i7 one.

Now - would you say the i7-8700k is 25% better than the R5 1600X? (I expect, yes? I mean, I would. Benchmarks seem to indicate this is the case at least).

If so, do you want that extra 25% performance more than you want to save $200? Then the i7 makes sense. Would you put together an i7-8700k system with a GTX 1080 for someone who just wants to watch funny cat videos and post animal memes on facebook?

I recognize that you get lots of utility and value out of the system you built. And to you I assume it was what you decided to do based on your needs. But it's way overkill for storing photos and MP3s. This is why I suggested the much less expensive "j" series Synology devices in my original response. They have some nice extra perks over the original, short list of requirements, they're easy to set up and manage, and they're not near as expensive as the "play" or "+" models.

Waco wrote:
It's a hell of a lot more if you need something with more than a few slots - I have 24 bays in mine and last I checked the 8+ bay prebuilts get steep very quickly.


Yes, very true. You're talking about $10,000 devices at that point. But - do you need 24 bays in yours just to save family pictures and your music library? Would you recommend a device with 24 drive bays just to save family pictures and your music library? Because, you know, different use cases result in different advice. There isn't a "one size fits all" solution here.

I'm also curious as to how you wound up with a 24 bay home NAS setup / what you do with it? I mean, that's a LOT of potential storage for... I don't know what? I've been ripping blu-rays recently and I can definitely see how that could add up to a lot of space, especially if you've got a big collection. Do you do a lot of media streaming?

...do you have any pics? I kind of want to see it.
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Re: Recommended NAS Devices

Wed Jan 17, 2018 11:25 pm

The component cost aspect skews a bit more if you re-purpose old desktop hardware though. The only hardware actually purchased new for my last server build was the hard drives and the hot swap backplanes to put them in. For home use, I've never built a new server from scratch with all new parts.

Yes, you need to be willing to tinker. If you'd rather just get something turnkey off-the-shelf, then that's certainly an option too. Since the server the OP is replacing was a DIY, I assumed he might be open to doing that again.
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Re: Recommended NAS Devices

Thu Jan 18, 2018 3:33 am

Ryu Connor wrote:
demolition wrote:
I have the smallest config with the G1610 CPU which is plenty of power for my needs, but upgraded the memory to 2x8GB ECC memory (with ZFS it is recommended to have 1GB memory per 1TB of disk space which is why you would want to stuff it to the max). I use 4x6TB disks with it.

Image

Not sure if you are referring to the fact that 4x6TB > 16?
Since I am using RAIDZ1, and after other overhead etc. is factored in, the net storage space of my pool is 16.6TB so pretty much spot on.

Waco wrote:
demolition wrote:
FreeNAS is great indeed but you should be aware that the ZFS file system which is the standard and recommended choice is designed to be used with ECC memory so it should be used with an ECC-capable platform only.

I love FreeNAS but almost everything you posted here isn't true.
ECC, while recommended, is required no more than with any other filesystem.
..
/signed ZFS sysadmin/architect with 100+ PiB at work and a 17 drive FreeNAS box at home.

I admit that I am not a sysadmin or in any way a professional user of ZFS. When I started using FreeNAS and ZFS about a year ago, I trawled a bunch of forums to try and figure out if this was a right choice for me. I can see that the opinions regarding memory size and ECC/non-ECC are somewhat religious and anecdotal. ZFS was designed for enterprise systems that had plenty of ECC memory and not towards being used in consumer-oriented systems. The arguments that convinced me that ECC was required in my build was that ZFS has practically no filesystem repair tools if anything goes bad (e.g. if the built-in checksum is corrupted somehow). In a system with the proper hardware-setup, file system errors are close to impossible so there would be no reason to create any repair tools. While ZFS can run with non-ECC memory just like most other file systems, at least with ext4 you have f.s.c.k. (without the dots this word gets bleeped..) to sort you out if anything goes bad. Ok, it might not always be able to fix 100% of your data, but >99.9% is usually enough to satisfy most home users. With ZFS it is pretty much all or nothing.

The regular scrubs done with ZFS is meant to combat bad sectors on the HDD but if there is a bad memory cell in the host machine, it could quickly and royally screw up your ZFS pool if you're unlucky since it could suddenly detect a load of incorrect checksums which it may try to recover and eventually your pool goes into degraded state and offline as the errors pile up during the scrub. At this point, you need to have some super-user skills to have any success in retrieving any data from the pool. Obviously, with ext4 all your files could also slowly become compromised if you have some bad memory but it will happen more slowly and you have time to notice the bad memory before it destroys too much as your os/programs start behaving oddly.

While this presentation is just one man's opinions (and his background is not a pro sysadmin), they seem quite reasonable towards any home-user wanting to build a system with ZFS:
https://forums.freenas.org/index.php?th ... oobs.7775/

While FreeNAS is relatively easy to set up and use and all the regular stuff can be handled in the web GUI, I would still only recommend it to power-users who likes to tinker and is not afraid of using a CLI.
For a plug and play solution for plain file hosting that just works, better go for the common NAS systems from Synology etc.
 
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Re: Recommended NAS Devices

Thu Jan 18, 2018 6:53 am

I'm on my phone so I won't quote that, but your fear of rogue memory and checksums is unfounded. The way ZFS handles checksum mismatches on scrub is to re-read the sectors in question to another buffer in memory, recheck the checksum, and only act if they match in both places. You'd have to be incredibly and almost uncalculably unlucky to hit the same *wrong* checksum in two places thanks to bad DRAM.

Also, there's no need for f.s.c.k with ZFS because scrubbing and simply using your pool handles all of that function. Even if you do end up in a bad spot due to a really bad set of HDDs with stripe aligned sector failures there are a glut of tools and options to recover your pool. All metadata by default is written twice (across different stripes if possible) so there's very little chance you'll lose something important for pool structure due to a random error. Single files can be hit if your pool isn't resilient and you're unlucky, but ZFS will at least tell you what files are affected in that case (versus blindly giving you the wrong data back as with most filesystems).

Sure, there are horror stories about ZFS and FreeNAS but in general if you're not doing anything crazy it's very hard to lose data with a well built system. Much of the fud about FreeNAS comes from a few clueless admins on the FreeNAS forums that were militantly stupid about perpetuating rumors and falsehoods. They meant well (I think) but they hurt the community as a whole. Cyberjock was one of the worst as he doesn't really understand what he's preaching.
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Re: Recommended NAS Devices

Thu Jan 18, 2018 8:34 am

deruberhanyok wrote:
Just because we are all "enthusiasts" doesn't mean we all want to constantly tinker with hardware, tweak settings and spend Saturday morning googling a bizarre BSD jail error code in FreeNAS. Sometimes you want a little box that "just works" so you can sit back and stream episodes of Firefly to your TV.


You don't even need to argue the point: if it is about avoiding the hassle I seriously have no objection.

I've recommended these sorts of devices in real-life for precisely this reason, in fact. All I am doing here is saying that I (and others) take a different tact because we presume (and that we believe we've presumed rightly) that the sort of person here is not adverse to DIY.

deruberhanyok wrote:
So sure, if we're all talking as a bunch of techgerbils, roll your own NAS if you want. Go hog wild, get 12 drives, a hardware SAS controller and a Xeon. Do custom cooling to keep the noise down and build it into a rackmount enclosure to store in the rack you keep in your basement. Whatever tickles your fancy. But... if someone just wants a box to serve up pictures and an iTunes library, that's a lot of extra effort. And I think maybe you guys are overlooking that part.


But, again, my problem here is that you are presenting a counter-scenario that's orthogonal to my point: that's a lot more money than my actual example!

6 drives, not 12.
motherboard SATA, not add-in SAS controller.
i3, not Xeon.
OEM pedestal case, not rack + custom cooling for a rackmounted.

~200 dollars (205, IIRC).

deruberhanyok wrote:
Yes, the individual component costs a little more than twice as much. And by itself, your individual component and this other one doesn't actually DO anything. The total cost of the system, to do what you want it to do, is what you should be comparing. And an empty storage server or an empty NAS is useless.


The point that I am making here is that in any sort of differentiation the evaluation is solely based upon the change.

The drives, being an immutable cost in either scenario, should therefore not be under consideration.

I am saying that your method of analysis here is backwards, but you know, if we're not going to agree on this, we can just disagree. We're talking more about psychological micro-economics than DIY versus OEM NASes :lol:

--

So, at the end of this, I am not criticizing you for going with an OEM NAS. All I am saying is that my recommendations are tailored towards my audience, and that I don't think it's weird or inappropriate to suggest that people DIY in a hardware enthusiast forum.

I further don't think such a thing has any implicit criticism of those who don't do that. Believe me, I am hugely receptive towards the general idea of "I will $x amount to simply not deal with this #^!@& anymore". I don't think there is a person alive who hasn't done exactly that in some context. :wink:
 
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Re: Recommended NAS Devices

Thu Jan 18, 2018 9:24 am

demolition wrote:
Not sure if you are referring to the fact that 4x6TB > 16?
Since I am using RAIDZ1, and after other overhead etc. is factored in, the net storage space of my pool is 16.6TB so pretty much spot on.


No.

Ryu was pretty clearly indicating what Waco just said: you are perpetuating two false canards that are propagated by a certain person on a certain forum.

It's just a frustrating situation.

demolition wrote:
The arguments that convinced me that ECC was required in my build


...were made by someone who is essentially a salesperson for the same hardware company that sponsors those forums.

Whereas the people here arguing against him are involved in the technical side of that industry, not marketing. Oh, and they've cited a developer of ZFS to boot, who also disagrees with this unofficial salesperson.

Mind you, I think we're all in favor of ECC. JBI is. I am too. Pretty sure Waco is, etc...

But the lack of it doesn't uniquely imperil you when using ZFS.

demolition wrote:
While ZFS can run with non-ECC memory just like most other file systems, at least with ext4 you have f.s.c.k.


This is idea is another aspect of the false canard: ext4 has not been demonstrated to be anymore likely to survive random bit flips, and in fact, there is actually (admittedly limited & non-exhaustive) evidence to the contrary:

http://research.cs.wisc.edu/adsl/Public ... fast10.pdf

article wrote:
In addition to ZFS, we have applied the same fault injection
framework used in Section 5 to a simpler filesystem,
ext2. Our initial results indicate that ext2 is also vulnerable
to memory corruptions
. For example, corrupt data
can be returned to the user or written to disk. When certain
fields of a VFS inode are corrupted, operations on
that inode fail or the whole system crashes. If the inode
is dirty, the corrupted fields of the VFS inode are propagated
to the inode in the page cache and are then written
to disk, making the corruptions permanent. Moreover, if
the superblock in the page cache is corrupted and flushed
to disk, it might result in an unmountable filesystem.


demolition wrote:
Ok, it might not always be able to fix 100% of your data, but >99.9% is usually enough to satisfy most home users. With ZFS it is pretty much all or nothing.


This isn't true, and if it was, why are people recommending ZFS? Resilient != anything goes wrong, bye bye all data.

I mean, come on.

It is true that a tree versus a table has ramification for recovery, but not in the general case of something randomly being flipped during normal operations. Data > metadata, so in the majority case there's no structural damage to begin with. And in the minority case, well, it's still a tree: lopping off a branch just isn't as bad as taking an axe to the trunk.

Without an exhaustive study where people randomly flip bits in the datastream being written to disk and then statistically compare what happens with filesystems, this kind of claim has no empirical basis.

And yet it is made so strongly, isn't it?

demolition wrote:
The regular scrubs done with ZFS is meant to combat bad sectors on the HDD but if there is a bad memory cell in the host machine, it could quickly and royally screw up your ZFS pool if you're unlucky since it could suddenly detect a load of incorrect checksums which it may try to recover and eventually your pool goes into degraded state and offline as the errors pile up during the scrub.


The bad-bit data shredder is make-believe, and every invocation of it you've ever seen traces back to a certain person at a certain forum, whose technical expertise is, shall we say, lacking?

demolition wrote:
While this presentation is just one man's opinions (and his background is not a pro sysadmin), they seem quite reasonable towards any home-user wanting to build a system with ZFS:


Well, that "one man" happens to be a certain peson, and while his background isn't technical, the foreground is clearly marketing. That's the obviously the reason for the other false canard: ZFS performance "sucks" without maxed out memory. Oh, and did you know that FreeNAS is really finicky about hardware support? $VENDOR systems come with ECC, lots of memory, and guaranteed compatibility! Did I tell you about $VENDOR?

:roll:
 
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Re: Recommended NAS Devices

Thu Jan 18, 2018 10:04 am

Waco wrote:
I love FreeNAS but almost everything you posted here isn't true.

ECC, while recommended, is required no more than with any other filesystem.

DRAM requirements aren't governed by space, but by workload - 8 GB will keep almost every NAS file storage user happy, more just helps for non-typical workloads since ZFS has an excellent read cache (the ARC).

Exception is the deduplication. 2GB RAM per 1 TB of storage for the comparasons for deduping.
Default is dedupe off.
 
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Re: Recommended NAS Devices

Thu Jan 18, 2018 10:12 am

I've been using a Synology 1815+ filled with WD Reds for about a year now, and it has been flawless. Some folks make a cost argument against such devices, but the amount of time the Synology saves me and the wonderful worry-free sleep I get at night more than make up for any small cost differential. I'll never go back to home-brew storage servers.

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