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Wanting to use old desktop as a NAS, need opinions setup

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#1
So I wish to utilize my old desktop as a NAS. Realistically I only need shy of 2TB but I'd like to set it up with at least 4TB. I have a HighPoint RR2840A card that supports up to 16 drives in RAID and I have a box of 20 or so WD Blue 2TB disks ripped from brand new desktops on my last job.

Is this specification a good setup:

2x 120GB SanDisk SSDs in RAID 1 for OS
8x 2TB HDDs in RAID 6 with an extra 2 attached at hotspares which should allow over 7TB usable
Not sure what OS to use, FreeNAS?

I want something for long term storage, movies, VHD library and general data. I'm tempted to buy a proper NAS but anything with more than 8 or more drive bays just doesn't seem worth the money when I can cobble something together with hardware I already have.
 
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Kursah

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#2
What are the hardware specs of the old desktop?

You can use Windows, Linux, FreeNAS, etc. for the NAS OS honestly. Depends on how you plan to treat the NAS, if you want it as purely a backup location, or file server, hosting services such as Plex, etc.

RAID6 isn't a bad idea, depending on the level of performance you need, you might consider RAID10. Some folks might suggest bypassing relying on the RAID card for RAID (thus using JBOD mode) and using unRaid or software RAID. Again that depends on how you want to proceed and what your ultimate goal from this NAS is.

I have a spare copy of Server2012R2 that I use for my NAS, works great but I treat it as a hyper-v replication spot moreso than an actual NAS for standard file server services since most of my data is on VHD's that works out well in the event of an issue with my server(s).

Let's get the specs of the old system you have in mind, but that's the way I'd go honestly. And I'd consider Windows or Linux (Ubuntu/Debian/Fedora) as the OS of choice, be it server version or desktop version. There are a lot of ways to approach a NAS and deploy what you feel is a NAS for your needs, so let's get all the initial details and goals sorted out, and go from there.

:toast:
 
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#3
Quite sound info you have there and some things I hadn't really thought about.

The specs of the machine are:

i7 2600k
8GB DDR3 RAM 1800Mhz
ASUS P8H61 Motherboard
Antec 1200 V3 which I replaced the 5.25" bays with vertical 3.5" bays, a total of 15

A little old but still a very capable machine.

Pretty much like this but with 3 bays I got from eBay:

DaSuoYi.png


It's mostly just going to be for pure storage, I won't be running VHDs directly off it but will be using it for snapshots/backups of VHDs as I'm just starting a the MCSA and MCSE courses and probably beyond. The rest of all just family photos, videos, my entire DVD/bluray rip library to stream to the TVs, my resume and other important stuff. I have all the really important stuff on OneDrive and other spare HDDs. I'm after a resilient storage solution that I should never need to revert to backups.
 
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Kursah

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#4
That's way more system than a NAS would need, that's a nice system! I'd make that a Windows Server Hyper-V host in a heartbeat....but I'm a Windows environment kinda guy first and foremost. You could also look into VMware, KVM, etc.

That system would make a great core server for a virtual lab. Similar to how I'm running my home server ATM (see my system specs). I run all sorts of VM's, domain, virtual PFSense router for lab network, file server, plex server, minecraft servers, teamspeak server, print server, DC/domain/DNS, etc. I'm pretty damn happy with the results. Granted I need more HDD's, budgeting for that.

But if you're going to use it as pure storage, I'd almost suggest something a little lower-end if you could snag some stuff. Old i3 or Pentium, or lower quad-core Celeron SoC, etc. A straight up file server doesn't need a lot of CPU horsepower, but having 4-8GB of RAM is a good idea IMHO.

I also understand using what you have, and if you setup Hyper-V replication, then you could run a VM off of it in a failover situation and still maintain a file storage backup as well. So that might make it a nice combo storage system that can also act as part of your local disaster recover plan as well. Or you could just make it a big storage setup and just backup the VHD's there. So many ways to approach it, you might try more than one to see what benefits your needs the best.

Awesome you're digging into MCSA and MCSE, I earned my 70-410 last year, but haven't taken the 411 yet...been slacking. I wish you luck along your path, I will say MS's exams don't mess around...they'll prove you either know your stuff or don't pretty quickly. Worth studying and great when you pass one and at least earn your MCP. :D
 
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#5
Realistically you are going to want 1GB of ram per 1TB of storage space for freenas and it is HIGHLY recommended that you use ECC ram. Something that motherboard and CPU arent capable of.
 
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#6
Had a good think about your post, honestly would probably make a really good VM host. With the file services in Win 16 server and training would make it an ideal scenario for storage training. I think I will go Windows Server 2016 with desktop experience GUI (which I have a license for) and run Hyper-V machines from. RAID 10 seems a good solution for performance.
 

Kursah

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#7
Realistically you are going to want 1GB of ram per 1TB of storage space for freenas and it is HIGHLY recommended that you use ECC ram. Something that motherboard and CPU arent capable of.
I was under the impression that was if you used ZFS at all? Not just necessarily tied to FreeNAS, it just happens to use ZFS as it's default?

But that being said you're absolutely right, and in some instances I've seen where having an extra 2-8GB beyond that isn't a bad idea either to keep things running smoothly on the configured arrays/volumes.

FreeNAS does highly recommend ECC RAM, but I have seen far too many deployments without it that have no issues. I do find it challenging to recommend ECC for home-grade NAS setups, even if that's what the FreeNAS communities push as the de-facto necessity. Though depending on platform, ECC RAM can be had for decent prices, but I digress. For the OP to run what he has, sticking with Non-ECC RAM, I don't see a necessarily huge risk if he chose to go FreeNAS sans ECC. Though I'll admit, I spend less and less time dealing with FreeNAS deployments anymore...and even of those...maybe half are running the "preferred" Supermicro + ECC + Xeon combos that come highly recommended. If' I'm going to run hardware with that kinda spec and cost, it's going to be a full-on server IMHO.

Had a good think about your post, honestly would probably make a really good VM host. With the file services in Win 16 server and training would make it an ideal scenario for storage training. I think I will go Windows Server 2016 with desktop experience GUI (which I have a license for) and run Hyper-V machines from. RAID 10 seems a good solution for performance.
RAID10 is a solid solution for performance and redundancy, just realize you lose 50% of your storage space due to the way that RAID configuration works, but I find it to be worth it overall. I prefer it to RAID5 and 6 though. I migrated my array to 10 from 5 last year and haven't looked back. You have enough hard drives at the ready that you should have no issues having far more space than you need, with decent performance and good reliability and plenty of spares for the "when" a drive does fail and take your RAID array into a degraded state.

Server 2016 is a good choice, I still have a slight preference 2012R2, but both are solid options to go with in 2018. You might also take a few hard drives and mess around with Storage Spaces outside of your RAID. Not sure if your card can do JBOD or not (especially with another active RAID volume initialized), but you could just connect them to the on-board SATA controller of your MB and go that route. Don't expect Linux software RAID performance, you won't see it, but you can do some pretty neat things with Storage Spaces, more-so in 2016 than 2012R2.

I think you'll have some fun setting that up as a core server for your home lab. Fire up some Hyper-V Gen2 servers, you can use 2 virtual activations off of one 2016 Standard physical activation, if you have a 2016 Datacenter from a College course then you have fewer limits. There's a few Linux distros that support Hyper-V Gen 2 VM's as well. Should be good fun!

:toast:
 
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#8
You can sell the i7 and replace it with an i3 if you want. Load up the rams slots 16 Gb and go FreeNAS on a USB thumb drive so you don't need the OS drives (you can RAID1 the thumb drives if you want)
HighPoint RR2840A is an HBA so it should work with FreeNAS. You don't want a Hardware RAID with FreeNAS ZFS want to see the drives.

Just relies without ECC ram it is a risk. Back up whats important. UnRAID works fairly well also, was a little easier to set up.
This was my experience https://www.techpowerup.com/forums/threads/nas-build.240073/
 
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#9
I will say that RAID 10 is a waste for a home NAS's storage array. It is useful for boot arrays and working space if you for example do video editing and need fast, redundant scratch space, but if you're just using it for media storage and the like, you will never see anywhere near the throughput required to make 10 worthwhile. AND, it is only fault tolerant of one mirror on either side of the stripe. So if both mirrors of one stripe fail, your array is lost. Stick with the RAID6. The more drives you add to it the less your redundancy will cost and you have better redundancy, and as long as you have a semi-decent controller (haven't used a Highpoint in 15 years, so I'm not sure of that one, I like LSI), the write penalty is minimal.
 
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