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Full install? vs. Embedded Install? vs. Full install on USB?

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rcstevensonaz
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Full install? vs. Embedded Install? vs. Full install on USB?

#1

Post by rcstevensonaz » 13 Jul 2012 05:32

So perhaps one of the most basic newbie questions: should I prefer a Full Install or an Embedded Install on my home server build?

I am bringing up a home NAS server that has full power and will be used solely as a NAS ZFS file server (I have a separate ESXi box that I will be running various virtual machine servers on, so I do not expect to run anything here except file sharing). Machine components include:
  • AMD X2 260
  • 8 Gb ECC memory
  • 32 Gb USB (boot disk?)
  • 2x 250 Gb WD HDD (ZFS Mirror or boot disk?)
  • 11x 640 Gb WD HDD (3 for Mirror3, 7 for RAIDZ3, 1 for Spare)
So my two questions are:
  • Since I have the option to do a full install, what are the benefits of that vs. just doing an embedded install?
  • Can I do a full install to the USB or can I only do full install to HDD?
Thanks for any friendly advise.

-- Craig
Last edited by al562 on 24 Dec 2012 05:25, edited 1 time in total.
Reason: Adjusted Subject. Added to FAQs & locked.

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Re: Full install vs. Embedded Install? Full install on USB?

#2

Post by raulfg3 » 13 Jul 2012 09:37

I allways recomend full install because you can add packages in a easy way ( packages lige minidlna or others), and the only bad that have is possible corruption of USB key , but can be minimized moving logs to data disk.


2- RaidZ2 is very good in terms of security so RaidZ3 is not necessary by my point of viev
rcstevensonaz wrote:2x 250 Gb WD HDD
use it to store DDBB ( the DDBB of fuppes or minidlna or transsmision or SQLlite) use it like a temp disk to store temp files that you move to your definitive Disk RAIDZ2).

keep in mind that normally a month or so is needed to "tune" your install to use full use of resources so you can eliminate "botleneck".

And finally, for experience is not secure to have all eggs in one site ( RaidZ3 or RaidZ2), I know that is secure, but can be MORE secure to have 2 machines or two places for important data.

PD: You need to meditate too, future upgrades, is more easy and cheap to have a pool of several raidZ1 of 3 disk, because you can grow simply changing 3 disk a time ( in you proposal 11 disk RaidZ3, you need to change 11 disk to grow ).
12.0.0.4 (revision 6766)+OBI on SUPERMICRO X8SIL-F 8GB of ECC RAM, 12x3TB disk in 3 vdev in RaidZ1 = 32TB Raw size only 22TB usable

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Re: Full install vs. Embedded Install? Full install on USB?

#3

Post by armandh » 13 Jul 2012 13:55

I always recommend the Embedded install [and for the same reasons?]

I consider it a danger to ones data security to be adding untested features not already found in NAS4Free
and having one drive always spinning a needless point of future failure

where as, a very small SSD for the embedded OS and data drives that spin down,
coupled with low power MOBOs keeps the on-going power cost low

to keep adding eggs to a single basket of unknown strength can make a big mess

where as, a lot of low power gismos each doing their own task are not likely to all crash together

or as a middle road, one embedded for data storage only and one full install for all the fun features [and data]
which falls in nicely with my usual caveat
"no matter how good ones data storage [and NAS4Free is very good] it should never be the only copy!

as my daughter found out when her external drive crashed and she is now looking at re-ripping a load of tunes
or an expensive trip to the disk data recovery guys

maybe it is just the I/O part of the electronics as the disk "feels" like it has the usual whirs and clicks
4 thread 3300 Mhz Intel i3, 1 TB ZFS mirror, available RAM 7.823 Gb, 64 bit NAS4Free 9.1.0.1 rev 573 [88 watts, 48 Mbps]
2 thread 1600 Mhz atom/ion, 1 TB ZFS mirror, available RAM 3.083 Gb, 64 bit NAS4Free-9.1.0.1 rev 573 [27 watts, 35 Mbps]
2 thread 3900 Mhz AMD A6-6400K, 2 TB ZFS Mirror, available RAM 7.557 Gb, 64 bit Nas4Free 9.3.0.2.1771 [89 watts, 68 Mbps]

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Re: Full install vs. Embedded Install? Full install on USB?

#4

Post by aaronb » 13 Jul 2012 21:16

Unless you plan on really adding to the NAS4Free install, stick with the embedded.

Boot from USB - you don't need a very large USB stick. The embedded install is under 512MB. Embedded duplicates the OS into RAM, and then ceases affecting the USB stick.

Full install will give you persistent logs and the ability to add things to the FreeBSD install. Again, unless you are thining of tweaking your NAS4Free install - stick with the embedded on a small USB stick.

You can do the full install to a USB without an issue. Swap (virtual memory) has to be enabled in the GUI, at which point you specify the drive it is one, so the swap won't affect your USB unless you put it there.

Mix of hard drives and formatting - sort of a personal preference and your belief in your hardware not failing. RAIDz1 vs z2 vs z3 - it is just a question of required uptime. Can you afford 1,2 or 3 failures before you are going to recovery? Remember that RAID1, RAIDz1 or RAID5 are meant to allow you to use cheaper disks that may fail and still keep your data up and running. None are a backup strategy, they are insurance against system failure which isn't the same. If you have critical data, the suggestion is to make sure you have a rotating backup to another disk / storage medium. What i mean by this is at least the 3-drive scenario. 1 live, 1 off-site, 1 in-transit. That way you have current, slightly old, and older data and you never have all 3 in the same physical location. Limits data loss. However, if all you are looking for is common storage that will survice a single or dual drive failure RAIDz will do the job.

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Re: Full install vs. Embedded Install? Full install on USB?

#5

Post by rcstevensonaz » 14 Jul 2012 04:01

I appreciate the input so far. I have a few follow up questions (if you don't mind) about the embedded vs. full options....

If I understand the responses (which may not be the case :-), there are two viable approaches:

Embedded:
- OS installed on boot USB but runs RAM (~512Mb) leaving less memory for ZFS use
- No swap, no logging
- ZFS Pools:
  • 250 Gb Mirror2 (2x 250Gb) — available for whatever....
  • 640 Gb Mirror3 (3x 640Gb) — media streaming
  • 2.5T6 b RaidZ3 (7x 640Gb) — file storage (documents, pictures, home videos, etc.)
Full Install:
- OS installed on boot USB
- ZFS Pools:
  • 250 Gb Mirror2 (2x 250Gb) — system files (swap, logging, /var, ZIP, L2ARC, etc.) and whatever else for the remaining ~230 Gb
  • 640 Gb Mirror3 (3x 640Gb) — media streaming
  • 2.56 Tb RaidZ3 (7x 640Gb) — file storage (documents, pictures, home videos, etc.)
So here is my question: since my USB stick has more than enough capacity to go either way, why wouldn't I be better off having the swap, the logging, etc. running on the hard drive (along with gaining back the extra RAM for ZFS to consume). Or, are you saying that if I am running this device simply as a NAS4Free basic install, I gain no benefit from swap and logging?

--------------------
Also, as quick response on disk strategy. The ECC memory + RaidZ3 is intended to provide archival quality (no bit rot) for the personal files that I view as "important". I've been in computers since 1981 and 2.56 Tb is currently more than sufficient to hold all of the personal file data that I care about. I picked up all 7 "inexpensive" disks for $49.99 with a newegg special. As they die, I will replace them with whatever the current high quality disk on sale for $50-$60 happens to be at that time. Those replacement disks in the future will likely be 1Tb or more. So as the disks are replenished, at some point I automatically bump up capacity (which I may need by then given the rapid increase in size of photographs and growth of high definition family videos :-).

My ripped music and all streamed / recorded stuff will go onto the mirrors since I can easily grow that capacity by adding mirror pools and/or just replacing 3 drives. This is where the majority of "space hogging" materials will reside.

The rationale for the extra ZFS RaidZ3 parity drive is that $50 is cheap insurance for a safety net between the time a drive fails until the time I (a) realize it and (b) get it replaced. Yes, I will have a backup. But $50 to radically reduce the chance I need to spend an afternoon (or two) performing a restore is IMHO money well spent. Likewise, all of my ripped CDs will be on a Mirror3 to avoid the hassle of having to execute a restore for those critical files. Other stuff like streaming video that was captured by a DVR will be on single disk or at most a mirror2 disk.

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Re: Full install vs. Embedded Install? Full install on USB?

#6

Post by sjordan » 14 Jul 2012 04:30

I personally run full install on a USB 3.0 flash drive (16gig). When I ran a full install on a USB 2 drive I would get random hiccups...I believe this had something to do with the cheap flash drive I was using. You could do this on a separate hard drive...heck I would suggest spending $50-100 on a small SSD drive if you don't have USB3.

I went with full install for having more ram to ZFS. I don't have as many drives as you, but I have more total storage. Here is my setup below:
3x3TB drives in Raid Z - 3 pools
2x3TB drives in a stripe - 2 pools
1 64Gig SSD for ZIL and L2ARC

My largest pool on the RaidZ is replicated to a pool over on the stripe. I use zfs send daily to do this. The largest pool also runs a snapshot every hour. The largest pool is where I store all of my photos (I run a professional photography business).The other pools are for various things, one is for TimeMachine backups and another is for just random stuff.

I also run crashplan on my Mac which is able to backup all my pools via AFP shares. This basically is my last line of defense in case the whole machine were to catch fire or something crazy like that.

BTW if you plan on going larger in the future its not so easy with a ZFS Raid of any sort. You might want to research that. From what I understand you would have to replace every drive one at a time to grow...unless you do a backup and rebuild the raidz from scratch. Then again I maybe way off here. I am pretty new to ZFS

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Re: Full install vs. Embedded Install? Full install on USB?

#7

Post by aaronb » 14 Jul 2012 04:38

The idea of the embedded install on the USB not to have logs / swap is that the extra write hits to the USB will wear it out faster. Most USB keys also aren't the quickest to write, though you can easily find fast ones.
So, if you are willing to replace your USB key as it wears out, either is fine.

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Re: Full install vs. Embedded Install? Full install on USB?

#8

Post by rcstevensonaz » 14 Jul 2012 04:52

Totally agree that USB stick is not designed to be a swap / logging device. But I thought there was an option to just install the OS on the USB (selecting no swap) and then add the swap on one of the hard drives.

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Re: Full install vs. Embedded Install? Full install on USB?

#9

Post by aaronb » 14 Jul 2012 11:09

There is - this is the through the full install.

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Re: Full install vs. Embedded Install? Full install on USB?

#10

Post by Onichan » 16 Jul 2012 04:36

Do I need the full install if I want to install VirtualBox? I found the old thread about it http://sourceforge.net/apps/phpbb/freen ... 986fcced91, but didn't see any mention about that.

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Re: Full install vs. Embedded Install? Full install on USB?

#11

Post by aaronb » 16 Jul 2012 08:06

The answer on virtualbox is a yes/no.

There are quite a few steps needed to setup Virtualbox on NAS4Free.
It can be done on either install.

If you need to run updates for something like PHP, then the full install is easier to update because it can be configured with more space in the root filesystem. However, there are still ways to get it to work with just the embedded.

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Re: Full install vs. Embedded Install? Full install on USB?

#12

Post by raulfg3 » 16 Jul 2012 08:46

12.0.0.4 (revision 6766)+OBI on SUPERMICRO X8SIL-F 8GB of ECC RAM, 12x3TB disk in 3 vdev in RaidZ1 = 32TB Raw size only 22TB usable

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