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Setting up a cost efficient NAS System from the Scratch

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apollo567
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Setting up a cost efficient NAS System from the Scratch

#1

Post by apollo567 » 23 Jun 2012 15:37

( latest update 08-09-2018)
**************** Currently running XigmaNAS Revision 5673 ***********************

After I experimented somewhat with NAS4Free (now XigmaNAS) in an old Athlon XP system and an External Hard disk I decided to build a new NAS-System.
Here is my configuration and my experiences with it. Some of my ideas are based on an article of the German magazine C'T edition 26/2008 (for those who want to build a NAS themselves and are able to read German I recommend this article).

Here is my configuration:

Case: Sharkoon Rebel 9 Economy
CPU: AMD Sempron 140, 2.70GHz, boxed
CPU Cooler: boxed
Power supply: Seasonic S12II-330Bronze 330W ATX 2.2
(more expensive than a bequiet Pure Power 300W, but also more power connectors, test report in German language: http://www.planet3dnow.de/vbulletin/sho ... p?t=377683 )
RAM: Kingston ValueRAM PC1333 1GB (KVR1333D3N9/1G), out of the official compatibility list
Mainboard: MSI GF615M-P33 (GeForce 6150 SE), Hardware Rev. 1.1
HDD Frame Lian Li EX-34NB (optional, ensures higher number of disks in the case and active cooling of the hard disks, around EUR 25)
Network Card: Intel Gigabit CT Desktop Adapter
Boot SSD: Supertalent Pico 4 GB USB Stick (http://geizhals.at/deutschland/a386408.html), very Small form factor !
CD-ROM: Teac CD Burner PATA,
HardDisks: 4 x 1.5 TB (WD15EADS)
Software: NAS4Free 0.7.2 (64 bit) embedded

First Hardware extension:

HDD Frame: Cooler Master 4-in-3 Device Module STB-3T4-E3-GP
HDD Controller: NoName SIl 3114 SATA (4x)
Hard Disks : 2x WD640AAKS

Second Hardware modification:

Hard Disks: added Third WD640AAKS
RAM: Kingston ValueRAM PC1333 2GB (KVR1333D3N9/2G)
Comment: created a Test ZFS RAIDZ1 Partition with 3 WD640AAKS, Using FreeNAS 7.2 Rel 5220 (ZFS Rel.13) the performance of this array is very spikey, with Speed between 0MB/s and max 40 MB/s

Third hardware modification:

HDD Controller: exchanged Sil3114 through a used Promise SATA 150 TX4 Controller
replaced the ZFS Pool through a RAID5 Configuration
Comment: Speed for the Raid5 with 3 WD 640 using the Promise Controller is between 30MB/s and 40 MB/s , rather smooth, non- spiky during transfer.
Perhaps a good idea to chase for this Controller on ebay if you search for a cheap Controller (got mine for EUR 8.-)

Fourth Hardware modification:

- got rid of my CD-Rom
- changed CPU from Sempron to an AMD Athlon X2 245e,
- added an other GB of RAM to now 4 GB
- added an PCIe Controller Dell Perc 5iR. The Controller works with the supported 1068 Chip but has only 4 Sata Ports.
- added a Cooler Master 4-in-3 Device Module STB-3T4-E3-GP with 4 Hitachi Deskstar 5K3000.

Fifth hardware modification:
- upgraded the RAM to 8 GB
- changed the filesystem of all arrays to RaidZ1
- removed the PCIe Controller Dell Perc 5iR for a 8 channel LSI 3ware SAS 3081E-R
- removed the Promise SATA 150 TX4 Controller

Sixth hardware modification:
- removed the PCIe Controller for a 8 channel LSI 3ware SAS 3081E-R for a DELL PERC H310 / LSi 9240-8i OEM
With this Controller card I am now able to access the Option Bios for Disk Configuration. With the two Controllers I tried before this didn't work
(See above and Topic three in section 'what doesn't work'.)

Seventh hardware modification:
- removed 3 x WD 640 AAKS Disks for 4x WD40EFRX (WD RED Series) harddisks

Eights hardware Modification:

- replaced old Mainboard MSI GF 615 for a Supermicro X9SCM-F
- installed 16 GB ECC Ram and an i3-2100 CPU.
- now using Kingston DTSE9 G2 USB Stick 8 GB

Nineth's hardware modification

-replaced i3-2100 for a Xeon E3-1245v2
(for reference I limited CPU-Speed to 800 MHZ)



Comments :
1) The complete baseline costs of this configuration without CD ROM and Raid Controller (as I had them already) and the HDD Frame (and the Harddisks of course) is in Germany about EUR 190
2) I figured out the LSI Megaraid 8708ELP ( at least myself) couldn't get to work in this configuration, more a few lines later.
The rest of the system worked from the scratch with NAS4Free 0.7.2 Currently I am using the 4 onboard Sata Controllers
3) I recommend to format the USB stick before installing FreeNAS and plug it after the installation CD has booted !
4) A Problem is the Samba Performance with Onboard-LAN, so far the usual average Speed is erratic/spiky between 15 to 20 MB/s despite I tried every tweak in the configuration I could get hold of.
To improve this, I currently use the Intel Gigabit PCIe CT Desktop adapter, which helped in this respect, Price is an additional EUR 22 for this card.
If you need Network Performance, this extra card is useful (Speed 30 up to 40 MB/s for single File Transfer, Backup operations up to 60MB/s, with Revision 5127 & AIO I get a speed of around 50MB/s using Samba and Windows XP), if not the onboard Realtek Chipsets will work (Speed here up to 20 MB/s, enough for a Mediaserver).
5) To start with a 4 disk NAS can be build without using the HDD frame and RAID-Controller, I started with 4 disks with Software Raid 5 configuration.
6) Despite it's mentioned in the Forum, no problems in using WD Green Series Harddisks (yet). Speedwise given the limitations of Samba in FreeBSD/NAS4Free more expensive harddisks doesn't make much sense to me. Enterprise harddisks only make sense to me in an Enterprise environment.
7) The System with CD-ROM,USB-Stick, 4 Harddisks, Lian Li HDD Frame, Intel Network Card needs after startup 65 W idle (power Daemon is currently not working).
Starting with FreeNAS version 7.2 Build 5191 the power daemon worked. Minimum Power consumption is 46 W but with additional 3 Harddisks, a Sil 3114 Controller and the additional fan of the second harddisk cage, so I calculate a powersaving of about 25-30W through this update.
8) USB Harddisks are quite easily to include and work without a problem in this Hardware/Software Configuration
9) With the Maximum Speed from Windows to the NAS containing a Software-Raid5-Disksystem at 60MB /s the CPU-Usage is at 50%
10) Some experiences during the usage of my NAS: The RAID5 got degraded several times in the past few weeks. I was searching for the problem, but it turned out to be tricky until you think at the most trivial things: I replaced the standard SATA cable through ones with a metal latch. So far the Raid is stable: Please have a look here: http://forums.nas4free.org/viewtopic.php?f=65&t=235

What doesn't work:
1) I didn't manage to get my eSATA Controllers up and running neither the Adaptec 1225SA nor an eSata Adapter with the JMB 36xx Chipset. Ideas in this respect are welcome.
I didn't test the Hardware again with Nas4Free.
2) Also I didn't manage to get the Power Daemon up and running prior NAS4Free Version 7.2 Build 5191 !
3) I couldn't get the LSI Megaraid SAS 8708 ELP Hardware Raid Controller to work properly in this configuration. (http://www.lsi.com/storage_home/product ... s_8708elp/). Despite talking to LSI and MSI Support there was no solution (away from the recommendation to use a Server Class Mainboard, this interferes somewhat with the aim of this post :-) ), the assumption of LSI was the Mainboard Bios has not a fully featured 'OptionBIOS support'.
Problem with the controller is: There was no access using the hotkeys to the webbios of the controller during the boot process. Also despite harddisks were found through the controller Bios during Controller-Initialisation (and NAS4Free seemingly supported the Controller with the mfi driver during boot process), NAS4Free didn't find the harddisks connected to this controller. (also tested with FreeBSD 7.3RC2 based Version of NAS4Free amd64 Release 5065 of daoyama san). I updated the Mainboard to Bios Version 1.6 , the latest Controller Software I tried was BIOS 2.07 in connection with the firmware package 11.0.1-0026.
Last edited by apollo567 on 07 Apr 2013 22:16, edited 5 times in total.
my NAS and its development until today: viewtopic.php?f=63&t=39&sid=039fed830cf ... 4d0abe4a04

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Extending my NAS System - some more experiences

#2

Post by apollo567 » 23 Jun 2012 15:38

Extending my NAS4Free System - some more experiences

Postby apollo567 » Thu Mar 15, 2012 11:37 pm
Some time ago I decided to consolidate some external Hard disks (2x WD 640 AAKS) into my NAS.

I started to search about an external SATA Controller as all of the internal plugs were in use. To stay with the aim of building a cost efficient system I decided (also because of dnar2 recommendation) for a SIL 3114 SATA controller. If you are interested in my experiences please have a look at the following threads:

viewtopic.php?f=59&t=236
viewtopic.php?f=59&t=237


Conclusion : I Recommend to install already at the first system setup a Sil 3114 Controller (or any other HDD Controller) with this Mainboard for later enhancements, to avoid the hazzle of renaming the disks in the config Files !!

Also I would like to post some experiences with 4 in 3 harddisk cages:

- The HDD Frame Lian Li EX-34NB is a rocksolid HDD Cage, mechanically by far the best quality I have seen yet. Don't know why but it isn't sold anymore.
- I tried also the Silverstone CFP52HD Frame, which also has a decent quality and as gimmick, for EUR 5 per bay you can make the Harddisks hotswapable, Price is about the same as the Lian Li, BUT
unfortunately the mountingholes doesn't fit into my Rebel 9 Case. Therefore this cage doesn't work here.

So I decided to give the cheap Coolermaster 4in3 Solution a try: Cooler Master 4-in-3 Device Module STB-3T4-E3-GP for around EUR 16 in Germany.
( http://geizhals.at/de/298607 )
The cage is mechanically less solid than the others but fully functional. The fan is silent, unfortunately the cable for the fan is a little short to use the Mainboard as powersource for it.
But this cage fits perfect into the rebel 9 case !!! So I can recommend it !

Some words to the performance:
Don't know why, but the write performance of the RAID0 at the SIL3114 Controller is about 20 MB/s lower than of the internally connected RAID5 (with 50 MB/s) using the current NAS4Free version 5127.


At the end of the day now, there is some space left to be filled with harddisks in my NAS :-)
Last edited by apollo567 on 07 Apr 2013 22:18, edited 3 times in total.
my NAS and its development until today: viewtopic.php?f=63&t=39&sid=039fed830cf ... 4d0abe4a04

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Re: Setting up a cost efficient NAS System from the Scr

#3

Post by apollo567 » 23 Jun 2012 15:39

apollo567 wrote:At the end of the day now, there is some space left to be filled with harddisks in my NAS :-)





Hello
when I was in the mood for it I made some further extensions and modifications of my NAS:

- I am using now Daoyamas 7S Version (currently release 7S-8191)
- I got rid of my CD-Rom
- I changed CPU from Sempron to an AMD Athlon X2 245e, bought it used for EUR 37.-. In order to make this CPU work, I updated the Mainboard-Bios to version 1A
- I added an other GB of RAM to now 4 GB
- I added an PCIe Controller Dell Perc 5iR, it has only 4 Sata-II Ports and no Raid Bios. But it works with the supported 1068 Chip.
It worked without problems right from the beginning (I suppose because it has no Raid Bios, as I had lots of problems with the LSI Controller)
Worthwhile to mention is also with the inclusion of this PCIe Controller I had no problems with the numbering of the Hard disks compared to adding a PCI Controller.
I got this Controller for EUR 30 from ebay Germany.
- As a result of the additional controller I decided to use a spare Cooler Master 4-in-3 Device Module STB-3T4-E3-GP and added 4 Hitachi Deskstar 5K3000 (no advanced format !).
In order to have enough slots for this third array in my NAS I had to remove my CD ROM. I run this array as RaidZ1 and I am am still trying to tune this. At least yet it works better than my first attempt with ZFS. But there is still room for improvement.

In the current configuration the idle power consumption is about 72W

At the end of the day, currently there is no space left to be filled with harddisks in my NAS :-)
my NAS and its development until today: viewtopic.php?f=63&t=39&sid=039fed830cf ... 4d0abe4a04

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Preparing my NAS (FN 7.2) for the move to Nas4Free.

#4

Post by apollo567 » 23 Jun 2012 15:40

Preparing the setup for the move to Nas4Free.

As the FreeNAS series 7 is no longer under active development I thought about where to go next. I decided to go to Nas4Free.
In order to make this transition rather smooth I decided to do some final changes in the old system:

- upgraded the RAM to 8 GB
- changed the filesystem of all arrays to RaidZ1 (here I found it absolutely annoying FreeNAS doesn't have a native Filemanager and I had to copy all data using the Windows Explorer and transferring the data twice over Samba between the arrays in order to save it before I change the setup of each array)
- changed the PCIe Controller from 4 port Dell Perc 5iR to a 8 port LSI 3ware SAS 3081E-R . Be aware to have changed the setup of this controller to Jbod before you install it As with the first trial with a LSI Controller the access to the Option Bios doesn' t work in combination with this motherboard (this is also refered as INT19 support). But it works fine then and if you use ZFS or Software Raid there is no need to access the Bios of the Controller again. Got this controller used from ebay for EUR 70.-
- removed the Promise SATA 150 TX4 Controller and connected the disks with the new 8 channel controller. The array now works at higher speed.
Last edited by apollo567 on 07 Apr 2013 22:22, edited 3 times in total.
my NAS and its development until today: viewtopic.php?f=63&t=39&sid=039fed830cf ... 4d0abe4a04

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Re: Setting up a cost efficient NAS System from the Scr

#5

Post by armandh » 24 Jun 2012 13:36

thank you for the saga
testing to find what works the best narrows the selection

for me it was testing what was laying around the basement
left over from other project attempts.

I did find my attempts to get a media computer to fit in with other media hardware
were not going to succeed with 1.6 Ghz atom boards and .mkv files no matter how good the video was.

for media I ended up using $99 off lease refurbished low profile HP DX5150
replacing the junk optical drive and replacing the XP with Ubuntu [10.04]
the native DVI out and an adapter plug to HDMI worked great
[and spray most of the front cover flat black]

[edit] since replaced with a Z-BOX
refurbished box/Ubuntu gifted to brother in-law

the two left over [low power] atom boxes became my servers
needing only drives and mounting bays

sadly: Ich habe nur kindergarten deutsch
Last edited by armandh on 05 Nov 2015 22:02, edited 4 times in total.
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: Setting up a cost efficient NAS System from the Scr

#6

Post by mooblie » 24 Jun 2012 23:33

apollo567 wrote:......... I found it absolutely annoying FreeNAS doesn't have a native Filemanager ......
Just a comment, if I may:

Surely FreeNAS and NAS4Free both have a native file manager under the Advanced:File Manager menu?
It's QuiXplorer? ...and would have copied and/or moved what you needed, without using Windows Explorer?
Martin

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Re: Setting up a cost efficient NAS4Free System from the Scr

#7

Post by armandh » 25 Jun 2012 00:41

my NAS boxes run headless
but on the work bench is my dual boot of Ubuntu and win-7
no problem file managing from either boot or from any other in the house
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: Setting up a cost efficient NAS System from the Scr

#8

Post by apollo567 » 25 Jun 2012 20:09

mooblie wrote: Just a comment, if I may:

Surely FreeNAS and NAS4Free both have a native file manager under the Advanced:File Manager menu?
It's QuiXplorer? ...and would have copied and/or moved what you needed, without using Windows Explorer?
Of course you may comment. In the meantime I know where I could find the data with Quixexplorer, but
for a NAS is File Handling a basic essential feature, so a powerful and easy to use (e.g. in Norton Commander style) Filemanger should be part of it.
Thats Quix-Explorer in my opinion not.
But this discussion is something for the suggestions and request section of the board.
my NAS and its development until today: viewtopic.php?f=63&t=39&sid=039fed830cf ... 4d0abe4a04

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Re: Setting up a cost efficient NAS4Free System from the Scratch

#9

Post by serverguy » 02 Jan 2015 13:02

Mine has 24 TB and a 4GB flash to boot from. I have not gone through multiple hardware upgrades. I got a motherboard (ASRock 960GM/U3S3 FX) (way overkill - has 2 simultaneous, independent video outputs built in and a bunch of other stuff that will never be used), a Fractal case (NICE CASE!) and my pre-existing 8 3TB drives. Plugged away at getting it all put together and running. The large Fractal case made it easy to assemble but meant I had to get some longer SATA cables. All running for about a month now. Doing RaidZ1 (yeah, I know, should have been Z2 but too late now). And it runs quiet and cool in that nice case with four fans. Just upgraded to latest embedded firmware. Required re-importing & reconfig'ing disks. It is 84% full and I could not get the last server offloaded onto it. Sad... Maybe, when I go to 8 4's or bigger, I can finally get everything onto one box. Just takes money...

Thanks to developers for getting the disk total, used and free to match up with what ZFS has said all along. Saves a step to find the info.

Running smooth now. Doing a (cron driven) "zpool scrub" weekly, as suggested elsewhere, on the ZFS pool. And the data is in at least 2 places. Unfortunately, both here at the house so I don't have location diversity. A fire or flood takes me totally down.

Total in the 2 rooms... 144 TB (.144 PB) including serves and computers. Lots of spinning bits (but not all at once, usually)!! Wish I was getting paid for all of this work!!

Mike

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Re: Setting up a cost efficient NAS System from the Scratch

#10

Post by apollo567 » 31 Oct 2015 23:33

An interesting package offer on ebay allowed me realizing a major upgrade of my NAS.
I exchanged the Mainboard for a Supermicro X9SCM-F. The package came together with 16Gb Samsung ECC Ram and an i3-2100 CPU with air cooler. Could get this package for around EUR 220.
Got 37% CPU usage with 115 MB/S speed while copying big files to a RaidZ1-Array.
my NAS and its development until today: viewtopic.php?f=63&t=39&sid=039fed830cf ... 4d0abe4a04

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