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10+TB file server, DONE! (but still growing)

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Howdie all!

So it's finally done. I'm running:

OS: Nas4Free

Case: iCute Super18

Controller: Dell E200 PERC (firmware flashed into IT mode)

Caddies: Old HP SAS caddies

CPU: AMD Phenom II X4 3Ghz @ 2.2Ghz (undervolted)



Ignore the labels on those drive bays, there's only 6x3TB in there at the moment, in a RaidZ2. 10.5T usable.


*I learned a few things during this build *...

  • ZFS is super user friendly. You can give it 'bad commands', you can re-order drives, you can split pools across new controllers, and it just doesn't bat an eyelid!
    This gives tons of confidence.

  • Enable Kernel Tuning, and make sure your minimum ashift is 12.
    This means it's going to always make 4KB sectors, even if a drive reports 512byte. Most 512 byte drives are lying these days.

  • There is no need for GPT partitions in Nas4Free (freeBSD).
    It's just another partition table to risk corrupting. The only caveat is that you might need to go up a drive size when one fails, if you had an 'odd number of sectors'.
    HDD's are getting cheaper... I dont see this as a problem.

  • Learn the ZFS command line commands.
    There are only about 5 of them you need, and the output will tell you all you need to know (for example, is dedup on).

  • Samba is 'Dumb'!!!!!
    It simply creates shares. You need to use Mount Points (or in my case, multiple ZFS 'dataset') to control permissions. THIS TOOK AGES TO FIGURE OUT.

  • On a windows PC, if you have different logins for different folders, script yourself a "net use /delete *" bat file.
    This will remove all your connected shares, otherwise you'll be told you're already logged in.

  • 140mm fans are hard to get in high static pressure. (i'm going to put 2 in front of the cages, externally, since they're not cooled).

And something I didn't expect to learn:

  • New Winrar (5) is AWESOME From Blake2 checksums to repair corrupted files, to duplicating the external container checksum around itself (file integrity) to prevent the container becoming corrupted (0~100% duplication, commonly people select 10%, meaning 10% of the container can be scrambled and still repair), it's just so rock solid now. It's the archive tool of choice for sure!

I had a great time, and a lot of frustration building this, and it's finally done.




Why Did I choose Nas4Free over FreeNAS?

Well, besides the lower system requirements, I knew I wanted a few things.

First of all I consider FreeBSD to be more stable than Linux.

I know that's a blanket statement, but its just the mentality of 'it does less, so less goes wrong', think classic carburated car VS modern electrical nightmare.


It has VirtualBOX built in! Ready to go!

I was trying to decide how to share (my) things online, to myself and kept getting stuck trying to figure out *nix tools

As such, I can run an internet facing VM running something like WindowsXP, crippled to the core by security, and just map my one 'public' drive.

I can also then use Windows server tools (like BTSync, or CoreFTP server, or WIRCSrv) and have all my friendly 'windows' tools!


I also wanted a file system OTHER than ZFS to be available.

I have a lot of old drives I'm going to fill those caddies with, and ZFS can't be spun down.


Why does spin down matter?

Eventually I'll move my Array onto a 4X8TB RaidZ2, once that's cheap, but then I have a bunch of 3TB drives, PLUS I already have a bunch of 1TB drives laying around.
I might as well USE them, but I dont want my power bill to skyrocket. So, with Normal software RAID, I can spin them down, and not have my filesystem cry.

In addition, my 'backup drive' for my pool is UFS, so it can be read in anything.

Win Win!


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