Being something of a professional
nerd, my idea of storage doesn’t
always line up with consumer thinking. I’ve been building my own systems for
quite a while, so the idea of building my own NAS was going to happen sooner or
The hardware chosen has changed over the years, in part, based on what was
available. Sometimes good deals can be had on rackmount equipment if you happen
to be in the right place at the right time, and know the right people.
The R730xd is connected by 4x ethernet cables to a Juniper EX4200 gigabit switch
using LACP (LACP provides additional
bandwidth when multiple clients are connected to the same source).
If you are interested in more of an appliance type of hardware and don’t
want to build your own, you can buy them on Amazon.
These even come with FreeNAS pre-installed. You can
choose an empty chassis and provide your own drives, or you can choose a
For software, I’m using FreeNAS. FreeNAS is a
community appliance based on FreeBSD and sponsored by
iX Systems. I’ve been using FreeNAS for over 9 years
now and find it more than adequate for the job. I’m using
ZFS to manage the disks. There are 2 pools
of storage, each in a striped mirror configuration (similar to a
results in 1x 8TB pool and 1x 768GB pool (usable storage, not raw capacity).
Each pool has the ability to lose up to 1/2 of the disks with out any data loss.
One of the advantages I find to using ZFS (I’ve been using ZFS since it became
available in FreeBSD 7.0R) is that I can upgrade the individual disks in the
volume to increase the amount of storage in place. Using traditional storage
mechanisms, I would have to backup the data, replace the disks, and then restore
the data. This way I save many hours of very boring work (yes, there are snapshots made before any hardware changes).
File Sharing Services
FreeNAS provides the ability to share data via CIFS/SMB, Appletalk,
NFS, or iSCSI, so it has no trouble integrating into pretty much any
environment. I’m currently sharing the SSD pool over iSCSI to VMware,
and the SATA pool over AFP and NFS (different directories) to Apple and
UNIX clients. I’ve managed to get about 850Mbit (my home network has
both 802.11b/g/n, and Gig-e wire, the 850Mbit was on the wire) between
my Mac Pro and my FreeNAS, but it seems that is where the desktop maxes
out (it only has the speed of a single disk). This is pretty close to
wire speed, and is “good enough”.
Note: If you share the same files over multiple protocols (such as
CIFS and AFP), corruption can occur.
I don’t push a lot of traffic on my home system. Its a mix of AFP/CIFS, and iSCSI (VMs).
Most of the ARC hit is VMs. The majority of the “nas” traffic is not regular in terms of the files that are requested.
cryptomonkeys.com by Louis Kowolowski is licensed under a Creative Commons International License. ·