Advice on NAS for backups, $2k budget

JayG30

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Feb 23, 2015
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Hello,

I'm putting together a NAS as a backup target for some virtual and physical servers. It will be used in production and I want to stick with a rackmount system. It will run FreeNAS (or ZFS in some fashion) and be replicated to our main facility (also running FreeNAS). I have a budget of $2k but I prefer to keep cost as low as possible for other stuff. It is difficult for me though because I always come across something that "just costs a bit more". Also, some of the software I'll be using to perform the backups have the "instant recovery" feature that allows you to boot a VM from your backup in case of a disaster and I expect the better the hardware is the better that will perform.

Storage space is modest right now, all the backups are at ~2TB and haven't really grown. I'm looking at 4 x4TB setups right now. Configured as 2 mirrors I'll have 8TB. And I'm trying to make sure whatever I do has at least some room for growth (like a 12 bay chassis). I'm completely open to purchasing on ebay as well.

Here is what I've put together;

Code:
Case: Supermicro CSE-826A-R800LPB: $225.00
Motherboard: SUPERMICRO MBD-X10SL7-F-O $249.99
CPU: Intel Xeon E3-1231V3 $256.99
RAM: Crucial CT2KIT102472BD160B (2 x 8GB) $169.99
HDD: HGST Deskstar NAS H3IKNAS40003272SN  4 x $164.99=$659.96
Total: ~$1,600
Issues here are 32GB limit if I need to grow really big later. If budget allowed a E5 combo would be nice. I'm also looking at SAS drives instead. There was a really good deal on open box Seagate Constellation ES.3 (ST4000NM0023) on newegg but they sold out, so back to SATA for now. At $195 it would have been a no brainer I think.

Also considering going with a Supermicro case with a SAS expander backplane like a SuperMicro CSE-826E16-R1200LPB for ~$175 more. With that case and the X10SL7-F I could use 1 reverse breakout SFF8087 cable to drive all 12 disks and still have 4 more SAS ports to hook up to an external JBOD case, without needing to add an HBA (however RAM limits might show if I needed that much disk space). If budget allowed I'd get SAS drives and a supermicro case with the E2 backplane for multipathing.

What do you think and what you would do for 2k?
 

OBasel

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Dec 28, 2010
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I might add a cache SSD or two. It'll help if you start using it as a VM host.
 

NeverDie

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Jan 28, 2015
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Also, some of the software I'll be using to perform the backups have the "instant recovery" feature that allows you to boot a VM from your backup in case of a disaster....
That would be awesome. I can't restrain myself from asking: which software does that?
 

JayG30

Active Member
Feb 23, 2015
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Yea, for writes I had thought about adding mirrored SSD's but figured I'd hold off until down the line.
 

JayG30

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Feb 23, 2015
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That would be awesome. I can't restrain myself from asking: which software does that?
Veeam, Unitrend, Altaro, and so on. Pretty much any decent new backup software does this. I thin Symantec Backup Exec does it now as well. Some even have the ability to backup a physical server and have that turned into a VM file so you can spin it up under Hyper-V or ESXi (or KVM) if necessary (Veeam only will backup virtual servers so won't do the physical side, Unitrend does however).

Unitrend for instance has a free virtual appliance that you can deploy as a VM on ESXi or even the free Hyper-V Server 2012R2. It allows you to do backups for I believe 8 VM's.

HERE is some info from Unitrend
Instant Recovery with Failover Virtualization
With instant recovery for VMware, Hyper-V, Windows, you can completely recover your system in less than 5 minutes.

The most flexible recovery strategies - Instant spin-up recovery? Yes. Instant granular recovery? Yes. Similar and dissimilar physical and virtual bare metal allow you to perform P2P, V2P, P2V, and V2V recovery.

Hot/Cold Bare Metal - By offering both cold and hot bare metal, we offer you the flexibility to easily restore your entire system.
And Veeam HERE
Instant VM Recovery™ helps maintain system availability when you need it most. Instead of making users wait for hours, Instant VM Recovery immediately restores a virtual machine (VM) back into your production environment by running it directly from the backup file to:
  • Maintain low recovery time objectives (RTOs)
  • Minimize disruption
  • Minimize system downtime of crucial production VMs
It’s easy to use. Instead of having to provision storage, extract the VM backup and copy the content to production - it restarts any VM directly from the backup instantly. With Veeam®, you can recover a failed VM in as little as 2 minutes!
 
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lmk

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Dec 11, 2013
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@JayG30 "Also considering going with a Supermicro case with a SAS expander backplane like a SuperMicro CSE-826E16-R1200LPB for ~$175 more. With that case and the X10SL7-F I could use 1 reverse breakout SFF8087 cable to drive all 12 disks and still have 4 more SAS ports to hook up"

Be careful. This should work only if the (SATA) connectors/controller that you connect that reverse breakout SAS cable into support (talk) SAS.

Normally, regular SATA with a reverse breakout SAS cable to (SAS) expanders will not show anything.
 

JayG30

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Feb 23, 2015
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@JayG30 "Also considering going with a Supermicro case with a SAS expander backplane like a SuperMicro CSE-826E16-R1200LPB for ~$175 more. With that case and the X10SL7-F I could use 1 reverse breakout SFF8087 cable to drive all 12 disks and still have 4 more SAS ports to hook up"

Be careful. This should work only if the (SATA) connectors/controller that you connect that reverse breakout SAS cable into support (talk) SAS.

Normally, regular SATA with a reverse breakout SAS cable to (SAS) expanders will not show anything.
Right, I've heard that on the FreeNAS forums as well. The Supermicro MBD-X10SL7-F has 8 SAS ports via an LSI2308 (that can be cross flashed to IT mode). So in that SuperMicro CSE-826E16-R1200LPB I could use a single SFF 8087 reverse breakout cable from 4 SAS ports to the single Mini-i-pass (SFF 8087) on the cases backplane. That would still leave me with 4 more SAS ports if I needed to run Mini-i-pass externally to a JBOD chassis. The board also has a bunch of SATAIII/II ports but obviously I would only be able to use those if I wanted to hook something up that wasn't wired into the SAS expander backplane.

Does that sound correct? Do you think that would be a better case for the money/needs then the CSE-826A-R800LPB which has the A style backplane requiring 3 SFF 8087 reverse breakout cables to fully populate all 12 disks? That case doesn't have a SAS expander and should allow use of a reverse breakout cable into the SATA ports. In that case I'd have 2 cables going into the 8 SAS ports and would have to run the third cable into the SATAIII/II ports.
 

JayG30

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I should also note that I'm going to be purchasing this stuff probably by Wednesday at the latest.
 

MikeC

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Apr 27, 2013
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I'm not sure your option one will work as @lmk stated. I'd go with option two, the CSE-826A-R800LPB and three reverse breakout cables.
 

JayG30

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You don't think the SuperMicro CSE-826E16-R1200LPB will work with the Supermicro MBD-X10SL7-F? I don't understand why not. They are SAS ports via an onboard LSI 2308 (SAS controller). The motherboard has 8 SAS ports, not SATA. This is a very common FreeNAS board particularly because of the onboard LSI 2308 SAS controller.

The issue he is referring to is SATA ports going into a SAS expander, which isn't what I would be doing with the SuperMicro CSE-826E16-R1200LPB and Supermicro MBD-X10SL7-F combo.

If not someone please explain to me why I'm wrong.
 

TuxDude

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Sep 17, 2011
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Right, I've heard that on the FreeNAS forums as well. The Supermicro MBD-X10SL7-F has 8 SAS ports via an LSI2308 (that can be cross flashed to IT mode). So in that SuperMicro CSE-826E16-R1200LPB I could use a single SFF 8087 reverse breakout cable from 4 SAS ports to the single Mini-i-pass (SFF 8087) on the cases backplane. That would still leave me with 4 more SAS ports if I needed to run Mini-i-pass externally to a JBOD chassis. The board also has a bunch of SATAIII/II ports but obviously I would only be able to use those if I wanted to hook something up that wasn't wired into the SAS expander backplane.

Does that sound correct? Do you think that would be a better case for the money/needs then the CSE-826A-R800LPB which has the A style backplane requiring 3 SFF 8087 reverse breakout cables to fully populate all 12 disks? That case doesn't have a SAS expander and should allow use of a reverse breakout cable into the SATA ports. In that case I'd have 2 cables going into the 8 SAS ports and would have to run the third cable into the SATAIII/II ports.
Yes, you can use a reverse-breakout cable to drive a SAS expander off the SAS ports from that board. And yes, you could use a second reverse-breakout cable to connect to an external JBOD with its own internal expander.

If this was my build, I would probably use a single reverse-breakout cable and an expander backplane to run all of the HDD bays in the front of the enclosure. Then depending on how much growth you are expecting, either reserve the remaining 4 SAS ports for connection to an external JBOD if you think you will eventually need them and use the SATA ports for SSD's installed inside the chassis somewhere. Or if you won't need to grow into a JBOD, use the remaining SAS ports for SSDs for boot/cache just in case you ever want to move the NAS part into a VM - then all NAS-related disks are connected to the LSI controller if you want to pass it through into a VM and you can boot a hypervisor off a SATA-attached drive.
 

JayG30

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Feb 23, 2015
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Yes, you can use a reverse-breakout cable to drive a SAS expander off the SAS ports from that board. And yes, you could use a second reverse-breakout cable to connect to an external JBOD with its own internal expander.

If this was my build, I would probably use a single reverse-breakout cable and an expander backplane to run all of the HDD bays in the front of the enclosure. Then depending on how much growth you are expecting, either reserve the remaining 4 SAS ports for connection to an external JBOD if you think you will eventually need them and use the SATA ports for SSD's installed inside the chassis somewhere. Or if you won't need to grow into a JBOD, use the remaining SAS ports for SSDs for boot/cache just in case you ever want to move the NAS part into a VM - then all NAS-related disks are connected to the LSI controller if you want to pass it through into a VM and you can boot a hypervisor off a SATA-attached drive.
Thanks, that is what I thought as well.
The last part of your post (connecting SSD to the SAS ports to pass through to a VM) is something I had thought about as well. For an ESXi All-in-one setup. However I don't think I'll do that ever simply because I don't want to take the risk in a business environment, even if I know it will work fine.

So it sounds like you are in favor of the SAS expander case, so this configuration;

Code:
Case: SuperMicro CSE-826E16-R1200LPB: $399.95
Motherboard: SUPERMICRO MBD-X10SL7-F-O $249.99
CPU: Intel Xeon E3-1231V3 $256.99
RAM: Crucial CT2KIT102472BD160B (2 x 8GB) $169.99
HDD: HGST Deskstar NAS H3IKNAS40003272SN  4 x $164.99=$659.96
Total: ~$1,800
Add some SSD's in the future for ZIL/SLOG. I think I like this setup as well. Only other think I'm concerned about is the SATA disks. Really wish I could get a good deal on some SAS ones.

Also, should I have any concern with the LSI 2308 controller on this board? I think I've read some people have had heat issues (although that might be due to the cases they put them in). And finally what about the 1200W PSU's? I really don't see a need for that much PSU in my setup, but whatever. Does anyone know how they are with noise and reliability?
 

JayG30

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Also, what heatsink would I use in this setup (sorry not that familiar with supermicro 2U heatsink options).
 

MikeC

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Apr 27, 2013
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With regards to the heatsink, you should be OK with the Intel retail boxed one if you are buying a retail boxed CPU. I've got the SAS1 version of this case with an X9SCL-f motherbord and the Intel heatsink fits inside the air shroud OK.

I've just copied the Supermicro pictures of both motherboards into Word, one above the other and the CPUs line up perfectly, so you should be OK with the retail boxed heatsink, in fact Supermicro list their version of the retail boxed heatsink on the Supermicro heatsink matrix page.


 
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JayG30

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Feb 23, 2015
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Thanks, do you think a supermicro cooler might be better?
I've used their passive 1U coolers with great success in the past.
 

MikeC

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If you are buying a retail boxed CPU, I'd use that. If it's not satisfactory you could buy a passive Supermicro one later!
 

MikeC

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Yes, you can use a reverse-breakout cable to drive a SAS expander off the SAS ports from that board. And yes, you could use a second reverse-breakout cable to connect to an external JBOD with its own internal expander.
Didn't know that. We learn something new every day!
 

JayG30

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Feb 23, 2015
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Sounds good. I'm getting approval to go forward with the SAS2 expander case. Thanks!
Still looking to see if there are better disks to use that are affordable (like SAS).

Anyone else that has opinions please feel free to respond as well.
 

JayG30

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Feb 23, 2015
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Didn't know that. We learn something new every day!
Yea, I was pretty sure you could considering it was a SAS controller onboard. Same thing you would get if you bought a M1015 or other HBA. They just are individual ports instead of a single SSF 8087 connector (or the new 12Gb/s SAS3 connector). That and I know people on the FreeNAS forums that have done exactly this. :)
 

lmk

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Dec 11, 2013
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late follow up:

Yes, it is worth bringing up, since not everyone knows (as some posted) and may assume those non-SAS controller ports would work the same way :)

This board uses the SATA physical connectors for both the SAS and SATA controllers (http://www.supermicro.com/a_images/products/X10/C220/X10SL7-F_spec_features.jpg)

^ the connection with reverse SAS cable to the expander only works on the "SAS group" of physical SATA connectors; that "SATA group" of physical SATA connectors would be useless :)

every once in a while, people do try ;)