Build and config advice (RAID/ZFS, NAS, home build)

Discussion in 'DIY and Makers Spot' started by MattBoothDev, Dec 28, 2017.

  1. MattBoothDev

    MattBoothDev New Member

    Dec 28, 2017
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    I'm looking for some advice on a home server/NAS build. I've got some specs in mind and I'm capable at building computers.

    Here's some info:

    • Plex Server (2-4 concurrent streams)
    • Deluge Server
    • Web server (mainly for my development projects)
    • NAS/Backup

    • Parity/Redundancy (for backup needs)

    These are components I know I will be using for the build
    • Fractal Design Node 804 (I have the 304 and this looks excellent for my needs)
    • MicroATX board (Though not opposed to Mini-ITX if suitable)
    What I had in mind:
    What would you do?
    I'm looking at using ZFS for the drives however I've never set this up before. Is there any benefit to me doing this? I could just go RAID 5E.

    Do I need 32GB RAM? Seems like a lot for the usage but I've heard ZFS needs a lot of RAM

    I was pondering a 2.5" SSD and NVMe SSD for ZFS caches. Is this useful? Would you do it?

    I'm not entirely set on anything other than the PSU and case. I like the 10 year warranty on the PSU and the case is going to fit nicely where it will end up going. There's choices between Ryzen and Xeon. Not sure which to go for yet.

    Ubuntu or ESXi? I've never setup ESXi but I like the idea of having VM's for Plex, Deluge, Web, etc.
  2. gigatexal

    gigatexal I'm here to learn

    Nov 25, 2012
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    Gobs and gobs of ram is only really needed if you use ZFS deduplication.
  3. BlueLineSwinger

    BlueLineSwinger Active Member

    Mar 11, 2013
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    This thread should be moved over to the DIY workstation/server section. Take a look through it, as there are many build proposals and advice on similar setups.

    You don't need that much RAM, 16 GB will be more than enough.

    IIRC there was something in a recent thread in the above-linked section that the Seagate drives don't work well in that Fractal case, due to missing mount positions on the drives.

    I'd be looking to do RAIDz-2 (i.e., 6) or 10/01 instead of z-1 (5), for additional redundancy. A fourth drive would be needed, but the cost would be covered by skipping half the proposed RAM.

    You don't need ZFS cache drives. They will be of no benefit to you.

    Feel free to get a smaller PSU (gold-rated or better), as you won't be pulling anywhere near that unit's max. A smaller unit will also put you closer to the typical efficiency sweet-spot (usually pulling around 50-80% of the PSU's rating).

    If you're looking to set up virtualization, Proxmox would probably be a good choice. You should also be considering SSDs to host the VMs instead of the HDDs. A small enterprise-grade SATA unit or two off E-bay should work well, though in a pinch I suppose you could get away with a good consumer-grade unit given that your usage will be fairly low.
  4. Diavuno

    Diavuno Active Member

    Jan 31, 2014
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    Pretty spot on.
    I'll add a couple of things:
    Go intel if you plan on making VMs.
    While I think linux is great, if your not already proficent in Linux I'd recommend sticking with a easier OS or GUI - ESXi or even Windows.

    I've helped a few people make similar boxes, Ive had the best luck with windows 10 pro. You get all of the fun storage spaces and hyper V

    Storages spaces is slower to write to pairity pools... but after the initial injest it's not a problem. (or you can tune it)
    if you plan on doing an AIO like that I would keep the VMs and data on serperate data stores (boot/VMs on SSD is prefered) with all of the data on a seperate disk.
  5. MattBoothDev

    MattBoothDev New Member

    Dec 28, 2017
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    I was thinking ESXi anyway as it's been highly recommended.

    I'm proficient in Linux, I'd say. My existing server runs Ubuntu Server, my work (but personal) laptop runs Ubuntu solely and I spend maybe 80% of my time on my personal desktop in Ubuntu.

    So you guys recommend using an SSD for the VMs (ESXi would be boot? That board has a USB3 port on the PCB so I imagine that's designed specifically for things like UnRAID and ESXi that run directly from a thumb drive?).

    The storage pool you would just use as the NAS data solely?

    (if so, this is pleasing to hear as I did something similar for another server I built for work, but without ESXi and simply a "root" Ubuntu Server install to manage VM's)


    Any recommendations on the SSD(s)? I was hoping I could use the M.2 NMVe port for that. I'd want to avoid 2.5" drives simply because that board has 8 SATA ports and I would like to have 8 drives in the long run so I want to avoid an HBA due to budget.
  6. Diavuno

    Diavuno Active Member

    Jan 31, 2014
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    SSD for boot and VMs is recommended.
    ESXi is definity a solid hypervisor.
    Yes, the motherboardf header is intended for that use.
    HOWEVER! esxi does not support software mirrors and has become picky on what RAID card it supports, meaning you are limited on options for your datastore(or at least if you want some redundency)
    This is why many people have switched to Xen or Proxmox (and why I like windows)
    You can use spaces for NAS data or VMs, depends on how you configure it.

    My test box is currently:
    Dual E5's with 64GB ram
    windows 10 pro
    Boot is 2x 120GB SSDs in a software mirror (using intels chipset)
    storage pool contains many disks and a mix of ssds/hhd but the VMs sit on top of a 4x1tb spinners in a raid 10 type config, that's tiered with 300GB SSDs(3500's with PLP). for a boost of speed.
    There is another set of 6x4tb spinners in dual parity (raid 6) for my own area just to dump data, writes arent the fastest(read is good), but its there for big storage in my network. I also keep ISO's and OVAs on there, works great for my needs.
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