cheapest motherboard + CPU with ECC for running freenas for doing backups?

chinesestunna

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Jan 23, 2015
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No one mentioned mdadm on a Linux flavor? Bare stripped Debian is my choice. Ubuntu is all kiddy pretty, and the scripts tailored around Ubuntu made some mdadm services not work right on boot.

Make an array, make a filesystem, share it via nfs/samba/ftp/http/vpn/ipsec/whatever you need, done.

Expansion? Add drive(s) to array, grow array, resize filesystem, done.

I'm running a 20tb array on a box with 512mb.

If you don't need stupid amounts of cache, the no worries. I can easily saturate 600Mbyte /sec with $30 sata cards.

I Budget build, I hate spending money.
I had this exact setup as a VM running on my ESXi box and it's been great, only update is running 10x3TB for 30TB array.
A few caveats for folks looking at this route:
  1. RAM size - while running the array/system takes very little resource, depending on filesystem on the array if you need to do check/repair you may need more RAM. I run XFS and 512MB was fine until I had to do xfs_check which made me bump it up to 4GB. This was easy for a VM in ESXi host but something to keep in mind if standalone.
  2. OS 32bits vs. 64bits - my original build of 10x2TB was bumping up against file system limit on 32bit Linux, after I've performed all the 3TB swaps and array rebuild and tried to grow_array and grow_fs, the system won't let me. Researching turns out I needed 64bit Linux and again, deploying new VM and copying settings made this easy but definitely something to keep in mind.
  3. MDADM version - make sure you update to latest build first before setting up array etc. Some versions had a nasty bug that made RAID6 arrays lose their Superblocks which is no fun trying to fix. I'm sure there are others but just keep in mind a lot of Linux distros doesn't come with latest MDADM
 

rubylaser

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Jan 4, 2013
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No one mentioned mdadm on a Linux flavor? Bare stripped Debian is my choice. Ubuntu is all kiddy pretty, and the scripts tailored around Ubuntu made some mdadm services not work right on boot.

Make an array, make a filesystem, share it via nfs/samba/ftp/http/vpn/ipsec/whatever you need, done.

Expansion? Add drive(s) to array, grow array, resize filesystem, done.

I'm running a 20tb array on a box with 512mb.

If you don't need stupid amounts of cache, the no worries. I can easily saturate 600Mbyte /sec with $30 sata cards.

I Budget build, I hate spending money.
+1 and good idea, and I love mdadm and have used it for years. I just got sick of trying to help people troubleshoot their arrays a year later when a disk failed, and they didn't have email alerts configured. Thenthey lost another disk in their RAID5 array and all was lost. mdadm in the hands of an experienced user is awesome. In the hands of a person who doesn't want to learn it and it's commands or setup smartmontools or email alerts can be a recipe for quick data loss (i.e. I can't tell you how many times I've seen people in the above scenario run an mdadm --create /dev/md0 /dev/sd[a-d]1 to "restore" their array after a hardware failure). That being said, all RAID and RAID-like systems really need a competent person at the wheel to prevent a problem when things eventually fail.
 

swerff

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Jan 13, 2015
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I did the biggest no no ever in data management.

As you stated, after out of memory errors trying to resize, I did the unthinkable.

Used dd and made an empty file, did some magic, and expanded swap space...

Made a swap file on the file system I was trying to resize. So after growing array, had to do an online resize (ext4)


It worked! Oh, 64bit too, I'm just too tight to buy a memory chip. So I tried the swap file trick.

Detached Swap file, swapoff to flush, kill file, regain some space, presto.

Host partition is only 4gb. Kinda tight. Wasn't room on partition for a swap file. Hehe.
 
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HellDiverUK

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Jul 16, 2014
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Just to confirm, ECC RAM works, with it's ECC functioning, on a 760G chipset board and an AM3+ chip. Might be useful for anyone wanting ECC and plenty of SATA ports for FreeNAS. There's lots of cheap AM3/AM3+ chips on eBay, and the boards are dirt cheap new.

I chose the Asus M5A78L-M/USB3, but I've also used a Gigabyte 78LMT-USB3 in the past, and it was a good enough board too.

I'm using unRAID with btrfs drives, rather than FreeNAS and ZFS.
 

chinesestunna

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Jan 23, 2015
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Just to confirm, ECC RAM works, with it's ECC functioning, on a 760G chipset board and an AM3+ chip. Might be useful for anyone wanting ECC and plenty of SATA ports for FreeNAS. There's lots of cheap AM3/AM3+ chips on eBay, and the boards are dirt cheap new.

I chose the Asus M5A78L-M/USB3, but I've also used a Gigabyte 78LMT-USB3 in the past, and it was a good enough board too.

I'm using unRAID with btrfs drives, rather than FreeNAS and ZFS.
I would be careful with some onboard ports, I've had good experience with ports directly on chipset but some ports through onboard controllers can be troublesome.
My Gigabyte X58 board has 10 ports total, 6 from ICH10 and 4 from a Gigabyte controller + JMicron multiplier both integrated. It's been fine functionally but 2 of the multiplier ports will not pass full smart data and during initialization of Linux will NOT sync to 3Gbps, the kernel will hard-reset link multiple times before dropping to 1.5Gbps (which really speed-wise is fine for spinners) and finally connecting. It also prevents certain commands such as drive idle spin down from being passed and @rubylaser actually helped me do a custom script to force those drives to spin down through other means.
 

chinesestunna

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Jan 23, 2015
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I did the biggest no no ever in data management.

As you stated, after out of memory errors trying to resize, I did the unthinkable.

Used dd and made an empty file, did some magic, and expanded swap space...

Made a swap file on the file system I was trying to resize. So after growing array, had to do an online resize (ext4)


It worked! Oh, 64bit too, I'm just too tight to buy a memory chip. So I tried the swap file trick.

Detached Swap file, swapoff to flush, kill file, regain some space, presto.

Host partition is only 4gb. Kinda tight. Wasn't room on partition for a swap file. Hehe.
Haha this is some Inception level stuff right there! Like my managing my ESXi host through a VM on said host with VSphere client installation.
With that said I wouldn't have the guts of doing something like that with production type data, honestly risk isn't worth it at that point. I'm all for creative problem solving, saving money and hacking but there's a limit sometimes and after many close calls I'm a bit risk averse when it comes to my main data array.
 

HellDiverUK

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Jul 16, 2014
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I would be careful with some onboard ports, I've had good experience with ports directly on chipset but some ports through onboard controllers can be troublesome.
My Gigabyte X58 board has 10 ports total, 6 from ICH10 and 4 from a Gigabyte controller + JMicron multiplier both integrated.
Agreed, on the most part the onboard "controllers" fitted to boards are pretty woeful. Even back as far as the Highpoint 'RAID' chips ABit stuck on their boards. Rubbish. JMicron seem to the the new contender in this market. Their USB controllers are a bit poop too.

I've had decent luck with Marvell, pretty much universal as far as driver support goes.
 

chinesestunna

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Jan 23, 2015
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Agreed, on the most part the onboard "controllers" fitted to boards are pretty woeful. Even back as far as the Highpoint 'RAID' chips ABit stuck on their boards. Rubbish. JMicron seem to the the new contender in this market. Their USB controllers are a bit poop too.

I've had decent luck with Marvell, pretty much universal as far as driver support goes.
Oh man the only array I've fully lost so far (knock on wood) is a 2 drive RAID0 on ABit BP6 board... JMicron has been around for a few years and driver support is decent, Marvel is a bit mixed as I've seen major performance issues with their early gen SATA3 units running SSDs slower than SATA2 ports on ICH10.
From stuff I've seen on these boards LSI seems to be the gold standard for straight HBAs and just adding ports, and honestly with so many clones, cost per port count isn't that bad
 

NeverDie

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Jan 28, 2015
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Closing the loop on the OP:

Perhaps I'll regret it, but a couple nights ago I bought two of these Supermicro boards, with dual CPU's and passive heatsinks and IPMI 2.0 (as an add-in card) at $50 each:
Supermicro X7DBN Motherboard 2X Intel E5310 Quad Core CPU Simlc I O Heatsinks 0102646312605 | eBay
togther with 16GB (8 x 2GB) of Samsung ECC memory for them (so, 4 x 2GB per board) for $45:
Lot 8 Samsung 16GB 8x 2GB PC2 5300F ECC Fully Buffered Memory M395T5750EZ4 CE66 | eBay
I paid a slight premium for that particular model of Samsung ECC memory, but I did so because it was on Supermicro's list of "approved" memory for that particular Supermicro motherboard.

After $6 shipping cost, that totals out to $75/computer (I can hopefully use power supplies and cases and HDD's from older generation computers I have which are now obsolete).

The goal for each computer is just to do separate backups of my file server. That way I should have the recommended 3 copies of data (original plus 2 isolated backups). I wasn't sure how much CPU would be "enough" for the task. If it turns out to be overkill, I'll reduce to 1 CPU per board to save electricity, and if it's underkill, I'll upgrade to a better CPU (probably a lower power one, like the L5430 or L5440). I didn't like the high wattage, but they'll only run once at night for however long is needed to do the backup and do periodic data scrubs. Mainly the goal was low cost but ECC support plus enough CPU to keep the gigabit ethernet saturated during the backups. The IPMI will let me run them headless. Actually they do have dual gigabit, so maybe I can try to saturate them at closer to 2Gbps by teaming? Anyhow, I'll consider anything more than 1Gbps to be gravy, because the sooner they get their job done and power-off, the better.

Should I have picked something different? I'd change my mind if there's a better alternative.
 

T_Minus

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That stuff is from 2006, way too old in my opinion. 1.6ghz, 4 cores no HT, and 80 watts.
Most likely running it will pass the cost of building it within a year or two depending where you live.

I do like you though too, and get the Samsung memory for SuperMicro and had great luck with. When you troubleshoot a motherboard the first things they want to know if you're using "approved" things, at-least that's always been my experience and with expensive server stuff I try to keep them approved if I'm buying new or near new prices.
 

Marsh

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May 12, 2013
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See my post #5 , or these new combo.
I picked up six Tyan Intel Server Motherboard S7045GM4NR Dual LGA 1356 , at $110 each shipped.
Highlight of the board , 4 Intel network port, 10 sata ports, dual lga1356
add 2 x 4gb mem at $15 each.
Total without CPU $140 shipped.
These combo still have at least 3-5 years serviceable life .
Low power, idle at 56w with 2 x E5-2430L cpu, 6 x 4gb memory, 1 hard disk, Windows server 2012R2

For CPU, See the other thread regarding EBAY BO E5-2418L cpu.

There are still plenty cheap Tyan server board on Ebay, I waited over a month before making an offer to the seller.

I have over a dozen dual LGA1356 systems, they perform well and no problem that I recalled.
 

NeverDie

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Jan 28, 2015
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See my post #5 , or these new combo.
I picked up six Tyan Intel Server Motherboard S7045GM4NR Dual LGA 1356 , at $110 each shipped.
Highlight of the board , 4 Intel network port, 10 sata ports, dual lga1356
add 2 x 4gb mem at $15 each.
Total without CPU $140 shipped.
These combo still have at least 3-5 years serviceable life .
Low power, idle at 56w with 2 x E5-2430L cpu, 6 x 4gb memory, 1 hard disk, Windows server 2012R2

For CPU, See the other thread regarding EBAY BO E5-2418L cpu.

There are still plenty cheap Tyan server board on Ebay, I waited over a month before making an offer to the seller.

I have over a dozen dual LGA1356 systems, they perform well and no problem that I recalled.
Don't E5's tend to have rather high power consumption?



Note: Not sure why that picture isn't showing. You can view it here: http://www.servethehome.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/06/Intel-Xeon-E3-1230-V3-Power-Consumption.jpg

 
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markarr

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The TDP on the E5-2418L is 50w, the only E5-2400 series on that list is a dual proc test, each with a 60w TDP.

There are also extra components, if i'm not mistaken, that become active on a dual board populated with both cpus.

I have a E5-2418L on the way that i got for bo at 85 and the same tyan as above board for $135, i already have a bunch reg ram so it was more cost effective for me to use my current ram and upgrade from opteron to xeon.
 
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swerff

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I've been wanting a bad ass dual 8 core system for zfs or mdadm parity crunching, with plex on top of that.... Maybe sammich luks encryption on top of btrfs or something....


Buuutttt, I keep getting free hand me downs,. Thats a fuzz better then the previous. Linux doesn't care what it runs on, swap mobos, and comes right back the same.

Reason of post, I don't know the line of spending money to save electricity without buying new hardware , vs spending money on on new hardware, to save electricity?
 

T_Minus

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swerff - Have you compared frequency to # of cores for ZFS? Curious on performance.
 

T_Minus

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So 'badass 8 core' may not be needed for what you want to do if you haven't compared, correct?

Are you planning to run comparisons or just go for the higher end CPU :D
 

T_Minus

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Attempt at humor or sarcasm? Hard to tell online.

I'm curious about my previous post still, and it wasn't meant as an insult...

I was simply trying to find out where you got the info about a CPU being badass for ZFS, and what qualified it... cores, frequency, perfect ratio ;), etc...