CPU sizing for home ZFS server

drake3

New Member
Feb 11, 2011
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Hi - I have been building a ZFS server for home use. I plan on having a raidz vdev for static storage, pics, HD movies, etc. And then striped mirror vdevs for VMWare virtual machines.

I am not building an all-in-one with VMWare and ZFS storage in the same box. The ZFS machine will be standalone.

I have been testing with generally recommended hardware:
Norco 4220, SM X8SI6-F, 7K2000 drives, 4GB Kingston RAM. The processor I am testing with is a Core i3-540. I chose the i3 because of cost and power usage.

Right now I have a pool on a raidz vdev of 4 -7k2000 drives running in Nextenta Core with napp-it. I did not expect super speeds with this setup, just testing to get the feet wet.

I noticed when I stress the box by copying iso images and other large files to the box through NFS I am seeing load averages up to 4 on the box. I am assuming the parity calcs are taxing the i3 processor?

Would a larger processor like a Xeon X3440 help things out? I don't need enterprise class speed at home, but would like to "right-size" the processor for a stable system that can run a raidz vdev. An inexpensive Xeon can be added to the budget for the home system.

Thanks for any help.
 

Metaluna

Member
Dec 30, 2010
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Do you have ECC memory? That in itself would be a good reason to go with the Xeon, as the i3 doesn't support ECC. The X3440 is pretty power-efficient. My server with an X8SIL-F, 16GB RAM, X3440, LSI 3081e controller, and 7xSamsung F4 2TB idles at around 85 watts. I doubt you'd see more than 10W or so difference with the i3.

Also, the X3440 is quad core which might help your load averages a bit (though with multi-core machines, the load average can be a bit misleading, I've found). My machine rips through FreeBSD kernel compiles pretty impressively when you run a multi-threaded make.

That said, if you aren't going to be running VMware on the final build, a core i3 may well be enough. The 540 is a fairly snappy chip for a Core i3. I believe runs at 3.2GHz vs 2.66GHz for the Xeon.
 

drake3

New Member
Feb 11, 2011
14
2
3
Yeah, the RAM is ECC. I think I will purchase the X3440 for testing at the lab at work and see what happens. Thanks for your reply.
 

ACCS

New Member
Apr 6, 2011
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San Diego
www.accs.com
4GB Kingston RAM
ZFS likes to have a LOT of RAM, to cache data. If you can bump this to 8GB, you'll get better throughput, with less disk thrashing.

If you're maxing out the CPU, an upgrade to quad-core would be a good idea. I'd go with the X3440, as the additional threads may be useful.
 

otto123

New Member
Apr 13, 2011
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Hi, I am currently also building the all in one. I have the Intel Xeon UP L3406, 2x 2.26GHz, Sockel-1156 which is 30 Watt and 165 Euro. So far 8 GB ECC RAM. Board is Supermicro with 4 NICs and Remotemanagement. Also look for vt(d) so you can access another controller.

Machine should run next week. Will post some data then.

Also have a HP Microserver with SE11 express and napp-it. Brings around 100 mb/s via Samba.

Cheers
Otto