FreeNAS - actual computer power required?

sfbayzfs

Active Member
May 6, 2015
254
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SF Bay area
My general findings for FreeNAS 11.1 in general and on an N40L or N54L (by far the most popular home NAS setups among my friends) are:
  • the minimum recommended 8GB of ECC RAM is plenty to safely run FreeNAS and saturate 1G networking for bulk storage purposes, 16Gb is needed to saturate 10G networking, and 32GB (not possible in most of the HP Microservers) does not give much of an advantage over 16GB in the large bulk transfers use case, however, it might help in any use case with lots of random writes such as iSCSI with several VMs.
  • The faster 2.2GHz processor on the N54L can increase transfer speeds, but the 1.5GHz N40L can solidly get something like 55-60MB/s bulk serial transfers over CIFS to/from a 5x 3TB WD Red Z2 array (that's the only one we did significant bandwidth testing on so far, I would like to do more, but don't have a ton of time.)
  • The N40L cannot handle 1080p Plex transcodes, but the N54L can - I don't run Plex, but I have heard that Plex server works great on a nVidia shield, which is probably easier to set up Plex on and has more transcoding headroom coupled with an N40L than an N54L on it's own anyway.
  • I haven't tried to do anything with jails or the BHYVE hypervisor, but I hear everything still works great on the N40L/N54L
 

WANg

Well-Known Member
Jun 10, 2018
919
526
93
My general findings for FreeNAS 11.1 in general and on an N40L or N54L (by far the most popular home NAS setups among my friends) are:
  • the minimum recommended 8GB of ECC RAM is plenty to safely run FreeNAS and saturate 1G networking for bulk storage purposes, 16Gb is needed to saturate 10G networking, and 32GB (not possible in most of the HP Microservers) does not give much of an advantage over 16GB in the large bulk transfers use case, however, it might help in any use case with lots of random writes such as iSCSI with several VMs.
  • The faster 2.2GHz processor on the N54L can increase transfer speeds, but the 1.5GHz N40L can solidly get something like 55-60MB/s bulk serial transfers over CIFS to/from a 5x 3TB WD Red Z2 array (that's the only one we did significant bandwidth testing on so far, I would like to do more, but don't have a ton of time.)
  • The N40L cannot handle 1080p Plex transcodes, but the N54L can - I don't run Plex, but I have heard that Plex server works great on a nVidia shield, which is probably easier to set up Plex on and has more transcoding headroom coupled with an N40L than an N54L on it's own anyway.
  • I haven't tried to do anything with jails or the BHYVE hypervisor, but I hear everything still works great on the N40L/N54L
- Yeah, unfortunately I don't run ECC 16GB on my N40L, and with the current RAM it'll sometimes come up on 8GB RAM, and sometimes on 16GB of RAM - quite a pain. I want to pull the latest N40L BIOS but HPE wants a support contract for something like that now.

- Well, on a 4x4TB Toshiba 7200rpm drives on Raidz1 I am seeing ~220MByte/sec on iSCSI block transfers for files less than 8GB in size - for anything between 8 and 16GB filesize it's about 175 or so when talking between my t730 ESXi hypervisor and the N40L (now using a dualport Mellanox CX3 VPI 40GbE card pair). The interconnect can matter.

- Ehh. Plex might do transcoding well, but Plex is also a bit of a hardware hog (I have a Sandy based Mac Mini dedicated to mine). The nVidia Shield might be a good choice, but I don't think it'll do H.265/HEVC encoding.

- The N40L will totally work with BHYVE, but running zpool stuff in addition to hypervisor duties? No - those Athlon II Neos are getting long on the tooth - that's why I threw a t730 in front of my N40L as a silent-but-reasonably powerful upgrade. If someone else does an AMD/Intel thin client with a full PCIe x8 I'm more than happy to give that a try as well.