NAS Windows

Discussion in 'DIY Server and Workstation Builds' started by Baloo449, Mar 17, 2015.

  1. Baloo449

    Baloo449 New Member

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    Hi All,
    I'm currently considering a build for a NAS based on Windows 2012 R2 Server .
    Initially I wanted to implement Windows 2012 R2 Storage Server. But it turns out that it's only a version of Windows 2012 R2 Server reserved for OEM only and no different.
    I was pretty much interrested in using an avoton or rangeley cpu as a C2750 or C2758 (but I'm really missing the point in the difference beetween the wo of them) with 16 or 32 GB of RAM
    I probably would add two 256GB SSDs and 3x 3TB Seagate surveillance spinning disk + 3x 3WD Red
    Plus one 128GB SSD for OS
    My goal : Manage all private datas such as Photos (tons of them, actually I'm a serial shooter), music and movies (less of them).
    Install Plex Server, but no need for transcoding as I already have two WD live box
    Hosts around 10-12 vmdks using iSCSI. For test purposes only totaling around 1TB of space
    My questions :
    Does this configuration make sense ?
    Would Windows 2012 R2 Server take advantage of this configuration ?
    How many watts can I expect to consume at idle and at full load ?
    Did anyone try something approaching this and can provide feedback ?

    Many thx for your time and considerations
     
    #1
  2. OBasel

    OBasel Active Member

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    The CPU is good for this.

    how much do you have in terms of photos? 10TB, 20TB, 50TB? How much do you expect for the life of this device?

    I'm not sure why you're going to Windows Server for this? I'd just get FreeNAS, napp-it + OI, NAS4free or something and run that. The install is easier than Windows and management is via web browser. you use a USB flash drive (current favorite for this) and save a SATA port for another hard drive plus you'd save a few hundred on not buying Windows server.
     
    #2
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  3. PigLover

    PigLover Moderator

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    To answer your direct questions:

    Does this configuration make sense? In general, yes, it is reasonable. I think I'd reconsider using the WD "surveillance" (purple) drives - I see no advantage to them for your stated application vs. Reds (or equiv. from other suppliers). Just get 6 or so Reds and you'll be good. You definitely do not need Rangerly (2758) for this application.

    Would Windows 2012 R2 Server take advantage of this configuration?
    It can certainly support everything you are asking about. I think you'd get 8-10 different opinions from any 5 people on this forum about OS for this kind of application. I happen to use Windows server for an application just like this - but i have other things going on in my setup that tend to drive me to prefer Windows. While Windows Server can do this - based on what you've described - I think you should take a close look at a packaged "NAS" centric approach like FreeNAS instead.

    How many watts can I expect to consume at idle and at full load? If you use an Avoton with 32GB you can expect 20-30 watts from the MB/cpu + whatever waste you get from your PSU + ~7watts/drive for spindles while active (and maybe 1-2 watts/drive if you can get them to spin down while idle). You require more than the on-board SATA so you need an HBA of some sort, add 5-10 watts. You are probably in the 50ish watt range idle and 60-80 with all disks active.

    Did anyone try something approaching this and can provide feedback?
    Yup. Like I said its reasonable.

    A couple more thoughts:

    Advantages of using Windows Server:

    If your clients are also Windows based you get SMB multi-path on the network. The Avoton has 4 Ethernet ports and your clients may have more than one. All you need to do is connect them to the same switch and your file transfers will use all of the available network bandwidth. With other approaches you are largely limited to the speed of a single network link and have to do special things to do better than that.

    You get Hyper-V as part of the package so you can run other services on the same server you serve files from.

    Advantages of using something like FreeNAS:

    MUCH better support for NFS for Linux based clients.

    Simpler iSCSI. Windows iSCSI support is actually quiet good. But in being "good" it requires that you configure everything. By hand (ugh!). And you need to know what you are doing. In FreeNAS it is much simpler.

    ZFS. This part gets religious... Do you own homework.

    Final note:

    If you do do something other than Windows Server (which has Hyper-V built in) I'd highly recommend that you deploy whatever NAS software you use under a HyperVisor (ESXi, Hyper-V server, or otherwise) so that you can add additional services on the same server. The Avoton has a lot more horses than you need to just be a NAS. Take steps from day one to ensure you don't strand them.
     
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    Last edited: Mar 17, 2015
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  4. mrkrad

    mrkrad Well-Known Member

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    windows iscsi is not reliable for vmdk uses for esxi!
     
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  5. azev

    azev Active Member

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    By default it cannot offer good performance, I would agree with you on that, but with free software like starwind, It is superb.
     
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  6. Baloo449

    Baloo449 New Member

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    Many thanks to all of you for your help
    I've been considering FreeNAS and its fork NAS4Free for a long time
    But I'm not familiar at all with ZFS and from a long view it really seems complicated.
    I've missed the complicated part of implementing iSCSI in windows server... How much complicated ? I'm pretty familiar with the concept in vSphere and the notion of iqn. Does it go beyond that ? As I'm planning to use this with two other avoton server dedicated to ESXi using hardware dependant NICs (2 ports each @1G) plugged on the same manageable switch (vlan and teaming). I'm planning to use also NFS as a datastore for ISOs presented to the ESXi.
    The wattage consumption you mentionned raised a new question : I originally expected to draw less power (maybe too optimistic and/or enthusiastic about the avoton) and was planning to use a pico-psu @80w.... Would it be enough to manage the hardware ?
    I found this test and it claims a very high efficiency with no noise as it is fanless.
    Tiny, Silent and Efficient: The picoPSU | silentpcreview.com ? Can you share your thoughts please
    On the other hand as I read other similar topics, I come with a bunch of more questions :
    What kind of Vms can I deploy on an esxi avoton based ? and how many assuming a configuration with 64Gb of RAM ?
    Could I deploy Windows based vCenter Vms with web client support ?
    Can I also consider a Vmware View solution with 2-6 clients ? Would you go for Windows 7 or 8.1 clients.
    I also need a Client for my personal usage (mostly indexing my photos, plus Internet surf sessions, managing my ebook collection, and vsphere web client) ? How would you design it ?

    Thank you
     
    #6
  7. mrkrad

    mrkrad Well-Known Member

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    ESXi can use read-only NFS from windows. but writing to NFS as a datastore through windows server is unstable.

    Likewise the ISCSI solution windows 2012 presents is not very performant, you will see this. Other options like starwind ISCSI which uses ram for caching is far better performing, but not sure how stable it is given it runs in userspace.

    I'd mess around with windows 2012 R2 as ISCSI,NFS but never use it for production it just doesn't cut it with esxi!
     
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  8. Patrick

    Patrick Administrator
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    I use PicoPSUs very often in the lab. They are great. My C2750 system with 32GB and 2x OCZ Vertex 1 drives currently idles at around 14-15w. Load power is not much more. Adding 6x hard drives, more fans and such would have me worried, as would start-up power, especially on the 80w version. I have tried 6x SSDs successfully but not hard drives which are much more taxing on a PSU.
     
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  9. Baloo449

    Baloo449 New Member

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    Thank you Patrick
    Actually as per WD statement and Tom's hardware's tests on such HDDs, it would actually consumates around 5.5W each at full load. So 6 spinning disks would eat 33W. With the MB at full load, I can add around 25-26W. Something around 59W. Let's say 60W.
    The announced efficiency of around 85% of the pico psu 80W should deliver 67 % from a 10W to 70W range. I should be in the best range spec especially considering that I intend to run it 24x7/365. Or am I too optimistic ?
    Thank you Mrkrad : I've tried flawlessly to run esxi with W2K8 iscsi server and NFS and never ran into problems. Never tried the starwind way though. Is it just a statement from you and your experience ? I guess the starwind initiator would love the 32 Gb of RAM then :)
    I guess that with tiering (from W2K12) I would have more than decent performance right ?
     
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  10. PigLover

    PigLover Moderator

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    Do be careful with the PicoPSU. You can't assume that the whole rated capacity is available on the 12v rail. For example, the 150W PicoPSU 150xt - the most popular and common version you'll find - is NOT rated for 150W on the 12v rail. Rather it is limited to 8A constant, 10A peak (with the peak load spec'd as being 60 seconds surge or less).

    Unless you staggered spinup your 6 spinning drives will over-drive the PicoPSU on initial power up.

    I'm not suggesting this won't work. It is possible to do a NAS with several drives using only a PicoPSU to power it. All I am saying is do your engineering calcs carefully and DO NOT just use the rated full power of the PSU when doing them. Calculate each rail separately. And include spin-up power draw on the drives (which you left out of the above).

    PicoPSU 150xt specs here: http://resources.mini-box.com/online/PWR-PICOPSU-150-XT/PWR-PICOPSU-150-XT-manual.pdf

    Edit - found the PicoPSU 80w spec. Note that max continuous load on the 12v rail is rated at 4A. There is NO WAY you could drive your 6-disk config safely on this device. See here: http://resources.mini-box.com/online/PWR-PICOPSU-80/PWR-PICOPSU-80-manual.pdf
     
    #10
    Last edited: Mar 18, 2015
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  11. PigLover

    PigLover Moderator

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    You can deploy almost any VMs on the Avoton. They work very well and handle threaded workloads like a champ. What you will have trouble with is sourcing the 16GB ECC UDIMMS and/or SODIMMS to ever get to 64GB. 32GB configs are what is currently practical based on the RAM marketplace.
     
    #11
    Last edited: Mar 18, 2015
  12. NeverDie

    NeverDie Active Member

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    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
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    Last edited: Mar 18, 2015
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  13. Baloo449

    Baloo449 New Member

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    Thak you PigLover for your detailed explanations and I must admit that this is where I reach my limits about electricity especially about the rails part and voltage. Maybe you could provide more help if not too much too ask : Can I consider the 150w Pico PSU instead or do I have to look for a more greedy one ? If so could you point me into the right direction and maybe indicate a fanless and efficient one ? By the way could for the 150w Pico PSU can I go fanless and use just a fan inside the case to evacuate the heat ? I was considering the node 304 from Fractal design.
    Thank you NeverDie too for your graphs .. it took me a while to get to the point. But finally found that the WD Red would consumate 13w each at boot time . And as Piglover said my calculation went erroneous.
     
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  14. EffrafaxOfWug

    EffrafaxOfWug Radioactive Member

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    The Pico PSU simply can't provide enough current at 12A to spin up six drives, it's not that you need a PSU that's much more powerful but it'll need to have enough grunt to get the system up and running.

    Depends completely on what enclosure you have available but I've had a very good experience with the Seasonic FlexATX units. They all have tiny fans but as long as the load never goes above 50% or temperatures get stupidly hot they never turn on, so these units are effectively fanless.

    The Node 304 takes full-fat ATX power supplies so you have much more to choose from there, no sense limiting yourself to a PicoPSU if you've got a full-fat case to put it in; similarly Seasonic have a range of fanless and almost-fanless PSUs in ATX sizes; my workstation uses a Platinum SS-460FL2. But if you've got hard drives in there you'll almost certainly want some fans keeping them from cooking. Personally I'm not a fan of the 304's hard disc mounting and would go for something with hot-swap caddies.
     
    #14
  15. NeverDie

    NeverDie Active Member

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    One thing that's nice about the pico psu design is that it keeps most of the psu heat outside of the case. The AC-to-DC brick emits most of the heat. The DC-to-DC power converter inside the case is very efficient, so its heat is minimal, and I'm guessing the 12v part is just passed through (?), so there's no heat produced inside for that.
     
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    Last edited: Mar 20, 2015
  16. PigLover

    PigLover Moderator

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    The 12v part is re-regulated to ensure that it really is 12v. Its a simple regulator design - but its a bit more than just pass-through and the size of the FET they use for this is mostly what determines the amperage rating.

    That's not necessarily true (at least if you use the Pico-150xt or Pico-160xt). Its pretty close, actually, and partly depends on the length of the power-up surge. If its under 60 seconds total and the rest of your system is not too much of a pig (which the Avoton he is proposing is not) then it might work. You've got to do the calcs to know for sure.

    Its really quite easy. The sheets I forwarded list the amperage support on each rail, continuous and for the surge period. Volts times Amps = Watts. Your spinning disk drives consume most of their power from the 12v rail. Assume, for simplicity, that all 25w max will be drawn from the Avoton board on the 12v rail during startup - the rest is what you have available for the start-up period on the drives. @NeverDie provided some good charts showing the loads of the most common disk drives. Your disks will probably draw their start-up surge for less than 60 seconds, so use the surge rating on the Pico. Do the math. Make sure you do the same math for the steady-state loads against the non-surge rating of the Pico too.
     
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  17. EffrafaxOfWug

    EffrafaxOfWug Radioactive Member

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    Pretty much exactly that, the power brick does the AC to 12V DC which is the vast bulk of the power needed by the computer and the internal PSU such as it is just siphons off that to create the 3.3 and 5V rails; I run one in my HTPC. For a server-y box though there'll still be plenty of other heat to remove from the case so I'd think case fans would be warranted at least.

    However I did then find a passively cooled NAS case which certainly looks interesting.
     
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  18. NeverDie

    NeverDie Active Member

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    That is interesting. I notice, though, that it still has a very large opening at the rear,
    [​IMG]
    so I presume hard drive noise is still an issue? Maybe coming out the rear the noise would be reduced. I'm just curious by how much? Enough to be worthwhile?
     
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  19. EffrafaxOfWug

    EffrafaxOfWug Radioactive Member

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    Well I wasn't convinced personally; from the pics it's still not clear how heat is meant to be wicked away from the hard drives and I'd be very surprised if conductive cooling would be effective. And yes, the lack of sleds and a door full of holes does mean the HDDs themselves are likely to be more audible. I'll be sticking with my low RPM fans for the foreseeable :)

    Appears the HFX also uses/supports the PicoPSU, Kustom sell it recommending the 160W version for use with this case so I guess they're fine with ~10A on 12V with five drives.
     
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  20. Deci

    Deci Active Member

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    the blurb on that case states it still has fans, they are just off unless required.
     
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