Recommend motherboard for home storage

snakyjake

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Jan 22, 2014
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What is the recommended home storage NAS motherboard with the following features:
  • Storing photos, video, movies
  • 4 to 8 drives (SATA3/6.0 Gbs)
  • 24x7
  • Low power
  • Silent
  • Software RAID
  • ECC
I was looking at ASROCK C2550D4I, but then read a review :

"...Issues that surrounds the C2750D4I since its release is the use of Marvell controllers. Users have been reporting that in Linux and FreeBSD, high intensity read/write workloads cause the controller to reset and elements to any software array are lost. It would seem that the C2750D4I is more suited to two/four-drive RAID arrays where each array does not span controllers."

Better options?
 

Patriot

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Apr 18, 2011
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What case were you wanting to fit this in?
Were you wanting just MITX boards?
If you want better performance... grab an HBA to run the drives off of.
Then the motherboard matters much less.
 

Biren78

Active Member
Jan 16, 2013
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OS has a big impact too. Those Marvell controllers have OS specific nuances and it is important for OS support.

I guess a few questions to add to @Patriot's list:
  1. Budget
  2. Is 6 drives OK? Do you need 8?
  3. 2x 1gig ethernet OK? Need 4?
  4. Do you want ikvm (I'd suggest yes)
  5. What OS? Virtualized?
I know these are a lot of questions. Your request isn't too tough, we just want to get you the right solution.
 

snakyjake

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Jan 22, 2014
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Case : A case to hold a lot of drives (SilverStone DS380, Fractal Design Define R5)
Budget : Depends on the tradeoffs.
Drives : I plan on starting with 4, and want plenty of room to expand. Since this is a NAS, this is most important.
OS : Linux (OpenMediaVault)
IKVM : Not necessary since my machine is local and I can easily attach a monitor.
Network: I don't plan on moving a lot of data over the network, except when I want to play a movie through a separate HTPC. Not sure what the minimum number of ports should be.
 

Patrick

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Dec 21, 2010
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What would be the cost of a consumer level HBA with a lot of SATA3 ports?
You can get an IBM M1015/ LSI 9211-8i for around $130: Flashed IBM M1015 9220 8i SAS RAID Card Flashed to LSI 9211 8i It Mode | eBay

8x SAS/ SATA ports.

That Silverstone would limit you to a mITX motherboard. You could use the add-in controller for it. 8+ drives so you could have 2.5" SSDs in the Silverstone also.

Here is my thought:
Supermicro A1SRi-2558F + 16GB ECC DDR3 SODIMM
Then when you go past 6 drives, get a LSI controller like the one above.
 

snakyjake

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Jan 22, 2014
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What are the alternatives of not buying a used HBA/LSI controller? Used makes me uncomfortable.

What other advantages does the HBA/LSI controller over the Marvell?
 

Patriot

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Apr 18, 2011
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What are the alternatives of not buying a used HBA/LSI controller? Used makes me uncomfortable.

What other advantages does the HBA/LSI controller over the Marvell?
OS support, performance, reliability.
They really are good versatile cards.
 

Patriot

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Apr 18, 2011
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And for the record, @Patriot is trained to be a PMC not LSI fan so that is saying something.
Well ... Till the PMC guys finish their current task getting PMC /HP Smart Array cards working on non-HP motherboards can be a pain. LSI have broad compatibility.
Once that work is done... PMC SA will start to take over... performance is bar none... but compatibility isn't there yet.
The HP H240 is another HBA that is wicked good but I have no clue on what boards it will work so I can't recommend it.
 
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snakyjake

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Jan 22, 2014
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The HBA option opens some other doors for me on a home NAS. I might get a workstation motherboard (for ECC) and virtualize the NAS. It would be nice to consolidate my systems into one box and share the resources. Might come out a lot cheaper too.
 

snakyjake

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Jan 22, 2014
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Any issues with going with the ASUS P9D WS motherboard, and later with a HBA/LSI?

Keep in mind this is for a home storage server (SATA3, OpenMediaVault+ SnapRAID, the NAS will then be virtualized via VirtualBox), not hardware RAID.

HBA is starting off confusing: SAS, flashing, expanding, hardware RAID, etc. I just want to connect a bunch of SATA3 data drives to my motherboard, and run SSD for the OS and apps.
 

rubylaser

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Jan 4, 2013
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Michigan, USA
Any issues with going with the ASUS P9D WS motherboard, and later with a HBA/LSI?

Keep in mind this is for a home storage server (SATA3, OpenMediaVault+ SnapRAID, the NAS will then be virtualized via VirtualBox), not hardware RAID.

HBA is starting off confusing: SAS, flashing, expanding, hardware RAID, etc. I just want to connect a bunch of SATA3 data drives to my motherboard, and run SSD for the OS and apps.
SnapRAID + AUFS on OMV will not have an issue if you convert from the onboard SATA ports to an HBA in the future. They both look at the filesystem's UUID to "assemble" and that won't change based on what port the disks are connected to.

As a sidenote, I would not use Virtualbox to run your NAS. I'd consider a hypervisor like ESXi / Hyper-V / KVM / etc. What else do you plan to run on this machine (do you really need virtualization or could you get by with something like Docker)?
 
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BlueLineSwinger

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Mar 11, 2013
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No love for the Supermicro X10-SL7? If you're considering mATX options, it's cheaper than buying a mainboard and HBA separately. Add in a cheap Haswell CPU and you have a system that, for home use, will be very hard to outgrow.

I have one running with FreeNAS. Works great.
 
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snakyjake

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Jan 22, 2014
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I have no requirement for a micro motherboard.
Don't know what a "docker" is.

The decision tree thinking has either been to have a dedicated NAS (server) or a workstation and virtualize the NAS.

Why virtualize? Because all the NAS will be doing is storing/serving files for the home, and the snapshot RAID can happen at night. I'm expecting low hardware requirements. The remaining of the time I can use the machine as a workstation (photo editing, ripping movies that I own, and other typical home usage) using MS Windows.
 
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snakyjake

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Jan 22, 2014
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I would not use Virtualbox to run your NAS. I'd consider a hypervisor like ESXi / Hyper-V / KVM / etc.
I figure since the NAS is just serving files, running PLEX (maybe), and calculating parity bits and checksums during the night, that using simple/free VirtualBox (or maybe VMWare?) wouldn't degrade performance or have problems. And then I can run my Windows workstation natively. Another advantage is simple backups of the NAS when using a virtualized container.

I'm open to all choices, as long as there is a good cost/benefit.
 

capn_pineapple

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Aug 28, 2013
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SATA 2 (3Gb/s) will be fine for running spinning 7200/5400 rpm HDD's. So those 4 ports aren't wasted. Only SSD's exceed the specifications of SATA 2 for what you're looking to use.

To expand on this. You would use the two 6 Gb/s ports for solid state drives, 4x 3Gb/s for local storage, and the inbuilt LSI for virtualised storage.