FreeNAS 8.0.1 Storage Appliance

In a previous post, I mentioned that I was planning on re-purposing an old linux server I had laying around to a FreeNAS storage server. While I was learning more about FreeNAS I decided to hold off on the upgrades I mentioned in the above post. Since there have been a couple of major releases since then, and now that my comfort level using FreeNAS for my important data has risen considerable I recently decided to splurge on some brand new hardware.

The parts list is as follows:

  • Rosewill RSV-L4000 4U Rackmount Server Chassis with 8 3.5″ Drive Bays
  • SUPERMICRO MBD-X7SPE-HF-D525-O Server Motherboard
  • Crucial 8GB (2 x 4GB) 204-Pin DDR3 SO-DIMM Memory
  • PC Power and Cooling Silencer Mk II 500W High Performance Power Supply
  • Verbatim Store ‘n’ Stay 4GB USB Flash Drive

The Supermicro motherboard was the most expensive component of the build since it is a server class board. In addition to the onboard USB port (which I will be using for the Verbatim 4GB flash drive for booting the FreeNAS install) this board supports IPMI for remote management of the system. This is essentially the same thing that Dell and HP servers allow you to do with DRAC and ILO. The board’s specs also state that it only supports 4GB of memory, but upon additional research users have been reporting that it does in fact support 8GB, so I decided to give it a shot and order the above memory.

After I assembled all the components, I was able to successfully install FreeNAS to the USB flash drive via the IPMI console. It operated very much like a virtual machine, I mounted a local ISO and it mapped it over the network to the system. Very Convenient if you are often tinkering with your system and don’t feel like hooking up a monitor and keyboard directly to the system.

After FreeNAS was installed, it did in fact recognize all 8GB and has been running without any issues for about a week. Right now I five disks in the system, four for my media volume (two 1.5 TB, and two 320 GB) and one for Time Machine backups. The four disk media volume is using two VDevs (two mirrored disks in each) which are members of the same ZPool for a combined total of 1.6 TB of storage. ZFS made it extremely easy to pool these differently sized disks into one large storage volume. Down the road I will be purchasing a few disks of the same model to add to this array as my storage needs grow.

All in all it was a great build and has been working perfectly. Considering the the hardware I have, I would say it definitively beats getting a dedicated appliance if you are not afraid of a little DIY.

Licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 4.0
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