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Posted · Original PosterOP

I am thinking about building a new NAS. This is my first real NAS, so correct me if i'm wrong about certain things. I had made previous posts on the topic, but they are now outdated since I wasn't ready to purchase at the time. I am looking for a storage server mainly for backups and a plex server. I was thinking I could combine the two into something like a Dell PowerEdge r720XD but if someone thinks they should be separate, let me know. I have a mis-mosh of random drives so I think I need to use UNRaid as the main OS and then I could use CentOS for the Storage Server and Ubuntu for the Plex Server. For specs I was thinking 12 cores and 64GB+ of RAM. I think I need to allocate most of the resources to the Plex Server since there could be multiple people streaming off it at once, where as the Storage Server probably wont have more than 1 user accessing it at a time. I would like decent transfer speeds however. I was thinking I would need to add in an SSD for a L2 cache, but I saw people recommending to not use a L2 cache. 

 

These are the drives I have:

2x 1TB 7200rpm HDD

1x 320GB 5400rpm HDD

1x 1TB 5400rpm HDD

1x 750GB 7200rpm HDD

1x 500GB 7200rpm HDD

 

These are all Desktop-Based HDD's and as they die I will replace them with NAS equivalent HDD's. My budget is $350, but there is a little wiggle room if necessary. The UNRaid License is not included in that cost, but if someone had a Free-Alternative that would be appreciated. The only thing that I can think of for other storage options are HP Proliants, but I don't know much about them. Is the Dell PowerEdge r720XD too old? All suggestions are appreciated too.


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Do you care about power usage, those r720xds do idle at about 150w with drives and a os, but this can vary, and desktop based system could use half that.

 

How much plex transcoding do you need to do?

 

For just plex and file server, 64gb is probably overkill. Also normally resources are shared, not fixed.

 

You can use mergerfs + snapraid for a simmilar config, but depends on how much you want to mess around in linux vs ready to go with unraid.

 

by l2 I think your thinking of l2arc, and thats a zfs only thing.

 

For a home media server I don't think a ssd cache will be needed. And if you care about performance, you probalby don't want unraid anyways.

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Posted · Original PosterOP
2 hours ago, Electronics Wizardy said:

Do you care about power usage, those r720xds do idle at about 150w with drives and a os, but this can vary, and desktop based system could use half that.

I would like a decent balance of power to performance. It has to be rack-mountable (and not just putting it on a shelf) so I would prefer to use something like a Dell PowerEdge or an HP ProLiant Server. It doesn't need to be those specific models if there are better alternatives.

2 hours ago, Electronics Wizardy said:

How much plex transcoding do you need to do?

I would only expect a maximum of 4 users at once most of them are at 1080p but for future-proofing I would like enough power to support at least 3 of those users switching to 4K.

2 hours ago, Electronics Wizardy said:

For just plex and file server, 64gb is probably overkill. Also normally resources are shared, not fixed.

Ok, that is good to know.

2 hours ago, Electronics Wizardy said:

You can use mergerfs + snapraid for a simmilar config, but depends on how much you want to mess around in linux vs ready to go with unraid.

I'm not really drawn to any specific OS so I would be open to using anything that works well.

2 hours ago, Electronics Wizardy said:

by l2 I think your thinking of l2arc, and thats a zfs only thing.

I must be confusing UNRaid with FreeNAS, sorry about that. But like I said I have multiple different drives so I couldn't use FreeNAS

2 hours ago, Electronics Wizardy said:

For a home media server I don't think a ssd cache will be needed. And if you care about performance, you probalby don't want unraid anyways.

I would like to have an SSD cache just for some faster data transfers. It doesn't need to be big, maybe like only 120GB? I look into those other OS' that you recommended. If you don't mind could you tell me about them a little


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2 minutes ago, Chickenfans said:

I would like to have an SSD cache just for some faster data transfers. It doesn't need to be big, maybe like only 120GB? I look into those other OS' that you recommended. If you don't mind could you tell me about them a little

What network do you have setup? NO reason to have a ssd cache on a gigabit network for most users. Your network limited.

 

2 minutes ago, Chickenfans said:

I'm not really drawn to any specific OS so I would be open to using anything that works well.

How well do you know linux/ how much do you wan to learn? Unraid is easy,  you can do something else, but there is much more of a learning curve

 

3 minutes ago, Chickenfans said:

I would like a decent balance of power to performance. It has to be rack-mountable (and not just putting it on a shelf) so I would prefer to use something like a Dell PowerEdge or an HP ProLiant Server. It doesn't need to be those specific models if there are better alternatives.

Yea the r720xd is probably a good bet then. If you want more drives, there are some supermicro 4u 24 bay servers, but there normally more money.

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Posted · Original PosterOP
17 minutes ago, Electronics Wizardy said:

What network do you have setup? NO reason to have a ssd cache on a gigabit network for most users. Your network limited.

I have a Dell PowerConnect 5548 switch which is connected to all the devices around the house. The New Server would be connected to the 10GB SFP+ Port on the switch and the users are all connected to the gigabit ports. The SSD Cache would be meant more for when multiple users hit the server at once. I know we would be capped at about 125MB/s (in a perfect scenario) transfer speeds to a single user since they're all connected via gigabit ethernet, but since the server is 10 gig you could have 1.25GB/s of bandwith to play with which could support up to 10 users. I also know that conventional SSDs are capped at about 550MB/s transfer speeds so we would be under 1.25GB/s anyway.

17 minutes ago, Electronics Wizardy said:

How well do you know linux/ how much do you wan to learn? Unraid is easy,  you can do something else, but there is much more of a learning curve

I'm not really familiar with linux so it would all mostly be a learning curve. Whichever you think would be better for a first time user i'll look into.

17 minutes ago, Electronics Wizardy said:

Yea the r720xd is probably a good bet then. If you want more drives, there are some supermicro 4u 24 bay servers, but there normally more money.

Do the SuperMicro servers have a lower power consumption or are they about equal. The cost to run the Dell server 24/7 @125 Watts where I live would be about $130 per year which is kind of scary. I don't know if thats low for a server? It just seems kind of expensive, or maybe i'm just being cheap? More drive bays is always a plus also.


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6 minutes ago, Chickenfans said:

I have a Dell PowerConnect 5548 switch which is connected to all the devices around the house. The New Server would be connected to the 10GB SFP+ Port on the switch and the users are all connected to the gigabit ports. The SSD Cache would be meant more for when multiple users hit the server at once. I know we would be capped at about 125MB/s (in a perfect scenario) transfer speeds to a single user since they're all connected via gigabit ethernet, but since the server is 10 gig you could have 1.25GB/s of bandwith to play with which could support up to 10 users. I also know that conventional SSDs are capped at about 550MB/s transfer speeds so we would be under 1.25GB/s anyway.

Id probably stay away form unraid then, unraid is known for bad speed due to how its does it parity. Also the ssd cache in unraid is write only, won't help with reads at all

 

 

 

Something like btrfs would be faster(but has its issues)

 

Or go zfs on freenas with mirrors, not as much usable space, but much better speed

 

8 minutes ago, Chickenfans said:

'm not really familiar with linux so it would all mostly be a learning curve. Whichever you think would be better for a first time user i'll look into.

unraid is really good for a first time user, but assess if you need the extra performnace, if so go freenas.

8 minutes ago, Chickenfans said:

Do the SuperMicro servers have a lower power consumption or are they about equal. The cost to run the Dell server 24/7 @125 Watts where I live would be about $130 per year which is kind of scary. I don't know if thats low for a server? It just seems kind of expensive, or maybe i'm just being cheap? More drive bays is always a plus also.

Thats pretty efficent for a used server. Those aren't really ment to be low power.

 

Also those drives use a good amount of power on their own. Spin down can help, but each drive is about 5-10 w.

 

If you want low go with a desktop platform, like 1151 or am4

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Posted · Original PosterOP

Ok, i'll look into those different options. I thought FreeNAS was not compatible with drives of varying speed/size? 

3 minutes ago, Electronics Wizardy said:

Thats pretty efficent for a used server. Those aren't really ment to be low power.

 

Also those drives use a good amount of power on their own. Spin down can help, but each drive is about 5-10 w.

That's crazy. I guess I wasn't expecting the power consumption to be that high. Good to know though

2 minutes ago, Electronics Wizardy said:

If you want low go with a desktop platform, like 1151 or am4

I guess I can do a custom build in a rack-mount case. What specs would you recommend? 


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1 minute ago, Chickenfans said:

Ok, i'll look into those different options. I thought FreeNAS was not compatible with drives of varying speed/size? 

you can do a pool of mirrors, so each mirror will be the size of the smallest drive, But not optimal disk usage.

 

But unraid would probably meed the speed limits, just don't expect super fast speeds, expect the speed of one hdd

 

1 minute ago, Chickenfans said:

I guess I can do a custom build in a rack-mount case. What specs would you recommend? 

Do you have plex pass for gpu encoding?
 

If so, probalby a i5 9400 or i3 9100, 16gb of ram, compatabile bored.

 

See if you can get a cheap 24bay supermicro case, and the sas controller for it.

 

But from my quick ebay hunt there are no good cheap rackmount cases with hotswap

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Posted · Original PosterOP
3 minutes ago, Electronics Wizardy said:

you can do a pool of mirrors, so each mirror will be the size of the smallest drive, But not optimal disk usage.

 

But unraid would probably meed the speed limits, just don't expect super fast speeds, expect the speed of one hdd

I'll probably use UNRaid in that case then since I would pick drive capacity over speed. 

3 minutes ago, Electronics Wizardy said:

Do you have plex pass for gpu encoding?

I will buy one after I have the server all set up

4 minutes ago, Electronics Wizardy said:

If so, probalby a i5 9400 or i3 9100, 16gb of ram, compatabile bored.

 

See if you can get a cheap 24bay supermicro case, and the sas controller for it.

 

But from my quick ebay hunt there are no good cheap rackmount cases with hotswap

I will look around to see what I can find.

 

Upon looking around at those alternative OS' I think I would want to stay with Linux.

 

If I am understanding correctly though, I am using UNRaid to split up the hardware and CentOS for the NAS and then Ubuntu for Plex to run on?


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2 minutes ago, Chickenfans said:

If I am understanding correctly though, I am using UNRaid to split up the hardware and CentOS for the NAS and then Ubuntu for Plex to run on?

If your using unraid, just let unraid manage the nas shares, its good at that.

 

Then run plex on unraid directly, I think it uses docker or a plugin

 

 

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Posted · Original PosterOP
Just now, Electronics Wizardy said:

If your using unraid, just let unraid manage the nas shares, its good at that.

 

Then run plex on unraid directly, I think it uses docker or a plugin

 

 

Ok, thanks for all your assistance! It is greatly appreciated.


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Posted · Original PosterOP

@Electronics Wizardy

 

Plans just changed. I worked at a tech company over the summer and they just gave me 8 of the same drives so now I am free to use whatever software I want. I would like to use FreeNAS since its free, but I also want to be able to run PLEX on the same server. How can I share the server's hardware without using UNRaid?

 

It looks like I am getting a Dell PowerEdge r720 (the 12-bay one). I am using 3.5" drives so I can't use the 720XD anymore. I will have 4 drive bays left which I will populate with higher capacity drives for the PLEX Server since that will be what all our pictures and movies are on and not the NAS. 

 

Do you think an SSD cache is necessary, or is it better to have more RAM for something like a RAM disk?

 

For the PLEX software I will have the PLEX Pass so should I stick in a gpu too for hardware encoding?

 

Can I share 1 10-Gig NIC between the two virtual servers?


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2 minutes ago, Chickenfans said:

I would like to use FreeNAS since its free, but I also want to be able to run PLEX on the same server. How can I share the server's hardware without using UNRaid?

you can just isntll plex straight on freenas, no need to use any vms here

 

3 minutes ago, Chickenfans said:

For the PLEX software I will have the PLEX Pass so should I stick in a gpu too for hardware encoding?

How many streams at once? Those cpus can handle a lot of streams, so a gpu probably isn't needed

 

3 minutes ago, Chickenfans said:

Can I share 1 10-Gig NIC between the two virtual servers?

Why do you need virtual servers, this is probably best to run all on os

 

4 minutes ago, Chickenfans said:

Do you think an SSD cache is necessary, or is it better to have more RAM for something like a RAM disk?

 

SSD cache probably won't help for a media server here, sequentical speeds are pretty good on hdds, probaly 500mB/s or more on this config.

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Posted · Original PosterOP
1 hour ago, Electronics Wizardy said:

How many streams at once?

There would probably be a maximum of 6-8 users at once (If I let non-immediate family members watch our movies too).

 

I have a mac mini that I will connect an external 12TB HDD to make a copy of all the data on the NAS (In case of drive failure or accidental deletion). What sort of script or program would I need to run on the mini to automatically make a backup every time a new file is detected?


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1 hour ago, Chickenfans said:

There would probably be a maximum of 6-8 users at once (If I let non-immediate family members watch our movies too).

 

The cpus on that should handle it, but you can always add. gpu lter if needed.

 

1 hour ago, Chickenfans said:

have a mac mini that I will connect an external 12TB HDD to make a copy of all the data on the NAS (In case of drive failure or accidental deletion). What sort of script or program would I need to run on the mini to automatically make a backup every time a new file is detected?

Id probbly run rsync as a cron job, and have it setup to show changes from the previous versions

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Posted · Original PosterOP
4 minutes ago, Electronics Wizardy said:

Id probbly run rsync as a cron job, and have it setup to show changes from the previous versions

Ok, I have two Mac mini's that I could potentially use

 

-2012 - Quad Core i7 - 16GB RAM

-2014 - Dual Core i5 - 4GB RAM

 

I can use either, but I would think the 2014 would be more power efficient


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1 minute ago, Chickenfans said:

Ok, I have two Mac mini's that I could potentially use

 

-2012 - Quad Core i7 - 16GB RAM

-2014 - Dual Core i5 - 4GB RAM

 

I can use either, but I would think the 2014 would be more power efficient

Id probably go with the 2012 for the extra ram, as you can't upgrade it in the 2014, and power consumption is pretty low on both.

 

EDIT

Id probably go with zfs on these if you ca, then you can just use zfs send to send data between the macmini and the main server.

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Posted · Original PosterOP
3 minutes ago, Electronics Wizardy said:

Id probably go with the 2012 for the extra ram, as you can't upgrade it in the 2014, and power consumption is pretty low on both.

 

EDIT

Id probably go with zfs on these if you ca, then you can just use zfs send to send data between the macmini and the main server.

You can run ZFS on a mac mini?


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