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MonoLoGu

FreeNAS vs UnRaid Vs Storage Service (Windows Server)

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Posted · Original PosterOP

So the main idea is that I want to build a server/NAS for home usage. I plan on buying the HDD's but I have to think firstly which OS to choose because if I choose FreeNAS I can go with 4x 2 TB HDD and I have 1 drive failure plus I can add a ssd for cache. For UnRaid I'd still have to buy the 4 HDD's but I have to get another 4 TB drive for parity and ssd for cache. On the last I have the option to use Storage Service on my existing Server but I don't know if I can create a RAID 5 with ssd cache. From what I have heard, ZFS is better than RAID in terms of redundancy. So what do you recommend?

 

P.S The current server is also used as a Plex Media Server, FTP server, DNS server and Hyper-V host. I also had a webserver running and I might re-enable it.

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I can only speak on Unraid. I went with that for its simplicity, not performance. You can have a bunch of data drives, and I think up to 2 parity drives, and recover from as many drive failures as you have parity drives. Even if you end up with unrecoverable raid for whatever reason, the data on the surviving drives remains intact. Personally I went with 4 data + 2 parity although it is probably overkill. I'm leaving the option open to add more data later on if needed.

 

Write performance without cache is rather bad. For my uses, it is for bulk backup so speed is not a priority for me. I don't have experience of using a cache, but if you want redundancy on the cache also, you need more than one cache drive to run in effectively a mirror. Otherwise there will be a window of up to a day (using defaults) where data isn't redundant. Read performance is what you'd expect for a single storage drive.

 

It supports Docker so you can expand it to more things that way, but I don't use that myself.


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11 hours ago, MonoLoGu said:

P.S The current server is also used as a Plex Media Server, FTP server, DNS server and Hyper-V host. I also had a webserver running and I might re-enable it.

Well, the only thing that does all this is Windows server. If your just after virtualization use what your most comfortable with.

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Both have advantages, and disadvantages. I can mostly speak on the FreeNAS side of this but i know a little about unraid. I will applogize for being all over the place with this post as i am running on only a couple hours of sleep. 

 

FreeNAS - ZFS is a memory hog if you want to run deduplication and compression. If you are looking for a smaller server i would not recommend running dedup. Where freeNAS takes off is performance of the ZFS file system, and its ability to do plugins (jails) and the added services that may not be available in unraid. One major feature unraid does not have is being used as a ISCSI target. Its really a solid platform for long term data storage. I have had my NAS going four years without issues. Without large cache drives and running Raid Z1 with 4 drives (1 drive as parity) i have streamed four or five users all watching HD movies without issues. 

 

UnRaid - Has the ability to mix different size drives, expand but adding additional drives at any time, but keep in mind licensing is required for additional drives. Its ability to have OS installs and mount hardware to the guest OS is pretty awesome but not really usable unless you have really high end hardware. I assume you could do the same with the VM on FreeNAS but have not tired. 

 

 

Both FreeNAS and UnRaid can do FTP but if i remember correctly UnRaid was a little more to setup where FreeNAS is out of the box enable and go. 

 

If you are looking for a good all around server consider ESXI running multiple guest. With dual NICs you can setup pfSense as a firewall, dns, dhcp server. Make sure your WAN port is mapped properly to only the WAN port on the pfSense. Run a linux server where you can install docker for varies servers such as a web server unless you are hosting .net related apps. 

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Posted · Original PosterOP
On 8/22/2018 at 1:19 AM, thford89 said:

Both have advantages, and disadvantages. I can mostly speak on the FreeNAS side of this but i know a little about unraid. I will applogize for being all over the place with this post as i am running on only a couple hours of sleep. 

 

FreeNAS - ZFS is a memory hog if you want to run deduplication and compression. If you are looking for a smaller server i would not recommend running dedup. Where freeNAS takes off is performance of the ZFS file system, and its ability to do plugins (jails) and the added services that may not be available in unraid. One major feature unraid does not have is being used as a ISCSI target. Its really a solid platform for long term data storage. I have had my NAS going four years without issues. Without large cache drives and running Raid Z1 with 4 drives (1 drive as parity) i have streamed four or five users all watching HD movies without issues. 

 

UnRaid - Has the ability to mix different size drives, expand but adding additional drives at any time, but keep in mind licensing is required for additional drives. Its ability to have OS installs and mount hardware to the guest OS is pretty awesome but not really usable unless you have really high end hardware. I assume you could do the same with the VM on FreeNAS but have not tired. 

 

 

Both FreeNAS and UnRaid can do FTP but if i remember correctly UnRaid was a little more to setup where FreeNAS is out of the box enable and go. 

 

If you are looking for a good all around server consider ESXI running multiple guest. With dual NICs you can setup pfSense as a firewall, dns, dhcp server. Make sure your WAN port is mapped properly to only the WAN port on the pfSense. Run a linux server where you can install docker for varies servers such as a web server unless you are hosting .net related apps. 

Sorry for the late response, well I looked into FreeNAS a bit more, looks like from the stand point of my storage needs it will be what I need but it wants at least 8 (recommended 16) GB of ram and well my current machine has just 8GB. Raidz1 looks interesting.

 

UnRaid looks good because of it's ability to run a pool with random disks but it reduces performance. Currently I'm running 3 1 TB drives in raid 0, performance is good but no redundancy. I just have movies on it but I would like to make backups as well.

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I'm no expert, and have just recently(about 2 months) started using a NAS, and I picked unRAID, mostly because trial is free(I still have to purchase the key, first 30 days lasted about 35, then I added a SSD and requested extention, now I been expired on that for about a week, until it stops I don't have to buy the key or try to request extension). So if plan on keeping a UPC in hand, and not planning on ever change things after you are completely set up, you don't really need to buy the key, or so it seems as I'm using now. I'm not completely sure about all your uses listed, as I'm still learning about it.

As of now I have an i3-3240, 4gb of RAM, 2x6tb and 2x1tb HDDs, and a 120gb SSD(I just got 2 240gb SSDs but not really rushing to implement). my motherboard only has 6 sata ports, and I'm not really in a rush to increase storage to buy a PCIE card. But I run the SSD as cache and one of the 6tb as parity, the rest is storage. my cache transfer data every hour, and I do parity checks 2 times per week, and to clear 6tb takes from 11 to 12 hours, average about 140mb/s, but that depends a lot on your drives and if you are reading or writing while parity is going on.

My main use is Plex, torrent and keeping files, I have almost perfect experience moving files there and back with Windows, Ubuntu, Mac OS, my android phone(using certain file manager, some are hit or miss). the main problem is using it with Chrome OS(chromebook) as I can use the browser to access and download, but upload I need to use apps that aren't optimized for Chrome OS.

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On 8/21/2018 at 2:19 PM, thford89 said:

FreeNAS - ZFS is a memory hog if you want to run deduplication and compression. If you are looking for a smaller server i would not recommend running dedup.

Nobody uses dedup with ZFS. If someone told you this was a good idea they have no idea what they are talking about. Once it's set you can never turn it off. The ZFS team is changing the implementation for how it works but right now it's.. a feature on paper more so than something you would actually want to use for general storage. Currently It's based on blocks not on files and those matching blocks are loaded from a static hash table that has to fit in ram. The new implementation will be based on a log that can be trimmed up periodically and does not necessarily need to be stored in ram.

 

Compression has no effect on ram and provides a performance boost due to the way it's done. (with LZ4 that is, not sure about the slower GZIP or ZSTD compression)

 

FreeNAS is the closest thing to enterprise grade storage you can afford for your home period. Sure you can use other stuff if you really want to.. it's your data after all.


"Only proprietary software vendors want proprietary software." - Michael Dexter

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I use Transparent Raid from FlexRAID. 

 

From what I can gather, it works in much the same way that unraid does in terms of storage. But it runs on windows, as well as other platforms. 

 

I have 40TB usable space with 2x6tb parity drives. Although I'm considering removing one of these as I need the storage space. 

You can pool random disks from different vendors and different sizes. You can delete and recreate the array with no data loss. You can add a write cache using SSDs if you want. It's worked well for me for a couple of years now. Having said that in that time I haven't lost a disk so I'm not sure what the rebuild process is like. But because everything is stored on normal ntfs drives you can pull the drives out and read them on another computer. 

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On 9/4/2018 at 3:02 AM, jde3 said:

Nobody uses dedup with ZFS. If someone told you this was a good idea they have no idea what they are talking about.

No, Im pretty sure if anyone has any amount of VMs on the storage they'd love dedup. Or if it's a backup server, dedup is amazing for that.

 

Don't just rule something out because you can't think of a benefit for it.

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43 minutes ago, Blake said:

No, Im pretty sure if anyone has any amount of VMs on the storage they'd love dedup. Or if it's a backup server, dedup is amazing for that.

 

Don't just rule something out because you can't think of a benefit for it.

Find me someone using it commercially. (Not Datto because their implementation is different, it's based on writable clones.)


"Only proprietary software vendors want proprietary software." - Michael Dexter

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I went with unRAID I currently have 2 parity 4 data and 2 ssd's as a cache I only have 2 parity as I have plenty of space right now if I fill up I can always pull down 1 of the parity drives for added storage and while waiting for that time to come the dual parity is just a bonus, running the ssd's as a cache increases the performance and on off peak hours it dumps to the array and I also put in a 10GBe NIC for peer to peer access so I have no performance issues at all between my daily driver and my NAS it was cheap too so no pain there


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On 9/7/2018 at 3:44 PM, jde3 said:

Find me someone using it commercially. (Not Datto because their implementation is different, it's based on writable clones.)

For ZFS or at all? Netapp would be the prime not ZFS example, though Sun/Orcale and Netapp still like to fight over who is coping who but suffice to say it works perfectly fine on Netapp with no performance loss or memory ballooning.

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On 9/6/2018 at 11:00 PM, Blake said:

No, Im pretty sure if anyone has any amount of VMs on the storage they'd love dedup. Or if it's a backup server, dedup is amazing for that.

 

Don't just rule something out because you can't think of a benefit for it.

His point was that no one uses Dedupe on ZFS, because it's basically broken or doesn't work well to begin with. Using dedupe in general is totally fine.

6 hours ago, leadeater said:

For ZFS or at all? Netapp would be the prime not ZFS example, though Sun/Orcale and Netapp still like to fight over who is coping who but suffice to say it works perfectly fine on Netapp with no performance loss or memory ballooning.

Yep - we also use Dedupe on our Dell Equallogic SAN - though I honestly have no idea what system it uses.

 

Dedupe is massively useful in a corporate setting or on a backup server that is backing up many identical files. But typically they don't use ZFS in these scenarios.


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Yeah, ZFS has a... we'll call it an inefficient implementation.. They know about it, they are fixing it. Btw any Unix filesystem can do something similar with hard links mind you. A hard link is essentially a deduped file. There are a couple of programs to help you do that fdupes. The thing you have to keep in mind with hard links is both copy's are the real file on disk. So you have to be aware of them once you do this.. but for static archives that never change it is ok.

 


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