affordable NAS

Paul Kraus paul at
Sun Jul 27 03:14:41 UTC 2014

On Jul 26, 2014, at 14:40, Littlefield, Tyler <tyler at> wrote:

> I was looking at the NAS minis, and while they look amazing they're also way expensive. I was interested to see if someone has a good solution for a cheap small NAS system that I could either build or purchase that wouldn't cost nearly as much. I'm looking for freebsd-compatible hardware with at least a gigabit ethernet card.

I have been running 9.2 on an HP Proliant Micro Server N36L (the original not the Gen 8) ever since 9.2 came out with 8GB RAM. I am currently building it’s replacement, a Micro Proliant N54L with 16GB RAM and FreeBSD 10.

> I'll be dropping in the harddrives, I'm thinking raid 10 (though it doesn't have to be--I just wanted the striping for a larger disk space plus redundancy via mirror), with maybe 4 2 tb drives.

My current disk layout is:

2 drives for OS (mirrored with ZFS): originally 250GB, now 500GB as the Seagate 250GB drives died.
6 drives for Data, all 1 TB, configured as a 5 disk RAIDz2 and 1 hot spare.
3 of the Data drives are internal, 1 of the OS drives is internal
2 of the data drives, the data hot spare, the second OS drive are in an external StarTech 4 drive enclosure connected via a Marvell chipset eSATA card

The problem with the above is that the external enclose puts those 4 drive behind a port expander / multiplier and those are know causes of trouble. I have twice had a single drive in the enclosure fail and take all four drives offline with it.

My new server has:

In the Optical bay a 4 x 2.5” adapter
A 4 port Marvell based SATA card (2 internal, 2 external)
2 of the 2.5” bays are contacted to the internal ports on the Marvell card
2 120GB SSD in the 2.5” bays for:
	 4GB swap (gpt partitions handed to the OS)
	16GB OS (ZFS mirror)
	24GB for future ZFS L2ARC 
	24GB for future ZFS ZIL (mirrored)
The SSD is underutilized on purpose to (hopefully) improve life, they are Kingston V300 series because I got them on sale :-)

The layout of the data drives remains the same but I have an external chassis that is just a power supply and SATA cables. 4 of the data drives will go in the internal 3.5” bays, the other two in the external exclosure and attached to the 2 external eSATA ports. So one drive per SATA port.

I plan to add a second Marvell based 4 port SATA card, two for the other two 2.5” bays and two more eSATA ports for future expansion.

I have stayed with 1TB drives for data because I want to keep my resilver times relatively short to reduce my chance of a double failure at once. 

My old hardware is being repurposed as my backup server with 4 x 2TB drive internal. OS will be a 4 way mirror across them occupying 16GB (plus another 2GB per drive for swap) with try remainder of the drives in a RAIDz2. I’ll be using zfs snapshots and then zfs send /recv to synchronize the backup system. Since it is for backups, I am less concerned with resilver times when a failure occurs. Also note that since all the data on it will be from a zfs stream, resilver times *should* be much shorter than the production system where there are random writes join on all the time.

Paul Kraus
paul at

More information about the freebsd-questions mailing list