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Hardware requirements for FreeNAS and MB Server


Luke
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ElNevera

Hi All

 

Apologies if this is the wrong place to ask this but I was wondering what the recommended hardware requirements are for FreeNAS and Media Server? It will need to transcode blue ray rips to at the most two devices. I would also like it to be as power efficient as possible.

 

I currently use MB server on my main (dev) pc and have been wanting to move it off and have also been wanting to build my own NAS to store my ever increasing volume of media items.

 

FreeNAS + MB Server seems like it could be the answer for me.

 

Thanks in advance

 

Simon

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ElNevera

Thanks for the replies.

 

I have a couple of m-atx boards and 1 oldish x64 athlon dual core cpu. A few sticks of memory. Plus some other bits and pieces.

 

I need to build this cheap but I've realised FreeNas might not be the answer.

 

I need to serve up live TV for my Xbox one amongst other devices.

 

Am I going down the wrong route?

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Vidman

I've been looking at heading down the same path... But freenas not supporting any live TV server that I am aware of is putting me off

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ElNevera

It's a tough one, I am really keen to have a power efficient headless box with media browser server and NAS, I guess an option maybe ArchLinux however I am a .net developer of 2 years now and still the thought of playing with linux is daunting...

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woodsb02

I've been looking at heading down the same path... But freenas not supporting any live TV server that I am aware of is putting me off

What live TV server software would you normally use? I will check if it is/can be ported to FreeBSD.
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Vidman

Well I'm running nextpvr on windows ATM but I was going to give tvheadend (even tho media browser doesn't support any linux live TV servers atm either) a try on a raspberry pi running openelec as a workaround before trying freenas.

Edited by Vidman
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whitestrat13

One idea is to run esxi or hyper-v server on the physical hardware. You can then run freenas in a VM and then use a Windows VM for MBS and a tv server. Transcoding is cpu intensive, but MBS uses little memory. ZFS is memory intensive, but cpu light. These two VM's can coexist on the same hardware easily. I'm planning a build like this for sometime in 2015.

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whitestrat13

@@Vidman

I 100% agree. I would much prefer seperate hardware. But it doesn't mean it won't work. I also prefer to pass each disk through instead of the whole controller. The biggest thing is to give appropriate amount of resources to freenas. ZFS loves memory, roughly 1GB memory/TB disk. I am planning 24gb for freenas, and 8gb for Windows. There are a few guys here running freenas in vm's successfully. I think it is discussed in the freenas sticky.

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Ballistic

@@Vidman

I 100% agree. I would much prefer seperate hardware. But it doesn't mean it won't work. I also prefer to pass each disk through instead of the whole controller. The biggest thing is to give appropriate amount of resources to freenas. ZFS loves memory, roughly 1GB memory/TB disk. I am planning 24gb for freenas, and 8gb for Windows. There are a few guys here running freenas in vm's successfully. I think it is discussed in the freenas sticky.

 

1GB per TB of storage is overkill. Yes, ZFS loves memory, the more the better. But there is no problem with running a 60TB pool on a machine with just 8 or even 4GB RAM.

ARC size can be limited with a simple configuration setting. If you want more performance but don't have more memory? Add an SSD disk (Intel S3500/3700 or Crucial M500/MX100 preferred) as a L2ARC.

 

Deduplication does require alot more memory, but even this totally depends on the amount of data that is de-dupe'able. 

Edited by Ballistic
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whitestrat13

I gave the best practice values.  I have been burned a few times as an IT admin when I didn't follow best practices.  I like to be conservative.  Typically ZFS will WORK on less memory but it can be very sluggish, especially with RAIDZ2 or RAIDZ3 volumes.  If you are only using large files, the memory requirements are greatly reduced.  My personal goals for my machine is to saturate a 1Gb link on read and write, as I use the box for backup, personal file storage, and media.

 

I'd suggest the OP should read FreeNAS' guide to determine hardware requirements for the array he wants to implement.  The FreeNAS forums have many testimonies of really terrible performance with less than the recommended memory.  I will warn that just "adding an SSD" for L2ARC requires an additional look-up table in memory.  This is roughly 1-5% of the size of the SSD.

 

http://web.freenas.org/images/resources/freenas9.2.1/freenas9.2.1_guide.pdf

 

OP, your main performance hog will be FreeNAS itself.  MB won't use very many resources itself if you are using the plugin.  Heavy transcoding will eat CPU though.  I'd recommend following the FreeNAS hardware guides, and adding about 2GB of memory for use by MB.  If you want a windows VM for TV and MB on the same hardware, add about 8GB of memory above the FreeNAS requirements. 

 

Your millage may vary, but in my experience, the best practices result in a machine that will perform reasonably well for standard mixed file storage.  This includes small and large files, and a standard 80/20 read/write ratio.  If only storing 30GB BR rips, this sizing is probably overkill.

 

Obviously, I'd head over to the FreeNAS forums to discuss/validate hardware before buying any hardware.

 

 

This is a good starting point for general hardware recommendations:

https://forums.freenas.org/index.php?threads/hardware-recommendations-read-this-first.23069/

Edited by whitestrat13
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