ZFS Machine

I finally got around to building a highly reliable storage system. Currently, that requires two disk drives and ZFS. And ZFS, in turn, requires something other than Linux. I ended up with FreeNAS. With mirror (RAID 1), ZFS will “self heal” the other mirror on bad reads. With a normal RAID 1, when you lose a drive, the act of rebuilding the array could reveal a read error on the surviving disk. If that happens – blam – you’ve lost the entire RAID. Here is a pretty good article on the analysis as per RAID 5.

The new FreeNAS image requires 2GB of space for the OS image. It turns out that most of the 2GB SD Cards I have are about 40KB short of 2,000,000,000 bytes required. So I ended up putting the image on an 8GB card. Later, I found out that my 4GB HP USB Flash Drive works as well.

A word of caution about the USB drives and SD Cards – it has been hit-and-miss on whether the system will boot. Make sure you have lots of options available.

As usual, prices include taxes and shipping, and reflect discounts. All product links are from the actual vendor.

2018/Feb – The update to FreeNas 11 was kind of painful, and it was mostly my fault. One of the volumes had gotten to 95% full, and the FreeNas 11 import was using 120GB+ more space, which would not fit, so the import failed. Once it had enough free space, the “Save config from 8.3 then Upload config into 11.1” process worked fine. Also, before saving the 8.3 config, the minidlna plugin got removed (it is no longer supported in 11.1).

2018/Mar – Switched the case to the Rosewill RSV-L4500.

Item Product Cost
CPU Intel Core i3-2100k Sandy Bridge 3.1GHz LGA 1155 65W $120
RAM Corsair Vengeance 8GB (2x4GB) DDR3 1600 PC3-12800 CMZ8GX3M2A1600C9B $45
Motherboard ASUS P8Z68-V Pro/GEN3 LGA 1155 Z68 HDMI $160
Power Supply Corsair Builder 430W 80 Plus Bronze $45
Video Motherboard, Intel HD 2000
Case NZXT GAMMA Classic ATX Mid Tower $31
SS Drive
HD Drives 2x 2TB Western Digital Black WD2002FAEX $299
USB Boot 4GB HP USB Flash Drive $8
OS FreeNas 8.3.0 $0
Total $708
  Updated 2018/Feb
OS FreeNas 11.1-U1 $0
USB Boot 32GB SanDisk Ultra Fit USB 3.0 Flash Drive $11
  Updated 2018/Mar
Case Rosewill RSV-L4500 – 4U Server case, 15 bays $116
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