Author Topic: Trying to figure out best storage solution...  (Read 2161 times)

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Offline misterneums13

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Trying to figure out best storage solution...
« on: September 14, 2014, 06:53:13 PM »
This post is going to touch on a bunch of different things, but the main problem is I cannot make a decision on what storage I am going to use with home lab.  To make things better, my home lab is not built yet either, so this is purely hypothetical at this point.

I have reviewed Don's builds and my initial plan was to do something very similar to his build.  I am currently enrolled in a VCP5-DVC class and I am planning on sitting the exam early next year.  As such, I wanted to build myself a SAN where I can be driving my Virtual Machines from.  My overall lab plan is to have two ESXi hosts and a SAN, which would be created from my current PC.

Here's my specs for my current PC:
CPU:  Intel 3750K I5
Mobo:  Asrock Extreme6
RAM:  32 GB DDR3 1866
Case:  Antec 1200
Drives:  240 Mushkin SSD for OS, 500 GB Samsung Evo for VM's, ~3.5 TB of misc sized spinning drives

As it stands, this would be pretty much idea for my SAN machine.  There are some things I would want to change.  I want to purchase some WD Reds for storage.  Probably 3-5 2 or 3 TB drives.  I would want these to be in a raid configuration, so that means a Raid Card as well.  I also need/would like a 4 port Gigabit Intel NIC.  My VM's would be ran from the Samsung Evo, and likely I would add another drive or two to get my capacity up over 1 TB in SSD storage.

In Don's builds, he's used Server 2012 + Starwind + Primocache to create a pretty solid storage solution.  I am thinking of doing this, but I also have been doing some research on ZFS using FreeNAS or OpenSolaris.  ZFS looks promising in terms of data backup security.  Best of all, I wouldn't need a raid card, as ZFS can provide the data security I am looking for.  In addition, I am not sold on the ability to add storage space to a RAID setup, while ZFS can handle this simply by adding the drive as part of the zpool.

My ESXi hosts have been pretty much narrowed down to either going with Don's route with an AMD build.  If I were to go this route, I would want to get all of those put into a 2U unit or a small form factor build.  Here's what I'm thinking:
CPU:  AMD FX 8350                           150.00
Mobo:  GIGABYTE GA-78LMT-USB3   58.00      
RAM:     Crucial Ballistix 32GB           290.00
Case:  NORCO 2U Case              59.00
Power:  SeaSonic 525 Gold              67.00
NIC:   4 port GB Intel NIC Low Profile    100.00

This comes out to around 724.00 per host.  RAM is killing me badly here.  Also, my motherboard choice is due to my case.  This Norco case is a short case; it is only about 15 inches deep, so it requires a mini-atx board.  As am I am not planning on adding drives, that is fine.  That being said, the 4 port GB NIC I found uses a 4x slot, but I believe I should be able to set that in the 16x without issue.

My alternative option is slightly more expensive, however I feel like it will give me some better performance:
Case/Power/Mobo:  Shuttle SH87R6    240.00
Processor:  E3-1230v3                       250.00
RAM:  32 GB Crucial                           280.00
NIC:  4 port GB Intel Full NIC              60.00

This gives me a grand total of around 830 dollars, however I feel like the hosts should last a long time before I need to think about upgrading my lab.

Now that I think about it, that information wasn't super necessary... but it gives you an idea where my head is at (all over the place).  Going back to my current system, should I use it as a SAN, I'm still torn between what method I should use for the SAN.  Don's or going with ZFS and building iSCSI targets there.  My goals are are twofold:  Be able to have great performance from the SAN for the VM's via SSD datastores while also having a grouping of storage drives that can be easily expanded.  My thought for the storage drives is to go with Raid 6, as with the current state of storage sizes, Raid 5 isn't safe.  My backup for my raid would be to transfer the data onto an external disk that would be only online during routine backups and then powered off.

So TL;DR:  Looking for opinions for what SAN system to setup for driving VM's and also mitigating failure risks for general storage.  Don's method with 2012 + Starwind + Primo or go with OpenSolaris/FreeNAS.

Offline msimpson

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Re: Trying to figure out best storage solution...
« Reply #1 on: September 23, 2014, 10:12:35 AM »
I am like you, still in the planning phase. I built my current system just like Don's build. Gigabyte 970a-ud3 mobo, AMD FX-8350, 16gb RAM I will expand to 32gb later. 1 128ish GB SSD, 2tb 7200 sata drive for data,6670 GPU, my case isn't rack mount, just a cooler master HAF case.

I plan to build a similar setup later, but with a slightly cheaper cpu to keep the cost down a little bit. I'll either turn my current setup that I use as my personal PC into a host, and build another so I will have two hosts to test some of the advanced features. I currently have WHS 2011 running on an old Dell Studio 540, quad 2.2ghz intel chip, 6gb of RAM, 2x1TB 7200 sata drives, using drive pool and duplicating select folders(pics, videos, music, etc). I could virtualize this, and use the Dell as my personal PC to manage the hosts from. I'll use this until I build another PC for myself as money permits.

As far as storage(Don is using 2008r2 IIRC on his SAN) he mentioned he hasn't played with storage spaces yet. I personally(since I don't super deep pockets to dump into a building systems like that lol), I'll run FreeNAS as a VM and passthrough some drives to setup iSCSI targets/NFS to test advanced features and as a location to store VM's.

All of this isn't 100% yet, still getting my feet wet with virtualization/storage. We use VMware/Equallogic SAN's at work, so I like the idea of using this stuff on a daily basis at home to run my 'home production network'. Good luck with your setup, let us know when you start your builds :P

Offline misterneums13

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Re: Trying to figure out best storage solution...
« Reply #2 on: October 13, 2014, 01:26:59 AM »
Well, I bit the bullet and made my initial purchase.  I still need to figure out what I am going to do with my ESXi hosts, however I now have a storage server to run things from.  Hard drives being on sale this week from newegg helped me make the decision.

SAN/NAS System:

Mobo/CPU/SOC:  ASRock 2750D4I - This is an 8 core Atom "Rangeley" family.  Comes with 6 SATA on an Intel Controller and 6 SATA on a Marvel Controller.  Runs at 25 watts and is passively cooled.  Also - this is a ITX board with 4 DIMM slots.  It can take 16GB UDIMMS, however it's not price effective.  Will be upgraded to 32 GB of ram eventually.  Comes with two Intel GbE nics, as well as an IPMI NIC for remote management.
RAM:  16 GB ECC Crucial DDR1600 RAM.  Needed to go ECC with the build I am planning.
CASE:  Silverstone DS380B - 8 hotswap bay NAS case.  Went with this for future upgrades.  A bit pricey, but I think it will be worth it.  It also can hold 4x 2.5 inch drives in addition to 8 3.5 drives.
PSU:  SilverStone 450W SFX PSU.  Needed specific size and this one is fully modular.
HDD:  4x 4TB WD Reds.  Newegg had them on sale for 150 each this weekend.  Best price in about 6 months.

My plan is to go with a Freenas build for this machine.  I have a demo system in Workstation VM's that I have been happy with.   I will be setting up my 4 drives in a RAIDZ2, or Raid6 build.  I've read enough to be wary of RaidZ or Raid 5.

As I am using Freenas and ZFS, that built a requirement for ECC ram.  I read enough horror stories on their forums to be concerned. 

In reviewing, I believe my disks + the built in RAM Cache with Freenas should cap my GbE speeds.  I will be using link aggregation, however I do not believe that will help my system a ton, as the SAN won't be taking a lot of connections simultaneously.

My question to the more experienced people here:  how are you finding running systems from a NAS/SAN based storage.  As far as I can tell, my best case scenario using GbE will be around 120 MB/s over the wire.  It makes setting up SSD based storage seem trivial, as the bottleneck is no longer the HDD speed but rather the network.  Any thoughts would be greatly appreciated.

Offline Patsathinee

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Re: Trying to figure out best storage solution...
« Reply #3 on: December 06, 2017, 03:54:36 AM »
I was wondering about this fit. It is very good that I read and understand what I doubt.