A sanity check of a proposed NAS Build


Carl_Bar

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Copying this to here from another forum a the advice of those there:

 

Getting back to looking at a home NAS build and want a sanity check on the things i'm thinking of and a bit of advise on a couple of components. After doing more research since my last thread i'm strongly inclined to go with Unraid rather than free NAS as originally suggested. Will have a few questions below.

 

 

OS: Unraid, (provisionally)

 

Case: https://www.overclockers.co.uk/streacom-f12c-aluminium-htpc-chassis-silver-ca-054-sr.html Picked for a combination of it's relatively small size, comparability with ATX components and upto 12 HDD capacity. Isn't hot swapabble bays but that isn't a horrible compromise for everything else.

 

CPU: 3400G the built in GPU means i don't have to worry about that during initial setup and the like and i'd assume even 3000 series quad core is more than powerful enough from what i've read.

 

Motherboard: Asrock X570M Pro4. 8 sata ports and dual M.2. Seems to be the only small form factor board i could find that offers this many SATA ports, still not enough to support the full 12 drive capacity of the case, but is small enough i shouldn't have any issues using all the mounting points in the case that the board can support and can have onboard SSD cache drive.

 

Memory: Could use some advice here. A bit of research suggests 16GB should be fine for storage use but i normally go with high performance memory from gskil, which obviously isn't needed here. Not sure what cheap brands are considered reliable.

 

PSU: Other forum has said 500w should be good even if i max out the drives count later.

 

Drives: Looking at Ironwolf Pro NAS 8TB for the data, (note the choice of pro NAS drives is more about limitations on high capacity drives at OCUK, cost per TB as a result of that, and nearly everything over 6TB is either a NAS drive or a possibly SMR drive, which UNRAID doesn't like), would like to go for a pair of bigger models for Parity but cost is an issue. Looking at 2 Samsung 250GB 970 EVO's for the Cache drives.

 

 

Any comments, this is my first attempt at putting a component list together so i expect a fair amount of "no you should do this instead".

 

One Unraid question, how much trouble do typical programs, (probably only my Steam Game library would be moved as it's the biggest single thing, (about half of all data usage though), on the system once including modding stuff mixed in with it), create when installed to an Unraid share? I seem to be finding conflicting info, probably because it varies across programs so much.

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You cna see it with a MATX board installed here.

 

 

7:17 ish if the timestamp part of the link breaks.

 

Haven't had much luck digging anything up on how it's configured in full 12 drive config but i assume 3 at each of the 3 non-PSU side ports and another theee rm the centre rails, (Not shown in that section of the video). Will definitely handle at least 9 with an MATX board which is 1 more than the board supports. If you do have any alternate board suggestions though feel free, it is a touch expensive honestly but getting small and lots of SATA ports seems to be tough.

Edited by Carl_Bar
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3 hours ago, Carl_Bar said:

3 at each of the 3 non-PSU side ports and another theee rm the centre rails

Seems to be something like that, but if you put in 12 disks then cooling and wiring will be issue, almost no room left, I don't recommend.

 

For AMD new gen MATX board with 8 SATA, you haven't much choice .... and I seldom build NAS in this direction, the need and config also different, so no much feedback.

Edited by Vr2Io
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15 hours ago, Vr2Io said:

Seems to be something like that, but if you put in 12 disks then cooling and wiring will be issue, almost no room left, I don't recommend.

 

For AMD new gen MATX board with 8 SATA, you haven't much choice .... and I seldom build NAS in this direction, the need and config also different, so no much feedback.

 

 

To be fair i grabbed AMD on reflex, but at such low performance levels i doubt intel is really any noisier or more power hungry, really any build that will support 8+ HDD's and a pair of cache SSD's at a reasonable price point and similarly sized externally will do. Unfortunately the various prebuilt and hotswap capable cases all seem to max out around 6 drives total, (or the cache drives would have to take up the 7th and 8th slots), at least that i could find.

 

Part of the point of posting this was just to get feedback on weather this is even a sensible way of getting a home NAS built. So don't be afraid to suggest somthing completely different if you think it would suit my needs more.

Edited by Carl_Bar
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I'd agree that that case looks like it would be hard work with a signicant number of drives in it.

 

I'm using a couple of Antex P101s cases for my main and test systems. 8x 3.5 + 2x 2.5 though the main reason was for the 8x rear expansion slots. I wanted 8 slots so I can use a GPU in my lower ATX without it choking on the PSU shroud. Not an issue for most people though.

 

Fractal Define 5 has 8x 3.5 + 2x 2.5 and a dual 5.25 bay that could be converted to 3x3.5.

 

Fractal Define 6 only comes with trays for ~6 drives but you could install 11x 3.5 (I think) + 2 x 2.5". I have this for my main PC, however it's full of water cooling so the 11 drives was my best guess from how the holes line up. 

 

All the cases are relatively compact and the drives sit in front of a fan wall so get actively cooled. 

Not hot swap either, buy you can easily get to the rear of the tray to connect / disconnect without needing to drag out a bunch of other wiring. 

 

PCpartpicker is a good place to look for cases with a good number of drives.

 

 Unless you have a specific reason for AMD, I'd usually recommend Intel for general storage /home media as the intergrated GPU is really very good for transcoding media in real time to any device you connect.  The B365 boards and CPU's are fine, quad core or better. Same for the new socket LG1200 boards through even some of the Z490's are reasonable priced and have mutiple PCI-E  x16 (physical) slots you can expand into.

 

Memory - branded and on offer, take a look at the native speed suppoted by the CPU / board and don't over pay for speed you wont use.

 

PSU is tricky. The power 'string' for SATA molex is only really suitable for 4 drives, you may get away with 5 or 6 but drives have a relatively high load. Lower wattage PSU's may only have 2 pheriperal (sata/molex) strings / plugs.  I need to replace the PSU in my test rig and I'm looking at the TX550/TX650 (3 plugs/strings) and the TX750/850 (4 plugs/strings). Of those the TX550 has less sata plugs on the cables so I'd need adapters etc.

 

 

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Hmmm, i did a bit of looking on pcpartpicker, (thank you for the suggestion, forgot it had those kinds of filters on cases :)), and a bit of measuring and the Fractal 5 will fit nicely in the spot i have earmarked. I assume it's relatively stable as it's going to be stuck on top of a set of drawers, (no other place it can go alas, tiny room :(). That was why i'd gravitated to a relatively short case initially. 

 

Good catch on the PSU SATA power connectors. I'd never have thought of that.

 

Not sure how useful the transcoding on Intel would be, (i don;t really understand how that works and was just planning to use it as a single share network drive mapped as a local),  but i can use pcpartpicker after i finish typing to explore options and it may well be cheaper, that AMD MB is painfully expensive TBH.

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7 hours ago, Carl_Bar said:

Not sure how useful the transcoding on Intel would be, (i don;t really understand how that works and was just planning to use it as a single share network drive mapped as a local),  but i can use pcpartpicker after i finish typing to explore options and it may well be cheaper, that AMD MB is painfully expensive TBH.

 

Transcoding on the IGPU is only really an issue if you want to stream media via a paid version of Plex, Emby or similar. 

I use Plex as it gives a family friendly interface and works on a significant range of devices. I got the lifetime membership many years ago.

With the transcoding, the media can be viewed from any PC, tablet, phone or Smart stick (Roku) etc in the house or externally wherever I can get a reasonable wifi connection. 

 

If you just plan to use as a NAS then it's not an issue, go with which ever solution you prefer.

Any PCI-E x1 slots can be populated with a cheap ASmedia 1062 dual sata card which work reliably and is an easy way to add a couple of extra ports though avoid any with port multipliers (more than 2 ports). The Define 5 has space for a full ATX board which may give you more connectivity options for later expansion, or let you take a board with 6 sata and add sata ports cheaply. 

 

 

 

 

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Cheers again for the help. Whilst putting together an updated list of parts, (Thank you partpicker btw), a thought occurred to me. The system i want to move the data off currently has 5 drives in it, 2 will be staying, (my SSD and the first 10TB drive for OS and anything that doesn't play well with the NAS), and 2 will be decommissioned, (two 6TB's that are around 5 years old), but that will leave me with a 2 year old 10TB spare. I could throw that in the NAS and save on buying one drive right now, but i'd have to move it in after building the NAS and transferring the data off it to the NAS, how much of a pain is that going to be?

 

Also any recommendations on a good Flashdrive to use for putting UNRAID on? From what i saw in the tutorials i looked up it needs some specific features, (and ideally wants to be short), and i don't trust any of my fairly old flash drives to BTW upto snuff so getting a brand new guaranteed working USB Flash drive to put it on would be the idela i think. But would still appreciate a heads up on known good examples.

Edited by Carl_Bar
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28 minutes ago, Carl_Bar said:

(and ideally wants to be short)

Better longer / larger with metal to dissipate heat. Ideally the USB should be inside the case, IDC 10 pin to USB female are cheap, and you can fasten them securely inside so the drive doesn't get lost / damaged.

 

My favorite is the Kingston DTSE9 form factor in USB 2.0 for reliability and compatibility.

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7 hours ago, jonathanm said:

Better longer / larger with metal to dissipate heat. Ideally the USB should be inside the case, IDC 10 pin to USB female are cheap, and you can fasten them securely inside so the drive doesn't get lost / damaged.

 

My favorite is the Kingston DTSE9 form factor in USB 2.0 for reliability and compatibility.

 

Ahh cheers, I actually got that about a small one from the following video:

 

 

I did look up other guides e.t.c. but this seemed to be the most clear one i found, anything else in there that's wrong/not advisable i should be aware of?

 

Also any links to the MB converters you mentioned, my google/amazon Fu is proving weak on this, getting a lot of different stuff thats not clearly marked. Found the flash drive in like 30 seconds so cheers for that.

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5 minutes ago, Carl_Bar said:

Also any links to the MB converters you mentioned

https://www.amazon.com/Duttek-2-Pack-Female-Dupont-Motherboard/dp/B06Y5C7DKH

or similar.

Any idea what that youtuber's forum name is? I haven't watched anything of his, @SpaceInvaderOne is who I would recommend for youtube tutorials.

https://www.youtube.com/spaceinvaderone

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Just now, jonathanm said:

https://www.amazon.com/Duttek-2-Pack-Female-Dupont-Motherboard/dp/B06Y5C7DKH

or similar.

Any idea what that youtuber's forum name is? I haven't watched anything of his, @SpaceInvaderOne is who I would recommend for youtube tutorials.

https://www.youtube.com/spaceinvaderone

No idea on his forum name or if he even has one found that video via random google search. But cheers for the link, i don't think i found his videos, (thank you google algorithm for that snafu).

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One other thing, anyone got a software they'd recommend for handling the transfer of data from my existing system drives to the NAS once it's built. Windows copy paste is cool but there's no way to check nothing got corrupted in the move and it's not exactly ideal for very large amounts of data.

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One other thing, anyone got a software they'd recommend for handling the transfer of data from my existing system drives to the NAS once it's built. Windows copy paste is cool but there's no way to check nothing got corrupted in the move and it's not exactly ideal for very large amounts of data.

If you want to run the copy from your win box over the network, TeraCopy will let you verify file integrity and has other good features for large copy jobs: https://www.codesector.com/teracopy

You could also mount the drive in unraid using the unassigned devices plugin and use something like rsync from the unraid terminal. This would likely be faster (no network bottleneck) but is more advanced so the scope for process errors goes up.

And while we’re on the subject of large data migrations. Some people like to transfer the initial data without a parity drive assigned. This way the writes are much quicker. Then once the data has been copied, assign a parity drive and let it build parity for protection against disk failures. Just something for you to consider.


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Thanks, and sorry for 20 questions. This is somthing i really want to get right the first time, especially given the relative expense.

 

As for copying without a parity drive thanks for that. if i reuse the 10TB, (any comments on the ease and/or wisdom of doing what i suggested a few posts back), i'll do the parity setup after copying the contents of one of the 10TB's over but before wiping and putting it in the NAS.

Edited by Carl_Bar
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So you have a spare 10TB drive you want to re-use for unraid, right?
Is it empty or does it have data on it?
Is that the only existing drive you will be re-using?
And how many other new drives (and what size) are you planning to buy?


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7 minutes ago, Carl_Bar said:

copying without a parity drive

Even more important, don't try to cache initial data load. Cache won't have the capacity and will just get in the way.

 

But, you want to make sure to install cache before enabling dockers / VMs so those will get setup properly on cache where they belong.

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Ok, had a look at earlier posts and I take it you will buy new 8TB drives. Assuming the 10TB spare has data on it, this is what I would do:

  1. Assign the 8TB drives to the array and let unraid clear and format them. Do not assign a parity drive yet. And either don't assign a cache rive at all, or make sure you user share(s) are set up without cache as Trurl mentions above.
  2. Mount the share on your Windows box
  3. Use TeraCopy to copy all data to share(s). At this point you have two copies of your data, one on original drives, one on unraid share
  4. Add spare 10TB drive to unraid and assign it as parity drive. Unraid will start building the parity. This will take quite some time, 1-2 days most likely. During this process any data that was previously on the spare 10TB drive will be wiped and only exist on unraid, but it will be unprotected as the parity has not been built yet. You need to decide if you are willing to live with this risk.
  5. Once parity is built, you can delete any duplicate data from the non-spare 10TB drive that is still in your Win box.
  6. Add or enable cache for the share etc.
  7. Optinally add another parity drive if that was your plan.

If you are not comfortable with the risk in step 4, you're only option is to add another (new) disk as parity at the start of the process to ensure the data is protected at all times. But it will slow down the data transfer.

 

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50 minutes ago, Jorgen said:

So you have a spare 10TB drive you want to re-use for unraid, right?
Is it empty or does it have data on it?
Is that the only existing drive you will be re-using?
And how many other new drives (and what size) are you planning to buy?


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Yes. Said 10Tb drive is actually full of stuf i want to put onto the NAS> hence the idea being setup the NAS without it first, copy the data from it to the new buy data drive/s in the NAS. Then wipe it and move it to the NAS where it will augment the capacity so that i can copy over everything else from my other drives. 

 

Total current in use space on my main system including things like windows that won't be getting moved and some duplicate files on different drives is 22TB).

 

Current plan is 2x 16TB ironwolf drives for parity and either 1 or 2 more for data, (i'm aware 2 parity drives for 2 data drives is seriously overkill, but knowing my data hoarding habits i expect to expand and well some of it is fairly personally important stuff, plus well i tend to overkill things just to be safe in general). Reusing the 10TB as i described above would let me skip buying another 16TB right now.

 

I have an additional 10TB drive i plan to leave in the system for anything i want to keep a locla copy of on the main system.

 

Both 10TB are around 2 years old.

 

In addition to the two 10TB i also have two 6TB, those i want to take out of use, they're around 5 years old at this point so i'm a little concerned about them.

 

 I also have a 1TB SSD which was, (and when i get round to doing a reinstall, will be again), my OS disk.

 

47 minutes ago, trurl said:

Even more important, don't try to cache initial data load. Cache won't have the capacity and will just get in the way.

 

But, you want to make sure to install cache before enabling dockers / VMs so those will get setup properly on cache where they belong.

 

Cheers for another tip, not planning on running VM's, and err no idea what a docker is. It's just going to eb networked storage.

 

14 minutes ago, Jorgen said:

Ok, had a look at earlier posts and I take it you will buy new 8TB drives. Assuming the 10TB spare has data on it, this is what I would do:

  1. Assign the 8TB drives to the array and let unraid clear and format them. Do not assign a parity drive yet. And either don't assign a cache rive at all, or make sure you user share(s) are set up without cache as Trurl mentions above.
  2. Mount the share on your Windows box
  3. Use TeraCopy to copy all data to share(s). At this point you have two copies of your data, one on original drives, one on unraid share
  4. Add spare 10TB drive to unraid and assign it as parity drive. Unraid will start building the parity. This will take quite some time, 1-2 days most likely. During this process any data that was previously on the spare 10TB drive will be wiped and only exist on unraid, but it will be unprotected as the parity has not been built yet. You need to decide if you are willing to live with this risk.
  5. Once parity is built, you can delete any duplicate data from the non-spare 10TB drive that is still in your Win box.
  6. Add or enable cache for the share etc.
  7. Optinally add another parity drive if that was your plan.

If you are not comfortable with the risk in step 4, you're only option is to add another (new) disk as parity at the start of the process to ensure the data is protected at all times. But it will slow down the data transfer.

 

 

Thanks to pcpartpicker i found a better deal on 16TB drive models so the plan is to add the 10Tb as a second data drive after emptying it onto one of the new 16TB drives setup as a data drive.

 

New parts list, after mathing around the Ryzen CPU choice still worked out the cheapest btw:

 

https://uk.pcpartpicker.com/list/CbHmrr

Edited by Carl_Bar
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You would be better off data safety wise using the second 16TB parity as offline backup for critical files. Parity can only recreate a drive complete with all corruption and deletions exactly as is, it can't fix file system corruption or bring back deleted files.

 

Parity is for high availability when a drive fails, it's not a substitute for versioned backups.

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10 hours ago, jonathanm said:

You would be better off data safety wise using the second 16TB parity as offline backup for critical files. Parity can only recreate a drive complete with all corruption and deletions exactly as is, it can't fix file system corruption or bring back deleted files.

 

Parity is for high availability when a drive fails, it's not a substitute for versioned backups.

 

To be fair the idea of dual parity came from when i was going with more smaller disks, Single parity would probably be ok until i expand the drive count more. The really important stuff allready has various backups setup, (though my file system is such a mess because of how it's spread around that i may be missing somthing), for most of the data (thats in the inconvenient to reacquire category), it's drive failures more than accidental deletes or corruption that worries me on that. There i simply want to eliminate the more basic source of somthing going wrong.

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