Return to

FreeNAS for Filmmaker

Hello! I’m Thiago, photographer and filmmaker and I need to build a NAS for store my files.
(yes, I only need it for raw storage)

Because of Coronavirus, I will have many events in the second half of 2020. As I will not be able to edit everything in time, I will need something like 12tb of free storage.

As the budget is short, I will tell you what I already have:

_8gb 3000mhz ddr4 fury
_3x3tb 7200rpm HDD
_1x m.2 sata 250gb

I think about using FreeNAS, and have at least 2 parity disks (RaidZ2)

I have never worked with NAS, I am researching a lot on the internet, and I would like your help!

  1. Should I use my 3HDD that I already have?

  2. What better HDD arrangement do you recommend? Which HDD should I buy?

  3. Is RaidZ2 the best option for my situation?

  4. Can I leave my NAS turned off, and just turn it on to back up the files on my main PC?

  5. Is it possible for me to work with the 2.5gigabit network? And with 10gigabit?

  6. What to do with my m.2?

thank’s for your time!
Thank you very much if you can help me

1 Like

Three drives with 2 drives redundancy should be configured as a 3way mirror vdev… but that yields you 33% storage efficiency - all the data is written 3 times.

If you really require 2 drives of redundancy, and can afford another 3 drives now, I would recommend you buy another 3 drives now, and setup a 6 drive raidz2 (e.g. if you got another 3x 8T drives and added them alongside your 3x3t drives, that would yield you around 19T of redundant storage, when you run out, I’d recommend you replace the 3T drives with larger). That gives you 66% efficiency, and doesn’t matter which 2 out of 6 drives die or corrupt data, you’d still get to keep your data

ZFS spreads across one or more "vdev"s to build a pool of storage.
A vdev is a building block consisting of multiple drives arranged in some raid layout.
Each vdev needs to work for ZFS to work. Once vdevs are set up, they cannot be changed except to replace each drive with same size or larger, or to add additional vdevs to ZFS. (surprisingly not useful).

How is your Linux experience?


Welcome to the forum. To start you have everything you need already to set up a basic FreeNAS build. In answer to your specific questions (all comments are personal opinion and should not be considered business advice or professional guidance):

If you can afford it I would suggest getting 6 new drives of at least 4TiB. Reason being is you want 2 disk redundancy so 6x3TiB will give you exactly 12TiB with RAIDz2. That gives no capacity for growth. Growing ZFS vdevs is non trivial. As this is for your business, invest now for an easier life. One good recommendation is to buy your 6 drives from separate vendors (say half from Amazon and half from Newegg for example). That way you won’t get all 6 from the same batch production.

Budget for tiered backups. This means using your 3TiB drives as backup disks or buying one “big disk” to copy the whole array to for off-site backup.

6 disk Raidz2 is fine for your setup. Anything less is high risk, more is wasteful. Hence point above about adequate sizing up from. You don’t need massive speed or hybrid array. I’d suggest 5400rpm drives are plenty for photographs and even basic video and will run cooler, quieter and more reliable (note personal opinion). I’m vendor agnostic at work but I use WD drives at home.

Covered above but yes. It is fine for your use case.

You can but not recommended. Power cycling a NAS will reduce its longevity and the boot time for freenas is measured in minutes, not seconds. Consider if you would be better off with “dumb storage” removable hard drives if all you want is a periodic backup. NAS gives you other features that work better in an always on config.

Yes if you can find compatible cards and switches, or set up point to point. 10GbE works with intel and mellanox cards. Finding 2.5GbE equipment is more challenging.

Don’t bother creating a cache. It won’t help you. You ideally want more RAM (16GB). You can install freenas onto the SSD and it will run more reliably than from a USB.

Good luck with the build.

Yes! I would like to have 2 redundancy drives, I will go RaidZ2

I’ll try your tip thanks!
Here in Brazil 8TB is expensive, I think I will go 6TB, but it is enough for now.
I have a question: Why in your text was 19TB? wouldn’t it actually be 17TB?
8 + 8 (redundancy) plus 8 + 3 + 3 + 3 (data)

I’m asking because Im trying to understand how raidz works. The two parity drives are always the two with the highest capacity, correct?

None, unfortunately. Why?

thanks for your time!

Thank you for your time!

For every work I do, I have 4 backups:
1- My Workstation
2 - External HD (at office)
3 - External HD (parents house)
4 - Gsuite ( but not everyone consider gsuite a backup, but for me, it’s fine)

I want to build a NAS and be free of so many external drives that I have in the office today.

Thank you for the tips! I will buy at separate vendors, never thought that.

Can you recommend a feature? Something like a Snapshot?

How much space I need for just de FreeNAS?

For the OS? Very little. 16GB will be enough.

For an always-on NAS you have many features you can use that you cannot find on machines you switch off. Here are some suggestions to investigate:

  • Setup a private cloud. If you don’t trust Google and don’t want to risk your gsuite access being disabled by US government rules, then you can synch your gcloud to your freenas box and set up a personal cloud from your office that you can securely access anywhere. Look at NextCloud as an option.

  • Security cameras. If your office has even one security camera, you can record a loop of video to your server every day and look back at activity. I have a dedicated vdev for my CCTV and it store’s a month of recordings on 4TiB.

  • Rsncyh and remote backup. Backup your home workstation to your NAS over a VPN, reducing disk storage at home. Also useful for laptops.

  • Plex. For those moments when you are not working hard, streaming video without paying for Netflix may be of interest. Useful for content you already own, or is royalty free. As this is a work server, do not use it for torrenting or other services.

  • PiHole. Good for blocking adverts and speeding up your internet.

Some things to avoid, again as this is a work server with your personal and corporate data on it:

  • Don’t set up a firewall on your NAS. If you want a firewall build a dedicated firewall or buy one. Some people say this is fine to merge these features, but it is not worth the risk

  • Don’t use your work server as a game server. It can technically do it, but many games are weak at securing your IP address and it could be accessed.

  • Avoid too much development activity on this server unless you really know what you are doing. There are lots of containers and virtual machines you can play with on freenas. Find an old pc or setup a test system to try things out. Don’t use your production NAS for testing.

Good luck.

Yikes! I’ve friends there, prices are a total ripoff.

I screwed up, got my filesystems mixed up.
With ZFS, you get 12T free.

With btrfs you’d get 17T as you said.

For btrfs calculator is here:

For ZFS I just verified that it’s stupid when it comes to disk space efficiency by creating some sparse files and a zpool on top.

$ truncate -s 8T d{1..3}
$ truncate -s 3T d{4..6}
$ sudo zpool create -f zfstest raidz2 $PWD/d{1..6} # needs -f because different sizes
$ df -h /zfstest # shows 12T free
$ sudo zpool destroy zfstest
$ rm d{1..6}

Hi there, just a quick response but I chose the same cpu for freenas, combined it with a solid SuperMicro motherboard and initially 16GB ECC RAM (to be upgraded later, FreeNAS loves RAM).

I’m testing my hardware at the moment, but all is well so far.

Good luck :+1: