Home server & NAS combination - Disk related / ZFS question

I came here after watching the DIY nas server video’s from Gamers Nexus together with @wendell;

The history is that i have been running my Synology with 4x 4TB WD REDs in SHR for a couple of years now; i have about 4.6TB in use of 10.8TB total available. My data consists currently of 4TB of my digitized DVD/blue-ray collection and about 575GB of photo’s, documents and other stuff.

In addition, i had a windows 10 server running, which used 50w/hour. Roughly a year ago, i repurposed that windows 10 server to a Photon-OS Linux server running docker and about 15 container (plex/home assistant e.a.). That motherboard died on me 3 weeks ago, off course 2 days before me going abroad for my summer holiday, and now i am running my (most important) docker containers on my Pi.

I’ve already ordered a new setup; consisting of an i9300 on a Fujitsu D3644-B motherboard with 32GB of memory in a 3U enclosure running with a Leicke adapter and a PicoPSU adapter. I’ve done my share bit of research on the hardware to make sure it consumes as little power as possible and now i am focusing on the software.

The only requirement i have is that the server should not be running anything i doesn’t tell it to run; e.g. the server should be running docker containers and EVENTUALLY replace my NAS. For that, i am planning to add 4x 5TB 2.5" disks which will be shrugged in the future . I prefer to setup things only once, so i am kind of pondering which route i should choose.

That is where the link to the video’s comes in and the link to setting up ZFS on Unraid. Should i go for UnRaid, OpenMediaVault, Photon OS or plain Ubuntu for my use-case?

Here is the idea i have:
I am planning on using an Intel 660p 1tb m.2 ssd as my ‘hot’ drive. On this drive i would like to host the OS, the docker images and docker data volumes as well as my ‘documents’ folder (about 1 GB). I will be sharing the documents folder over NFS to my Windows 10 machine. Of course i will be also using the SSD for plex transcoding and intermediate downloads.

The rest of my data should be on 2.5" disks which i would like to spin-down after 10 minutes of inactivity. It should be ‘redundantly stored’ as in; if a disk would die should be able to replace it with ease. I am doubting which file-system to use (leaning towards ZFS) but i have never set it up and i might need to compile support for it myself if i would stick with Photon-OS.

Backup strategy:

  • I am planning to r-sync the ‘documents’ folder from my hot disk nightly to the 2.5" disk(s).
    If you would ask me why go for 2.5"? Because they consume way less power about 1/3rd of a 3.5".
  • Some folders will also be stored off site (cloud backup)

Now the question would be:

  1. Is such a setup (hot folder with nightly backup) + spun down drives when not in use; a good choice for a home setup?
  2. What would be your advise in terms of 2.5" disks?
    Option 1: 4 disks in raidz1 (no clue if i can even spin that down)
    Option 2: Just use 1x 2.5" disk with copies to other (maybe even external) disks?
    Option 3: Use mirrored Vdev’s (RAID1) + create nightly copy to external disk (the external copy would give me the benefit of just plugging it into a computer and be able to read it.)
  3. Another option, like this: …

Please excuse me if i am asking for stupid questions, i tried to put as much research in it as i could and i hope to help others with my topic.

Welcome to the forum

Have you considered proxmox? May be better for you VM and containers and you can spin up a dedicated VM for your data share / NAS

Not recommended. For unraid / proxmox and freenas you will run the OS on a usb pen drive or a dedicated disk. All of your containers and files should be on a separate drive and /home directory. This way you can restore the OS drive in the event of a failure and your data is intact, plus it reduces writes on your boot drive. USB drives are fine for this use case to save you a disk drive slot.

This doesn’t work with zfs. Zfs does constant data writes and reads to the disk as part of the integrity checking. You will never spin down the drives in a zfs pool. I’d actually suggest getting larger 3.5" drives as these will have better endurance / NAS friendly features (like vibration tolerance). They are also quieter.

This is a moot point. The delta between a 2.5" drive and a 3.5" drive is less than 2watts. Unless you are running off batteries the cost difference over 12 months will be less than the price difference of the drives at the capacity you want. As above 3.5" drives have better endurance so again, your data integrity is higher meaning you spend less on not replacing failed drives.

No point doing RaidZ1 with less than 5 drives. For that pool size RaidZ1 gives one disk redundancy and a high rebuild time measured in hours. For 4 drives the recommendation would be to create two mirrored pair vdevs and stripe them together (equivalent of raid10). If you want raidz I’d suggest using 6 drives and using raidz2.

Don’t do this if you value your data. Something will go wrong at some point.

Option 3: Use mirrored Vdev’s (RAID1) + create nightly copy to external disk (the external copy would give me the benefit of just plugging it into a computer and be able to read it.)

As above this would work if you did raid10 equivalent pool (two mirrored vdevs) and copy to an external drive regularly. I’d rotate the external drives so you leapfrog them and backup alternately to a different one. Leave drive A plugged in to do incremental backups then once a week or once a month swap them to get a full copy.

You asked some excellent questions and stated your setup and objective clearly and succinctly. An excellent first post. Thank you for joining the community. Ask any follow up questions you may have and take advice from several people, not just one or two.

PS. Sorry for the multiple edits. For some reason one of the quote extracts quoted the entire post, which was annoying to read. I’ve deleted.

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Never thought of that, to be honest, i do HAVE 4x WD RED 4TB drives which seem to be in fine condition. This currently holds my data just fine. I currently have:

  • /media/Movies/
  • /media/Photos/
  • /media/TV-Series/

My movie set is currently already 4TB and i really would like to organize that into a single folder. (i can remove the /media part off course); but space-wise, i would need to have 4+ GB per vdevs if i want to keep my movies into one single folder.

If i take a look at this Google hit; wintelguy[.]com/zfs-calc.pl and enter the following values:
I end up with 3.5TB which is to little to hold my entire set.

So i either need a different setup (maybe 3disk with Raid-Z1) or 4 disk with Raid-Z2):
which gives me 6.8GB

Or something totally different for which i would need to have your help :0

Correct, 2W is like 5 euros/year here :stuck_out_tongue:

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