Anyone switch from Synology to FreeNAS? - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 10 Old 11-06-2013, 04:00 PM - Thread Starter
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Are you happy you did? Regret it? Switch back?

Thinking about doing it (again) for something to tinker with. I've worked with FreeNAS before with no issues.
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post #2 of 10 Old 11-06-2013, 04:15 PM
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Just did it. No regrets, but I also went in with eyes wide open.

I wanted a few things in my new NAS as I had outgrown the Synology:

1) Media server (via NFS)
2) Time Machine backups for an iMac
3) Plex Server
4) Low power usage (for a server)
5) High reliability and data safety

FreeNAS checked all the boxes provided I could find the right hardware. After looking around a bit and reading all I could about FreeNAS I decided I wanted an Intel Haswell based system (low idle power consumption) yet had true horsepower for video transcoding when required along with lots of ECC memory for ZFS.

Server boards that supported Haswell and had digital video output were on the high end of what I wanted to spend as I was not ready to try building a headless system and I only have digital monitors.

Luckily, I stumbled across the Lenovo TS140 that has been a dream machine. FreeNAS runs great and I have five 3TB Seagate NAS drives in a RAIDZ2 with 16GB of system memory. The TS140 I selected is the i3 CPU model and cost far less for a chassis that any pricing I could have done by assembling the parts myself. One of the drives failed the first week and it was totally painless to replace which was a great confidence builder in FreeNAS.

I only need Plex for one TV with a Ruku 3 attached and the i3 cuts through transcoding like a knife through butter and doesn't break a sweat with 1080p.

There is definitely a learning curve to setup and use FreeNAS compared to Synology but luckily there are lots of guides on the internet.
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post #3 of 10 Old 11-07-2013, 05:24 AM - Thread Starter
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AWESOME reply! Thank you!

I looked into that little Lenovo box and can see why you used it.

Any reason you didn't go with an i5?
What sort of throughput numbers are you seeing? I can max out a gig connection easily with my Synology, so I don't want to be one of those "I get pretty good speeds...20mb/s" stories.
You said you use it for transcoding as well, are you doing that in FreeNAS, booting another OS, running ESX, etc?
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post #4 of 10 Old 11-07-2013, 11:00 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bluechunks View Post

Luckily, I stumbled across the Lenovo TS140 that has been a dream machine. FreeNAS runs great and I have five 3TB Seagate NAS drives in a RAIDZ2 with 16GB of system memory. The TS140 I selected is the i3 CPU model and cost far less for a chassis that any pricing I could have done by assembling the parts myself. One of the drives failed the first week and it was totally painless to replace which was a great confidence builder in FreeNAS.

From newegg reviews, the previous model TS130 only allowed a handful of Windows OSs and Red Hat Linux to boot from an internal hard drive. Is that still the case with the TS140? Are you booting from USB?

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Originally Posted by bigmillz View Post

AWESOME reply! Thank you!

I looked into that little Lenovo box and can see why you used it.

Any reason you didn't go with an i5?
What sort of throughput numbers are you seeing? I can max out a gig connection easily with my Synology, so I don't want to be one of those "I get pretty good speeds...20mb/s" stories.
You said you use it for transcoding as well, are you doing that in FreeNAS, booting another OS, running ESX, etc?

i5 does not have ECC support, and isn't supported on intel server chipsets. Only Pentium, i3, and Xeon
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post #5 of 10 Old 11-07-2013, 11:19 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by soobaerodude View Post

From newegg reviews, the previous model TS130 only allowed a handful of Windows OSs and Red Hat Linux to boot from an internal hard drive. Is that still the case with the TS140? Are you booting from USB?
Don't know about other operating systems as I'm booting FreeNAS from a small USB flash drive.
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Originally Posted by bigmillz View Post

AWESOME reply! Thank you!

I looked into that little Lenovo box and can see why you used it.

Any reason you didn't go with an i5?
What sort of throughput numbers are you seeing? I can max out a gig connection easily with my Synology, so I don't want to be one of those "I get pretty good speeds...20mb/s" stories.
You said you use it for transcoding as well, are you doing that in FreeNAS, booting another OS, running ESX, etc?
As soobaerodude mentioned, the i5 does not support ECC. However, the next CPU option up from the i3 in the TS140 is a quad-core Xeon (no hyper-threading) which is essentially an i5 anyway. I figured I'd try the i3 and if I need more I can always swap out for a Xeon (4C/8T) but right now I don't see the need.

Apparently it will easily max out the gigabit network as the iMac reports ~110MB/s using AFP. In "real world" use I have served two separate 1080p streams (1:1 Blu Ray rips) while Plex transcoded a third 1080p stream. No sweat.

And speaking of transcoding, I'm only using the Plex Server add-on for FreeNAS (it's brand new) and it transcodes and streams to a Roku 3. Plex Server also has the ability to transcode for DLNA but I have not bothered with to use it as it requires some custom "profile" creation beyond anything generic.

With all five drives spinning and the unit simply streaming the kil-a-watt meter shows ~42W while during heavy transcoding it will show 70-80W. The CPU really powers down nicely when not heavily loaded. I was concerned about the TS140 having a 280W power supply but I've never observed anything more than 1/3 of that.
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post #6 of 10 Old 11-07-2013, 11:23 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by soobaerodude View Post

From newegg reviews, the previous model TS130 only allowed a handful of Windows OSs and Red Hat Linux to boot from an internal hard drive. Is that still the case with the TS140? Are you booting from USB?
i5 does not have ECC support, and isn't supported on intel server chipsets. Only Pentium, i3, and Xeon

Not quite sure what I'd be booting from yet, probably flash of some sort (which I did for my last FreeNAS box).

I noticed a lot of people swear by using ECC...if this isn't mission critical data, would you say it's really that worth it? I had a Mac Pro years ago when I was in college, with 16GB of ECC, wow that took a few Christmases to put together eek.gif
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post #7 of 10 Old 11-07-2013, 11:31 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bigmillz View Post

Not quite sure what I'd be booting from yet, probably flash of some sort (which I did for my last FreeNAS box).

I noticed a lot of people swear by using ECC...if this isn't mission critical data, would you say it's really that worth it? I had a Mac Pro years ago when I was in college, with 16GB of ECC, wow that took a few Christmases to put together eek.gif

If you're going to run FreeNAS and use ZFS, you should use ECC. There's a whole discussion about about using ZFS and the risks of not using ECC at hardforum
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post #8 of 10 Old 11-08-2013, 05:38 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by soobaerodude View Post

If you're going to run FreeNAS and use ZFS, you should use ECC. There's a whole discussion about about using ZFS and the risks of not using ECC at hardforum

That's actually the most convincing read I've seen yet on it, with regards to bit flips.

Most every other article just says "you're building a server so you need to run ECC" rolleyes.gif
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post #9 of 10 Old 11-11-2013, 09:15 PM
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I'm thinking of going Synology to Freenas but am new to this.

In the Synology I did not do any RAID so would I be able to just pop the drives in a FreeNAS box or do I actually have to buy new drives, format them through FreeNAS and then transfer the data over?
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post #10 of 10 Old 12-30-2013, 10:36 PM
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I have been debating this for a while now. I have an existing RAID System in my house that I have been very happy with but the motherboard is starting to give me problems so now I am trying to decide what to do next. I was originally thinking a FreeNAS System but the more I dug in to it I wasn't sure. I want a LOT of storage which means a LOT of SATA Ports. How are you building your systems? Are you using some kind of external enclosure? I currently have a 13TB System and it is almost full, I want to be able to go well beyond that. I was looking at the Synology 12 Bay RAID Array which on the surface seems like a ton of money but to build something similar its really not that bad of a deal.

 

Any thoughts / suggestions you have would be greatly appreciated.

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