A storage solution

My plans to play with a canary this weekend were spoiled while doing some maintenance so unfortunately I’ve had to put that off. I generally go in once a month and “update all the things” in the network and it’s pretty much uneventful but I’ve been hit with issues enough to know why Read Only Friday exists at work.

I’ve technically had two Synology disk stations serving up my network shares for everything up until now. Technically because my DS1515+ was hit by the Intel C2000 CPU random death bug. While mine didn’t fail it did hang on boot once making me do a  search and finding my serial number was right in the middle of the batch that was expected to fail, just a matter of time really. Synology did an in warranty pre replacement and according to my serial number I got a unit several years older than what I sent in. It worked and appeared new but I definitely had mixed feelings about that.

Thursday I signed in my DS418 which up until that time had been fantastic. It had emailed me a couple days ago informing me of an update available as it had done many times before. Unfortunately this time when I hit update and reboot it didn’t come back. It came back to a crashed array claiming both drive 1 and 2 failed at the same time with write errors. As I only had single drive fault tolerance the array was now considered lost with all data. Both drives still show fine in SMART though. Call me crazy but I kinda think it unlikely both drives failed at the same time, but I am sure going to find out. Synology has an open support case and hopefully will look into it Monday when they get back to work.

Enter player 2; FreeNAS

For a while now I’ve been reading about FreeNAS and thinking it and ZFS might be a nice thing to check out some day. I’m a growing fan of open source and this project in particular seems to have gained excellent traction. I especially like the flexibility of the platform that frees me from any one particular hardware vendor and isn’t a big black box.

FreeNAS build and planning

Use case, this is a general file share dump. Plenty of movies played back with a Dune network player, no transcoding. The most stress this will see is when something gets written to it and scheduled rsync tasks.

Intel Celeron G3930, has ECC
Single 16GB DDR4 ECC, from supermicro approved list.
Seasonic S12II 620W PSU
SAS 9207-8I based on recommendations seen on FreeNAS forums
Boot from USB via Sandisk ultra fit 64gb
Recycling my decade old Yeong Yang cube server case with a couple new bay adapters. Should hold up to 18 3.5″ drives.

Main pool (in above machine)
Existing four 8TB Seagate Ironwolf will be the main pool that everyone reads/writes to. Drives are approaching a year old. I’m thinking about making this 4×1 ZFS1 but am toying with 2×2 ZFS1. Calculator says that’s either 14TB or 20TB useable but I’m not sure which way I should go with it, seeing mixed advice here. I’m at about 8.5TB in use but slowly growing. There are a couple automation tasks downloading files to this at any time and three computer using it as a backup, this will be on 24×7.
These drives are currently in the DS418 discussed above. If I have to RMA two drives so be it, but I’ve mentally written off my data here.

Complete Backup Pool (in above machine)
I was thinking about skipping this but realized I have eight existing 2TB Seagate LP(PDF) laying around so why not use them? This is the reason I added the LSI card. These drives are 7+ years old, some are already RMA replacements but they will all go through spinrite before going in the pool. I would like this pool to sleep when not being used (noise and power concerns) and have read that to accomplish that these need to be the ones attached to the motherboard though ideally I’d prefer my main pool attached to the southbridge ports. I figure I’ll set a rsync task from the main pool to this one every week or so, otherwise they should be off. Should be 11.8TB useable space in a 8×1 ZFS1 pool.

Critical cold backup (attached to above machine)
USB3 Seagate 8TB external. This will hold the irreplaceable data from above main pool, but on a longer backup schedule maybe doing a rsync task every month or so just in case of malware or cryptolocker etc. I will have to remember to attach it and run a rsync task, hope I can do that. Will be looking for another one on sale over black friday, this one is full and stopped doing weekly backups last month which puts me in a double bad position with the crashed DS418. Currently holding a second best bet of my data, but a little old.

Off site backup
Synology DS1515+ with SHR1 across three 2TB Seagate LP (also ~7 years old) and two 8TB shucked WD Easystores (6 months old) that yielded Red drives getting me about 12TB SHR1 formatted space. The DS itself is back from RMA about 6 months ago. This is (was) a nightly backup target from above DS418 over VPN. This currently has the best copy of my data, so looks like the above machine will go for a drive when it’s built as downloading 9TB over a cable modem upload speed isn’t doable.

Blew a ton of time researching this weekend but hopefully a worthy addition to the homelab.