Advice on NAS - new NAS, new disks, something else.. ?

themoid

Active Member
Hi all

I'm looking for some advice around my existing NAS and what to do.

Current setup: 8 yr old HP NAS running FreeNAS, 3 HDDs at 2TiB each. Currently 84% disk storage used. Apologies but it's been so long since i set this up i can't remember if it is RAID x,y,z., but the disks split the storage across them, so if one disk dies I don't lose my stuff.

Use - storage of music, films and TV. Max use by two users at a time through streaming to (eg) Kodi on Xbox, Pi music streamer, Plex on a Smart TV. Only local access for streaming at the moment but possibly remote in the future.

I'm moving more and more to digital media, especially flac files for music, but also potentially 4k films, so need more storage.

So my needs are that I'm running out of space, and the HDDs are getting older. There is not a backup from the NAS in place.

What I'm looking for is advice on the best way forward:

  • do I upgrade HDDs in the existing NAS unit ?
  • do i get a new NAS (which ones to look at), and will getting a modern NAS improve performance ?
  • Is it worth moving to an OS other than FreeNAS ?

Any thoughts appreciated,

Thanks
Stu
 

mickevh

Distinguished Member
Make a backup. At least of anything important. Your CD/DVD/BD's probably don't matter as you can always rip them again. But if you've stored anything on there that's irreplaceable (documents, spreadsheets, wedding video, etc.) that you value, then make a backup of it.

I'm sure most NAS implementations will have some kind of "storage management" settings in it's UI where you should be able to discover what the RAID configuration is (if any.) Check the manual out.

Prima facia, if there's no other problem with it and you just need more storage, the it's just a matter of fitting bigger discs.

BUT:

Check that the hardware and OS can handle bigger discs, max disc size will probably be cited in the manual and/or specification.

Check that you can do an "in place" replacement without loosing data. That very much depends on the RAID implementation (if you used it,) the hardware and operating system and so on. If not, then there's no option but to back off the data elsewhere, replace discs, then restore the data.

Sorry to be all "go read the manual" but that really is the best way to find out what options you have as there's no simple universal "fix all" that applies to all configurations, hardware, software, etc. If you have any difficulty interpreting such documents, I'm sure we can help.

You might also want to look at the costs involved and see what the price differential (and possibly time saving) is for just buying a whole new machine (whether bespoke or a consumer product.) Of course if you buy a complete new machine, then it's simply a matter of bulk copying all the data from old to new over the course of a few days.
 
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themoid

Active Member
Sorry to be all "go read the manual"
Thanks for your post. no apology needed. To be honest my post was kind of crappy really wasn't it, it definitely reads as someone who can't be arsed to do their own research and hopes that someone will bail them out !

I'll go look at what my NAS can actually take etc, and then will likely do some research around new HDDs and possible NAS; depending on what i find.

Thanks
Stu
 

oneman

Well-known Member
If you are talking about an early gen HP microserver NL54 I believe there is a 3TB disk size limit.

You can fit a modern RAID controller with mini SAS connection as that is the connection it uses but honestly you are probably better off selling it and getting a Gen8. Especially as those disks are 8 years old entering the period were they are more likely to fail. You can pick up Gen8 with 16GB ram and activated iLO for around £200. Through in some new disks will be good to go. Could keep the existing server and use it to backup the new server.

As mentioned above I hope you are taking backups.

Performance wise, where is it struggling ?

FreeNAS is still probably the most popular option but if you are comfortable with Linux then have a look at OpenMediaStore.
 
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themoid

Active Member
If you are talking about an early gen HP microserver NL54 I believe there is a 3TB disk size limit.

You can fit a modern RAID controller with mini SAS connection as that is the connection it uses but honestly you are probably better off selling it and getting a Gen8. Especially as those disks are 8 years old entering the period were they are more likely to fail.

As mentioned above I hope you are taking backups.
Cheers. It is an NL54, I need to check the limit (and a few other things !). My instinct is that it is time to upgrade .
 

oneman

Well-known Member
Cheers. It is an NL54, I need to check the limit (and a few other things !). My instinct is that it is time to upgrade .
Sorry, I added a bit more to my original post. Do you know which model, has it got a black or silver front ?
 

themoid

Active Member
It's a HP ProLiant MicroServer 704941-421 N54L, black front. Must admit my thought was to get a new one with more capacity and keep the HP as backup
 
D

Deleted member 24354

Guest
Its a bit of what do you fancy here and what is your budget? You could build another FreeNas on a more modern Microserver Chassis or you could buy a pre-configured NAS appliance such as QNAP or Synology. I guess it boils down to what you want your NAS to do and run and how much you like tinkering. Modern NAS appliances are pretty powerful in that their OS is optimised for their lightweight processors. You get lots of pre-configured apps and you can VM in docker as well. But its a case a bit of a walled garden. Your microserver approach leaves you far more flexibility and you can easily add a lot more memory or processing power if you want to. But you dont get quite the same reliability as an appliance. Price wise they are pretty much similar.
 

mickevh

Distinguished Member
Thanks for your post. no apology needed. To be honest my post was kind of crappy really wasn't it, it definitely reads as someone who can't be arsed to do their own research and hopes that someone will bail them out !

Stu

No worries - for many questions there is a simple answer and it's just easy to ask someone. This just happens to not be one of those instances and there's a few "variables" to consider.
 

Souljacker99

Active Member
Cheers. It is an NL54, I need to check the limit (and a few other things !). My instinct is that it is time to upgrade .
I'm not sure if this will influence your decision at all as it sounds like you're leaning towards a new unit but I have fitted 8TB disks in my backup N40L with no problems. I can't see why it would be any different with the N54L.
 

oneman

Well-known Member
I'm not sure if this will influence your decision at all as it sounds like you're leaning towards a new unit but I have fitted 8TB disks in my backup N40L with no problems. I can't see why it would be any different with the N54L.
Just checked and I was thinking of my old raid controller, should be fine with NL54.
 

mickevh

Distinguished Member
I'm not sure if this will influence your decision at all as it sounds like you're leaning towards a new unit but I have fitted 8TB disks in my backup N40L with no problems. I can't see why it would be any different with the N54L.

One cannot "just assume" - it is best to check the specs.

Just because a Humvee fits in next doors garage, does not imply it will fit into mine.
 
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springtide

Distinguished Member
If you are talking about an early gen HP microserver NL54 I believe there is a 3TB disk size limit.

You can fit a modern RAID controller with mini SAS connection as that is the connection it uses but honestly you are probably better off selling it and getting a Gen8. Especially as those disks are 8 years old entering the period were they are more likely to fail. You can pick up Gen8 with 16GB ram and activated iLO for around £200. Through in some new disks will be good to go. Could keep the existing server and use it to backup the new server.

As mentioned above I hope you are taking backups.

Performance wise, where is it struggling ?

FreeNAS is still probably the most popular option but if you are comfortable with Linux then have a look at OpenMediaStore.
The NL54L doesn’t seem to have such a limit

I have a NL54L Microserver running the latest FreeNAS with 2x 8Tb, 1x 10 Tb & 1x 12 Tb (running RAID-Z)

If there are any HP specs that imply there is a limit it will be like most computers, they just specify what they have tested with at the time, and they don’t bother to keep this updated.
 

oneman

Well-known Member
One cannot "just assume" - it is best to check the specs.

Just because a Humvee fits in next doors garage, does not imply it will fit into mine.
I did make a mistake on my previous post, the NL54 that OP has with black front will accept larger disks, I had 8TB ones in mine at one point.
 

springtide

Distinguished Member
I did make a mistake on my previous post, the NL54 that OP has with black front will accept larger disks, I had 8TB ones in mine at one point.
The NL54L are rock solid boxes, it’s been my backup box for years in various configurations, now backing up over 15TB, over a combo of Red, Iron Wolf and Tosh N300s.

Interestingly, the NL54L was my first ‘NAS’. It was replaced by a Synology 4 bay, then I bought an 8 bay 1815+ Synology which has just died.
So it’s outlasted two Synology’s so far.

I do however prefer the user interface of DSM over FreeNAS, however it was a tough call when replacing the 1815 as was seriously considering another NL54L with larger disks.
The deciding factor was I could just pull the drives out of the 1815, plug them into the 1821 and it migrated all my data and settings.

Regarding replacing with a Gen8, for FreeNAS the NL54L is a better choice - can go into detail if needed.
 
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Souljacker99

Active Member
One cannot "just assume" - it is best to check the specs.

Just because a Humvee fits in next doors garage, does not imply it will fit into mine.

To extend your analogy, I'm not telling him that a Humvee will fit into the same space as a mini, I'm telling him that his mini which is pretty much the same as mine with a better engine should work in pretty much the same way but I can't guarantee it!
 

oneman

Well-known Member
The NL54L are rock solid boxes, it’s been my backup box for years in various configurations, now backing up over 15TB, over a combo of Red, Iron Wolf and Tosh N300s.

Interestingly, the NL54L was my first ‘NAS’. It was replaced by a Synology 4 bay, then I bought an 8 bay 1815+ Synology which has just died.
So it’s outlasted two Synology’s so far.

I do however prefer the user interface of DSM over FreeNAS, however it was a tough call when replacing the 1815 as was seriously considering another NL54L with larger disks.
The deciding factor was I could just pull the drives out of the 1815, plug them into the 1821 and it migrated all my data and settings.

Regarding replacing with a Gen8, for FreeNAS the NL54L is a better choice - can go into detail if needed.
I had the tosh N300 drives as well, great drives.

I've built a custom Windows server in the end to replace my microserver though I still use it for backing critical data.
 

springtide

Distinguished Member
I had the tosh N300 drives as well, great drives.

I've built a custom Windows server in the end to replace my microserver though I still use it for backing critical data.
That’s interesting to know about the N300s. Only recently got them, as was using a slightly dodgy concatenated ZFS volume as the backup volume, which scared me when the Synology packed up, so purchased a couple of N300s to create a RAID set.

I have always bought Red and Iron Wolf drives previously, but the N300s are super cheap compared to the them. Fingers crossed they are as reliable.

I was a little worried about unmatched drives for the RAIDZ set (plus different sizes), but it’s working like a dream, which is a surprise considering the volume size and only 6gb RAM; it’s the Synology volume that’s the bottleneck for the backup.
 

themoid

Active Member
Thanks all. I've picked up a Synology 2 disc NAS. Just transferring data over to it, it's far easier to get to grips with than FreeNas, i just don't have the time to play around and get to grips with FreeNas anymore, so at the moment the synology setup seems a winner for what i want.
 

mickevh

Distinguished Member
Cool - a lot of kit targeted at the SOHO market is sold on an "appliance" basis in that as much as possible, you turn it on and it "just works" with minimal user intervention. Of course, the down side of that for any tinkerers, is that there's not much one can "play" with if it isn't "just right" out of the box.

Personally, I'd always be setting up NAS type devices with a fixed (unchanging) IP address, preferably statically assign on the box itself or, second preference, using a fixed DHCP Lease.

If there's no imperative to get rid of your old machine, you could use it as a target for creating backup sets of any important data (even if you only turn it on occasionally to do so.) That won't mitigate all risks, but it's well on the way and certainly better than no backup at all.
 
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themoid

Active Member
Cool - a lot of kit targeted at the SOHO market is sold on an "appliance" basis in that as much as possible, you turn it on and it "just works" with minimal user intervention. Of course, the down side of that for any tinkerers, is that there's not much one can "play" with if it isn't "just right" out of the box.

Personally, I'd always be setting up NAS type devices with a fixed (unchanging) IP address, preferably statically assign on the box itself or, second preference, using a fixed DHCP Lease.

If there's no imperative to get rid of your old machine, you could use it as a target for creating backup sets of any important data (even if you only turn it on occasionally to do so.) That won't mitigate all risks, but it's well on the way and certainly better than no backup at all.
Yes I think I'll do as you suggest and use the old machine as a backup of sorts. At least I can still play with freenas a little that way if I fancy
 

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