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First FreeNAS "Production" Setup Planning

Sep 7, 2019
I have been using Proxmox for a few years now to run the various servers I have on my network and have been using whitebox NAS solutions made by QNAP for my storage solution. Right now I run 3 QNAP boxes, 1 for personal storage, the second for VM storage for my 4 Proxmox Nodes and the other as shared storage for my nextcloud install and other random storage needs.

I am wanting to as reasonably as possible eliminate any single points of failure to minimize downtime while understanding I am operating a more or less hobby/home setup and on the budget to match.

I am wondering which is the better way to go for my eventual move to FreeNAS as my new storage solution. I know that FreeNAS does not support HA but was wondering if the following would be possible and be a suitable setup. Should I just run FreeNAS on bare metal hardware and build out my solution similar to how I do now with various boxes running my NAS solution or should I virtualize FreeNAS to create a sudo HA solution.

I am planning to purchase either 2 old Dell R720XDs or build a new setup. My goal is to have a storage solution that would be a 4U rackmount case that would support 12 drives not including 2 drives for the OS and at least 4 gigabit ethernet ports plus IPMI.

My question though is if I were to go the virtualize route could I pickup say 3 smaller 1U servers and and 2 DAS boxes to start and could I in theory virtualize FreeNAS and get something close to HA by having the 2 DAS attached to each Proxmox node. Could I then passthrough the DAS boxes through to FreeNAS in such a way that it would not matter which node it was running on the DAS boxes would be connected. This would allow for say 12 drives for data storage from on DAS and other 12 drives from the other DAS as a backup to the first DAS so that as long as one DAS is operating I will have my data. Of course I would still be able to loose drives in either DAS as they would be setup in probably RAIDZ3. My theory is that this setup using Proxmox to run the freeNAS as a VM on any of the 3 nodes would make the VM have HA.

I know that it would obviously be more hardware than just running a FreeNAS box on bare metal but I am curious if this is possible and also if I could then extend the storage solution when the time comes by say creating another VM after adding more DAS boxes to the setup.

I would say the maximum I would need in either setup would be 3 FreeNAS setups, 1 for data storage, the second for VM storage and the third for critical data replication. Which I am missing the replication part now in my current setup.