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FreeNAS with Raspberry Pi. Is It Possible?

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Mar 12, 2019
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I would like to run FreeNAS via Raspberry Pi for my website Silicophilic for a data backup project for the Website. Is it possible to run it from a Pi device? If yes how is the performance? Would there be any issue?
 

Chris Moore

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HoneyBadger

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FreeNAS itself? Absolutely not.

However, you could in theory run an OS on the rPI that has a compatible OpenZFS implementation, and use it as a replication target - although given the hardware limitations of the rPI (RAM, lack of appropriate storage connectivity, etc) I would suggest a low-power x86 device instead.
 

Luftwaffle

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Mar 19, 2018
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It's a whole new game now with the Pi 4 out, 4 Gig of RAM, Gigabit Ethernet, USB 3: Sounds like the perfect base for a small home server.
Any thoughts?
 

Chris Moore

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It's a whole new game now with the Pi 4 out, 4 Gig of RAM, Gigabit Ethernet, USB 3: Sounds like the perfect base for a small home server.
Any thoughts?
FreeNAS calls for a minimum of 8GB and the recommendation is that you use ECC memory. Add to that the need multiple SATA or SAS drive ports and I don't see how the Pi 4 changes anything.
 
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FreeNAS calls for a minimum of 8GB and the recommendation is that you use ECC memory. Add to that the need multiple SATA or SAS drive ports and I don't see how the Pi 4 changes anything.
Not to mention the Pi 4 uses an ARM CPU.

Sounds like the perfect base for a small home server.

Any thoughts?
That really depends on a user's definition of "small" and "perfect". For me, my HPE Gen8 Microserver is "small" (albeit not perfect). It also depends on what is required of the server and thus, whether FreeNAS is even a good choice for the theoretical user in question.

If using FreeNAS is a requirement (i.e. if FreeNAS was chosen for the right reasons and that it's requirements are worth the added expense, hardware requirements, power usage and physical space), then the Pi 4 (and every other SBC I've seen so far) is the polar opposite of perfect due to the various reasons already stated by myself and Chris. On the hand, if a users requires the smallest device possible to act as a basic NAS, then the Pi 4 might be a good candidate... hell, with the right GNU / Linux distro and 4GB of RAM, it might even be possible/usable to run ZFS.
 

Mohsin

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Dec 2, 2019
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FreeNAS calls for a minimum of 8GB and the recommendation is that you use ECC memory. Add to that the need multiple SATA or SAS drive ports and I don't see how the Pi 4 changes anything.
Thanks for the information, Chris.
 

sabi-tech

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Jan 19, 2012
Messages
45
If you want to use a Raspberry Pi you could look at using Open Media Vault. It's been ported to the Pi.
 

alwynallan

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Jan 1, 2020
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I've had a Raspberry Pi buried 3 feet underground in a PVC pipe with a 2TB drive served over iSCSI for 7 years and counting. It's all powered by POE. I'd do it the same way again for backup. Only trick is you have to recompile Raspbian kernel with iSCSI support.
IMG_3813.jpg
 

Chris Moore

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I've had a Raspberry Pi buried 3 feet underground in a PVC pipe with a 2TB drive served over iSCSI for 7 years and counting. It's all powered by POE. I'd do it the same way again for backup. Only trick is you have to recompile Raspbian kernel with iSCSI support.
The question was not about using Raspbian, it was about using FreeNAS.
 

Jailer

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jgreco

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The question was not about using Raspbian, it was about using FreeNAS.
Yes, but this is the Off-topic forum, and there were multiple questions implicit. If FreeNAS is not supported, it's still fair game to answer the question of how to get fileserver functionality out of a Pi.

Just take a look at the Pogoplug NAS and you will get an idea of how many people are looking for some basic functionality.
 

Arwen

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Arg, a RPi 4 model just came out with 8GBs of RAM!

But, all the other objections still stand;
  • ARM / ARM64 arch.
  • Lack of real storage ports, (SATA or SAS)
  • Not server like hardware, (robust maybe, but things like Ethernet chipset may perform poorly)
 

curzondax

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May 29, 2020
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@Arwen There is a 4-drive SATA hat made by RockPi for Raspberry pi 4 which uses a J Micron controller for USB3 -> SATA: http://linuxgizmos.com/sata-hats-support-up-to-four-drives-on-raspberry-pi-4-or-rock-pi-4/

They make a 4+1 version for the Rock Pi 4.

I have an Rpi4 with some USB-attached SSDs. Transferring files via scp/rsync rails the CPU cores, and I only get about 35MBps transfer speed (although 65MBps with the rsync daemon itself). With FTP, I get closer to full gigabit speeds, since there is no encryption overhead. So, RPi is still maybe not quite there yet as a performant storage solution. It's likely that other SoCs using more-performant CPUs can get a bit better performance with encrypted transfers, but at the cost of power consumption.

Aarch64 is coming up in the world, as several distros (Arch ARM, Ubuntu, Debian) now have it in some capacity, with Raspberry Pi OS ramping up the support now.

It makes sense to support aarch64 in the future, since there are a number of new SoCs coming out this year with markedly higher performance and lower power consumption, and I'd have to assume there will eventually be some SoCs which will start offering multiple SATA ports or just direct access to PCI-E lanes, which will facilitate storage solutions with >=4 SATA disks.

* Upcoming Rockchip with an 8-core offering and VP9 hardware decoding: https://www.cnx-software.com/2020/0...-in-2020-based-on-rockchip-processor-roadmap/
* Upcoming ARM Cortex with ECC RAM support: https://www.cnx-software.com/2020/0...-gpu-ethos-n78-npu-and-custom-cortex-x1-core/

The SBC market grows by the day.

There is a data center just a few kilometers from me which offers a 1U/2x1Gbps/50w slot for $25/mo. The reason for the low cost is the uncommon use case of only needing 50w average power usage, which is a perfect use case for an ARM-based storage solution with a small RAID/RAID-like array. In my part of the world, power is expensive and bandwidth is cheap, so I'm excited for what ARM will bring in the next 12-18 months.
 

Arwen

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@curzondax,

Any USB to SATA adapter does NOT meet the reliability compared to a PCIe to SATA / SAS adapter. In fact, it may be less reliable than 4 separate USB drives, each with their own USB to SATA adapter.


In regards to SSH/SCP performance, I once had a slow 32 bit x86 server that had a dedicated AES co-processor. After enabling it, and making sure it worked, I was able to noticeably increase SCP performance. This slow server was my media server, more than capable of serving up a 1080p stream to 1 user, me. It's just copying the files to it was SLOW.

So it may be possible to fine tune a RPi's kernel for better SCP performance. (Though I think I heard somewhere that Broadcom may have left off the AES instructions on the SoCs used in RPis.)


Yes, it may make sense in the future for FreeNAS to support Aarch64. But, most ARM64 SoCs simply are so low end, they have limited use. Specifically lack of memory. Even if one supported 16GBs, that's nothing compared to x64. And PCIe lanes, if you need 128 lanes, get an AMD Epyc, (single OR dual socket, either config comes with 128 PCIe lanes). Very few ARM64 SoCs have any PCIe lanes at all. Even some that do, use PCIe version 2.1, (like my Rockchip RK3399 based Pinebook Pro laptop).

It's likely if FreeNAS ends up supporting ARM64 / Aarch64, it will be specific configurations. Or even purpose built hardware, like some other vendors have done. The same rules apply, any mish-mash hardware may appear to work, but FreeNAS is about reliability, availability, and scalability.
 

Ericloewe

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There is a PC-equivalent standard for ARM now. I don't think hardware is widespread, but I expect serious server hardware to target that platform instead of continuing with the wild west approach.

I mean, sure, my computers still carry around junk that is logically compatible with ISA (maybe we'll see that sort of crap go away now that CSM is a thing of the past) and they all emulate a pair of obsolete interrupt controllers, but that's a small price to pay for not having to jump through hoops to support system xyz.
 
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