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GPU Acceleration?

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Visseroth

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Nov 4, 2011
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I was just curious and started doing some digging around to see if anyone was starting to use GPU processing for any kind of acceleration, because obviously GPUs handle certain types of processing better than a standard CPU and I didn't see much regarding GPU acceleration for FreeNAS nor any plans for implementation.
Granted it would be no small task, but you would think some gpu acceleration would help for things like encryption and video encoding/decoding, maybe even parity calculations.
Since most Intel boards come with a Intel GPU of some kind, granted they aren't anything special, utilizing every bit of a server is more efficient than just letting it sit idle, doing near to, or nothing at all.
Even compiling for a specific video card is better than trying to make GPU acceleration compatible with all cards. Specially if you want stability and obviously an option for those that want or can use that kind of acceleration. Specially now that you can find GPUs with ECC RAM such as the NVidia Telsa and/or Quatro.

So just out of curiosity, does FreeNAS have any plans for GPU acceleration as a option?
One would think it would be handy for VPNs, virtualization, encryptions, video compiling and I'm sure much more.

Thoughts? Opinions?
 

joeschmuck

Old Man
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May 28, 2011
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Stuff like encryption would be handled by AES enabled CPUs (what we recommend if you plan to use encryption). I'm not sure that there would be many servers out there which would have a mid to high end graphics card installed unless it were somehow used by a specific application, just not a NAS application. Most servers are fine with basic graphics. While I understand your desires, I don't see how GPU accelleration would help in a FreeNAS system.
 

Visseroth

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The thought was calculation acceleration.
According to many articles across the internet GPUs are much better with encryption, hashing, and many other calculations than a standard or server CPU.
One reference is... https://github.com/wbsun/kgpu
According to the pdf on that page there was a noticeable increase in encrypted file transfer rates at almost 100% or 2 times the speed when tested using a GPU for the algorithm calculations vs using a CPU. Which makes sense. This has been proven time and time again in data mining, coin mining, ect.
Obviously 3D acceleration for a NAS is a waste of time. It's a NAS not a first person shooter workstation.
The point is, GPUs are better at certain calculations than CPUs. Put the two together with the right software and you could literally have a seriously accelerated NAS capable of utilizing algorithms and encryption that no one else has. At least not to my knowledge.
The thought was, for some people it may be something handy to have around.
But it was just a thought
 

joeschmuck

Old Man
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I would agree that a GPU could do certain tasks much faster and more efficient than a CPU but those would need to tempered by what the process actually is. For data encryption then a CPU with AES will be faster. In fact from what I've read on these forums, CPU utilization is not noticable for encrypted volumes and the encryption process is completely transparent. Now if you're talking video encoding/decoding or other applications which have been groomed to utilize a GPU, you would be correct. I use BIONC and most of the applications have versions targetting specific GPUs and the difference is night and day, from 5 hours down to 10 minutes (depends on the work unit). As for bitcoin mining, it would cost you more in electrical power than you would make in coins, you would need to buy an ASIC programmed specifically for bitcoin mining to make a profit. However just to do it because you can, well I think we all have been there.
Obviously 3D acceleration for a NAS is a waste of time. It's a NAS not a first person shooter workstation.
That comment made me laugh.

I don't know how well Corral passes through the video card functions but you could install a VM and see if that will take you where you want to go. Of course post your findings, many of us would like to know how it goes.
 

Visseroth

Senior Member
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Well it was a thought. Thanks for getting back to me.
I'll have to do some playing around when I have time.
 

joeschmuck

Old Man
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Well it was a thought. Thanks for getting back to me.
I'll have to do some playing around when I have time.
I'm not trying to put your ideas down, I think there is merrit there. I'm sure there are some applications which would be valuable for some people so if you find out anything, please share.
 
J

jkh

Guest
So just out of curiosity, does FreeNAS have any plans for GPU acceleration as a option?
Not really, no. Even if there was a good CUDA or OpenCL enabled library for doing GPU-accelerated crypto or compression, it's just not a standard piece of equipment on typical storage hardware. The only folks who tend to even have a GPU in their machines are using more desktop-grade equipment which is, well, kind of the opposite of what you actually want to run a NAS, so the goals and configurations are essentially somewhat diametrically opposed.

It's a fair question, just not likely to be practical until you actually start seeing enterprise grade motherboards combined with rack-mounted solutions that have, for probably some reason or scenario that does not exist today, GPUs onboard.
 

Visseroth

Senior Member
Joined
Nov 4, 2011
Messages
520
Yea, I can definitely see that and video card manufacturers haven't exactly made it easy to use their video cards without their proprietary drivers with unix based systems.
I can definitely see GPU technology accelerate things like encryption, parity calculations but Intel's AES does do the trick but I believe in coming years there may be things like GPU based PCI cards for doing encryption and decryption.
But for now I see that adding that kind of tech is not on the to do list as it would overly complicate a already complicated system and likely just cause more problems until better solutions can be made.
 

James Doyle

Neophyte
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Dec 17, 2016
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8
I'd say this is outside of the design center for FreeNAS given the competitive landscape. Most of the hardware assists are already being done on the Network card (i.e. checksums) or the Storage card. If you have truly stringent crypto requirements (i.e. govt) you wont be allowed to use FreeNAS. Secure systems have completely different architectures than general purpose computers like we use. Separate red and black datapaths, separate red and black memory, etc. You will be working with a curated list of approved vendors and will be handed as massive budget to spend generously with.

The most secure distributed filesystem that I've ever used is AFS. It uses kerberos for all client to server connections. There are protections for replay attacks. You can encrypt the wire traffic. You can
expire the client-side cache. The kerberos tickets expire. You will see AFS in all the government labs - especially the US nuclear weapons labs, however, it's not known if AFS is used inside of the workgroups
where nuclear weapons computations and studies are being done, but certainly all over the other parts of these labs where sensitive / secret work is conducted. Again, not sure about top secret work, but lower levels of classification AFS meets muster. AFS scales horizontally - keep adding file server boxes... Different approach than FreeNAS (large monster server as big as an octopus) - keep adding RAM and disk

Again, applications that require the level of crypto performance you mention have far more invasive data security requirements. And finally, when organizations get really big - distributed filesystems with
client side caching come into favor to allow for geographical distribution, and protection for single point of failure outages. All of this is outside FreeNAS design center and outside market sweetspot.

-- Jim
 

davfre76

Newbie
Joined
Oct 11, 2017
Messages
1
I was just curious and started doing some digging around to see if anyone was starting to use GPU processing for any kind of acceleration, because obviously GPUs handle certain types of processing better than a standard CPU and I didn't see much regarding GPU acceleration for FreeNAS nor any plans for implementation.
Granted it would be no small task, but you would think some gpu acceleration would help for things like encryption and video encoding/decoding, maybe even parity calculations.
Since most Intel boards come with a Intel GPU of some kind, granted they aren't anything special, utilizing every bit of a server is more efficient than just letting it sit idle, doing near to, or nothing at all.
Even compiling for a specific video card is better than trying to make GPU acceleration compatible with all cards. Specially if you want stability and obviously an option for those that want or can use that kind of acceleration. Specially now that you can find GPUs with ECC RAM such as the NVidia Telsa and/or Quatro.

So just out of curiosity, does FreeNAS have any plans for GPU acceleration as a option?
One would think it would be handy for VPNs, virtualization, encryptions, video compiling and I'm sure much more.

Thoughts? Opinions?
Hi,

I would really love to have option to use GPU acceleration. I have a Plex media server and want to play 4k material. You need a really good CPU to do that. I have i7-4790k 4,Ghz and it go down on it's knee when i try. PMS recommends a CPU with a passmark score of 2000 for a 10 Mbps video so an 80 Mbps video would need a score of 16,000. The option for hardware acceleration is now open if you have plex pass. My option is buy a new computer (motherbord, CPU and memory) or dump FreeNAS and go to windows or linux.

/David
 

Visseroth

Senior Member
Joined
Nov 4, 2011
Messages
520
There are uses for GPU acceleration for sure. I agree that some kind of GPU acceleration needs to be supported. At least available because there are things a GPU will smoke a CPU on. Video rendering being one of them. Even if it wasn't specifically a video card but a GPU specific acceleration card just for acceleration of encryption, videos, compression, ect.
 

SweetAndLow

Sweet'NASty
Joined
Nov 6, 2013
Messages
6,218
Hi,

I would really love to have option to use GPU acceleration. I have a Plex media server and want to play 4k material. You need a really good CPU to do that. I have i7-4790k 4,Ghz and it go down on it's knee when i try. PMS recommends a CPU with a passmark score of 2000 for a 10 Mbps video so an 80 Mbps video would need a score of 16,000. The option for hardware acceleration is now open if you have plex pass. My option is buy a new computer (motherbord, CPU and memory) or dump FreeNAS and go to windows or linux.

/David
This comment doesn't make any sense. You want acceleration then say Plex has it. So what's the problem? I to am excited for the Plex hardware offload feature. I have been waiting for the package to get updated.
 

joeschmuck

Old Man
Moderator
Joined
May 28, 2011
Messages
8,664
Is it true that only people who pay for Plex Pass will be able to enjoy the benefits of the GPU acceleration? Since I don't have a GPU in my system, well not a fast one, this doesn't impact me but it would be nice to know in order to assist others who ask. Of course I'm sure there will be a Plex GPU Accelleration thread once this all starts working for FreeNAS.
 

nightshade00013

Neophyte Sage
Joined
Apr 9, 2015
Messages
1,258
People with a Plexpass will get it sooner but it will eventually roll out to everyone. It will just take a little while longer. The only things that a Plexpass will get that a user without will not are features that cost a little extra to make available or the discounts on hardware that a Plexpass user can get. The HD HomeRun DVR feature and the ability to use cloud storage are some that will come available later on for all users but right now are premium upgrades.

I think that to begin with the apps for the console's like the Playstation and Xbox were Plexpass only or an additional cost without.
 
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