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suggestions for setting up a new (to me) FreeNAS, and migrating data from old to new.

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#1
my older (first attempt) at a FreeNAS system is a Dell PowerEdge R200, IIRC, with one drive for OS, and one for data.
my newer (second attempt) system is a Dell PowerEdge R710. it has 6 SAS 3.5" drive spaces, with two being used for the OS (hardware RAID 1). the other 4 bays, two have a 2TB SAS drive each, and the other two are waiting delivery of a 2TB SAS drive each.

my first thought is to set the 4 data drives up as RAID 5 or 6. though is there is a better alternative, i am open.

now, what is the easiest way to migrate the data, as well as user/share configuration to the new server?
this will be used in a home environment, so the number of users will be low. mostly personal backups over SMB shares, though i plan to migrate data from my webserver onto the NAS via NFS.

Thank you in advance for any help.
~Travis
 
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#2
due to the lack of any response, i guess i will set the data drives as RAID 5, and as for moving the data from old to new... i guess each user will have to go through the slow process of transferring their own data. kinda wish there was a faster, and easier way.

~Travis
 

Tigersharke

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#3
due to the lack of any response, i guess i will set the data drives as RAID 5, and as for moving the data from old to new... i guess each user will have to go through the slow process of transferring their own data. kinda wish there was a faster, and easier way.

~Travis
I generally let much more knowledgeable folk answer first. However. It is my understanding that ZFS should control the RAID setup and if hardware RAID (as you describe) is combined with ZFS style RAIDZ or ZFS at all, there may be conflicts. Hardware RAID such as enabled by the chips on SATA controller cards will use its software to detect errors and make its cache, and wrest control away from ZFS. This means that ZFS may not be able to do its form of detection and error correction and caching, all of which defeats the purpose of using ZFS.

I know nothing about SAS drives, what makes them different or how they would be used with ZFS *without* any sort of hardware RAID. There are plenty of people here and documents (in the Resources area) which should be able to guide you much better than I can hope to do. With ZFS, you can setup mirrors, stripes, raidz, and combinations of them. ZFS has send/receive although when I used an old version of FreeNAS, this did not seem to be implemented the way I guessed it might be. Things may have changed, or it may be possible to do the ZFS send/receive outside of FreeNAS. I hope others will clarify and add their insights.

I do not presently use FreeNAS, though I do have a "raidz3-0" on my primary box with nine 500GB sata HDDs. My work here on the forums is maintaining the theme I created for it, attempting to stay ahead of spammers and other abuses, and to very occasionally answer a question or offer limited advice. I wish you success.
 
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#5
Thanks for the responses! i had not read about RAIDZ. i was under the understanding that hardware RAID was better and more efficient. i think i can setup my RAID SAS controller as individual physical disks, but i will have to then re-install FreeNAS. not really an issue, as i loaded it primarily to make sure the used server i bought would function well.

again, thank you both for responding!
~Travis
 

Fredda

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#6
What type of RAID controller is in your system exactly? If it can be flashed to IT mode to work as a Host Bus Adapter this is the way to go.
FreeNAS works best when it can operate directly on the discs and not on a RAID controller.
 
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#8
RAID controller is a "Dell PERC 6/i with 256MB battery-backed cache".

i could not get the controller to not use hardware RAID, but i did set each drive as it's own virtual disk, RAID 0. this itemized each drive out separately.
not sure if it is ideal, but it seems to be working.
FreeNAS is installed onto disks 0 and 1, and the drive pool ("Main", Z2) is set for disks 2, 3, 4, and 5. giving me about 3.4TB available.

~Travis
 

HoneyBadger

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#9
not sure if it is ideal, but it seems to be working.
Definitely not ideal. The presence of the battery-backed cache on your RAID controller means that it will likely "lie" to ZFS about whether or not data is truly and successfully flushed to the disk, meaning that a controller failure or extended power outage (sufficient to drain RAID battery backup) would likely result in corrupted data and/or a damaged pool.

I would suggest picking up an inexpensive Dell PERC H200 or H310, which can be flashed into a true "non-RAID HBA" and would allow ZFS direct access to the drives.
 
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#10
Hmm... after spending the money on the Dell PE R710, i don't have the budget for much more, even if it is inexpensive. not sure i want to go down the rabbit-hole of buying a card, finding out my cables are incompatible, buying cables, then finding out my drive backplane isn't correct. ;)

...and now the R710 isn't coming back online after a configuration reboot :rolleyes:

~Travis
 
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#11
Ok, note to self, it doesn't work to copy the FreeNAS config from the old to the new FreeNAS server...
so, this time around, i reverted back to hardware RAID (1 for OS drives, 5 for data drives). it may not be great or ideal, but it works with what i have available. not saying ZFS isn't better, just that it was getting more complicated, for my needs.

Clearly, i am a failure at IT... ;)
Anyway, now i just have to transfer user data and share info from my old to new server.

~Travis
 

HoneyBadger

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#12
You're probably right about having some potential cabling issues as well (the PERC 6/i used the larger connectors I'm pretty sure) but I would look at it as a potential option. A used H200 should be around USD$20-25 on eBay, and if you're patient you can try for a unit with some cables too. Although in an R710 it would have to go in a regular PCIe slot and not the "storage slot" I believe.

And in this case it's better to use a different solution rather than applying ZFS where the hardware doesn't play nice with it. I imagine hardware RAID is fine for your use case. (Just don't layer ZFS on top and then be surprised if things act funky.)
 
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