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Thoughts on NIC's and Switch

Joined
Feb 9, 2012
Messages
3
Hi this might be redundant but my issue is that i have a saturated link @ 100mb right now planning to go 1gb but i wanted to ask if there is anything i can do as far as teaming or using etherchannel or lacp for my home NAS

i plan on hooking up ESXI5 to it and a number of shares, CIFS to be exact only about 8 people max accessing it simultaneously

p43biostar mobo
intel celeron cpu e3300 @ 2.50ghz
4gb of 1066 ram
1x500gb 7200RPM


right now i am getting 12 mb/s when transferring 2gb file across my network with only these two clients on the network, both NICS set at 100mb full. i can see in the monitoring of FREENAS that it seems like my link is saturated when performing this operation as well as the source (my windows 7 computer). I would like to think i could get at least 25/30 mb/s with one single drive and this operation. but my switch is only 100mb

I would like to increase the speeds up to 120mb/s write/read (i will be using 3 10k WD raptors in raid z) had some extra raptors laying around so :)

so i am asking if i want to achieve these speeds what do i need to do, maybe i do not need to use LACP? do you have any suggestions for 1gb switches with or without layer 3 abilities

thanks,
 

BobCochran

FreeNAS Experienced
Joined
Aug 5, 2011
Messages
184
I don't see how you are going to be able to satisfy the needs of 8 users with that hardware and CIFS. Samba (which is basically what CIFS is) is single-threaded, and your Celeron CPU has only 2 cores and 2 threads. If the motherboard's PCI Express X1 slot is not in use, you could buy an Intel gigabit network card, cat6 cable, and a gigabit switch and then possibly get gigabit speeds over the network. I'm not sure what the 8 users will experience when they try to access the the hard drives. Commodity hard drives don't do too well with multiple users trying to read and write to such drives at the same time. (I'm repeating what I learned in the FreeNAS 8.0.3 manual.)

I think 12 Mb/s might be a sign that you have damaged network cabling and/or you are using a hub rather than a switch. I think you need a combination of: better network hardware, a better processor, a 64-bit version of FreeNAS 8.0.3-p1, and use NFS instead of CIFS. However, the user "Protosd" has an Intel Atom-based motherboard and he is getting really good throughput on his disk reads and writes. You might want to check his FAQ and website to see what his buildout is like.

I'm new to FreeNAS so take my advice with a grain of salt.

Bob
 

survive

Behold the Wumpus
Moderator
Joined
May 28, 2011
Messages
867
Hi fobia,

You should be able to get yourself an 8 port gig switch & a couple of gig-e nics for around a hundred bucks...assuming your source is capable that should give you up to about 100MB\s.

Assuming you have the PCI-e slots, I would take Bob's advice and get Intel "CT" desktop nics as needed. Personally I like the Netgear "GS" gig switches but as long as you don't go totally cheap it might actually be tough to buy a "bad" switch. If you expect to have 8 connections you might want to consider going with more than 8 ports...it's always nice to have one more than you need. To do LACP you need a switch that's "smart" to allow you to bond ports together for more performance. Be sure to check that ESXi will support it. You might want to check ebay for something like an HP 2810 or a Dell 5324 and see if you can find yourself a deal. It's certainly more ports than you need but they can be had for cheap and will support link aggregation to both FreeNAS & ESXi. Don't be surprised to find that the hardware is actually going to be the limiting component if you go to gig-e.

-Will
 
Joined
Feb 9, 2012
Messages
3
Thanks, guys .. But I do not have a hub.. And .. cat5e is good enough for gig speeds my CPU or ram is not being over loaded at all.. The onboard nics on my source and destination are 1 gig but the Ports on my switch are only 100mb so I am going to go pick up a cheap swich1gig temporarly to see if that improves my speed .. Thanks for the responses
 

gcooper

FreeNAS Experienced
Joined
Sep 23, 2011
Messages
416
Thanks, guys .. But I do not have a hub.. And .. cat5e is good enough for gig speeds my CPU or ram is not being over loaded at all.. The onboard nics on my source and destination are 1 gig but the Ports on my switch are only 100mb so I am going to go pick up a cheap swich1gig temporarly to see if that improves my speed .. Thanks for the responses
It will definitely improve throughput as the switch is currently your bottleneck. You should be able to purchase a cheap, dumb gigabit netgear or linksys switch for <$50.

Samba is single threaded per-client if you try and transfer using a single copy operation (you can do more if you start multiple transfers in parallel via xcopy, robocopy, or simple copies in Windows Explorer). I've seen a single client saturate gigabit with enough transfers (which is what the limitation was for the machine) and I've personally run tests pushing 4 Gbps as well with 10 different clients (and quite frankly Samba wasn't really breaking a sweat).
 

louisk

FreeNAS Experienced
Joined
Aug 10, 2011
Messages
433
Typically you need a managed switch to support link aggregation (lacp or etherchannel). I'm not aware of FreeBSD support for using any other methods.

That said, if your source doesn't also have link aggregation, you won't see much, if any difference.
 

gcooper

FreeNAS Experienced
Joined
Sep 23, 2011
Messages
416
Typically you need a managed switch to support link aggregation (lacp or etherchannel). I'm not aware of FreeBSD support for using any other methods.
LACP should be used instead of Etherchannel as it's the defacto IEEE accepted standard.

That said, if your source doesn't also have link aggregation, you won't see much, if any difference.
This statement is true for single client scenarios. Since you have multiple clients, the aggregate speed will be higher if you have the NAS machine hooked up on a lagg.
 

louisk

FreeNAS Experienced
Joined
Aug 10, 2011
Messages
433
LACP should be used instead of Etherchannel as it's the defacto IEEE accepted standard.



This statement is true for single client scenarios. Since you have multiple clients, the aggregate speed will be higher if you have the NAS machine hooked up on a lagg.
Agreed, I just wanted to point out both options, some people prefer strange cisco protocols over standards. :)
 

peterh

FreeNAS Experienced
Joined
Oct 19, 2011
Messages
315
Agreed, I just wanted to point out both options, some people prefer strange cisco protocols over standards. :)
Most cisco protocols are earlier then standards, some standards are really a hotch-potch designed by committies

Just compare eigrp and ospf, one works *just right", scales to large networks , the other does not.

ISL and IEEE vlan is another fieldd where the standard certenly stinks, but to be able to "speak with pesants"
one has to do ieee vlan :-(
 

louisk

FreeNAS Experienced
Joined
Aug 10, 2011
Messages
433
However, we do live in a world where (thankfully) we have more than 1 vendor to choose from, so we have to play well with others.
 
Joined
Feb 9, 2012
Messages
3
well bought a gig switch. everything is fine running CIFS .. around 80/120mb/s when writing to a single 7200rpm segate drive.. however i thought i could expect higher right speeds with a RAID Z config 3 10k drivers.. i am actually getting slower speeds around 55mb/s to 70mb/s. these benches are all done with one single 2gb ISO file. from a ssd laptop with 1gbps.. it doesnt seem like the link is bottleknecked on the windows side . or the freenas side.. any thoughts? also i think im going to be that intel CT nic..

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16833106036 NIC

and this switch http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16833120655
 

BobCochran

FreeNAS Experienced
Joined
Aug 5, 2011
Messages
184
I think a 2Gb file is too small to be a good test of large file transfer times. I bet that if you try to transfer 50 or 100 Gb, your throughput will drop. I don't know how much it might drop by though.

With that said, I am really interested in whether the Cisco switch might improve your performance and if so by how much. I was just thinking of getting one last night, I was looking at the SG300-10. The network card you are getting looks to be precisely the same one installed on my FreeNAS box.

I am still not sure why my FreeNAS box locks up every hour or so during large file transfers of 810 Gb or so. I am using ZFS instead of UFS on this box and it locks up unexpectedly. By contrast, a different box I have set up with FreeNAS uses only UFS for the disks and no RAIDZ, and I can do 250+ Gb file transfers to it without a problem. And that is using cheap network hardware.

I can't remember the throughput numbers I was getting on the transfers to drives configured as UFS volumes. My transfers to my ZFS volumes, on a separate box with 16 Gb of RAM, the same network card you are getting, and a Dell PowerConnect 2716 switch is about 23 Mb/s. It seems possible to me that my 11 year old cat 5e cabling might need replacement.

If you get the Cisco switch I'm really interested in the performance it gives you.
Bob
 
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