Freenas or Truenas?

_Mithrandir_

_Mithrandir_

Enthusiast
Hey gang, I am finishing up my first home server build today. Its mostly for my home theater but may occasionally stream to another device, thus it will be a plex server. I was planning on using Freenas as the OS and see that it recently updated to Truenas although many people have had issues with their content after updating. My question is should I start with Truenas right off or is an older version of Freenas recommended?
 
John Parks

John Parks

Audioholic General
I know nothing about the subject at hand but I love your avatar!
Gandalf.jpg

User name is not half bad either...
 
BoredSysAdmin

BoredSysAdmin

Audioholic Overlord
I am a very long time both Freenas and Truenas user will tell you one big thing: Don't put your trust in iXsystems to maintain long term support for having plex server updating.

My strong advice - separate Plex and XxxxNAS into separate computers or if you must use the same hardware, separate VMs. It has been done and many examples, particularly over at ServeTheHome forums. You'll find here 2-3 IT knowledgable people at most, vs hundreds over there.
 
_Mithrandir_

_Mithrandir_

Enthusiast
I am a very long time both Freenas and Truenas user will tell you one big thing: Don't put your trust in iXsystems to maintain long term support for having plex server updating.

My strong advice - separate Plex and XxxxNAS into separate computers or if you must use the same hardware, separate VMs. It has been done and many examples, particularly over at ServeTheHome forums. You'll find here 2-3 IT knowledgable people at most, vs hundreds over there.
Thanks for the advice. I planned to use the server for storage and believed that Plex would just be an add on. I will, for now use my game console for using Plex. Is there a preference of Freenas vs Truenas though?I also have a PC attached to my AVR that I can use for a Plex client if that’s what you mean by separating them. Thanks again.
 
jinjuku

jinjuku

Moderator
Synology should be tempting since it's not cost prohibitive. I would use TrueNAS and I have setup FreeNAS in the past.
 
_Mithrandir_

_Mithrandir_

Enthusiast
Synology should be tempting since it's not cost prohibitive. I would use TrueNAS and I have setup FreeNAS in the past.
Thank you. I will install TrueNAS and go from there. I’m quite sure that I will have many more questions.
 
panteragstk

panteragstk

Audioholic Spartan
I use UNRAID with great results. It's not free, but as far as features go it's difficult to beat.

The docker and vm managers and capabilities are very good if you need that sort of thing.
 
_Mithrandir_

_Mithrandir_

Enthusiast
Thanks for the advice, panteragstk, I will look into unRaid as well. For now i am having issues just getting my mb to see the HD’s. I think its a 3.3v issue and have some Kapton tape about to show up. Fingers crossed!
 
BoredSysAdmin

BoredSysAdmin

Audioholic Overlord
I use UNRAID with great results. It's not free, but as far as features go it's difficult to beat.

The docker and vm managers and capabilities are very good if you need that sort of thing.
For me personally running Plex server, a single most critical feature would be hardware transcoding support.
Yes, it's mostly limited only to Plex Pass subscribers (I got cheaper Lifetime a while ago), but I think it's invaluable in the sense that you could build a fairly low-power plex server and rely on dedicated hardware to do the EXTREMELY heavily lifting of video encoding.
So this is where I draw a line and unfortunately, BSD is very much behind on this. There are not BSD drivers and this critical (imo) feature will not be supported on any BSD based systems anytime soon.
So it leaves Freenas/Truenas and Nas4Free out of running for plex server. again, according to my needs.
I think Unraid supports hardware transcoding with Plex. So does Linux based OPV (Open media vault - some tinkering required)

After years of running the Plex server on FreeNAS, I moved it to a cheap NUC with J3455 CPU and it works great. Running Ubuntu 18.04 server. I am still using Freenas but only as a storage system. SMB+NFS.

How to setup Plex with transcoding on Unraid:
 
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panteragstk

panteragstk

Audioholic Spartan
For me personally running Plex server, a single most critical feature would be hardware transcoding support.
Yes, it's mostly limited only to Plex Pass subscribers (I got cheaper Lifetime a while ago), but I think it's invaluable in the sense that you could build a fairly low-power plex server and rely on dedicated hardware to do the EXTREMELY heavily lifting of video encoding.
So this is where I draw a line and unfortunately, BSD is very much behind on this. There are not BSD drivers and this critical (imo) feature will not be supported on any BSD based systems anytime soon.
So it leaves Freenas/Truenas and Nas4Free out of running for plex server. again, according to my needs.
I think Unraid supports hardware transcoding with Plex. So does Linux based OPV (Open media vault - some tinkering required)

After years of running the Plex server on FreeNAS, I moved it to a cheap NUC with J3455 CPU and it works great. Running Ubuntu 18.04 server. I am still using Freenas but only as a storage system. SMB+NFS.

How to setup Plex with transcoding on Unraid:
Yep. That's what my other buddy that uses FreeNAS has an issue with. I'm using an unraid nvidia build, but they finally added the ability to install the driver in the "official" version.

I've got two cards in my NAS right now. A GTX 1050 for encoding/decoding and a 1030 that was for my HTPC, but now assists with decoding. My CPU is much happier.

I wondered what OS you were running on your NUC. Is it Plex only, or does it have other jobs?
 
panteragstk

panteragstk

Audioholic Spartan
Thanks for the advice, panteragstk, I will look into unRaid as well. For now i am having issues just getting my mb to see the HD’s. I think its a 3.3v issue and have some Kapton tape about to show up. Fingers crossed!
That's not good. If you have that issue in UNRAID, you will probably be OK if a drive suddenly isn't recognizable. I'll let those with more experience with ZFS speak, but I'm pretty sure you'd kill your pool if that happened while FreeNAS was running.

For any NAS, you really need to make sure you have solid hardware. Server grade is preferred, but not 100% necessary. I've had a difficult time finding consumer grade motherboards that have the features I want. I'm running old school hardware, but it all works 100% without issue. If it dies, I just pop in another motherboard/cpu/RAM and go. No issues there.
 
BoredSysAdmin

BoredSysAdmin

Audioholic Overlord
I wondered what OS you were running on your NUC. Is it Plex only, or does it have other jobs?
It could be a bit wasteful, but I figured Intel NUC J3455 and 4GB ram, with a side of cheap 128gb SATA SSD, I could afford the electricity bill to serve a single function. It's running very plain-vanilla Ubuntu 18.04 LTS Server edition Linux os. Specifically, ubuntu since Plex has it's own repository and makes it very easy to upgrade it.
I don't claim it to be THE BEST, but the Ubuntu server just works fine for me. Matter of habit I guess. Now for Ubuntu Desktop, which I don't use, is a whole different conversation.
As far as installing Plex on Ubuntu - it doesn't take much at all. Just have your ISO writing to USB stick with your favorite USB imaging tool (Rufus). Configure basic network. Add fstab NFS mounts to allow the NFS shares to remain after a reboot. The plex server install is copy/paste/run two-three commands.

ok, enough Linux nerd talk.
 
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_Mithrandir_

_Mithrandir_

Enthusiast
So after spending a day dealing with hard drives it turns out that all four are doa. Ive been collecting parts to build this NAS for about a year and now that i am building it finding out that things don’t work. Frustrating for sure. One desk star from Fry’s purchases about a year ago, one Ironwolf from newegg purchased in May, and two more Ironwolfs from amazon last week. All new, NAS drives. It’s. Not a 3.3v issue, as the kapton tape didn’t work. I have tested the rest of my hardware with other ssds and HD’s to make sure everything is working. At least i can get a return from amazon today. Also I guess I will try toshiba 6 T nas drives next. As far as UnRaid vs TrueNAS goes, I am still exploring both. I want to make sure there is good parity since I am putting 200 Blu-ray’s and some dvds in for Plex. Thanks for the support fellas.
 
BoredSysAdmin

BoredSysAdmin

Audioholic Overlord
according to ServeTheHome forums (mentioned above) one of the better deals for home NAS drives (besides chucked BestBuy's WDs, are Seagate Exos drives - these are designed for enterprise storage and engineered to work 24/7 for a very long time. These could be a great alternative to buying WD Red or IronWolfs.
Sucks about DOA drives, but you should start a warranty claim for drives that you can't simply replace with Amazon.
 
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killdozzer

killdozzer

Audioholic Samurai
+1 for the Synology recommendation. I have one and never had one single issue to complain about. (Well, maybe all the blinking lights. When I have someone couch-surfing, it drives them mad).
 
panteragstk

panteragstk

Audioholic Spartan
So after spending a day dealing with hard drives it turns out that all four are doa. Ive been collecting parts to build this NAS for about a year and now that i am building it finding out that things don’t work. Frustrating for sure. One desk star from Fry’s purchases about a year ago, one Ironwolf from newegg purchased in May, and two more Ironwolfs from amazon last week. All new, NAS drives. It’s. Not a 3.3v issue, as the kapton tape didn’t work. I have tested the rest of my hardware with other ssds and HD’s to make sure everything is working. At least i can get a return from amazon today. Also I guess I will try toshiba 6 T nas drives next. As far as UnRaid vs TrueNAS goes, I am still exploring both. I want to make sure there is good parity since I am putting 200 Blu-ray’s and some dvds in for Plex. Thanks for the support fellas.
Parity won't be an issue with either. I've got close to 3k moves on mine and have dual parity on both my servers so I can handle two drive failures before I'm in trouble. Even if I get a catastrophic failure (which has happened) I can get data off each drive so I'm not totally screwed.

Now that I have a backup server I worry less, but 24 drives (22 data, 2 parity) that's still a lot of drives.TrueNAS will be more flexible in this area since it leverages all the ZFS goodies, but if you don't have a high drive count then it might not matter to you.

Either is better than hardware RAID.
 
_Mithrandir_

_Mithrandir_

Enthusiast
Parity won't be an issue with either. I've got close to 3k moves on mine and have dual parity on both my servers so I can handle two drive failures before I'm in trouble. Even if I get a catastrophic failure (which has happened) I can get data off each drive so I'm not totally screwed.

Now that I have a backup server I worry less, but 24 drives (22 data, 2 parity) that's still a lot of drives.TrueNAS will be more flexible in this area since it leverages all the ZFS goodies, but if you don't have a high drive count then it might not matter to you.

Either is better than hardware RAID.
I’m definitely leaning towards TrueNAS at the moment, just not sure if it allows you to add drives in the future though. You should be able to right? If so then I can just grab two 6t or 8t drives sooner. I do like what Ive read about ZFS. I really want to make sure I don’t lose anything with a drive failure. Also, 24 drives is bananas.
 
BoredSysAdmin

BoredSysAdmin

Audioholic Overlord
You can add drives to ZFS, but there are some restrictions on it. ZFS is also preventing bit rot, which many other file systems don't - so it's perfect for long term storage.
You should really learn more about ZFS architecture before plunging into it.

@panteragstk For performance reasons iXsystems recommend vdevs to be 6 drives. One of my zpools is a single vdev which 1x12 raidz2 and I get terrible write performance on it. Only way I could it tolerable, Is to turn-off sync writes. So write to memory (non-ecc) and then stage to drives. Yes, I am taking a risk, BUT I have both UPS and 20secons on the generator. So I think I should ok.
 
panteragstk

panteragstk

Audioholic Spartan
You can add drives to ZFS, but there are some restrictions on it. ZFS is also preventing bit rot, which many other file systems don't - so it's perfect for long term storage.
You should really learn more about ZFS architecture before plunging into it.

@panteragstk For performance reasons iXsystems recommend vdevs to be 6 drives. One of my zpools is a single vdev which 1x12 raidz2 and I get terrible write performance on it. Only way I could it tolerable, Is to turn-off sync writes. So write to memory (non-ecc) and then stage to drives. Yes, I am taking a risk, BUT I have both UPS and 20secons on the generator. So I think I should ok.
I use UNRAID in a similar fashion. Not as nifty as ZFS for sure, but they just have a simple cache drive option that eventually gets pushed to the array during the mover task. I have a huge UPS on that, but no generator. Any data on that drive wouldn't really be important. The backup server is where the important stuff is. No cache for that one. I had to add a tool/task to do error checking to make sure I don't have any rot, and so far it's done pretty well for me. UNRAID does have a ZFS plugin, but those are managed outside the array so I could technically have ZFS and what UNRAID has to offer.

I think one thing that stopped me from going the TrueNAS route was the way you have to treat the zpools. Yes you can add a single drive, but it's not so simple. That task is seconds of effort in UNRAID. I still want to put TrueNAS on a VM and play around, but time isn't something I have a lot of. You get it.

Are there any truth to the rumors to the TrueNAS devs doing away with the free version? I read they've been "threatening" for years, but nothing has come of it. This goes back at least 5 years so it obviously never happened.

I ended up with ECC for both boxes just because it was cheap on ebay. Same with the CPU/mobo and lsi controllers. Lots of cores (heat) for cheap, but I'm thinking of going low power. I'd downsize my drive number, but large drives are so expensive and I have a once per month parity sync task that already takes 2 days with 8tb drives.
 

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