What is the recommended way of running FreeNAS in a data center setting?

I need to build a storage server and I want to try using FreeNAS such that all the 8 drives are used for storage?

Hardware Specs:

Supermicro SS825TQ-X9SCA

Xeon E-1220V2

16GB memory

8 units 2TB SATA ES drives

I don't think the server chassis supports a compact flash card so that is ruled out.

Running from USB seems the most straightforward way but how about redundancy of the system files and configuration?

I read about running FreeNas as a VM on top of ESXi but this will mean one of the drives must be used to store the VM image making it unusable as a storage drive?

Your suggestions are most welcome.


I have installed many FreeNAS boxes in the past. The most common setup I use is booting from USB drive. Nowadays that is very easy and much support with all the "internal" usb ports showing up on mainboards.

As for the configuration. After setting up the box, simply do a backup of the config file from the web interface and save this somewhere (you can find it back later). If ever the USB drive fails and you have to reinstall / replace the USB you can import the configuration to get your machine back in working order.

Running is from ESXi as a virtual machine is possible, but you would need to have VT-d at least to get any speed from the machine, working with virtual harddisks is not really an option outside of a test environment.

so TL;DR burn freenas on a USB stick, configure it, backup config. have a spare USB around in case the drive ever fails.

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