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I have some old server hardware that I want to build a FreeNAS data server with, but it only has 8 GB of memory and I can't really expand on that.

I plan on putting 6 4tb drives in there, with double parity, yielding about 14 gb of actual storage. Almost double what the "1gb per 1tb" rule entitles the system to.

However, the server will only be accessed by a single system, and the usage pattern will be highly sequential data streams, nothing that can really benefit from extensive caching. No multiple clients, no small random access, nothing running in jails. Just a plain "huge files" server.

Would 8 gb of ram be able to cut it, or do I need to shell out an extra 1000$ to buy a new system?

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8GB of RAM is fine.

I'd urge you to consider an alternative to FreeNAS, since it's not the beat or most reliable ZFS implementation. But sure, the amount of RAM you have is okay. Be sure not to enable deduplication. Compression is fine, though.

  • The CPU is able to cope with compression, and since it is raw binary data that is wildly compressible, I am expecting the system to come close to saturating a 10 gbit connection or maybe even saturate it completely. – dtech Feb 16 '18 at 13:35
  • What is better than FreeNAS? Last time I checked, ZFS on Linux was even less reliable. – dtech Feb 16 '18 at 13:36
  • ZFS on Linux works well for my purposes and is a more prudent choice for its expanded hardware support. – ewwhite Feb 16 '18 at 13:56
  • I was under the impression that zfs on linux is behind in development. Couple of years ago it wasn't even considered deployment ready IIRC. I am not bent on freenas, but it does add a certain convenience factor, I am not really big on command line fiddling. I tried m$ storage spaces, but that's pathetically slow. – dtech Feb 16 '18 at 14:01
  • @dtech: Solaris or OmniOS (now community-owned) as system and napp-it as GUI/layer above is a fully functional, lightweight and stable combination. Hardware support is not as well-rounded as Linux, but for older and especially server-grade hardware that usually does not matter. – user121391 Feb 21 '18 at 12:29

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