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flipper

Gen 8 installation / Configuration

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flipper

I actually have a small nuc (Intel NUC 5i5RYH with 8Gb ram) with Esxi and a separated NAS. I bought a HP gen8 microserver with 16Gb ram and xeon proc to play with as my new homelab. I would like to get rid of my qnap NAS and maybe my nuc too. I want to learn more about adminsys and to be proud of running some stuff on my own.

My final goal is to run the following services:

  - a production jeedom (home automation programm)
  - a test home automation like Hass.io
  - a pihole / unbound
  - a unifi controler
  - a VPN server
  - a reverse-proxy (nginx?)
  - a nas to centralise data, share files with computers and shield tv, synchronise and backup data to a dedicated online server ( OMV/Freenas)
  - a personal cloud / calendar (nextcloud?)

I have 2 3To HDD and 2 6To HDD, a 480Go SSD, I don't need a lot of space to save all my data (3To for the moment).

 

I was wondering if installing a proxmox would be a good idea to manage this. The point is about virtualisation of the Nas part, is it a good idea.

Would it be better to just install a debian and have docker ?

 

About the disks, if I go for proxmox, I need to set it as AHCI on the gen8 and do passthrough to the nas VM ?

 

Thanks for the help

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carp969

At least four of those items can be run on docker. I would suggest get a Raspberry PI and using docker on it for

 

  - a pihole / unbound
  - a unifi controler
  - a VPN server
  - a reverse-proxy

 

That will be reasonably stable and then your gen8 can handle the rest. VMware will give you a copy of Esxi for nothing. I prefer VMware as that is where my skillset is. Tried Promox and KVM both are fine but I didn't see a need given everything I do professionally is VMware or Hyper-V.

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ullbeking
Quote

I was wondering if installing a proxmox would be a good idea to manage this. The point is about virtualisation of the Nas part, is it a good idea.

 

It's not a good idea to virtualize your NAS.  This is an ongoing debate.  In my opinion it is best to keep things simple.

 

Quote

Would it be better to just install a debian and have docker ?

 

What do you mean by this?

 

Quote

About the disks, if I go for proxmox, I need to set it as AHCI on the gen8 and do passthrough to the nas VM ?

 

No.  For example, if you install FreeNAS on a VM and then use VT-d passthrough, it is a bad idea, in my opinion.  It is often tricky to set up.  And it means that there are more things to go wrong.

 

If I were in your situation I would use Proxmox and use the disks in your Gen 8 directly from the operating system.  Note that you will want to run the VM's on SSD's.

 

For example, you could have two SSD's for Proxmox and your VM's (assuming that you are able to get SSD's mounted properly in your caddies).  You could have two, larger capacity, HDD's for bulk data storage.

 

If you need more storage than what you can fit in the Gen 8, especially if you are using RAID, consider using a real NAS and connecting it to your network using Ethernet.  In this situation I would use a Synology NAS.  Something from their Plus series would be ideal.

 

But to get started, the Gen 8 is an ideal NAS + virtualization host.  And don't forget that backups are more important than RAID.

 

This would be an excellent question for the Proxmox forums.

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flipper

So after what I read I was thinking about proxmox installed on the ssd, then 4 hdd in zfs mirror, no need for raid for my home server, not too critical. I manage the zfs pool and nfs /samba share on the proxmox host directly so no nas vm.
Hdd has to be set ahci?
The downside of this is the cli configuration for samba nfs on the host.

By the debian and docker I was wondering if it would also be a good idea to just put a debian install on the ssd, with docker installed on debian.

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netware5
Posted (edited)

I would support the concept that the NAS itself should be bare metal. So you may install Freenas or XigmaNAS (former Nas4free) as main OS to provide NAS services. Then you may use VirtualBox (included in XigmaNAS) to run VM for other stuff (VPN, etc.).

 

Personally I recommend XigmaNAS - it is a fork of the original FreeNAS project before commercialization. It has faster and simpler Web interface, less hardware requirements, much more friendly community and forum. I am running XigmaNAS on my Microserver Gen8 since February 2017 and it works like a charm. Currently it hosts one Ubuntu Server 16.04 VM, which runs CUPS print server and OpenVPN server.

 

You can easily test such configuration as the XigmaNAS "embedded" installation runs in RAM booting from USB or MIcroSD. So experiments are easy. It is also advised to run the HDD controller in AHCI mode and do not use its RAID features. Just enjoy the robust stability of ZFS :)

 

If you have specific questions I am ready to help.

Edited by netware5

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ullbeking
On 4/6/2019 at 6:28 PM, flipper said:

By the debian and docker I was wondering if it would also be a good idea to just put a debian install on the ssd, with docker installed on debian.

 

Indeed.  If Docker suits your needs then this is a much more efficient use of resources.  Docker Swarm is really great, and much simpler than Kubernetes.

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ullbeking

I agree with @netware5 in principle.  If you are going to use an "appliance" style of NAS, i.e., a NAS that wants the entire machine to itself, such as FreeNAS, then use a separate box.

 

However I still think that a Synology NAS would be better value for money, in terms of monetary cost and getting you started quickly.

 

Think about how many things you need to learn already, including VM managements, container management, securing and hardening your main server, getting your applications to run, etc.  If you have a NAS that "just works" from the start, then this will save you a lot of frustration.

 

There's more to the NAS'es than ZFS-based things.  FreeNAS has done a great job of marketing themselves, especially to the enterprise market.

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netware5
Posted (edited)
41 minutes ago, ullbeking said:

I agree with @netware5 in principle.  If you are going to use an "appliance" style of NAS, i.e., a NAS that wants the entire machine to itself, such as FreeNAS, then use a separate box.

 

However I still think that a Synology NAS would be better value for money, in terms of monetary cost and getting you started quickly.

 

Think about how many things you need to learn already, including VM managements, container management, securing and hardening your main server, getting your applications to run, etc.  If you have a NAS that "just works" from the start, then this will save you a lot of frustration.

 

There's more to the NAS'es than ZFS-based things.  FreeNAS has done a great job of marketing themselves, especially to the enterprise market.

All commercial NAS devices have one big disadvantage - mostly they use hardware Raids and your data is totally depended on them. So in case of hardware failure of the Raid controller you should purchase exactly the same one or new box with the same or compatible one. I had such bad experience with my old Seagate NAS. You cannot just move the HDDs to any PC and read the data. That is the reason I switched to home made NAS with opensource OS. The Microserver Gen8 is excellent device for home NAS. Combined with robust ZFS it is much better than commercial boxes. I am using it with XigmaNAS in ZFS mirror configuration. Also with home made NAS you have full control over your device and OS. I still remember how much efforts costed to me to root my Seagate box and fix a lot of issues. So this peace of art (Microserver Gen8) together with one of the popular NAS operating systems will give you stability, flexibility and data mobility, especially if you use ZFS (which is much better than any consumer grade hardware RAID). In the case of FreeNAS or XigmaNAS in "embedded" configuration you may just move your data disks to any other PC then plug the USB with OS, boot from USB and see your data again. As the particularly mentioned Microserver Gen8 box is equipped with Xeon CPU and 16 GB RAM it can easily host several VMs also. But the main rule still apply - NAS OS should run bare metal. Any other services may run on hosted by NAS OS VMs.

Edited by netware5

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ullbeking
26 minutes ago, netware5 said:

But the main rule still apply - NAS OS should run bare metal. Any other services may run on hosted by NAS OS VMs.

 

I agree with you on this point.  In fact, I believe it is the fundamental principle.

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flipper

I already have some knowledge on unix systems and virtualisation. The thing is that actually I have a NAS with 2 hdd (a qnap model) that can do docker or virtualization and many other things but I never managed to make it work as I want: some things seem to be 'locked', and the comunity is not that important, so I want to get rid of it and make my own system, even if it costs some learning.

I understand why a virtual nas could be a pain.

I quickly tested omv on a VM on my old server, and the docker integration is not that good too.

@netware5 what is the VM software management on XigmaNAS ?

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