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flipper

Gen 8 installation / Configuration

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netware5
12 minutes ago, flipper said:

@netware5 what is the VM software management on XigmaNAS ?

 

VirtualBox. It works flawlessly for me. There is also a Bhyve available as extension but seems to be the development has been abandoned. Bhyve is the native VM manager of FreeBSD (both FreeNAS and XigmaNAS are FreeBSD based). But I am fully satisfied by VirtualBox, which is included in main distribution, fully supported and regularly updated. Even the XigmaNAS developers use it to host the development and beta versions of XigmaNAS, i.e. the development version of XigmaNAS runs on VM hosted by stable version.

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ullbeking

@netware5 I am very interested in what sort of configuration you would propose for a Microserver Gen 8 NAS which is also a virtualization host.  I would use Debian or Proxmox, or some other Linux-based OS.

 

I want 2-way mirroring for each drive, which I would implement with mdadm+LVM.  Then the only realistic option is the following:

  • Mirrored SSD's in drive bays 1 and 2 for the VM's, of medium-large capacity.
  • Mirrored HDD's in drive bays 3 and 4 for the bulk storage, of large capacity; this bulk storage could easily be made available to the VM's as extra storage, and also the boot drive for the entire system (see below).

I am still wondering where I would put the boot drive for the OS.  Perhaps on a USB flash drive, e.g., Sandisk Ultra Fit 32 GB.  In this case, write-heavy operations, such as logs, by the OS would be configured to write to the bulk storage (drives 3+4), for obvious reasons (USB flash wears out quickly when it is subject to a lot of writes).

 

I understand that the SATA interface that would normally be used for the optical drive isn't bootable.  Is this correct?  Otherwise this would be the obvious choice for a boot SSD.

 

What would you suggest?

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netware5
3 hours ago, ullbeking said:

@netware5 I am very interested in what sort of configuration you would propose for a Microserver Gen 8 NAS which is also a virtualization host.  I would use Debian or Proxmox, or some other Linux-based OS.

 

I want 2-way mirroring for each drive, which I would implement with mdadm+LVM.  Then the only realistic option is the following:

  • Mirrored SSD's in drive bays 1 and 2 for the VM's, of medium-large capacity.
  • Mirrored HDD's in drive bays 3 and 4 for the bulk storage, of large capacity; this bulk storage could easily be made available to the VM's as extra storage, and also the boot drive for the entire system (see below).

I am still wondering where I would put the boot drive for the OS.  Perhaps on a USB flash drive, e.g., Sandisk Ultra Fit 32 GB.  In this case, write-heavy operations, such as logs, by the OS would be configured to write to the bulk storage (drives 3+4), for obvious reasons (USB flash wears out quickly when it is subject to a lot of writes).

 

I understand that the SATA interface that would normally be used for the optical drive isn't bootable.  Is this correct?  Otherwise this would be the obvious choice for a boot SSD.

 

What would you suggest?

 

@ullbeking

 

According to my knowledge it is possible to boot Microserver Gen8 from ODD. Just google it. I have no experience in this area and never tested any of published solutions as I don't need it.

 

Regarding booting from USB flash drive - that is the beauty of XigmaNAS/FreeNAS "embedded" installations. They boot from USB and then create their Root FS in RAM. That is the reason they strongly suggest to use ECC RAM. So any logs are written in RAM disk. If you need more log space you can always tell to the OS to write logs somewhere in Zpool on data drives. So no wear of USB flash drive. The OS is fully managed by web interface. Everything is written in one special configuration file on USB boot disk. All VMs are located in Zpool on data drive. "Embedded" concept is very useful as you are immune from boot media failure. Just keep copy of OS configuration file on safe place. If your USB flash fails you may immediately repalce it with previous made clone. If you didn't cloned USB flash,  just make new fresh one, boot it and then import OS config file (with all info about custom settings, VMs, etc.). If the mainboard of your server fails, just plug your data disks in any other PC, then plug your boot flash disk and boot :)

 

If you want more freedom you may choose so-called RootOnZFS option and use SSD in ODD to boot. You may wish to read XigmaNAS web site and forum for more information about "embedded" concept, RootOnZFS, VMs, etc.

 

If you wish to use Linux you may just follow any of published instructions how to boot HP Microserver Gen8 from ODD.

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ullbeking
Posted (edited)

@netware5 Thanks for the update.  I do indeed want to use Linux.  I like FreeBSD a lot, but it's just not quite right for this machine.

 

I've figured out how to use the ODD connectors and space to install an SSD boot disk.  The only issue with using AHCI is that it's not bootable, but apparently it's possible to install GRUB and /boot on an SD card or USB flash drive, boot into that, and then have the GRUB entry jump to the root filesystem on the SSD in the ODD space.  That should work well as long as the speed is good (hopefully).  I would ideally like to use a SATA DOM in a machine like this, but that's not possible although I will check the mainboard to see if there is an on-board SATA connector corresponding to the ODD.

 

I won't be using ZFS, but rather, Btrfs or mdadm+LVM to mirror each pair of disks in the main drive bays.

Edited by ullbeking

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flipper
11 hours ago, ullbeking said:

@netware5 Thanks for the update.  I do indeed want to use Linux.  I like FreeBSD a lot, but it's just not quite right for this machine.

 

I've figured out how to use the ODD connectors and space to install an SSD boot disk.  The only issue with using AHCI is that it's not bootable, but apparently it's possible to install GRUB and /boot on an SD card or USB flash drive, boot into that, and then have the GRUB entry jump to the root filesystem on the SSD in the ODD space.  That should work well as long as the speed is good (hopefully).  I would ideally like to use a SATA DOM in a machine like this, but that's not possible although I will check the mainboard to see if there is an on-board SATA connector corresponding to the ODD.

 

I won't be using ZFS, but rather, Btrfs or mdadm+LVM to mirror each pair of disks in the main drive bays.

can you tell me why you prefer using brtfs over Zfs?

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ullbeking
9 minutes ago, flipper said:

can you tell me why you prefer using brtfs over Zfs?

 

Several reasons:

  • I have had too many toxic, rude, and just plain awful interactions with the ZFS community.  Especially on IRC.  There many channel ops who are a disgrace to the OpenZFS project.  For example, if you use an IRC client that they don't like then you won't be allowed to join their channel, and you get redirected to #zfsonlinux-quarantine, clearly implying that you are dirty for using a client that they do not approve of.  No attempt at a constructive workaround.  I emailed them politely and then followed a barrage of abusive emails.  After I became interested in setting up a NAS in 2017, I knew nothing.  I looked into FreeNAS first, and I was immediately put off.  Their hostility and negativity actually set me back by about six months.  Community is a vital part of a engaging in a software project.
  • Setting up a ZFS array leaves you in a rigid state.  ZFS disk and volume layout is difficult to reconfigure after you have created your initial setup.
  • Btrfs needs to be used to gain momentum and bugs need to be reported.  I would like to use it in my non-production filestores and learn about it and see for myself whether it deserves its bad reputation.
  • I believe that a lot of the FUD that surrounds Btrfs is spread by people who have never used it.  Often when somebody says, "Btrfs is a good choice if you want your filesystem to eat all your data," I challenge them and ask them when this happened to them.  More often than not the response is silence.
  • There are other reasons but I can't think of them right now.

I probably will use ZFS for fair comparison and for my first production NAS which will be deployed to colo overseas (FreeNAS).  It's not my #1 choice.

 

I have recently been looking at mdadm+LVM instead.  The only problem I have with this configuration is that to make snapshots I need 2x my available disk space.  Still, if this aids reliable and consistent backups, it's a price worth paying (in principle at least).

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netware5
18 minutes ago, ullbeking said:

 

Several reasons:

  • I have had too many toxic, rude, and just plain awful interactions with the ZFS community.  Especially on IRC.  There many channel ops who are a disgrace to the OpenZFS project.  For example, if you use an IRC client that they don't like then you won't be allowed to join their channel, and you get redirected to #zfsonlinux-quarantine, clearly implying that you are dirty for using a client that they do not approve of.  No attempt at a constructive workaround.  I emailed them politely and then followed a barrage of abusive emails.  After I became interested in setting up a NAS in 2017, I knew nothing.  I looked into FreeNAS first, and I was immediately put off.  Their hostility and negativity actually set me back by about six months.  Community is a vital part of a engaging in a software project.

.........................

 

@ullbeking,

The non-friendly community and forum of FreeNAS are widely known. Your feeling is not something new. Many people reported about hostile environment in their forums. That's the reason I especially pointed out in of my previous posts that XigmaNAS community is very friendly. These guys are totally different. That is one of the reasons I decided to stay away from FreeNAS and prefer XigmaNAS.

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