FreeNAS Update

Time for a little update on my FreeNAS work over the last week. If you want to take a look at what I’m doing, you can read my past article.

Tonight was the big “let’s rebuild this thing” night, but I think “big” isn’t the right word. The plan all along was to try it out as the bare minimum setup and then move to something a little more permanent if it worked out in the end.

It worked out pretty darn well.

My wife’s MacBook has been backing up to Soteria since Tuesday without any problems. She also took it to dance practice and then back and the next Time Machine backup went by without a problem. I’m using nothing but spare parts I have around and I have the space for it under my bench.

The next thing was to make the following changes:

  • Install an IDE-to-CF adapter and then install FreeNAS 8 on the CF card
  • Replace the 80 GB hard drive with a 500 GB drive for more storage
  • Replace the 10/100 switch with a gigabit one
  • Setup a large ZFS dataset for Time Machine backups
  • Setup both laptops to use the FreeNAS box for backups
  • Setup a smaller ZFS dataset for general storage
  • Seal up the box … set it and forget it

So that is what I did tonight. I now have one large ZFS volume, striped, at almost 830 GB and two datasets, one at 750 GB and one at 77 GB. As a really simple and unscientific benchmark, my wife’s MacBook now lists the entire Time Machine backup at 4 hours where it was 8 hours before. If that will really happen, who knows, but it is a TON faster over wired gigabit with the new striped ZFS volume.

What about the future?

  • Larger case which holds either more hard drives internally or more external hot-swap bays
  • Get more hard drives … big ones
  • Learn more about ZFS and ZFS tuning to maybe squeeze out some more performance and learn as much as possible about RAIDZ
  • Get more hard drives … big ones

I’m hoping to expand the storage as needed, but for now just having a central repository for Time Machine backups is such a great big “win” for me that I’m smiling right now. I’m hoping that it just becomes a part of my life that I don’t really need to worry about and it “just works”.