Hello all, I’m looking to get a FreeNas server going. I’m just looking to run it as a Plex Server. Can I start off with just two drives and slowly build on it later? Thanks.
Well, kinda. You can add the same amount of drives (in your case two of the same size or larger drives) to the zpool again and again. If you are looking for a OS to run Plex and few other random light weight applications with Plex (torrents / jackett / sonarr / radarr), I would argue that unRaid has this down pat. It is very similar to FreeNas as far as what it can accomplish although completely different as far as how they work behind the scenes. There are benefits to running the FreeNas OS but I don’t think you will see those benefits help you that much if you mainly plan to use this server for Plex.
I have 2 servers with very similar specifications. One running unRaid and the other running FreeNas.
The reason why I like unRaid better for Plex though is the ease of use. I will admit there is a good bit of changes you would have to make from the default out of the box set up to get it running at it’s’ full potential. I would recommend watching SpaceInvaderOne’s videos on building an unRaid server. Once these changes are made though you can search through a ton of customized docker containers for built for unRaid plus search from Docker Hub itself. This is where unRaid shines though. If you utilize dockers on unRaid you can schedule when to automatically update the applications you run and they just work. You can pass through mount points just like you do in FreeNas. With unRaid you can just add any type of drive to the array without any hassle. I would highly recommend an SSD for a cache though. They are dirt cheap now.
Now if this server being used for iSCSI targets NFS shares or where speed is a necessity I would use FreeNas. Buy storage in bulk now and it will pay off in performance. My FreeNas server kicks the snot out of my unRaid server when it comes to file transfer rates though. Even with the plugins and cache drive and extra tweaks I have added to unRaid. The reason for that is FreeNas’s underlying file system. It is just superior as far as speed of data movement if that makes any sense. Second I feel way more safe about holding my data on my FreeNas server. The way FreeNas handles this aspect is just amazing. The snapshot feature FreeNas includes out of the box is no joke. I mean in a second files can be reverted to how they were. That’s the real trade off in my opinion.
Thank you for your thorough explanation. I think I’m going to start with Unraid. It looks like I can get the most out of your hard drives by going with Unraid and its user friendly. At this point I think FreeNas is too much for my needs. Thanks again
I would second unRaid for what it sounds like you want to do. I’ve been running it for the last 2-3 years now, and its been great. For a home user who wants to be able to add storage as you go, and still have some disk redundancy, it is great for all the points tbigs2011 mentioned.
I do something similar but use Open Media Vault (OMV), I find it dead easy to add the docker containers and of course it’s free.
It also works well on lower systems I run a containerised OpenVPN Deluge through OMV on a NUC N2820 and it works really well, I also run my Unifi controller in a container, and use it for some backups. Very reliable.
Not tried it with a Raspberry PI as I find the network port better and the NUC as internal storage and a USB3 , of course the Raspi 4 is a different matter
I also think the guy that codes OMV was part of the FreeNAS team some time ago. So some of the philosophies are very similar.