Critique or Suggestions on current file server setup

iroc409

[H]ard|Gawd
Joined
Jun 17, 2006
Messages
1,384
I'm just looking for some quick critique or ideas on my file server setup.

Right now I have a Dell T110ii with a Xeon and 32GB RAM running with a small SSD for the boot drive and 4x 4TB WD Red drives in ZFS mirrors on FreeBSD as a file server. I have three sets of backup drives, a 2TB 2.5" and a 5TB 3.5" external USB3 drives. I have cron scripts running RSYNC, a daily standard RSYNC and a once a week bit comparison RSYNC to these external drives. The 2TB drives store all my irreplacable documents, photos, etc, and the 5TB drives store my media stuff like the CD collection, movies, etc. I'm using just a tad over half the storage capacity in the server. I used to keep the backup drives in a safe, but am going to start keeping the USB drives at work as that should provide better protection. The system has been reliable to date. I have two things that are nipping at me.

1. I'm not sure the mirror setup was the best plan, I feel like I should have gone to a RAIDz2 setup instead as it provides a little better data protection. Is it worth it at this point to try and go through the hassle of changing the array? I would have to have a reliable destination to move the data to and back.

2. I'm concerned my backup strategy is inadequate, with these single USB drives. If there's any failure in the drive during restoration, I'm in trouble. That's why I have three backups in rotation I guess, but it still makes me nervous. What other things should I consider for backup, or am I just being paranoid? Eventually, when I buy another house, I'd like to have a shop with a separate backup server in it--but I'm not sure if that is any good if the backup server is literally sitting two inches from the primary server. I have a Dell T20 collecting dust right now, but it's not very well suited to file server duties. I've considered things like trying to come up with an external drive mirror, or just changing my backup drives to 8TB externals so I can use snapshops instead of RSYNC, but that doesn't alleviate the single disk issue.

Too much paranoia? Stick with my current setup until it needs an upgrade? I've been doing a lot more photography lately, and going through my older photography and there's a lot of original content that can't be replicated. While it would be a huge pain in the rear, the media stuff isn't a big deal--and half the time I just use a streaming service anyway.
 
Joined
Dec 27, 2016
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Too much paranoia? Stick with my current setup until it needs an upgrade? I've been doing a lot more photography lately, and going through my older photography and there's a lot of original content that can't be replicated. While it would be a huge pain in the rear, the media stuff isn't a big deal--and half the time I just use a streaming service anyway.

My vote would be, stick with the current file server until it needs an upgade. You've most likely traded away some storage capacity for increased perforrmance and that's not necessarily a bad thing. My instinct is there isn't anything specifically wrong, but that idea of storing backup drives at work means human forgetfulness comes into play. Chances are, the very day you need to do a restore, the drive you need will be locked in the office for a long holiday weekend.

My setup is not too different, except I run an automated offsite backup via Backblaze. So I have the original copy of the data, an onsite backup (fast restore at NAS speed) and an offsite backup (slow restore but worth it if the house burns down). If you feel paranoid about your setup, I'd suggest adding a fully automated backup to the cloud that runs continuously in the background.
 

mwroobel

Supreme [H]ardness
Joined
Jul 24, 2008
Messages
5,062
In a 4 drive array, unless you have specific performance requirements which would negate using parity, I would recommend RaidZ2 over striped mirrors because in the Z2 any 2 drives could fail and maintain uptime, where in the striped mirrors you only maintain uptime if the right 2 drives fail.
For the backup, a 3-2-1 strategy is generally recommended which means having at least 3 total copies of your data, 2 of which are local but on different devices, and at least 1 copy offsite.
 

iroc409

[H]ard|Gawd
Joined
Jun 17, 2006
Messages
1,384
My vote would be, stick with the current file server until it needs an upgade. You've most likely traded away some storage capacity for increased perforrmance and that's not necessarily a bad thing. My instinct is there isn't anything specifically wrong, but that idea of storing backup drives at work means human forgetfulness comes into play. Chances are, the very day you need to do a restore, the drive you need will be locked in the office for a long holiday weekend.

My setup is not too different, except I run an automated offsite backup via Backblaze. So I have the original copy of the data, an onsite backup (fast restore at NAS speed) and an offsite backup (slow restore but worth it if the house burns down). If you feel paranoid about your setup, I'd suggest adding a fully automated backup to the cloud that runs continuously in the background.

I'm not sure if I want to use a service such as BackBlaze yet.

I think your concerns about having the drive locked up in the office are certainly valid for a lot of people. I have 24/7 access to my office, so the worst part is the trip, but it would definitely be different if that weren't the case. I've avoided it with past jobs because I wouldn't have easy access.

In a 4 drive array, unless you have specific performance requirements which would negate using parity, I would recommend RaidZ2 over striped mirrors because in the Z2 any 2 drives could fail and maintain uptime, where in the striped mirrors you only maintain uptime if the right 2 drives fail.
For the backup, a 3-2-1 strategy is generally recommended which means having at least 3 total copies of your data, 2 of which are local but on different devices, and at least 1 copy offsite.

I think RAIDz2 would be a benefit, but enough to go through the hassle to change an existing array? The easiest way to do that would be to get a pair of 8TB external drives and build a ZFS mirror pair, transfer the current data to the pair, rebuild the internal array and move the files back. Seems like a lot of work, unless I put together a backup server.

I guess I meet the 3-2-1 rule pretty well, probably just paranoid.
 
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