New File Server - So Many Options!


Limp Gawd
Jun 18, 2003
Oh man, its a been awhile since I've been to the HardOCP forums, but this is where it all started, so I start here on my new file server. Back in 2009, I built myself a nice WHS using a Norco 4020. That WHS server kept getting more and more data thrown at it and never really gave me much trouble. Drive would drop from time to time, but thats always going to happen. Eight years later and I now find myself with almost 11TB of data duplicated over all 20 drives the Norco can hold. With this server showing its age, the SATA cards can't see drives over 2TB, and it being was time to replace. I got lucky and was able to all ready backup up all the data to a WD NAS while I start over. I will still be using the Norco as my case and HDD back plane.

I've already purchased the following items:

Supermicro X11SSH-F
Intel i3-7100
LSI 9240-8i

The plan was to be to use the 8 internal SATA ports from the MB and then the LSI card with some SAS connectors to the case for my storage needs. I've already got this up and running with ESXi 6.5 as my OS and a Win2016 VM with a storage space pool but don't have a good feeling on this setup. I've been doing RDM to the Win2016 VM through the CLI to pass all the disks but it just feels off. So, tonight I was about to wipe the setup and put Win2016 core on as my OS, then use disk passthrough to another 2016 VM for my storage space pool, but started reading about Storage Spaces Direct...which made me even more confused on what I should do.

So, what does the Horde recommend for me as a host and file server? I'm fairly proficient in Hyper-V (2012 mostly), decent in VMWare (ESXi 6.0 mostly), and have no preference on either as my host system. For the storage server itself, I like the idea of Storage Spaces, but know there are tons of other options (ZFS, unRAID, etc). Just so much new technology and its hard to know where to start.


Limp Gawd
Jan 13, 2011
Personaly when i will build my next server.. i am gonna go with snapraid.. it should be good in scaling for my needs.. it dosnt spin all the hdds at once.. it dosnt have hdd limitation like unraid has and i am gonna go big with next server..

but if you need smaller amount.. like u can go with less than 30 hdds.. i would read more about unraid.. it has its issues yes and some tickering to do but it has lots of features and it has community around it.. + it always deppens whatkind of needs do u have.. do u need performance what lets say zfs can offer speed wise.. or is there any matter in that case..

lots of things can be taken off from the list if u think your needs.. do u wanna low power server = every hdd dosnt spin all the time like it does in zfs and some others.. do u want speedy file sharing server or does one hdd speed limitation do the trick for you.. whatkind of redudancy you need and what are your future goals with your server.. do u wanna go big little by little or do you have somekind of hdd count limitation in mind..