New large server build suggestions


Jan 31, 2005
We've rolled our own Debian+Samba+Active Directory NAS boxes for a while now but the man power required to configure and maintain them is becoming a little too much.

We've tried a few NAS distros in vmware and FreeNAS seems good. Openfiler seems a bit flaky. Openmediavault looks absolutely fantastic but it has no Active Directory support. Napp-it/OpenIndiana appears to be the holy grail but it seems to be almost as complex as rolling our own?

To be honest I'm half tempted to stick Windows 2008 on it and use CIFS but we do have a fair number of Macs, and a number of vsphere nodes which we connect to NFS. So a box which can do NFS/AFP and CIFS would be ideal.

Our current Debian boxes actually handle this role pretty well but apart from the issue of maintaining and configuring them (no GUI or decent web admin) we find they're pretty slow over CIFS. NFS gives us speed of 70MB/s each way or more. But CIFS rarely hits above 40MB/s.

Our test server setup is:

  • Chassis: Supermicro SC836
  • Motherboard: Supermicro X7DBE-X
  • CPU: 2x Intel Xeon 5150
  • RAM: 8GB
  • RAID: Adaptec 31605 RAID Controller
  • HD: 16x 1TB Samsung F3

Our old setup has two RAID partitions, one a 4x disk RAID 10 array for vmware hosts over NFS, and the other a large RAID 10 user data volume for Windows roaming profiles.

With FreeNAS/OI I know a simpler storage controller is better. What SAS/SATA HBA is recommended here for OI or FreeNAS setups?

Thanks in advance!
If you want reliable AFP support and CIFS, I would suggest sticking Windows Server 2008 on the box for CIFS and NFS and using Extreme-Z IP for your AFP needs . You could also choose another NFS server of your choice. Obviously if you need to buy CALs and the server, it is more expensive than free on the buy-in, but from an administrative standpoint of rights and acls, with WS2008 and extremez-ip you have a single point of admin for all the choices.