Today I’m going to dive into the hardware I selected for FreeNAS, starting with the motherboard, CPU, and memory. FreeNAS runs on any PC hardware, but building a reliable and scalable storage solution means picking higher-end components. I selected a Supermicro X10SL7 server-class motherboard with 14 (!) SAS/SATA ports paired with an Intel Xeon E3-1231v3 (Haswell) CPU and ECC memory from Crucial.
The Seagate Free Agent GoFlex Docks were an excellent product, allowing interchange of hard disk drives and connectivity protocols. They made USB 3, FireWire, and even NAS docks for these hard disk drives. But the connector is standard SATA and could be used with any drive. So I created a 3D printable adapter and released it on Thingiverse!
Apple’s brand-new MacBook Air might not look much from the outside, but a revolution lurks under the hood: This is the first mainstream computer to eschew SATA in favor of PCIe SSD! Long heralded in workstations and servers, PCIe SSD brings massive potential for storage performance.
The world of storage can be confusing, with obscure terms hiding massive differences in technology and performance. Such is the case for the latest PCI express SSDs: They are much faster than traditional SAS or SATA SSDs, but many aren’t sure exactly why. In this article, I will try to explain the real difference.
The Four Horsemen of storage system performance cannot be denied, but they do offer a clear path forward. Storage systems must improve in many different areas, from spindles and drives to caching and I/O bottlenecks. But above all else, storage systems must become smarter in order to become faster, and this requires greater insight into the true nature of the data stream being stored. All storage performance developments, from the laptop to the enterprise, boiled down to adaptations to the demands of the Four Horsemen.