Adventures in Linux: ananke installation

So, the previous-latest plan was to use Arch Linux for the server, but having been bitten by a bug with xbmc and a recent xorg update, I’ve decided on using a “real” server OS  (with hindsight, probably the choice I should have gone with originally!). Debian is what’s current installed, but Ubuntu Server is an option if the software in Debian is too old for what I want it to do.

I’ve ordered the first of the new storage drives (a pair of 4TB HGST Deskstar NAS), plus an additional 8GB ECC RAM (for a total of 16GB). As I’m planning on using ZFS, I partitioned the 30GB Intel SSD’s to have 10GB for the OS, 1GB for the ZIL and the remaining ~17GB for the L2ARC.

Debian has been installed onto the 10GB partitions, using them as a mirrored md-raid 1 array. Installing ZFS was nice and simple, I created a striped zpool over the two 4TB drives, using a mirrored ZIL and striped L2ARC. Getting NFS and Samba installed was easy, as is sharing ZFS file systems (zfs set share{nfs|smb} = on tank/media), so it was straight onto see what kind of performance I’d get.

Internally, streaming /dev/zero onto the array gave over 250MB/sec (without compression), reading was closer to 300MB/sec, so I was optimistic that I could saturate the gigabit network connection with CIFS/NFS traffic 🙂

I was wrong – in short, Samba/CIFS is significantly slower than that – it gets ~30MB/sec write, 60MB/sec read for streaming workloads, NFS was much better and gets over 100MB/sec on both. From what I’ve read on the internet, there’s not much I can do about the slow samba performance, but as I’m planning on using NFS primarily for sharing things, it shouldn’t be much of a problem.

I’ve still got a long list of things I want to get up and running on ananke over the next few weeks until I’ve got the extra pair of drives installed. Having played with NFS a little, getting things like UIDs/GIDs synchronised over the various machines is something I need to get working – I’m thinking Kerberos will do it (though it might be overkill), plus things like an NTP server for the local network, then the various networking things (DHCP, NAT Firewall, DNS, squid cache), but I’ve used them all before and can mostly copy the existing config files over.

So lots of geeking to get done, more hardware to be bought, more testing to be done! 😀

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