Planning the new FreeNAS Box

The current situation

My current main workstation is nearly 4 years old and contains the following parts:

This system was and still is rock solid and runs 24/7. The performance is very good. The performance to the storage is really great. According to bonnie++ I can read and write with more the 200 MB/sec. So why investing in new hardware?

Reasons for a new storage hardware

Well, my current hardware gets old. The 3ware RAID controller and the mainboard use  a PCI Express slot. If the mainboard or the raid controller decide to end their live than what? PCI Express is gone and difficult to find on short notice.

Another challenge is the every increasing need for storage space. I use VMWare a lot, and therefore need plenty of space for the VMWare Images, snapshots, clones, ISO images, etc. . Music, videos, images need their space as well. The new storage should also serve as a backup space for the Laptop and other PCs in the house.

And lets be honest: A boy needs a new toy every now and then. And I love to build some real things with my hands sometimes.

The above mentioned workstation is now sitting under my desk in the office. It is not loud (I use a very silent big tower case), but you hear it.

A fast NAS storage which is accessible from all computers will be the first cornerstone of my future IT infrastructure.

The planned (Free)NAS box

I could buy a Qnap or Synology or Buffalo, plug in my drives, make some settings in the web interface and everything is fine. But that is boring.  Boooooooooooring!

I want to know how things work. I want to tweak things, I want to install things, I want to be able to make some configuration changes from scripts, I want to use the CLI (not really, but I like to know that I could if…), I want to see logfiles, I want to integrate a lot of information about my storage in my nagios monitoring. So a plug-and-play NAS is not the right thing for me. I want a read-educatemyself-readsomemore-decide-buy-build-install-test-reinstall-testsomemore-tweak-plug-play solution! And write about it.

So far I am pretty sure to use FreeNAS 9.3 (or later, depending on what is available and stable when I finally build the box). I watched some videos, read some documentation and installed it in a virtual machine to play around with it. Version 9.3 looks great.

After reading some articles, forum posts and documentation (a great article about ZFS raid, speed and capacity) I came up with the following list of planned hardware for the FreeNAS storage:

  • Supermicro X10SLM+-LN4F mainboard. Socket 1150 with Intel C224 Chipset. Holds 32GB of ECC memory, has 4x Gb Intel LAN, IMPI 2.0 management with separate port, onboard video, a µATX formfaktor, 1x PCIe 3.0 x16 slot and 1x PCIe 2.0 8x slot.

  • Intel Xeon E3-1265L v3 4x 2.5 GHz Quad-Core Haswell 22nm, 45 W TDP. Supports 32GB ECC RAM and has all the virtualisation features and AES-NI.

  • Kingston ValueRAM DIMM Kit 32 GB DDR3L-1600, CL11, ECC 4x 8GB PC3L-12800E
  • LSI MegaRAID SAS 9271-8i, low profile, PCIe 3.0 x8  RAID Controller.  Used in JBOD mode so that FreeNAS / ZFS can access the drives directly. And no, I will not buy a BBU since the box in on a UPS (see this article).
  • Thermaltake Slim X3 CPU cooler (ore something similar, depends on availability)
  • 2x 500 GB WD Re4 HDD in RAID1 on the mainboards SATA ports for FreeNAS itself (I already have those drives)
  • be quiet! System Power 7 400W ATX 2.31 (is enough. The mainboard has a GPU onboard and there is no hungry graphic card in the system)
  • Fractal Design Refine R4 Black Pearl Case (according to the reviews this should be a high quality silent case. Never had a Fractal Design case before).
  • 6x 6 TB drives will be used in ZFS raidz2 mode resulting in somewhere near 24 TB of storage. Either the WD Red 6TB or the WD NAS 6TB will do (I suspect they are the same anyway…).
  • Five (!) network cables to connect it to my switch

ECC memory is higly suggested for FreeNAS. It is not easy to find a low power and small form factor mainboard – CPU combination which supports ECC memory, but I think the above hardware will work as expected.

FreeBSD and therefore FreeNAS have the concept of jails. In addition to give me a vast amount of storage with incredible performance and reliability I also want the following things from my storage:

  • Run a monitoring solution for the whole network and infrastructure. Now I run nagios on my workstation which is up 24/7 but in the future this is not the case anymore. Monitoring the FreeNAS box itself might be done via the IMPI Interface (see the RAIDzilla II article for some info on that topic)
  • Run a bittorrent client to download ISO images directly to the NAS
  • Run the plex media server plugin
  • hold my subversion repositories

The FreeNAS box will be connected with 4x GB LAN (NIC teaming, LACP, Trunking) to my also already existing D-Link DGS-1224T managed switch. I also have a spare APC Back-UPS CS 650 where I only need to replace the battery. ZFS raidz2 should give me the performance to actually use the 4Gb connection.

Once the storage is finished I start planning the next machine which will run my virtual machines.

EAM Fieldupdater

The „EAM Fieldupdater“ allows you to set one or more attributes for a group of records (selected records in the list view of an  application) or for related records which can be
specified via a relation. You can limit the attributes and relations available for update with the EAM Fieldupdater with the “EAM Enter allowed Fields for Update Tool”
menu option.

EAM Importer – Whats new in Version 3

Changes between Version 2 and Version 3 of the EAM Datamanagement Tools:

Support for Maximo 7.6. Version 3 of the EAM Datamanagement Tools where tested with Maximo 7.6. The installation procedure was adapted to reflect changes made by IBM in Maximo and 7.6. See the installation manual for more information.

Create System Properties during Installation. To make the installation of the product easier some required system properties are now created during the installation. The installation data files <MAXIMO>\tools\maximo\EAMImport\Importer-DD*.xls now have an additional worksheet with required and optional system properties for the EAM Datamanagement Tool. Take a look at the installation data file you have used during installation. More information can also be found in the post Configuration Options with Maximo System Properties.

Data import from the commandline of the admin workstation. For previous versions the only way to import data was through the list view of the application in Maximo. Now system administrators have the possibility to import data using the commandline on the Maximo administrative workstation. This is intended to be used only by administrators (other users should not have access to the administrative workstation). This can be used for some automation.

EAM Keyupdate. This is (together with support for Maximo 7.6) the highlight of this version. Key attributes like COMPANIES.COMPANY, ITEM.ITEMNUM, ASSET.ASSETNUM, etc. can not be changed once the record is saved. The EAM Keyupdate feature allows you to change key attributes in a consistent way directly on the database from within Maximo. Read the post about EAM Keyupdate for detailed information about this feature.

Configuration Options with Maximo System Properties

Specify default values for data via System Properties. This feature is useful if you want to specify some attribute values which should be applied to every import even if this attribute is not part of the import data file.

Specify limits and performance data via System Properties (e.g. maximum number of rows for an import, maximum number of errors during an import, suppression of the creation of the data dictionary in the result files)


EAM Datamanagement Tools – License Options and License Keys

EAM Datamanagement Tools – License Options and License Keys.

modulekey and appkey.  funktionality vs. applications,  tooluser, registered users,  Time Limits.

License Keys and License Management. The current version of the EAM Data Management Tool needs two license keys in your environment. If you have bought the EAM Data Management Tool you receive those license keys automatically. If you have not received any license keys then please contact the EAM Software GmbH at If you want to evaluate the  software you can request a (time limited) license key free of charge. This allows you to license only those modules you need only in those applications where you need them for as long as you need them.
License Keys are generated per customer and are personalized with customer information.