I’ve finally put together the hardware for my NAS server, but I am still undecided on how to set things up.
I was hoping ideally, that I would be able to use the machine as a traditional server, as well as a NAS.

Does anyone have any recommendations or thoughts?

What do you hope to do with it besides file shares / network drives? Backups? What kinds of “traditional server” uses? Apps? Mail? Webserver? Virtualization? Containers? Hopefully you thought some about needs and how to set things up, before getting the hardware.

I’d like to setup some basic web services (a database for sure, maybe apache and etc too) for local access. I also want to be able to use the server for software development - coding/compiling/etc.
But most importantly, I want to have reliable file storage with error checking and redundancies. I have 8 HDs installed, I had planned on going with something equivalent to RAID 10.
I’ve no experience with containers, but I might like to tinker with them eventually.

I built the machine with a 5700X and 64GB of ECC RAM.

Just found TerraMaster tonight as a reasonably priced alternative brand to Synology and QNAP.

For a build-your-own hardware server/NAS setup, most will recommend TrueNAS Scale, or maybe Unraid.

I have also used OMV, but only for a small fileserver/media server on a tiny ARM.

RAID6 with a hot spare.

Probably don’t even need a hot spare in your home system. I pretty much just have them so I can ignore them problem until Monday.

I had originally planned on going with TrueNAS - but I’m having a hard time understanding exactly what the end result would look like. From what I’ve read, I won’t be able to use it like a traditional linux distro (I won’t be able to just install regular software, or setup services or anything)?

I was looking for performance, as I’ll be working off the NAS for all my video/photo editing. Why use RAID6?

If you’re OK with burning 50% of your disks and you’re OK with really only being able to suffer a single disk failure, then sure, go RAID10.

I haven’t deployed RAID10 in over a decade. I don’t need the hassle, and the perf of RAID6 is good enough because writes almost never go above 25%.

Hypothetically, I thought I could lose 50% of my drives - If I have 8 drives, 4 would be redundant then?

You can survive 4 failures if they all fail on the same side of the mirror. Which they won’t. As soon as you lose 1 disk you’re no longer running on a mirrored volume, you’re now on a striped volume. The cool thing is that whenever you suffer a single disk failure, the remaining disks all have to work harder which increases the likelihood of experiencing another failure. Also, since disks are purchased in bulk and are therefore likely to be manufactured at the same time, any defects on a single disk are more likely to be present on other disks in the array.

UnRAID or TrueNAS?

TrueNAS is built as a GUI managed system, and made to manage and install software integrated with its own dataset management, containers, etc. It’s built as an appliance on top of e.g. Debian, and doesn’t want you to manage your own services/ packages because it became common that people would break the TrueNAS services that way. If you want e.g. Plex, then you go to the Apps tab, click install Plex, then config its setup in the GUI.

If you prefer to choose different versions of plex or build your own, and manage it with apt/dpkg or whatever, you don’t want any of these integrated distros, and may have to roll your own for everything. But with kubernetes/docker, and the VMs included, you can probably find most of the services you want, unless what you want is explicitly to tinker and cli-manage your own server.

Thank you so much for your help. I’m going to dig into TrueNAS Scale and work on getting more familiar with containers.

I’m hoping there are some current users who can chime in here. I tried it for a while just to experiment with the ZFS and pools configuration, but I don’t have a box running any version now.

I use Synology myself but I played around with TrueNAS and use ZFS on my proxmox cluster. It’s great. UnRAID is great too.

The problem with ZFS currently for home users is there’s no raid-Z expansion, so you can’t add differently-sized disks later on.

This is a real pain for home user scenarios, where you might start off in 2022 with 4 8TB disks, then in 2024 one of them throws up a SMART error but it’s two years later so the sweet spot is lower, so you add two 10TB disks. In a Synology you could just replace the bad one and add the new disk to the array, netting you 34TB of redundant storage. In ZFS you just plain can’t use that extra space in your volume.

Note raid-Z expansion is being added to ZFS and is in even testing now, so this probably won’t be an issue at all in a year. When that happens I’ll happily recommend trueNAS Scale (the Linux one) to pretty much everybody looking to do file store-- but for this very moment, I’d go UnRAID (which is unparelleled at that mismatched drive home user scenario), Synology, or QNAP.

I’d still use proxmox to run on bare metal and run services in VMs and containers, though. Not TrueNAS or UnRAID. If I was looking to go big boy and roll my own uber server, I would actually run TrueNAS as a VM inside proxmox, passing through the HBA and drives. Proxmox is so incredibly nice.

Very happy unraid user here, one of the main reasons is as stusser mentions above. I’ve been mixing and matching drive sizes in unraid for a decade at this point.

Seconding UnRAID. It’s heavily container based - all of its programs run as Docker containers - and you can also spin up VMs for whatever OS you’re looking to run. The only downside is that it doesn’t take security very seriously. If this is going to be a local access box then that isn’t a major issue. I would be careful and make sure you’ve covered all your bases if you’re going to expose any services to the world, however.

Here’s my current situation, I am not sure I need a NAS in this scenario but maybe just a JBOD enclosure.

I have 50TB~ of 720p/1080p content. I have a 50MBps upload connection, unable to be upgraded to fiber or anything that can serve 4K externally. All my friends and family are outside my Internet connection and not internal to my LAN.

Current Plex server is a mATX B350 mobo case with a Ryzen 1600 that is currently underpowered, with a GTX 1050 Ti GPU slot. It’s giving me some hardware problems now hanging on rebooting.

I have a spare new Silverstone SG05 mini ITX case. A spare Ryzen 2700. Spare 600W SFX PSU. Spare 16GB RAM.

I was going to get a new 4 bay Synology or QNAP ($500-700+ CAD) and kit it out with drives, starting with a 14TB forr the first one. Or a TerraMaster one for 1/2 as much, or a JBOD enclosure.

Are there NUC type devices I should look at? Getting the ITX mobo is what will cost the most ($200-250+ CAD) even for Asrock motherboards which are often the only offering sometimes. A 10/11th gen ITX Intel mobo locally is $160+ and it feels like a waste fo spend $150-80 on a 10-11th gen Core i3 with iGPU when the 12th gen is $200.

Tell everyone of my friends and family to upgrade their clients to better do Direct Play instead of worrying about HW transcoding off my server via NVENC or QuickPlay?

I’ve been using Unraid for about 6 months. Pretty much love it. In addition to traditional file shares, I’ve got Nextcloud, photo prism, jellyfin going on it. I also briefly had a hackintosh VM to forward iMessages. But I ditched it since pretty much off Apple these days. Unraid is reliable and has been working great. There are a ton of good tutorials for configuring different services out there on the net.

If I were to start over from scratch, I might consider Proxmon with nested Unraid, but considering how simple my needs are, I’m pretty content.