Advice for the inexperienced please

Ayrton5

New Member
Oct 23, 2023
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Hi,

I've got myself a cheap Gen8 microserver and I've decided to make a bit of a homelab out of it. It has a Xeon 3.3ghz processor in it, 16GB ram, a 120GB OS SSD, and will have 4 x 4gb Seagate Ironwolf disks in it by the time I'm ready to press it into service.

I am completely new to VE's and Linux. In fact getting to grips with Linux is one of the reasons I've decided to install Proxmox. I'm just messing around with it at the moment, with some smaller disks until I organise myself (and take delivery of the 4th drive). I have Proxmox on there, and a a couple of VM's, for Ubuntu and Windows (just to see how it works). I'll likely start from scratch though once my bigger disks are ready.

I also have another Proliant, Gen7, which has any old disks in it that i had lying around. This runs Win10 and has Plex running on it. I also have a QNAP NAS containing a couple of 1.5tb drives mirrored. Between them, they contain a lot of photographs and family videos, my Plex content, and the other junk that people accumulate on PCs.

What I'm really here to ask is how to set up the drives in Proxmox to best serve my purposes. In my test setup, I've added the 4 drives as a RaidZ pool. I like the idea of being able to pull a drive and replace it on failure; I'm not so keen on losing half my storage to a Raid10, even though I realise that would work faster (although I don't think these drives are going to get worked that hard anyway). Having said that, I'm willing to be convinced on the merits of Raid10 if you want to insist on it.

But what do I do to present my storage to family users? I've devoured videos on YouTube, some of which are pitched at my level but there are plenty that rely on prior knowledge. Do I use Truenas in a VM? From what I understand that will stretch my hardware. Is there a better way of presenting network shares? If I did run Truenas, do I present a Proxmox raid to it, or leave the Proxmox disks separate and build a raid in Truenas?

My aims are (in no order):
  • Have a sandpit to play around in (check!)
  • Run Plex
  • Store media library
  • Have network shares available to other devices
  • Have a backup internally for mission critical files (pref. with redundancy)
  • Have a backup to the cloud

I'm not really bothered what goes where (e.g. what runs Plex, for instance), and I'm willing to configure the other two devices as required, so long as I have space to shovel data around whilst I'm setting up. But Proxmox seems so powerful, I feel like a toddler with a handgun. Can anyone show me the way before I shoot myself in the foot?
 
What I'm really here to ask is how to set up the drives in Proxmox to best serve my purposes. In my test setup, I've added the 4 drives as a RaidZ pool. I like the idea of being able to pull a drive and replace it on failure; I'm not so keen on losing half my storage to a Raid10, even though I realise that would work faster (although I don't think these drives are going to get worked that hard anyway). Having said that, I'm willing to be convinced on the merits of Raid10 if you want to insist on it.
You logic is sound, I'd do it the same with ZFS and raidz1.

Do I use Truenas in a VM?
You can, but it will not be fast and it will be ZFS-on-ZFS which is not good or recommended. With your restricted constraints, I'd go with a fileserver in LX(C) container and Plex in another container. Container does allow to use the underlying ZFS and you can bind-mount your datasets to it (just a few words to google your way through). This involves building your own NAS and that may be out-of-scope right now, yet it a good project and goal to work for.
 
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So I went with raidz1 and it chowed through most of my storage. I realise now that is a function of block size, and having read Block Size 101 I'm no longer sure raidz1 is for me, with only 4 drives. It's always going to eat more than 1 drive's worth.

From a data security standpoint, I've upgraded the NAS to 4TB mirrored. The stuff I cannot lose is about 2TB, and I'm proposing to back up the critical stuff from Proxmox/OMV to the NAS; from where QNAP will cloud sync it to One Drive. I reckon that's safe. If a drive goes on Proxmox, I've got a drive on the NAS. If a drive goes on the NAS, I've got another drive on the NAS. If all 3 drives go, or there is a fire, I have the cloud.

I have a second microserver, it only has 6TB in it, but I'm thinking of turning that over to Proxmox as a second node. I'll have that receive backups of VMs etc. from the main node, and anything else I'm less bothered about. I'm sure these secondary devices don't use an awful lot of power but I'm thinking I'll have them come on only at, say, weekends, to receive backups. Currently my stuff is that messy I have all three on all the time.

So back to Proxmox drive config: I want to give half the storage to OMV; and have the rest for VMs, ISOs, containers, and whatever I haven't thought of yet. What is the best format for doing this? Do I pass a whole disk or two to OMV? Or is there a way of giving it a bit of all the disks? Can space be aggregated inside OMV once its been allocated? What formatting method do I use? People seem to speak highly of ZFS, but can it be used disk by disk, and am I still in the whole block size thing if I use it? If so - what's the best alternative?

I've rattled on a bit - but I want to make my use case as clear as possible. Any advice?
 
The stuff I cannot lose is about 2TB, and I'm proposing to back up the critical stuff from Proxmox/OMV to the NAS; from where QNAP will cloud sync it to One Drive. I reckon that's safe. If a drive goes on Proxmox, I've got a drive on the NAS. If a drive goes on the NAS, I've got another drive on the NAS. If all 3 drives go, or there is a fire, I have the cloud.
Do you have snapshots in there? If not, then your data may not be save. Imagine a file gets corrupted, deleted or encrypted and propagates through your machines until it reaches the cloud in which case the file is gone. ZFS will have snapshots (if you use them) and you'll have secured and immutable off-site backups.

In case of fire ... keep your passwords also redundant and accessible. You potentially loose everything at home and are not able to access your cloud if you don't have all passwords at hand.
 
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