OK to serve NFS from host?

Brendon

Active Member
Jan 9, 2016
23
4
43
Right now we have dedicated FreeNAS servers to store our 16TB or so of data and serve it over NFS. Our hosting provider only has so many server models to choose from so we often get WAY overpowered machines just to serve simple NFS shares. This has always bothered me. I've always wanted to consolidate hardware as much as possible but I'm extremely skittish about doing anything risky when it comes to our data.

I'm building new storage servers and have started to consider using Proxmox on them both for virtual machine hosting and for hosting our data and sharing it over NFS.

What I'm wondering is this: is using the Proxmox host as an NFS server safe / recommended / supported? I was really concerned about using ZoL in the past but it seems like it has been production quality for some time now. My main concern is whether it'd be frowned upon / totally unsupported to use the host to serve NFS. Plus, I'm still nervous about using ZoL to host our data.

Please let me know if anyone has any input on this.
 
Our hosting provider only has so many server models to choose from so we often get WAY overpowered machines just to serve simple NFS shares.

With respect to what exactly? You can never have enough RAM for a performant ZFS (also in FreeNAS) or number of spindels. Please clarify.

I've always wanted to consolidate hardware as much as possible but I'm extremely skittish about doing anything risky when it comes to our data.

Yes, consolidation is good, as long as it does not affect the overfall reachability. I'd rather go with 3 smaller servers than with a single big one.

I was really concerned about using ZoL in the past but it seems like it has been production quality for some time now. My main concern is whether it'd be frowned upon / totally unsupported to use the host to serve NFS. Plus, I'm still nervous about using ZoL to host our data.

It's working like a charm (depending on your physical hardware of course, but the software works).
 
With respect to what exactly? You can never have enough RAM for a performant ZFS (also in FreeNAS) or number of spindels. Please clarify.

High performance CPUs with lots of cores (< 4% average use) and way more ram than we need for ARC (we use < 64GB now).

Just wondering if serving NFS from the host itself is supported though and if there is a downside of doing so that I'm not thinking of.
 
Just wondering if serving NFS from the host itself is supported though and if there is a downside of doing so that I'm not thinking of.

Downside? No, but the support question, if you want and have support by the staff is a good question.

I just went ahead and submitted a support request.

Probably the best and you will have a definite answer.
 
What I'm wondering is this: is using the Proxmox host as an NFS server safe / recommended / supported?

Supported in what sense? From the Enterprise Support Agreement, no not really, while the client access to it from another PVE could see support the Server parts won't. But per-se nothing speaks against having a NFS server on PVE, as long as you can take the load. I mean one can also provide CephFS from a Proxmox Cluster.

Recommended/Save? I'd say, for other clients in the network it's quite save, I mean you have to handle higher load together with VM, but if the machine is overpowered anyway that should not be an issue.
But I would not use NFS to back VM/CT disk images on the same host, that's a bit pointless and you won't win anything - just use the available storages directly.

Also FreeNAS does not perform well on ProxMox (if at all). Darn. I was hoping to fully utilize these monstrous systems.
Maybe just some settings missing, which FreeNAS version do you use? Also is only the webinterface slow or is IO also slow?
 
But per-se nothing speaks against having a NFS server on PVE, as long as you can take the load.

OK sounds good, that's really all I wanted to know. My main concern was that running an NFS server on the host would invalidate support for everything else.

for other clients in the network it's quite save

Yes, other clients. I wouldn't be running VMs off this pool or over NFS at all.

which FreeNAS version do you use?

That wasn't me but there are tons of threads just like that one when it comes to virtualization. The general sense I get is to NOT virtualize FreeNAS / ZFS and if you do, to use ESXi and PCI passthrough which isn't an option for us. We could potentially do disk passthrough but I'm still concerned that that's not "bare metal" enough for ZFS. The one blog post says that if you can't use PCI passthrough to disable scrubs. I'm not comfortable doing that.

Too many people talk about "nightmare scenarios" when it comes to virtualizing FreeNAS. The absolute LAST thing I need is to be trying to fix a corrupted pool and/or restore 16TB of data so this is always my main concern when doing something different.

I've worked with Proxmox and ZFS for quite a few years and couldn't see any real problem doing this. It sounds like it wouldn't be supported via the support agreement, which is fine, as long as I could still get support on the other components.
 

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