If one reads some of the hardware discussions on the FreeNAS forums, it becomes clear that there are many thoughts and opinions on how to build the best FreeNAS home server. One hardware item that has clearly two camps is the RAM. Some believe you can use ‘normal’ RAM memory, whereas others are convinced you should only, but only, go for ECC RAM.
Josh Paetzel, Director of IT at iXsystems, has written an article in the BSD Magazine (issue 02/2015) about FreeNAS and the iXsystems recommended hardware.
To summarise, he’s recommending (you can still build what you think is best, but you may end up with problems in the future) that:
- you use ECC RAM on critical production systems
- you use at least 8GB of RAM and 12GB for a system with plugins
- Host Bus Adapters (HBA) are preferred over RAID cards. You can use a RAID card, but you’ll have to disable write caching and consistency checks
- bare metal systems are preferred over virtual servers; this is due to limitations in the underlying FreeBSD system.
You can read the whole article in “A complete guide to FreeNAS Hardware Design“.