What happens when you just get frustrated and buy an old server on ebay? Well… I don’t know yet because at the moment I’m checking the RAM with memtester on a System Rescue CD running off of a bootable USB drive. What I do know is that this computer has 64G of ECC RAM, 2 Intel xeon processors with a combined 24 cores, and 8 3.5″ drive bays.
My general plan here is to consolidate other computers that were providing FreeNAS (now TrueNAS), XCP-ng, and other functions into a single unit using the now alpha_―should I be scared?―_TrueNAS Scale. I’m not switching because TrueNAS is lacking in general as a NAS because it’s been great. It’s just that the VM solution, bhyve, is both not what I’m familiar with and seems generally less good for the virtualization I do. Additionally, TrueNAS is based on BSD, and while BSD is great, I’m far more experienced with Linux having used it for 10 years, and Scale is:
- Built on Debian Linux
- Maintains ZFS for file system
- Integrates the more familiar KVM for virtual machines
- Adds Docker for containers
Basically, it should allow me to consolidate:
- My virtual machines
- Currently running on a mix of desktop computers with KVM and a hobbled together machine running XCP-ng.
- My NAS
- Currently a dedicated old desktop computer with the sides off.
- My Docker Containers
- Maybe PFSense (dare I virtualize this?)
I’m have some trepidation about using the alpha TrueNAS Scale on this system that I actually intend to use for real, but I’ve also been very very interested in using this particular iteration of the Free and Open Source project TrueNAS since I heard about it sometime last year (or was it 2019?―what actually is time?).
Since I started writing this post I’ve:
- generally validated the hardware is working
- added an internal SSD to directly to the SATA ports
- installed a fresh copy of TrueNAS Scale alpha
- Setup a single-disk pool (pool?) to test things
- installed a docker version of Nextcloud that works well
- created a working VM of Debian 10 Linux and accessed via included VNC
- happily played in the shell with my known panoply of Linux terminal commands (so much less context switching!)
- and generally explored the new web-based GUI (I’m liking it).
I’m not sure exactly when I’m going to fully fully commit to moving all of my day-to-day data over to the new machine (need to add non-test disks for non-test pools), but I suspect in the coming weeks I’ll gain an amount of trust to do so. The release notes indicate a certain stability in many of the elements independently (though when you bring things together who knows), but it looks good.
I’ll likely update here as I encounter problems or move additional items to the server.