Home NAS with Ubuntu and ZFS

zfs Jan 14, 2020

My little adventure in building the ultimate home NAS using Ubuntu and ZFS. Let's get right into the hardware specs:

  • Rosewill RSV-L4312 Chassis with 12 3.5-inch hotswap bays
  • Intel Core i7-9800X (overclocked to 4.7Ghz)
  • 128GB Crucial Ballistix Sport LT 2666 MHz DDR4 DRAM
  • Corsair H100i v2 AIO CPU Cooler
  • Noctua NF-F12 industrialPPC-3000 PWM 120mm fans x5 (intake and radiator)
  • Noctua NF-A14 industrialPPC-3000 PWM (PCIe)
  • Noctua NF-A8 PWM x2 (exhaust)
  • Silverstone 8-Port PWM Fan Hub/Splitter
  • ASUS X299 TUF Mark 1 Motherboard
  • ASUS Hyper Card v2
  • LSI 9201-16i HBA
  • Cable Matters Mini SAS (SFF-8087) to SATA Forward Breakout cables
  • Seagate EXO x10 10TB (ST10000NM0086) HDD x12
  • Western Digital Blue 3D NAND SSD 250GB (OS Software RAID-1)
  • Samsung 970 Pro m.2 NVMe SSD x2 (ZFS l2arc cache)
  • Samsung 970 EVO Plus m.2 NVMe SSD x4 (ZFS l2arc cache)
  • Mellanox MCX311A-XCAT ConnectX-3 10Gbe SPF+ Network Adapter
  • ZOTAC GeForce GT 710
  • Startech 6U Vertical Wall mount


Initially, I chose the iStarUSA M-4160-ATX, but all 4 backplanes were DOA. I really, really wanted this chassis to work, the 16 hotswap bays + 2x2.5 inch bays  was ideal for my setup. But at $600+ USD and all 4 backplanes DOA, I didn't trust a replacement. I found the Rosewill RSV-L4312 on newegg.com as an open box buy at $150 USD so I decided to try it.

The Rosewill had 4 less front bays and no internal bays for OS drives. Bummer. But the Rosewill fit larger motherboards, E-ATX vs ATX, and I was able to fit my Corsair H100i v2 AIO cooler inside, which was a bonus as I was able to keep my overclock settings. Something I had to dial back when I tried a Noctua NH-U9DX i4 4U air cooler.

Water Cooling

Water cooling was a nice bonus. The main support brace had a little groove in it that actually fit the H100i v2 radiator perfectly!

I just drilled new holes and mounted the brace upside down. I have emailed Rosewill parts department asking for another brace so I can clamp it down from the top; otherwise, I will have to manufacture some sort clamp or maybe just use some extra strength rubber bands to hold the radiator securely.


Unlike Linus, Ubuntu + ZFS is awesome. I have 12 10TB disks, 11 in raidz3 with 1 hotspare, 6 1TB NVMe m.2 SSDs for l2arc cache. I have read articles saying l2arc cache can slow you down, but with using 10GB SFP+ connections and 4K video editing with Davinci Resolve 16 using network drives, the l2arc cache really makes a difference. I guess it would really depend on your workload. For things like Plex, I use a ZFS dataset in which l2arc is only used for metadata, as the sequential read once workload does not make a lot of sense to fill the l2arc cache.

$ zfs set secondarycache=metadata vol0/plex


Device       Model                          Firmware   Temperature
/dev/nvme0   Samsung SSD 970 PRO 1TB        1B2QEXP7   23°C
/dev/nvme1   Samsung SSD 970 PRO 1TB        1B2QEXP7   25°C
/dev/nvme2   Samsung SSD 970 EVO Plus 1TB   2B2QEXM7   26°C
/dev/nvme3   Samsung SSD 970 EVO Plus 1TB   2B2QEXM7   27°C
/dev/nvme4   Samsung SSD 970 EVO Plus 1TB   2B2QEXM7   27°C
/dev/nvme5   Samsung SSD 970 EVO Plus 1TB   2B2QEXM7   27°C
/dev/sda     ST10000NM0086-2AA101           SN05       25°C
/dev/sdb     ST10000NM0086-2AA101           SN05       26°C
/dev/sdc     ST10000NM0086-2AA101           SN05       26°C
/dev/sdd     ST10000NM0086-2AA101           SN05       26°C
/dev/sde     ST10000NM0086-2AA101           SN05       24°C
/dev/sdf     ST10000NM0086-2AA101           SN05       24°C
/dev/sdg     ST10000NM0086-2AA101           SN05       24°C
/dev/sdh     ST10000NM0086-2AA101           SN05       24°C
/dev/sdi     ST10000NM0086-2AA101           SN05       24°C
/dev/sdj     ST10000NM0086-2AA101           SN05       25°C
/dev/sdk     ST10000NM0086-2AA101           SN05       24°C
/dev/sdl     ST10000NM0086-2AA101           SN05       24°C
/dev/sdm     WDC WDS250G2B0A-00SM50         401000WD   28°C
/dev/sdn     WDC WDS250G2B0A-00SM50         401000WD   27°C

Using 2 m.2 slots on motherboard + 4 m.2 slots on ASUS Hyper Card v2 for 6 SSD l2arc cache. One of my Seagate drives had older firmware, but I was able to update via command line using Seagate tools from support site.

OS drives are just some generic Western Digital Blue SSDs in software raid-1, they don't see much action, so I am not worried about SSD wear.

IO udev Rules

ACTION=="add|change", KERNEL=="sd[a-z]", ATTRS{model}=="ST10000NM0086-2A", ATTR{queue/scheduler}="deadline", ATTR{queue/read_ahead_kb}="256", ATTR{queue/nr_requests}="256"
ACTION=="add|change", KERNEL=="sd[a-z]", ATTR{queue/rotational}=="0", ATTR{queue/scheduler}="deadline", ATTR{queue/read_ahead_kb}="4096", ATTR{queue/nr_requests}="512"
ACTION=="add|change", KERNEL=="nvme[0-9]n1", ATTR{queue/read_ahead_kb}="4096"

Zpool Status

  pool: vol0
 state: ONLINE
  scan: scrub repaired 0B in 6h43m with 0 errors on Mon Jan 13 06:22:53 2020

        NAME                         STATE     READ WRITE CKSUM
        vol0                         ONLINE       0     0     0
          raidz3-0                   ONLINE       0     0     0
            wwn-0x5000c500b37d1d7c   ONLINE       0     0     0
            wwn-0x5000c500b2769d77   ONLINE       0     0     0
            wwn-0x5000c500b26e6c80   ONLINE       0     0     0
            wwn-0x5000c500b152e4a2   ONLINE       0     0     0
            wwn-0x5000c500b26e22b6   ONLINE       0     0     0
            wwn-0x5000c500b26d8443   ONLINE       0     0     0
            wwn-0x5000c500b4f69bcb   ONLINE       0     0     0
            wwn-0x5000c500b697cd6a   ONLINE       0     0     0
            wwn-0x5000c500b4f9a95e   ONLINE       0     0     0
            wwn-0x5000c500b697219e   ONLINE       0     0     0
            wwn-0x5000c500c3b3928d   ONLINE       0     0     0
          nvme-eui.0025385881b01bc5  ONLINE       0     0     0
          nvme-eui.0025385881b01ba5  ONLINE       0     0     0
          nvme-eui.0025385b9150d35a  ONLINE       0     0     0
          nvme-eui.0025385391b2a3a6  ONLINE       0     0     0
          nvme-eui.0025385391b2a375  ONLINE       0     0     0
          nvme-eui.0025385b9150efa6  ONLINE       0     0     0
          wwn-0x5000c500b6970b24     AVAIL

errors: No known data errors

Zpool IO Status

                               capacity     operations     bandwidth
pool                         alloc   free   read  write   read  write
---------------------------  -----  -----  -----  -----  -----  -----
vol0                         27.3T  72.7T  1.24K  1.16K  30.3M  29.7M
  raidz3                     27.3T  72.7T  1.24K  1.16K  30.3M  29.7M
    wwn-0x5000c500b37d1d7c       -      -    116    108  2.75M  2.70M
    wwn-0x5000c500b2769d77       -      -    120    108  2.74M  2.70M
    wwn-0x5000c500b26e6c80       -      -    114    108  2.76M  2.70M
    wwn-0x5000c500b152e4a2       -      -    117    109  2.75M  2.70M
    wwn-0x5000c500b26e22b6       -      -    115    108  2.76M  2.70M
    wwn-0x5000c500b26d8443       -      -    114    107  2.76M  2.70M
    wwn-0x5000c500b4f69bcb       -      -    111    108  2.77M  2.70M
    wwn-0x5000c500b697cd6a       -      -    118    108  2.74M  2.70M
    wwn-0x5000c500b4f9a95e       -      -    113    107  2.77M  2.70M
    wwn-0x5000c500b697219e       -      -    115    108  2.76M  2.70M
    wwn-0x5000c500c3b3928d       -      -    114    107  2.76M  2.70M
cache                            -      -      -      -      -      -
  nvme-eui.0025385881b01bc5  3.27G   951G      0     22     99  2.44M
  nvme-eui.0025385881b01ba5  4.82G   949G      0     37     99  3.60M
  nvme-eui.0025385b9150d35a  3.58G   928G      0     30     99  2.68M
  nvme-eui.0025385391b2a3a6  3.86G   928G      0     29     99  2.87M
  nvme-eui.0025385391b2a375  3.81G   928G      0     43     99  2.84M
  nvme-eui.0025385b9150efa6  3.25G   928G      0     23     99  2.44M
---------------------------  -----  -----  -----  -----  -----  -----

Cooling and Noise

The Corsair AIO cooler is nice to have. My i7-9800X is overclocked to 4.7GHz all cores boost (using a -6 AVX offset as AVX instructions have an insane power and heat generation profile). Final config as 3 Noctua 120mm fans pulling off the hotswap bays and 2 more pulling on radiator. PCIe slots need a fan due to the LSI 9201-16i running insanely hot. So hot, even at idle, it caused the Mellanox ethernet adapter to throw kernel errors about core temps over 105C!

Idle Temps

 $ sensors
 Adapter: ISA adapter
i7-9800x:     +30.0°C  (high = +100.0°C, crit = +110.0°C)
Core 0:       +29.0°C  (high = +100.0°C, crit = +110.0°C)
Core 1:       +27.0°C  (high = +100.0°C, crit = +110.0°C)
Core 2:       +28.0°C  (high = +100.0°C, crit = +110.0°C)
Core 3:       +29.0°C  (high = +100.0°C, crit = +110.0°C)
Core 4:       +28.0°C  (high = +100.0°C, crit = +110.0°C)
Core 5:       +28.0°C  (high = +100.0°C, crit = +110.0°C)
Core 6:       +30.0°C  (high = +100.0°C, crit = +110.0°C)
Core 7:       +29.0°C  (high = +100.0°C, crit = +110.0°C)

Mprime95 Temps

$ sensors
Adapter: ISA adapter
i7-9800x:     +75.0°C  (high = +100.0°C, crit = +110.0°C)
Core 0:       +69.0°C  (high = +100.0°C, crit = +110.0°C)
Core 1:       +74.0°C  (high = +100.0°C, crit = +110.0°C)
Core 2:       +72.0°C  (high = +100.0°C, crit = +110.0°C)
Core 3:       +73.0°C  (high = +100.0°C, crit = +110.0°C)
Core 4:       +60.0°C  (high = +100.0°C, crit = +110.0°C)
Core 5:       +75.0°C  (high = +100.0°C, crit = +110.0°C)
Core 6:       +68.0°C  (high = +100.0°C, crit = +110.0°C)
Core 7:       +66.0°C  (high = +100.0°C, crit = +110.0°C)

Never breaking 78C is not bad for a 4U chassis and air flow.

Vertical 6U (upside down)

I have a very narrow utility room in my 1952 ranch-style house, so I needed to vertical mount the server. I used a Startech 6U vertical mount. I also mounted things upside down, given that hot air rises! Using a 1U CyberPower OR1500LCDRM1U Smart App LCD UPS System, 1500VA/900W. I mounted the UPS closest to the wall, then left 1U of empty space and mounted the Rosewill chassis on the outer 4U. The 2-foot by 4-foot, 3/4-inch birch plywood is mounted directly to the wall studs, the Startech 6U rack is mounted to the plywood.

Updated Homelab

Got rid of USG-4 Pro and UDM Pro after upgrading to the UDM Pro and absolutely hating the disaster that is UniFi routing products. Adding second UPS and painted my wooden 12U rack black.

pfSense on Supermicro SuperServer 5019D-FN8TP and Proxmox on a Supermicro SuperServer 1019C-FHTN8 with an Intel Xeon E-2278G CPU.


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