At STH, we have many readers that are FreeNAS users either personally or for their SMB operations or client operations. The company behind FreeNAS is iXsystems who sells commercially validated and supported hardware based on TrueNAS, a cousin of FreeNAS. This week, iXsystem launched two innovative storage solutions, the TrueNAS M-Series with the M40 and M50 systems highlighting the launch.
iXsystems TrueNAS M-Series M40 and M50
The TrueNAS M40 and M50 share a somewhat common base. At their heart, they utilize a 4U 24x 3.5″ head unit that comes in a dual-controller design for high availability. These new systems are built on the Intel Xeon Scalable family, Intel’s latest Xeon generation. They also incorporate higher-end networking than previous generations with both 100GbE and 32Gb FC networking options. Both solutions have features such as Citrix certifications (VMware and Veeam certifications are in progress) along with software features such as NFS, Windows SMB, iSCSI, snapshots, clones, and replication.
The TrueNAS M40 can handle up to 2PB of raw storage (iXsystems claims 5PB using typical compression) and supports up to two expansion shelves for a total of 144 drives. A unique feature is that the system uses ultra-fast non-volatile DIMMs (or NVDIMMs) for write cache. ZFS benefits from low latency high throughput cache as we clearly saw in our Exploring the Best ZFS ZIL SLOG SSD with Intel Optane and NAND piece. Although Optane will allegedly be coming to memory channels in Intel’s next platform refresh codenamed “Cascade Lake” at present, NVDIMMs are still a relatively exotic solution that will provide excellent performance. Read cache is handled by up to 2.4TB of SSDs.
The iXsystems TrueNAS M50 is the next step up. It can handle up to 12x 60GB expansion chassis for up to 744 disks and 10.5PB raw/ 26PB compressed storage. It also uses NVDIMMs for write cache but has greatly expanded read cache capabilities. The TrueNAS M50 can handle up to 15TB of NVMe read cache which is important given the 10PB+ capacities that these can handle.
Pricing and Availability
The iXsystems TrueNAS M40 and M50 will be available in April 2018 and available through the iXsystems global channel partner network. If you like FreeNAS and ZFS and want to use an upgraded production version for your business or for your clients, the TrueNAS M-Series is an option that starts at under $20K USD. Harnessing NVDIMMs and the dual controller design is easily something worth the cost of upgrading from FreeNAS.