Alongside the launch of TrueNAS 12 release, we get a new set of appliances from the iXsystems team. The iXsystems TrueNAS R-series is designed to be used for TrueNAS today, but the systems seem more focused on the Linux-based TrueNAS Scale that hit Alpha status last week.
iXsystems TrueNAS R-Series Storage Appliance
Here is the slide on the TrueNAS R-Series of appliances.
Of these, there are basically the R20 2U 12x bay chassis along with the 4U R50 48x 3.5″ bay system that are hard drive offerings. The R10 at 16x bays in 1U and the R40 with 48x 2.5″ bays in 2U round out the SSD options. These systems are higher-density than we typically see from 1U/2U systems. It seems as though the company is not supporting standard data center 15mm 2.5″ SSDs in these systems.
Taking a few clues from the announcement with 6-16 cores and up to 192GB of RAM we can assume these are Intel Xeon systems, not AMD EPYC systems. As a result, these will be PCIe Gen3 systems. We are starting to see newer servers, even from vendors such as Gigabyte use PCIe Gen4 as we saw in our recent Gigabyte S452-Z30 Review. That system had only 36x 3.5″ bays in the 4U appliance but also had two SATA 2.5″ bays (15mm), four SATA/SAS/NVMe bays (15mm) and two M.2 slots. It also had options for up to 64 cores and 2TB of memory so it is a trade-off to get those extra disks.
Taking two other clues from the announcement, we can see that these are single controller units. Typically, higher-end systems in the TrueNAS line have the option for Active-Active controllers. That is how iXsystems has built its FreeBSD-based TrueNAS 12 software to handle high-availability. When we look at the bottom of the page we see Scale mentioned alongside Enterprise. Scale is the Linux-based scale-out solution that is designed to use a cluster of nodes for high-availability. Typically in Gluster-based clusters, one uses many single controller nodes like these R-Series systems instead of a two-node Active-Active controller setup. Of course, for those who do not want HA, a single controller system is less expensive
Overall, interesting systems. Something that the iXsystems team will need to do is differentiate their systems with TrueNAS Scale. The Active-Active solutions required for FreeBSD-based high-availability with ZFS. For Gluster, one wants more nodes. That is also the case for Kubernetes clusters. iXsystems is planning a tool to upgrade from TrueNAS FreeBSD to TrueNAS Scale. We wish that the company would have clear entitlement upgrades for TrueNAS Scale if that is the path forward for systems like he tTrueNAS R-series but the software is still a few months away.