SSD vs 5400rpm drive



  • Hi all,
    will Pfsense get any benefit other than when rebooting from the performance of an SSD? I have several laptop drives lying around and wonder should I use one for my new build or stick to an SSD.
    Thoughts?
    Patrick



  • The amount of storage space that pfSense requires is fairly tiny, and SSDs are now affordable. As such, there's no reason to use a hard disk. I've been told that even when it comes to stability, the vulnerability of SSDs to write wear is greatly reduced in modern models, so preferring a hard disk over an SSD for stability is unjustified. SSDs are silent, more resistant against vibration damage, and faster by orders of magnitude. The amount of disc I/O on a typical pfSense installation is debatable and depends on log configuration and RRD configuration, among other things. Any reasonable pfSense installation should have enough memory that a swap partition is unnecessary, so that should not be a factor either.



  • Also:

    SSD power efficiency is way better than spinning hard discs, but this might only matter to you at scale in a data center, for instance.

    Proper SSD configuration takes a couple of extra steps - enabling TRIM, removing the swap partition from the default partition layout, enabling SATA/AHCI, and potentially switching to ramdisks for /tmp and /var.



  • Personally, I boot pfSense from a m2 nvme drive.



  • Cool, thank you all for the input, it seems I will be using an SSD then :)


  • Banned

    SSD will save you something like $7-20 a year in the US over your average HDD.

    Another option with the 2.4.0 BETA & ZFS installs is an install to cheap USB flash drives.

    They will consume even less power than an SSD (although it will be neglible), and they are even cheaper to purchase.

    If you go that route, I'd suggest a raidz2 install without a swap partition and turning RAM disks on.



  • @pfBasic:

    SSD will save you something like $7-20 a year in the US over your average HDD.

    Another option with the 2.4.0 BETA & ZFS installs is an install to cheap USB flash drives.

    They will consume even less power than an SSD (although it will be neglible), and they are even cheaper to purchase.

    If you go that route, I'd suggest a raidz2 install without a swap partition and turning RAM disks on.

    I'd stick with SSD over the flash drives if it can be helped.  If not, definitely use RAM disks.  I just went through failure of both of my USB flash drives that boot FreeNAS (for those unfamiliar, both pfSense and FreeNAS have their roots in m0n0wall, though they have diverged a LOT in the intervening years, obviously).  Anyway, I was using two identical drives, and they both failed within ~1 month of each other, after about 2 years of uptime. Luckily uptime hasn't been compromised, thanks to those few weeks between failures.  I'll thank ZFS for that.  Watching a pool resilver when you're not sure how soon the good drive will fail is an exercise in patience.

    If I had to do it over again, I'd skip the flash drives.  But that's for a high uptime system.  The good thing about them in a ZFS mirror is that they are hot swappable; something not easy to find in the commodity hardware that most of us use for our personal pfSense rigs.  A good compromise, if you are going the USB flash drive route might be to use 2 different drives (not identical) as that may give you a chance of them not failing at approximately the same time (ie after the same amount of writes).  Anecdotally, I have a coworker that booted Ubuntu off of a ZFS mirror on two identical flash drives and they failed at almost literally the same time.

    No matter what you use, just keep a current backup and something spare to boot from and you'll have minimal downtime in the event of a failure.



  • Well I went ahead with a 256gb Samsung EVO drive I had lying around. I may swap it for a smaller one later, the itx board I purchased has a slot for an nvme drive, I wonder if that is better for power consumption?
    As for reliability, I still have my old system which is still functional except I swapped the Intel 4 port NIC into the new machine, so worst case scenario I would swap the NIC back if the new one had a hardware failure. :)
    Patrick



  • The specs for average power consumption of a 256gb Samsung EVO is ~2.4W compared to a nvme ~5W but performance is rated at 540 MB/s on the EVO compared to 3,200 MB/s.



  • I know there is a large difference in speed between the MSata and NVME but what difference would that make to Pfsense? Does Pfsense not just use the drive for logs? Surely there would be no impact when using a drive just got logging and possibly a slight difference in boot speed?



  • I agree. my pfSense has no disk intensive application. Logging is set to remote syslog. Uptime goes for months on end.



  • SSDs are so cheap now I wouldn't use in the other drive for any purpose.