Kubesail’s PiBox mini 2 – 16 TB of SSD storage on a Pi

Kubesail’s PiBox mini 2 – 16 TB of SSD storage on a Pi

Many months in the past, after I was first testing different SATA cards on the Raspberry Pi Compute Module 4, I began hearing from GitHub user PastuDan about his experiences testing a number of totally different SATA interface chips on the CM4.

Because it seems, he was engaged on the design for the PiBox mini 2, a small two-drive NAS unit powered by a Compute Module 4 with 2 native SATA ports (offering knowledge and energy), 1 Gbps Ethernet, HDMI, USB 2, and a front-panel LCD for info show.

The {Hardware}

The PiBox mini 2 is powered by the Compute Module 4 on this attention-grabbing provider board:

PiBox mini carrier board with Raspberry Pi Compute Module 4

Discover the sting connector? It is a PCI Specific x4 plug—however this board does not plug right into a PCI Specific slot—reasonably, it makes use of that {hardware} connector to plug right into a particular backplane, which holds the SATA chip, 2 SATA connectors for arduous drives or SSDs, and has a standing show connector and exercise LEDs.

The backplane suits properly into their 3D case design:

PiBox mini SATA backplane

A steel enclosure can be supplied at a later time, however the 3D enclosure is already fairly good—far more compact than the rest I've used with comparable specs.

PiBox mini 2 rear IO

All of the IO is on the rear, and it is nothing wonderful, however having a full dimension HDMI port means this NAS might pull double-duty and run media software program like Plex and be linked on to a TV.

PiBox Kubesail Kubernetes management web UI

Kubesail and MicroK8s

The field got here pre-installed with MicroK8s and the Kubesail Agent, which ties the little Kubernetes endpoint into Kubesail, a semi-managed Kubernetes platform that permits you to carry your individual cluster (you do not want PiBox to make use of it!) and proxies site visitors to the cluster to make self-hosting a lot simpler.

I did not spend an entire lot of time testing Kubesail itself, however I did like the general strategy, and particularly preferred the documentation and skill to dive straight into my cluster's YAML templates when wanted, all by means of an internet UI.

As acknowledged beforehand, there is not any have to run Kubernetes or Kubesail in any respect—for those who simply need to run OpenMediaVault or another OS set up, that is straightforward to do, and Kubesail even publishes a guide for customizing other OSes for the PiBox, so issues just like the front-panel LCD and PWM fan management nonetheless work.

Disk efficiency

I ran some baseline efficiency exams, although the ASM1061 SATA-III controller used is analogous in efficiency to the opposite boards I've examined with the Compute Module 4—which means the utmost throughput is proscribed by the ~3.6 Gbps real-world throughput of the Pi's PCIe Gen 2.0 x1 lane.

Utilizing mdadm (sudo mdadm --create --verbose /dev/md0 --level=1 --raid-devices=2 /dev/sda /dev/sdb), I created a RAID 1 array with two Samsung 8TB 870 QVO SSDs (do not ask how a lot this stuff value...). Then I used fio to check:

1M Sequential Learn

fio --name TEST --eta-newline=5s --filename=fio-tempfile.dat --rw=learn --size=500m --io_size=10g --blocksize=1024k --ioengine=libaio --fsync=10000 --iodepth=32 --direct=1 --numjobs=1 --runtime=60 --group_reporting

1M Sequential Read PiBox mini fio performance benchmark

1M Sequential Write

fio --name TEST --eta-newline=5s --filename=fio-tempfile.dat --rw=write --size=500m --io_size=10g --blocksize=1024k --ioengine=libaio --fsync=10000 --iodepth=32 --direct=1 --numjobs=1 --runtime=60 --group_reporting

1M Sequential Write PiBox mini fio performance benchmark

4K Random Learn

fio --name TEST --eta-newline=5s --filename=fio-tempfile.dat --rw=randread --size=500m --io_size=10g --blocksize=4k --ioengine=libaio --fsync=1 --iodepth=1 --direct=1 --numjobs=1 --runtime=60 --group_reporting

4K Random Read PiBox mini fio performance benchmark

The numbers aren't ground-breaking, however they're in keeping with what I've gotten on different Pi storage exams when utilizing native SATA-III drives immediately on the Pi's PCIe bus (as an alternative of by means of USB-to-SATA adapters, as is common to do in older Pi NAS merchandise just like the Argon Eon.

And for a Pi, 7000 IOPS is nothing to be scoffed at. The very best I've gotten with microSD playing cards or eMMC storage is round 2-3000 IOPS.

Operating issues Kubernetes' storage or log output on SSDs additionally saves the microSD card or built-in eMMC storage from many small writes, vastly extending their life.

Sadly, proper now you'll be able to't absolutely boot the Pi off native SATA storage. Hopefully that may change sometime!

Teardown and Overview

I compiled all the small print about my teardown and overview of the PiBox mini 2 on this YouTube video:

Should you're serious about getting one, they're presently operating a Kickstarter for the PiBox mini 2, and Kubesail is planning on making another variations, too, finally together with a 5-bay 3.5" NAS!

The PiBox mini 2 is not the solely full-featured NAS product I am testing proper now, both—I've simply began testing a brand new NAS construct utilizing Radxa's Taco! Be sure you subscribe to my YouTube channel for the newest information.

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