Partitioning NVMe for App Storage and Cache on TrueNAS SCALE - Good Idea?

I’m a noob to TrueNAS, my system has 2x NVMes, 1 for the boot drive and 1 secondary NVMe.

Does it make sense to partition the second NVMe drive into 2x partitions so that I can use say 600-800GB as App storage and the 200GB as cache for for my spinning drives? Or is this a bad idea?

In the GUI it looks like I can only add caches (L2ARC, etc) to a storage pool if I have a dedicated drive to add to it.

I bought an AliE aoostar r7 style 2-bay NAS as a bit of an intro / play with system to get familiar with TrueNAS. Mainly acting as a cloud replacement and storage. It will be running some apps but unlikely any virtualisation as I have a couple of Proxmox nodes handling VMs and LXCs.

NAS Sever:

- 1x NVMe 256gb Boot Drive with TrueNAS Scale
- 1x NVMe 1TB drive for secondary drive, primarily for app storage
- Ryzen 7 5700U
- 32GB DDR4
- 2x 4TB 3.5” HDD in Mirror (plan to upgrade them to 12, 16 or 18TB version in the next month or so)

Using partitions is not supported by the GUI, and is advised against—especially if one has to ask.
Mixing data with anything else is a Bad Idea™. You do not have enough RAM to consider a L2ARC (64 GB minimum!), and L2ARC duties would wear out what is also a data drive…

One drive for boot. One drive as non-redundant app storage (or copies=2), possibly backed to the HDD pool.

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Don’t sweat it.

It is not that hard to do, but my suggestion would be to simply use an external USB 3.0 2.5in adapter/case and install a quality SSD in it to be used as BOOT.

I have several systems working like that for a few years (since CORE) and they have been fine. IF you need APPS, put the ix-systems directory on the NVMe, not in the USB SSD.

L2ARC would not benefit them at all in this case though.

Thanks. I missed that part.

I did use L2ARC with OpenSolaris and then Open-Indiana and then TrueNAS CORE, all under ESXi, which made it easy to provision the drives for L2ARC, but once I moved to physical machines, and after lots of testing, plus the hassle of partitioning the SSD, I decided to not use L2ARC.

We know that for most people/uses (SMB server), a cache drive will not help and it’s better to instead put more memory (I still only put 8-12 GB RAM for file-server-only duty).

But you still want your writes to be fast, so I do have my home, scripts and VMs/apps, plus an smb share on NVMe and I am happy with the setup:
Wire speed for SMB shares on platters (mirror) and snappy VMs/apps.