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Building a home server. Please help, DC!

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"Why did you make this mistake?"-superboyac (August 30, 2011, 03:54 PM)
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Well, first a crucial piece of information is missed, and then the rest of it just falls into place naturally...  :D

[Supervisors hate me]

two things bugging me about that config. It's a rack system, why? It's much easier to stuff a tower in a corner somewhere. Rack systems require a...Rack. Which is going to take up a good bit of room, or it'll have to sit on top of something large/flat. Which is still not a stellar option as cooling could get tricky.

6 drive bays with 4 1TB drives and 2 emptys, doesn't sound like a lot of room for expansion. I thought you were after something like 13TB+??

Although you could go with a Gen III 4U PowerEdge 2900 with 10 Drive slots...That'll give you some room to grow. :)
-Stoic Joker (August 30, 2011, 05:19 PM)
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Yeah, I noticed that too, but wasn't sure.  I actually asked for a rack, so I want it that way.  But I don't want to buy any storage stuff for the server component.  For the drives, i want to buy one of those big Norco enclosures that hold 10-15 hard drives.  So I may ask to remove any storage things that I don't need, but it's pretty cheap anyway, maybe I'll just keep it for now.  I don't know.  That's why I want to kind of figure it out here.

Stoic Joker:
So if the storage is going to be in an external enclosure, what's with the 4TB Server storage? Me confused.

I still think the more mainstream (and brutally tested) straight server hardware option is the best/safest. Those external boxes make me a bit nervous about getting parts/support in a few years down the road when something fails. Name brand server parts of today will still be available to our grandchildren out of a warehouse somewhere.

SJ does make a good point about rack mounting. Resting it flat on a sturdy shelf is suboptimal since most rack enclosures are designed to have a few inches of airspace all round them. If you do go the sturdy shelf route (since equipment racks are expensive and generally unsightly in living spaces) try for one of those open wire shelving units that usually come in chrome or black. Get the chrome if at all possible since it absorbs less heat than a dark finish will.

Note too that most rackmount servers are NOISY because they have multiple high-velocity variable speed fans. The fan speeds are likely something like high and turbocharged. But they're designed for server rooms installations where noise levels usually aren't a consideration. I'd plan on keeping your rackmount beastie in a spare room - or down in a cool dry basement - unless you like the sound of fan noise.

The rest of your configuration is an absolute bear for a personal server! The phrase 'massive overkill' does not begin do it justice.  I have business clients that aren't packing half of what your rig has. And they're running serious business functions on them.

I don't think you'll really be needing that remote access card unless you plan on doing a lot of out-of-band system management. That's more for remote service management types (like me and SJ) who might need to diagnose and reboot servers without going to a client's site. Read a bit more about it here. So unless it's required for your support contract, I'd forgo it if it will save you some decent money. It may not affect your price much since I'd guess it was part of the unit when it came in for refurbishment. In which case I'd just leave it in. (You might also want to play with it. Out-of-band management isn't a bad thing to have some experience with.)  But it's normally an expensive accessory to buy - so it might be worth thinking about how much you'll really use it.

As far as storage capacity goes, SJ again makes a good point. But with what's happening (OMG! 3.0 and 3.5 TB drives now coming) in the marketplace it's kinda moot. Get what you need for now. You can always backfill and regroup if you actually do end up needing that much. I'd go with a separate basic OS storage server if I ever needed that much. By the time that came around we'd finally be using btrfs or a similar "super" file system.


Stoic Joker:
I don't think you'll really be needing that remote access card unless you plan on doing a lot of out-of-band system management.-40hz (August 30, 2011, 06:43 PM)
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O_O Crap! ...I didn't even see that one (nice catch). That would be totally over the top for a home server (and they're not cheap IIRC).

That's a holy-shit grade server for home usage... Performance-wise, not storage-wise. IMHO it's been over-engineered in the wrong way.

I basically want a really big external hard drive. In this case, the really big external drive is the server, and the bigness comes from having several hard drives in the rack somewhere.  That's the clearest way to describe what I want.
-superboyac (August 30, 2011, 03:26 PM)
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6 bays with 2TB each (to many 1TB drive is a semi waste of slot space these days) would in theory get you 12GB of storage, however since we scared of losing all the eggs in one basket in one go you'll probably have to consider RAID 10 (or at minimum RAID 5 if you use all enterprise-grade drives), that'd leave you a usable capacity of 5.XTB-9.XTB.

You end up with slightly more than 9TB of practically non-expansible storage at best.

A plain but reliable home server coupled with one or more raid-enabled NAS boxes/appliances is probably a more cost-effective solution in this case. Much more flexible, expansible, less noisy, lower maintenance and cheaper! :)

P.S. If by any remote chance your projected storage growth increments by a few TB month over month, you might want look into periodically rotating out your data onto spindles of Blu-ray dual layer discs, and optionally getting a software/hardware disc cataloger. That's my current workaround anyway as I tried and was utterly unsuccessful in finding any affordable permanent solution going forward.


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