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Build Advice File server build

Discussion in 'Hardware' started by Pookeyhead, 1 Jan 2010.

  1. Da_Rude_Baboon

    Da_Rude_Baboon What the?

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    I know i'm a bit late to the part but just to add to my experience with using non 'RAID' drives in a RAID array. Hard drives classed as RAID drives have different firmware which allows the RAID controller to talk to and control the drive directly. Normal desktop drives dont talk directly to the RAID controller and if they detect a read/write problem and try to correct it the RAID controller can interpret this delay as a failed drive and fail the array. I know this from personal experience when running a 6 drive RAID array on an Adaptec controller. I'm glad you didnt buy an Adaptec card as their support is shocking.
     
  2. Pookeyhead

    Pookeyhead It's big, and it's clever.

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    Yep.. well aware of this. Even so, the drives were bought before I decided to build a server, and they're on the recommended list for the NAS boxes I was originally planning to use (RAID5).

    Even so, I have a three tier back up system going on here... so even should a problem result in me rebuilding the RAID, nothing will be lost, and as the RAID is mirrored to a second RAID array, I can just work from that one instead.. as they both auto sync every night.

    Also, just because they're desktop drives, it doesn't mean they WON'T respond in time when the RAID controller asks for information... it just means they MIGHT respond too slowly should an error occur.

    I can foresee the 3TB I now have lasting 12 months before I need to either add another drive, or more realistically switch to 2 TB drives (or whatever is the biggest available then), so the next time I upgrade drives I will indeed by server grade drives. Between my wife and I, we produce a great deal of data.. HD video, large images, and our music and DVD collection is growing at quite a pace.

    Yeah.... I reckon 12 to 18 months and I'll be swapping the drives out, and selling these on, or recycling them in other machines.
     
  3. knuck

    knuck Hate your face

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    alright I received my 1.5TB drive and my 8ports 1gpbs switch (trendnet). It works pretty well and I can transfer stuff at up to 57MB/s ! :D

    All I have to do now is to set up the backup job ! :D
     
  4. Splynncryth

    Splynncryth 0x665E3FF6,0x46CC,...

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    The last thing I can recall seeing that did not have a video card was an ATCA telecom blade. The system made extensive use of console redirection and serial over LAN to interface with things like BIOS. This set up an int10 handler for video, and an int9 handler for keyboard input. But the OS can be a problem. I don't think we tried anything outside of the Linux build our customer wanted to run on the blade. So I don't know how something like XP, Vista, or Windows 7 would work.
    I am pretty sure 2000 would run headless just fine (meaning no console hardware present), I think 2003 could as well, but I'm not sure about 2008. But most of the server hardware I have been dealing with over the last few years has had video hardware integrated as part of an out of band remote management system. So I can't say that this is the way it is with certainty.
     
  5. Pookeyhead

    Pookeyhead It's big, and it's clever.

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    Sounds pretty good. That's fast enough for pretty much anything.
     
  6. Pookeyhead

    Pookeyhead It's big, and it's clever.

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    The final episode.

    Rebuilt in a decent sized case now.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
  7. Burnout21

    Burnout21 Is the daddy!

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    shame on you pooky, the PC-71b should have lived on! you not going to bin it are you? If so can i pinch some parts first for my project, link in sig. lol!
     
  8. Pookeyhead

    Pookeyhead It's big, and it's clever.

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    No plans to bin it I'm afraid. I have a feeling I'd regret it. I'll store it in the garage for now.
     
  9. Burnout21

    Burnout21 Is the daddy!

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    thank god! lol!

    I have heard of people burning in hell after binning lian li cases!
     
  10. Pookeyhead

    Pookeyhead It's big, and it's clever.

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    I've never binned a Lian Li :)

    First one I ever bought, a PC-65 is still in service. My wife's Phenom rig is housed in it.

    The PC-71 you know about, and my current PC-A6010. The good thing about Lian Li.. they last forever :)
     
  11. littlexanth

    littlexanth Saving for a Dremel

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    That PC-71 sure is a monster of a case. I don't think St George could have slayed that monster.
     
  12. knuck

    knuck Hate your face

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    yesterday when the USA scored with 24 seconds left I punched my tower and killed the Windows2k3 of my server somehow :hehe: !

    I guess it's a sign that I should be installing linux instead haha
     
  13. oasked

    oasked Stuck in the Mud

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    Hell yes. Trouble is though, now that I've got a Lian-Li (the PC65 incidentally) I'll never be able to get rid of it, despite the fact that the 80mm fans make a lot of noise. :D

    Nice to see the final setup as well, I presume there is a nice 120mm fan in front of those hard drives to keep them cool?
     
  14. Pookeyhead

    Pookeyhead It's big, and it's clever.

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    I disconnected that silly top fan for a start. Pointless. I run the front fans on the low settings, and run the rear fans of a 7v modded molex. Quiet now :)

    Indeed there is. 120 at the front, 120 at the rear, and a 120 cooling the RAID card. :)
     
  15. oasked

    oasked Stuck in the Mud

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    Could do that, but the cooling is already a bit lackluster for my i7 setup as it is. :p

    I knock off 5-10°C off the CPU core temperature when I take the side of the case off. :lol:
     
  16. Pookeyhead

    Pookeyhead It's big, and it's clever.

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    Ouch! Yeah... it's a 7 year old case now, or the design is anyway, so it's not the best for cooling. It copes with my wife's phenom, but I wouldn't like my i7/GTX295 in there.
     
  17. PureSilver

    PureSilver E-tailer Tailor

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    Pookey, I hate to necropost, but since you're the backup evangelist and this is a backup-themed thread... I was hoping to build a file server/NAS/backup box with generally cheap and slow components (possibly RAID 5 for disk redundancy); what I was wondering was what software you use for backing up? Are they just disk images? Or incremental? And what clears out the old to make way for the new on the backup drive/RAID?

    [EDIT]I forgot to add - I'm OK with buying all-new parts, but the PCs available for cannibalisation are both s.775 with nasty Dell motherboards which I'd have to replace; the best is a 3Ghz Pentium Dual (not a C2D) - maybe a 4 or a D, will check. Is it worth building around that? Or given the pitiful cost of your Celeron, should I leave the Dells alone and go for all-new components?[/EDIT]
     
    Last edited: 15 Mar 2010
  18. Burnout21

    Burnout21 Is the daddy!

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    Hard choice, if you plan on using a sata controller like pookey then ditch any idea's of using a P4 or pentium D due to waste of electricity, far better off with a celeron considering the controller would be doing all the work.

    If your not getting a control card, then your CPU might require a little bit of speed depending on your I/0 requirements.
     
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  19. Pookeyhead

    Pookeyhead It's big, and it's clever.

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    Evening :)

    I use Acronis True Image Home. I create disk images, not incremental.... I just don't see the point, as it's not much faster. I set a schedule to automatically do this at 9pm each night. One night drive C:, the next drive D: and so on. I set it to make 2 backups of each, so when the third one is made, the previous 2 are amalgamated into one. This process continues continuously, so you always only have as many backups as you need (you can set any number you like). This way I always have 2 complete back up sets. As each drive is done every 48 hours, I effectively have the ability to roll back up to 96 hours if I inadvertently back up any infections.

    Not that I've ever needed this. I also use PC tools Internet Security for spyware/malware and firewall, and ESET NOD32 for virus. Normally it's not a great idea to use more than one piece of protection software at the same time, but these two work very well together (with Kernal Compatibility mode on in PC Tools). Common sense use helps too: Set your e-mail to read in plain text only. Use NoScript with Firefox to kill scripts by default (you can set exceptions for known safe sites). No warez sites, no porn sites... usual precautions in other words.


    I'd go for all new components. The motherboard and CPU were only around £60, and you probably have DDR2 RAM from your old machines already. It uses hardly any power, and it underclocks well. It's running 1GHz @ 0.9V. At idle with the drives spun down it draws next to no power at all. I forget the figure, but it's posted in this thread somewhere.

    You'll need a hardware RAID card with such a low power PC if you plan on RAID5 however, as RAID5 needs a fair amount of CPU calculation to work. The onboard RAID controller will be pitiful with a Celeron doing the work. Decent hardware RAID controllers are not cheap. You can get cheap RAID cards, but they actually still reply on the CPU. A dedicated card will have it's own CPU.

    With a Celeron and onboard RAID5 your write times will be low... around 20MB/sec, and read times not much greater. With my RAID card I can write at 200MB/s with only 10% CPU usage. And that's with only 3 disks... add more, and the speed improves greatly. I can back up my C: drive in 13 minutes, and it's currently at 110GB. The limiting factor is the network now, not the RAID. Theoretical max over a gigabit network is 125MB/sec, but you'll never see that. I can get close at 115MB/sec but in reality, you may want your back up program to compress your back ups to save space.. this slows things down a little.

    If you have a 100Mb/sec network.. you'll only see 10MB/sec approx.


    If you want a cheap alternative to a new £200+ hardware RAID card, you could look for a Dell PERC card on ebay. These are very fast, and cheap, but quite sought after, and hence rare.

    It's the RAID card and disks where the cost goes.

    You don't necessarily need RAID though. RAID isn't back up, it's redundancy, so if you can back up the server as well, you can live without RAID. I use RAID AND back up the server... to another RAID5 server... but I'm obsessed :)

    If you are going to back up the server to a second server, or NAS, you don't need to use Acronis to do this. You just need a sync program to mirror your back up sets to the second server, or NAS.
     
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  20. PureSilver

    PureSilver E-tailer Tailor

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    Thanks! If I was, then, to basically copy your build - is there anything you'd change? (Like the HDDs or the RAID card?) This will be the only on-site backup (some online as well) and will probably be switched off fortnightly or so, and run either via VNC or KVM-switch, I haven't decided what's easier to explain to the family. Since I'm mostly at uni and it'll be set up at home, I'll have to figure out the best way to contact it remotely, or to have it contact me remotely (e-mail alert?) in case of failed disks or something. Alternatively, can I put the RAID card into the main home desktop, and run it and it's associated drives as networked storage/backup... Hmmm. Anyway, as below, then:

    CPU: Intel Celeron E3200 £36
    CPU Cooler: Included
    TIM: Included
    Motherboard: Gigabyte GA-PG31M-ES2L £34
    RAM: Corsair TwinX XMS2 2GB 800Mhz DDR2 CAS 5 £47 - I've got 2x512mb@667Mhz in one of the Dells; could I stick with that 1GB, or do I need 2GB? And is 800Mhz necessary, or can I go with the 667Mhz?
    RAID Card: LSI MegaRAID SAS 8704EM2 £308 - Obviously this is the major sticking point, so I'm looking around for slightly cheaper alternatives (the home network isn't even Gigabit at the moment so it also seems wasted). Something closer to £200 than £300 would be good - is this the sort of thing you had in mind?
    HDD: 3-4 x Samsung SpinPoint F3 1TB £61 / Western Digital WD10EVDS £75 / WD10EVVS AV-GP £74 / WD10EAVS £70 / WD10EARS £65 / WD10EADS £65 - Honestly, I have no idea what I'm doing when it comes to these. Should I be prioritising any of these over another, or just go for the cheapest...? Is it best to have 3 1TBs, or four smaller disks for speed? I definitely won't need more than 2TB of space for backing up; the 1.8TB that 3x1TBs would provide is definitely fine, as is the 2TB 4x750GB alternative. I could boot from this, but I have a couple of spare 150GB drives - would that be a better idea?
    GPU: IGP
    PSU: Corsair HX450W £58
    Optical Drive: Something nicked from the Dell, as long as it's SATA.
    Chassis: Lian Li PC-A05 £70
    OS: Windows Server R2 2008 £Dreamspark, Acronis True Image Home $50 - I assume I need one license for each PC to be backed up.

    Any suggestions? Thanks so far!

    [EDIT]Last question, promise - do RAID cards in general (or that one in particular) support hot-swap in the event of failure? Lian do a nice sideline in hotswappable cages, which would be much easier to explain to my parents over the phone. Also, after this I'm starting my own thread, it's not fair hijacking other people's.[/EDIT]
     
    Last edited: 16 Mar 2010

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