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Build Advice One Server to Rule them all!

Discussion in 'Hardware' started by nimbu, 11 Jun 2018.

  1. nimbu

    nimbu Well-Known Member

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    So my previous / semi current setup was / is a whitebox ESXi box and an official 8 bay synology NAS.

    I had to retire the whitebox ESXi host as I was having a weird issue with Linux guests which I put down to using consumer hardware.

    As I am clearing out stuff I started to think about the idea of combining my NAS and ESXi needs into one box.

    I've been hitting up ebay and various forums, and I have come up with the following (prices are in brackets and GBP)

    X9SRi-F Motherboard (150)
    E5-2640 V1 (35)
    64GB DDR3 ECC Registered 8x8GB, (120)
    SAS9205-8i flashed to IT firmware (already have this lying around, you know as I do...)

    Case wise I am a little torn, it needs to be rack mount and short ish <600.
    My two options are:

    https://www.servercase.co.uk/shop/s...bays---eatx-motherboard-support-sc-43400-8hs/

    Thats an 8 bay 4u case. Pros are price and size, cons are outside of the 8 bays there is no more disk expansion and I would have to look to PCI-E based flash storage for the datastores.

    https://www.servercase.co.uk/shop/s...ive-bays-6gbs-minisas-+-2-x-525-bays-sc-4316/

    this is a 16 bay 4u case. Pros are more disks means I can look at cheaper datastore disk options. Potential for more expansion, internal fan wall will help with cooling. Cons are its bigger and more expensive.

    The plan is to pass the HBA down to the Guest VM which will be running xpenology. Thats gives me the same 8 drive bays I have now for my centralised storage needs. The rest of the resources would be available for VM's.

    I dont run any production VM's at home, but I like to tinker and experiment a lot, the biggest constraint has always been memory for the VM's. Eg, I want to setup a few OpenEDX boxes to test, or maybe a DC, exchange box and an SCCM server etc. With my 32GB rig I always ran into walls.

    I think i could actually get a decent price back for my synology too. So the overall cash investment would be fairly low.

    Anyways enough ramblings, what do you guys think, am I nuts?
     
  2. saspro

    saspro IT monkey

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    You'll need a cooler as well.
    Have you looked at 2nd hand Enterprise hardware? Could come in cheaper for you in the long run & would give loads of RAM slots.
    I'm running ML350's with 18x 8GB sticks in my lab & give loads of headroom
     
  3. nimbu

    nimbu Well-Known Member

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    Hey sas pro,

    I did spend a little time looking at enterprise gear, my major concern with those is weight, sound and cost. This is all going up into my loft with my rack. I had my builder put down some thick ply wood to support the weight but i still worry that something could happen. Also my experience with some of the enterprise gear (admittedly a while back now) is that it will be loud. Will just set off the wife if its too loud and given its in the loft it can and will reach the bedroom. Finally cost, I have struggled to find true barebones hardware as I can generally source CPU's and memory much cheaper through contacts and well I have a US office and a very willing team member that will buy me small things from ebay and ship them to me.

    One of the sites a frequent a lot is bargain hardware and I did spend a bunch of time looking at the 1u data centre specials. You have any others worth looking at?
     
  4. saspro

    saspro IT monkey

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    ebay or itinstock (although ebay is usuallycheaper).
    General rule is, the bigger the server, the quieter it is.
    My 6u tower servers are practically silent in use.
     
  5. nimbu

    nimbu Well-Known Member

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    Hmm, did a quick nosey around and as I previously found most of the places wont give me the options of true barebones.

    :(
     
  6. saspro

    saspro IT monkey

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    Most enterprise stuff is quite propriety for things like coolers etc so it's usually easier to get everything in one go. Not as much fun building but at least you know it'll boot.
    If you're doing a white box, tyhen get a HBA/RAID card with external SAS. Then you can add a disk tray at a later date.
     
  7. nimbu

    nimbu Well-Known Member

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    I already have the HBA but it is purely internal. If I go for the 16 bay case I am good for now. 8 drives to the NAS and then I have another 8 bays free for the vm machine. The motherboard I am proposing has its only 12 sata connections on so I am also good on that front.

    I hear what you are saying about propriety. Oh how I wish again for the days where I had a c7000 half populated and a very tasty and full MSA to go with it. I do miss tinkering....
     

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