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Help for building a Storage Server

pastrychef

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Backplanes can be used in conjunction with SAS controllers. They can also give you hot swap capability.

FreeNAS/ZFS is notorious for the amount of RAM it eats up, so you'll probably want to get plenty of RAM and, from what I've read, it will use more RAM as your array increases in size.

The dual Xeons will go against your desire to have a power efficient system and could possibly generate noise due to cooling requirements.
 
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I used word storage server because I want to avoid being suggested NAS products.
I have yet to see a NAS that is extensible and cost effective enough for my current and future needs.


Problem/Situation/Plea for help
I want to build a extensible storage solution that I can easily upload and manage my files from my primary desktop or laptop. I also would love to be able to easily share files with others (With OneDrive I send link for customer/friend/family/model to download but worse case I can use flickr). I don't see more then 8 users connecting to it at any one time (4 x laptop, desktop, TV?, 2 x phones?) but I can see larger and larger file sizes being stored and loaded from it (Climbing photo and video sizes).

I don't want to be adding a pile of external drives to my computer. I don't have the desk space. I can manage to place a Tower with my router away from my computer and would rather that and like the all in one instead of ten drives floating and wires everywhere.

I need help. I'd prefer to learn and then apply but I could also use some suggestions on what people would suggest for a build.
I don't even know what questions to ask.

Specs/considerations I'm looking for
Cost: 500-600$ CAD
Storage: 2 x 2TB (RAID1 or higher)
Network and I/O:
  • +5 x USB 3.0 or higher ((2 for mouse/Keyboard and 3 to add external drives if need be))
  • 1 x Ethernet LAN (room to more if usage requires)
  • DVI or HDMI for a simple screen (which ever is cheaper)
Graphics and Sound: Minimal/none....I have no intention of doing anything on this other then remotely access the files
Power and Noise: Being this will constantly on I'd like it to quiet and power efficient.
Case: As mentioned above I want to keep all the drives together.

BIG QUESTION: WHERE DO I START?
Ive built a 9TB NAS out of old hardware. Core 2 Duo, MSI G41M-P25 which works perfectly fine the problem is with mine is I've used all 4 SATA Ports. Make sure to go wth a board that has plenty of SATA Ports.
 
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Thanks got tunnel vision on the price. Thanks for reality check on power.

Yah I realized that pretty quickly in my research. Though I did see at canada Computers a Sata expansion card that would (at probably cost in performance) expand my capability to add drives. Do you know how they affect R/W capabilities?
 
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Thanks got tunnel vision on the price. Thanks for reality check on power.


Yah I realized that pretty quickly in my research. Though I did see at canada Computers a Sata expansion card that would (at probably cost in performance) expand my capability to add drives. Do you know how they affect R/W capabilities?
I actually got one of those PCI-E Sata cards on my next shopping list the one I've been looking at has 4 ports.
 
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Which Xeon are you using. Currently looking at the E5540 which has the same socket and range you suggested.....I just realized you e-bay link was to whole setup and not just the case....I am really doing well today.
Yes, I have dual E5540's.

My case is LOUD (But twice the size of the one I linked). What with the dual redundant power supplies with 40mm fans at 7000rpm, three 80mm fans to cool the drives and two 80mm fans to cool the passive CPU heatsinks and motherboard. Well, you get the idea. Still, this thing is designed to go into a server room for decades without being touched. That's my kind of server. I just throw data at it and it eats it right up. I can have multiple transcodes running and it doesn't miss a beat.

The SAS2 expander backplane can have drives greater than 2TB (The SAS1 is limited to 2TB). The M1015 card can have a maximum of 256 drives connected to it. So, I have one card that supports all of my 24 drive bays. If I need more speed (And I haven't yet) I can add another card. I am basically limited by SMB which is single threaded. Even with that I get 105MB/s which is the theoretical limit for Gigabit ethernet. I could aggregate the two ethernet ports but then I need to upgrade my switch and everything gets too complex.
 
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Yes, I have dual E5540's.

My case is LOUD (But twice the size of the one I linked). What with the dual redundant power supplies with 40mm fans at 7000rpm, three 80mm fans to cool the drives and two 80mm fans to cool the passive CPU heatsinks and motherboard. Well, you get the idea. Still, this thing is designed to go into a server room for decades without being touched. That's my kind of server
- I'd love to have server that last for decades (part of this versus of the shelf NAS)....but I need it to be quiet and preferably not a power hog. Currently I have a place I could store it that the noise won't bother me (not my preferred place but still a spot), but I move every 5-7years or less and can't be sure that it won't be sitting in a room that I need less noise.

With your mention of LackRack, what is your thoughts on feasibility of going smaller rack and as I expand adding a rack modified to connect to existing Mother board (within reason...obviously I'd eventually have to add another motherboard networked in)?
 
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When your needs go that way then the price starts to go up. For me the price point was just right with the SC846. You'll probably need to look for a case with around 8 bays. I like the Supermicro server boards (A server board uses ECC RAM) so an X10 or X11 would work along with a single E3 Xeon. You may want to head over to the FreeNAS forums and ask for recommendations.

In fact, I'll point you to https://forums.freenas.org/index.php?threads/hardware-recommendations-read-this-first.23069/
 
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pastrychef

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Here's the motherboard I use: http://www.asrockrack.com/general/productdetail.asp?Model=C2550D4I#Specifications
  • I have been running it 24/7 for about a year and it's been rock solid.
  • Extremely power efficient with 14W TDP CPU
  • ECC RAM
  • CPU included
  • Passively cooled yet still powerful enough to serve as my Plex media server
  • Two built-in gigabit ethernet ports
  • 12 built-in SATA ports
  • IPMI for truly headless management
I use notoriously slow drives and still manage to get very good speeds through 10GbE.

Screen Shot 2016-03-17 at 9.17.59 AM.png
 
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