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Thread: Home-made servers - who has done it?

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    jim
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    Home-made servers - who has done it?

    So for financial reasons, I'm backing away from my original plan to buy an ML150 G6 or ML330 G6, and I'm thinking instead about building my own server, perhaps based on the Fractal Design XL with 10 3.5" bays.

    Has anybody done this themselves? If so, how have you found it, and any comments or suggestions? I'd definitely want something reasonably powerful, at least a quad-core, but stability and keeping the thing quiet are the main concerns.

    I'd probably be building a huge RAID-6 or RAID-10 array and then sticking Server 2008 R2 on it.

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    Fried Chip Extremist alsenior's Avatar
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    Re: Home-made servers - who has done it?

    I went down the BYO route and couldn't be happier. it takes extra work but it is worth it. How are you going to build the raid Array. do you have a proper hardware raid card or are you going to be using Windows software raid? what ever you do don't use fake raid(i.e. the motherboards on-board raid i.e. Intel matrix raid). i use Debian Linux on mine with 3 raid5 arrays totaling 8.5tb and 73GB 10k SAS raid0 scratch disks. also is it just going to be a standard file-server or are you going to be running more tasks on it.
    Quote Originally Posted by Jay View Post
    What kind of emergency would need Windows 95? I think you are already in a bad state of emergency when your backup plan is Windows 95.
    Beginners guide to raid Beginners guide to raid post edition Hexus.Social - FAQ

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    jim
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    Re: Home-made servers - who has done it?

    I don't have a proper RAID card, but that's what I'll be doing. I had a quick look around yesterday, still not really sure what to go for though. If I wind up with a 10 disk RAID-6 array with hot spare, I don't want to be doing it in software!

    It'll start off as a fileserver, but I'm intending ultimately to run exchange, active directory, wsus, dns etc. I don't really need to, but I'd like to give it a bash anyway. That's why I'm mulling over virtualisation, so I could set up a fileserver and leave that well alone whilst I muck around with AD and things and probably destroy everything in the process

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    Senior Member Peter Parker's Avatar
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    Re: Home-made servers - who has done it?

    Pros of building your own:
    * Fun
    * Can be cheaper
    * More control over components

    Cons of building:
    * Frustrating if it doesn't work
    * Might not be cheaper - what's your time worth?
    * Components might just be commodity items anyway

    Also - RAID 3-6 ... please consider the points at http://www.baarf.com/ . I understand you might want to prioritise storage space over performance, but if you can avoid RAID5/6 then do 10 or 01 instead (10 and 01 are almost the same, but slightly affects rebuild time from disk failures).

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    jim
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    Re: Home-made servers - who has done it?

    I suspect it probably will be quite a lot cheaper - when you consider that even after you've spent £1k on an HP server, they still expect you to fork out for an upgraded PSU, upgraded disk caddy, and then when you want to fill it with disks you've got to source the drive trays from somewhere.

    I'd probably hand the building over to 3XS or similar anyway, since I've abandoned PC building as a bad job after too many bad experiences

    And yeah, I may run with RAID-10, haven't made a firm decision yet. If I build a 4-6 disk array then it's a no-brainer, but when I get up to 8 disks RAID-6 becomes much more attractive. Mind you, hard drives are growing in size pretty rapidly, so maybe 4-6 disks is still an option.

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    Does he need a reason? Funkstar's Avatar
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    Re: Home-made servers - who has done it?

    See the project log in my sig.

    Waaaaaaay out of date now, and the server has been down for ages as well due to various different reasons.

    When I eventually re-build it, I think I'll be going for a rack case.

    http://www.xcase.co.uk/x-case-home-s...meserver24.htm

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    Re: Home-made servers - who has done it?

    I have built a home file server, running torrent, storing my important stuff and backups and also for streaming to my TV. I found that it will be a lot cheaper if I build it. I went with the following parts:

    Motherboard: http://www.asus.com/Motherboards/AMD...rd/E35M1M_PRO/
    8GB of DDR3
    Rocket raid 2720GL (8port PCIe)
    used corsair PSU (had it for my previous build)
    a couple of HDDs (3x1TB raid5, 2x500Gb raid1)
    Case: http://www.zalman.com/ENG/product/Pr...ad.asp?idx=367

    Can I ask why do you need a quad core?
    Last edited by ehhhhhhh; 01-05-2012 at 12:01 PM.

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    Anthropomorphic Personification shaithis's Avatar
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    Re: Home-made servers - who has done it?

    I split it out when I did the same......although I guess it depends on whether your happy with Hyper-V or not (I am not, much prefer ESX)

    With Hyper-V you can do it all on one box quite nicely due to hardware not being a constraint (on-board RAID and software RAID supported via windows). If you go ESX, then you will need a hardware RAID controller and NICs that are supported by ESX.....or do it with 2+ boxes.....1 as a NAS (iSCSI and/or NFS) and another as the actual ESX server using iSCSI/NFS for remote virtual disk storage.
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    Re: Home-made servers - who has done it?

    Yes, I've done it, but my opinion is that my experience isn't of much relevance to anyone else, except perhaps in a very general sense.

    My comments would be to think, first and foremost, about what the server is for? By which I mean, what are you trying to achieve? In my case, it's about a relatively small amount of data for which I absolutely wanted both resilience, and reliability. That means, for me :-

    - RAID 5 - try to keep the data available
    - spare parts - keep it available in the event of hardware failure
    - reliable backup. 'cos RAID isn't an alternative to that.

    In my case, performance isn't an issue. One of my servers is an old Athlon MP-based machine with twin MP1200s, and the other runs and old Intel board with twin P2-550s running at 850 (or 900, or whatever).

    In both cases, I have :-

    - spare mobo,
    - spare CPUs
    - spare RAM
    - spare RAID boards
    - spare RAID-board RAM
    - spare HDs
    - spare drive racks
    - spare PSUs.
    - etc.

    If necessary, I can entirely rebuild either of those machines, or build an entire machine as a replacement, from parts not currently in use.

    And, of course, there's a rigorous backup process in place to protect the data, above and beyond physical damage to hardware.

    But that's because for my needs, the data is absolutely the point. It's not about services running, and it's certainly not about a home media server.


    So, my advice is to start at the end result that's required, and work backwards to what's needed to achieve that. And also, to consider that it may involve UPSs, off-site backup, fireproof media storage, and so on, ALL dependent on what the object of the exercise actually is. And as my needs aren't likely to be the same as yours, how I solved it won't be, either.

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    Not a good person scaryjim's Avatar
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    Re: Home-made servers - who has done it?

    Assuming you're just building the server to host files and "have a mess with", definitely build your own - you won't need any of the industrial grade stuff you'd be looking at otherwise. If you ever start thinking about putting anything critical or "production" on there, have a serious think about if it's worth your time and effort sorting out any problems that crop up (rather than just ringing Dell and telling them to come fix it ). For proper work stuff I wouldn't dream of building my own server.

    As far as hardware goes, last time (the only time! ) I did a complete network install I built their domain controller with a Core 2 E2120 (iirc) - so a sub 2GHz dual core - and that was running active directory and exchange on a network with 12 clients and handling around 20 user accounts: without breaking a sweat. So you won't need anything spectacular - personally I'd be very tempted to go for an S or T variant of a Core iSomething; this is presumably going to be on 24/7 so you'll want it to be as low power as possible.

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    jim
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    Re: Home-made servers - who has done it?

    Quote Originally Posted by ehhhhhhh View Post
    Can I ask why do you need a quad core?
    Thanks for the build info, will have a look through. As for the quad core, I will be running at a bare minimum online backup software with encryption, TVersity (although probably no transcoding), squeezebox server, airsync... I'm thinking that all of that plus file serving and potentially AD and things later on would utilise a quad.

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