Recent upgrade to server


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Summary

OS at time of building: Unraid 6.8.3
CPU: Ryzen 3700
Motherboard: Asus
RAM: 32gb DDR 4
Case: generic short depth server
Drive Cage(s): None
Power Supply: 800w
SATA Expansion Card(s): LSI in IT mode, 2 SUB 3.0 cards, 1x Mining riser connection.
Cables: spare rear slots taken up with esata connections to link to seperate case containing non-array drives.
Fans: 2x40mm, 1x120mm Noctua

Parity Drive: 1 14tb WD
Data Drives: 5 12tb WD
Cache Drive: 1 2tb
Total Drive Capacity:

Primary Use: NAS and vm
Likes: Smaller, quieter, fixed issues with drives. Using the USB to HDMI adapters on the USB hubs saves having to have graphics cards on the Windows 10 vms allowing use with screen or better quality when using RDP.
 


In late October/November my UNRAID server decided to go a little wonky. There were a lot of apparent drive failures and read errors in the array. A lot of data was lost and had to be rebuilt from backups. The culprit was eventually narrowed down to something outside of the array. But rebuilding the server gave me an opportunity to rebuild and change my mind about a few things and alter my server. So in the end my goals were:

 

First change was that I took advantage of Black Friday sale and purchased 5 new 12tb drives and a new 14tb drive to act as parity. These replace the 56tb of 8 tb drives and the 8tb parity drive I had before and allowed for the option that I can upgrade to 14tb in the future when they are less expensive (the 12tb drives were on offer at just over £130 a drive while the 14tb drive was over £250). I upgraded the cache drive to a 2tb SSD while I was at it and kept the three 120gb ssds I had been using as a cache for other things.

 

I kept the motherboard and cpu from the previous build so that is a Ryzen 3700 on an Asus motherboard. The ram remained at 32gb merely because I could not justify upgrading it at this time and I had no other projects that would use it at the moment.

 

The final change was that I decided to swap cases. Until now I had been using a Jou Jye 10 bay case which had proven satisfactory. But with less drives I was able to scale down a bit and settle for a short deptch server case with 8 bays instead. Advantage of this is that as this machine no longer gets used as a daily drvier vm I can put it in the same unit where I keep my media pc away from my desk.

 

I left the 8 port LSI card in the system and that no handles all the parity, data and cache drives for the array. The other drives in the system are connected to the motherboard and the ASMEDIA sata card I had installed. Also since this machine would no longer be serving as my daily pc I removed the 1080ti GPU. I was tempted to fit a passive GPU inside but I didn't want to use up the the space, so instead I took advatange of on of the PCIE x1 slots and an old mining riser to give myself the means to quickly connect up a GPU card without opening the box should I need to troubleshoot and for some reason cannot access it from network.

 

I installed two usb cards on the x1 slots for the purposes of passing through hardware to vms. I currently run 3 Windows vms and two Linux vms. The Windows vms are all Windows 10 each with their own usb controller. All three output their displays to the screen I use with the media PC via a HDMI switch. I don't need to see what they're doing very often but it's quicker than remoting in from another machine. Since I can't output the Linux vms in the same way I just VNC into them when needed, which is even less often.

 

All in all I'm pleased with the results. The Noctua fans keep things cool and quiet, the new drives havemore than enough storage and there is room to expand. The cpu is a little overkill but then I had build a new daily PC with a better cpu so didn't really have a use for it elsewhere. And the change in case means the system takes up a lot less room. I might have cheated a little when dealing with the unassigned drives and remaining ssd drives, but they all reamin available to the server should I require them.

 

I don't thinks its a bad winter project and the best news was that after I checked the culprit behind the whole drive failure I eventually discovered that the drive in question was actually not at fault and the problem was down to sata cable. It just took a while to troubleshoot because the cable in question had nothing to do with the array at the time.

 

Anyway that the end of that project. Next thing will be to improve my offsite backup server.

Edited by TimWilliams
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