How reliable is hardware these days? (or: how dependent are you on your unraid server?)


Recommended Posts

So, i'm at a point where it gets creapy.


We have two servers running. One always on and one as a backup if the main server fails. They are identical in hardware, software and data.

I'm amazed because none of the hardware failed since these are Z170 chipset motherboards and thus over 7 years old. (hard disks not included)


Now for the creapy part: we recently renovated our house and all the lights and switches are smart and controlled by homeassistant. (we have backup wires in the walls, just in case when the earths core stops spinning, so we can install normal switches).


Next to a homeassistant VM we have a few basic but very useful dockers installed like pihole, a proxy manager, password manager, media streamer, shareX upload manager, sync server, backup manager, web server, etc... We use these services on a weekly basis so they become 'important'.


Anyway, I want to replace our 2 servers with something more energy efficient, smaller footprint, less bulky. Like the Odroid H3+ for example.

We don't store much data. Our important data is only 1.5TB but I can't imagine people with +60TB of data have two servers running...


Replacing a dead ram-stick is easy. You just buy a new one. But when a 7 year old motherboard dies you need to find a suitable replacement on the used-market so it takes much more time.


How do you deal with this? How often does your server dies?



Edited by Aran
Link to comment
5 minutes ago, Aran said:

How do you deal with this? How often does your server dies?

Never had a single system fail in 20 years.


5 minutes ago, Aran said:

But when a 7 years old motherboard dies you need to find a suitable replacement on the used-market so it takes much more time.

If one did after that long I wouldn't even try to replace parts, just build something with new hardware.

Edited by Kilrah
Link to comment
41 minutes ago, Aran said:

How do you deal with this? How often does your server dies?

I never had a server "die."  I have upgraded main hardware components (MB, CPU, RAM) about every 3-4 years and sold the old parts.  Even my disks have been swapped out for fewer larger disks a couple of times.


I have one 24x7 server and one backup server that gets powered on via IPMI once a week to backup the main server.  They are very similar, though not identical, in hardware but the data is identical.  If the main server fails, I can quickly switch to the backup.


I also agree that I would not attempt to replace 5+ year old MB or CPU if it died.  For me, that would call for new hardware.

Edited by Hoopster
Link to comment

I have also never yet had a server die. I have had power supplies die, and disks, and a GPU once but never the motherboard, processor or ram. All those that i have had have survived long enough to be replaced as part of an upgrade. If i had a board die in the 5+ year timeframe i would likely not waste time on finding a compatible replacement, I would just swap out all the core components for something newer.

Link to comment
  • Aran changed the title to How reliable is hardware these days? (or: how dependent are you on your unraid server?)

Hm, yeah we can say that hardware is actually 'reliable' on its own. The only electronics failing here at home are tablets, laptops and smartphones. Still, i'm typing on a 2011 macbook air :)

Losing these mobile devices is not the end of the world but if the homeassistant setup doesn't work anymore we cannot control our lights and we don't want that. To be clear, it's running for 2 years now without any problems.

I'm was just debating with myself if i should setup/buy 2 new systems but i think i can just start with one.

Link to comment
  • 1 month later...

I am extremely attached to my server. Watching TV in the evening on the couch with my girlfriend or loading my retro "consoles" with ROMs and running them. Currently I have a Ryzen 5900X with an X570 board from "ASUS". I also have a spare 5900X and an MSI X570 Godlike.


As I said, I am very attached to the comfort of the server and do not want to wait long for a replacement. Although this also runs for over 2 years without problems but you never know unfortunately.


My TV exactly 2 years old is broken exactly 2 months after the warranty expired. This was from now on just broken and no longer goes on.

This unfortunately shows that hardware no matter which, can go defective.

Link to comment
On 1/16/2023 at 12:05 PM, Aran said:

How do you deal with this? How often does your server dies?


I've had a few computer failures over the past 30 years.  Only once has a motherboard started to misbehave but it never truly died (I had to move the video card to another PCI slot).  In most cases it's the power supply that goes (although you at first assume it's the motherboard).


I would have to say that out of all the of hardware I've run in all the computers that I've owned the most problematic has been the hard drives, the power supply, and the case fans.  Of all those things the hard drives are the most painful to lose.  After all, the power supply and case fans are easily replaceable.  This is why I buy enterprise-class drives.  Partially for reliability, partially for performance, and mainly for the warranty.  Even I know that these things can still fail.  In fact, one of my Exos drives has problems right now (reallocated sectors) but thanks to unraid I'm not worried.  I will replace that drive soon and get a replacement from Seagate.


The following is a list of my oldest computers.  The two that are retired were retired in the past two years simply because they were old and were replaced by newer machines.  Nothing wrong with any of them.




What I'm getting at here is that I think your two computers will last for quite a while and one backs up the other so don't worry.  However, @Hoopster has a good point about staying ahead of the curve and not letting things go until they die.  The reason I usually wait for things to die is that I can't be bothered to keep up with all the technology changes from year to year.  So if you're like me then wait until one of the computers dies at which point you fail over to the other computer and then look at replacing both of them with two new computers.  But if you enjoy chasing all the tech changes then buy one new computer every couple of years.  The new computer would then replace the old which becomes your backup.


  • Like 1
Link to comment

^ This.  I must agree with Tim above.


I've run several systems into the ground.  Looking back as far as I want to look up release dates, my daily driver computers which typically run 24/7/365, last me nearly 10 years.

I ran an Athlon Thunderbird from 2001 to 2011 in a SFF Shuttle system, which was replaced with a 1st generation 13-530 in another SFF case.  I upgraded that with a Ryzen 1500X (as I work for the company that fabricates them)  on it's launch day in early 2017.  I did update the 1500X two years later, and moved the 1500X into my Unraid server for a few years.


I've had a couple of power supplies die (SFF cases are hot an PSU for them have come a long way in 20 years).  I can't recall a HDD ever die (at least, one mounted in a system) nor a SSD fail (my first SSD is used in my server as a transcode disk location).  A couple of displays have failed over the years, but as I've said, my systems never power off.


Been working with computer systems since the mid-1980s.  Most things that go wrong seem to typically be self inflicted.

Link to comment

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Restore formatting

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.