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jcato

Atlas-inspired ESXi build

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After running UnRaidfor at least the past 6 years, it's time for a server upgrade. I want to go from 4.7 to 5.whatever is current when finished. I also want to go virtual. The ESXi based server will run at least 3 VMs, Unraid, SB/SAB (linux?), Win7 so MCE can record off a cable-card equipped HDHomerun. (Off-topic, is there another way to record encrypted cable?). I'd also need MySQL running somewhere in there, maybe another VM or with SB/SAB. Anyway, the hardware list is heavily influenced by Johnm's Atlas build (THANKS!) (I need a catchy name, too. Any suggestions?).

 

OS at time of building: Whatever is current

USB Flash Drive: 2xSony 8GB Micro Vault M-Series

CPU: Intel E3-1230 V2 Ivy Bridge 3.3GHz

Motherboard: SuperMicro MBD-X9SCM-IIF

RAM: Kingston 16GB (2x8GB)DDR3-1333 ECC

Case: Norco RPC-4220

Drive Cage(s): None

Power Supply: SeaSonic SS-760XP2 760W 80Plus Platinum

SATA Expansion Card(s): M1015

Cables: 2xNorco SFF-8087 to SFF-8087

Cables: 2xNorco Discrete to SFF-8087

Fans: Stock fans. Server will be in storage area of basement. Will change if needed.

 

Datastore Drive: Samsung 840 Pro 256GB SSD

Parity Drive: Seagate ST4000DM000 4TB HDD

Data Drives: Spare drives on hand for testing. Whatever best 3TB/4TB deals are when ready for production

Cache Drive: Recycled drive from previous setup, probably 1TB

Total Drive Capacity: Small for testing, growing as needed

 

Primary Use: For UnRaid, store and serve media files. For ESXi, host UnRaid and other VMs as needed.

Likes: Ability to spin up a VM at will, separating functions so UnRaid can be UnRaid and nothing else

Dislikes: Cost! Can I have the expandability, power and versatility for a lower cost?

Add Ons Used: Minimal. Whatever enhances the core UnRaid functionality (UnMenu, cacher_dirs, ...), every thing else in another VM

Future Plans: Plex, WHS, CrashPlan. New VMs or put of an existing one?

 

Please critique! Thanks!

 

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(Off-topic, is there another way to record encrypted cable?)
I use a couple of HD-PVRs to record all my HD channels.  I'm using SageTV which is no longer being developed and sold but it is my understanding HD-PVRs work with NextPVR as well as MCE.

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... Off-topic, is there another way to record encrypted cable

 

I've looked at a variety of alternatives.    We used Beyond TV for many years, but I switched to MCE about 6 months ago after finally getting fed up with (a) frequent need to re-map HD channels due to BTV "thinking" they'd changed (when they actually hadn't); and (b) lack of caption support (which is becoming more and more necessary for us as we get a bit older).

 

I've actually found that MCE works very well ... especially with a couple of add-ons that you may/may not be aware of.      First -- and for me this was what really made MCE work for us -- is Tuner Salad [http://www.mychannellogos.com/tunersalad ].    This eliminates the 4-tuner limit in MCE !!    We have 8 tuners, so can record 8 things at once -- not something we do (except when I was testing it) ... but if you have 3 or 4 things recording, followed by 3 or 4 others, then if you like a bit of "padding" on your recordings (I do), you need the extra tuners to allow it.

 

The same folks have a very nice enhancement for the guide called "My Channel Logos" [http://www.mychannellogos.com/home ]    I wasn't going to bother, but bought it "for the heck of it" and really like the expanded guide and the color logos.

 

I've found that with an A/V drive [i use a 3TB WD EURS] you can easily record 8 HD channels at a time with no dropouts.    I use 4 Hauppauge 2250's -- that restricts my HD to ClearQAM channels, but most of what we watch is covered by that; and we just record SD for the other channels.    I had originally planned to get one of the 6-tuner Ceton PCIe cablecard tuners [http://cetoncorp.com/products/infinitv-6-pcie/ ], but did a bit of research on my provider's (Time Warner) use of the CCI bit, and found that they are VERY restrictive ... virtually everything is marked Copy Once -- so you can't even archive the recordings (e.g. on an UnRAID box).    I decided to simply live with ClearQAM.

 

Note that also eliminates the need for extenders ... you can simply use any PC to play the recorded content by just sharing the recordings folder.

 

I may add the Ceton card "one of these days" anyway ... just for grins -- but I'd be a lot happier if the CCI restrictions were more along the line of some other providers (e.g. AT&T's FIOS marks almost everything except the premiums -- HBO, Showtime, etc. -- as Copy Freely).

 

 

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Thanks! I only have 3 tuners now, but if I expand I'll look into Tuner Salad. I haven't had problems with CCI, but TWC just bought my cable provider (Insight). Hopefully, nothing changes.

 

Using MCE is working pretty well, so I don't mind keeping it. I currently record on one computer, an older, under-powered pc in the living room. Then, overnight, my office pc uses MCEBuddy to check for any recordings and converts them to mkv format. It optionally compresses, cuts commercials and extracts captions based on rules I made. This works pretty well and automagically, except it can't always figure out the correct season and episode numbers. So, after I manually correct that, I update my shared XBMC library and the shows are available throughout the house.

 

Part of the reason for this build is to get this process into one box. I think it should work pretty well using a VM.

 

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Definitely sounds like a perfect candidate for a VM -- it should all work fine UNLESS TWC changes your content to CCI = copy once.    Then you won't be able to do the conversions !!

 

Note that if record via ClearQAM there's no CCI to contend with ... it's only when you're using a CableCard that this comes into play.  [Which is why I don't use a CableCard  :) ]

 

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So, silly question, but I can't find the answer. The M1015 can be had with a standard or low profile bracket. Which one is needed for the 4220 case? I think low profile, just not sure.

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So, silly question, but I can't find the answer. The M1015 can be had with a standard or low profile bracket. Which one is needed for the 4220 case? I think low profile, just not sure.

 

..standard bracket...this is a 4U case...look at the pics provided by the shop you linked.

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Thanks. I guess the SASLP-MV8 was throwing me off since it's low profile and included in a lot of builds. But, I now see it includes a standard bracket, too.

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Yes...a M1015 coming as a spare part in its little own box from IBM should have both brackets.

One pulled from a server most likely will only have the low-profile one, as these are the standard/entry level parts shipped with the 2U servers.

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So, I got my system built a few weeks ago and I finally have some time to try it out. Instead of the X9-SCM board, I built around the X10SL7. I've created a Windows Server 2008 VM. Among other things, I want to run PlayOn on it. But, it requires audio which the X10 doesn't have.

 

Has anyone added a sound card to ESXi? Will any card work? Would a USB card be easier to passthrough than PCI?

 

Thanks!

 

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Well, this was pretty easy and straight-forward. I got a cheap PCIe sound card and passed it through to a Win8 VM without much issue. PlayOn is now happy and I can even watch in HD now!

 

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