Tron - 8 Bay ESXi/unRAID Build


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Preface

First of all I want to thank everyone for posting their builds and experiences, I have built 3 unRAID servers so far and this will be my 4th and largest (as far as computing power). I have to point out two people in particular that influenced me, firstly is PhreshJive, as I stole most of his parts list and Johnm as he made a fantastic tutorial on how to get ESXi and unRAID playing together.

 

Hardware

  • Case: U-NAS NSC-800 $199.99
  • Case: Fractal Design Node 804 $109.99
  • CPU: Intel Xeon E3-1231 V3 3.4GHz Quad-Core $252.99
  • CPU Cooler: Noctua NH-L9i 57.5 CFM $39.99
  • Memory: Crucial 16GB (2 x 8GB) DDR3-1600 $169.99
  • ESXi Datastore: Crucial MX100 256GB 2.5" SSD x2 RAID 1 $109.99
  • Hard Disk: Western Digital Red 3TB 3.5" 5400RPM $114.99
  • Motherboard: ASRock E3C224D4I-14S $289.99
  • Powersupply: SeaSonic SS-350M1U $64.99
  • Powersupply: Antec 550W EarthWatts $0
  • ESXi Install: SanDisk Extreme 16GB USB 3.0 $22.99
  • unRAID: SanDisk Extreme 16GB USB 3.0 $22.99
  • UPS: CyberPower CP1350AVRLCD $125.29
  • OS: ESXi 5.5u1 $0

 

Plans

I plan to install ESXi to one USB drive and unRAID on the other, I picked some of the faster read/write USB drives (done - boot is crazy fast)

I am going to put the SSDs in RAID1 so that hopefully I will have a chance to replace a drive if one fails (looking for input on this, should I use the second as a Cache drive?)

I will be running this headless as the IPMI on the board is pretty good

I am going to pass the onboard LSI controller through to ESXi (done)

I am starting small-ish with the drives as there are no great deals

I am going to be copying data used TeraCopy for movies as I didn't have many and Robocopy for TV (I needed to exclude some) as rsync seems to be a little more complex and may not be much faster

I plan to running a Ubuntu server appliance called Tretflix (maybe Arch) with all of the SAB, NZBDrone, CP apps, this is because I am building a whole new box (leaving the old one for my parents) I ended up recently moving to two Ubuntu Server installs, with this I was able to separate Plex (giving it more memory and compute) and SAN, Sonarr, and CP. Trettflix was failing out of date so I decided to roll my own. I am very happy with this, all of the apps update themselves and I have a script for Plex (using the Plex Pass server)

I will have a box for Plex, haven't picked OS yet so far Ubuntu again This is part of Tretflix

I will be looking into central MySQL DB for XBMC I am leaning towards Plex now, I am traveling a bit so I wanted to be able to access my content remotely. I have been using and loving Plex, with the addition of Plex home, I can now have users and not worry about watched data getting messed up.

Misc boxes for testing

 

About me:

I am a System Engineer, so I work with ESXi all day long, that is a majority of the reason I went with VMware over Xen. I want to be able to test and play with features at home, plus I wanted to be able to do multiple things on the server without impacting unRAID directly. I have decided to name my box Tron because the movie took place in a virtual environment, not too clever but I save that for naming my beer. I will be using multiple devices to stream media all throughout my house, I waiting for Android TV to come out before I decide on which platform to use, I have a HTPC (a little older), Fire TV (mainly use that at the moment) and a Chromecast or two.

 

Utilities: I will be uploading a few of the ISOs I have used to do the install, I mount them via the IPMI console

LSI IT v19 Firmware ISO - looking to streamline BIOS, IPMI and then the LSI FW

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Thanks, that should be coming in tomorrow, honestly I was shocked at how quickly it got here from China. I cannot wait to put all the parts in and to the cable management, yes, I know I am crazy.

 

Edit: Fedex wasn't up to date this morning, it should be here today, I guess I will be skipping lunch so I can get home and get this built!

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Well, I did not read Phresh's thread as well as I should, the board, which I am in love with, is an Extended Micro-ITX does not fit. The board is too tall to fit in the case. Now I am stuck with either getting a new case (Looking at the Norco RPC2008 or the SilverStone DS380B) but I love the U-NAS case and I do have an IBM M105 card, so the question is, should I send the MotherBoard back and use the M105 flashed to IT.

 

Any thoughts on that or on whether or not I should RAID the SSDs for the datastores would be greatly appreciated.

 

I ended up picking up this case, we shall see what happens.

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So I have put everything in the new Fractal Node 804 with a power supply I had lying around. I will have more pictures tomorrow, I am going to start working on moving over my media. I have decided to build a couple robocopy jobs to exclude some items I don't want.

 

The Node 804 is a dream to work with, it has plenty of space and fits the Extended Micro-ITX perfectly, it is nice because if chose to, I could upgrade to a Micro-ATX motherboard if at some point I need more PCI-E slots. The manual had just enough info to be pretty useful, I could see mount 8x 3.5" drives very easily in the case. It has a fan control unit with a physical switch so you can control the speed/volume of the fans.

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  • 2 weeks later...
  • 2 weeks later...

I used ECC RAM, the RAM I have listed in the part list is ECC unbuffered, expensive but worth it.

 

Not sure why I didn't get an email about a post being added, sorry for the slow response.

 

All of the Memory QVL chips are ECC so it's likely a safe bet that ECC memory is REQUIRED.

 

http://www.asrockrack.com/general/productdetail.asp?Model=E3C224D4I-14S#Memory QVL

 

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I used ECC RAM, the RAM I have listed in the part list is ECC unbuffered, expensive but worth it.

 

Not sure why I didn't get an email about a post being added, sorry for the slow response.

 

All of the Memory QVL chips are ECC so it's likely a safe bet that ECC memory is REQUIRED.

 

http://www.asrockrack.com/general/productdetail.asp?Model=E3C224D4I-14S#Memory QVL

 

Yes it is required to be ECC, I guess I am dense as I thought I had put a link up to my build on PCPartPicker but I had not. Those are my exact parts.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Hi,

 

thanks for the update. Yeah, the memory was a pita. I tried the following:

 

- http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820148545&cm_re=BLS2KIT8G3D1609DS1-_-20-148-545-_-Product MEM 8Gx2|CRUCIAL BLS2KIT8G3D1609DS1 

- http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820148802 Crucial 16GB (2 x 8GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM ECC Registered DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Server Memory Model CT2K8G3ERSLD4160B

- http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820239291&cm_re=KVR16N11K2-_-20-239-291-_-Product MEM 8Gx2|KST KVR16N11K2/16 R

 

None of which worked! Either 4 beeps or one single beep. The last Kingston one was actually on the Kingston website as recommended for the board, but alas did not work either!

 

Only this crucial memory: CT5550279 CT2KIT102472BA186D.000 16GB UPGRADE FOR A ASROCK E3C224D4I-14S SYSTEM , that I could ONLY get at the crucial online store (and which of course was on backorder for a week :) ) worked in the end! VERY picky board.

 

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... VERY picky board.

 

Not really.  The 3 modules you listed as having tried without working were (a)  unbuffered non-ECC (the board requires unbuffered ECC);  (b)  buffered (registered) ECC RAM (the board requires unbuffered ECC);  and ©  unbuffered non-ECC (the board requires unbuffered ECC)

 

You simply needed to go to the Newegg page for server memory;  check the DDR3 box and the unbuffered box (In the buffered/registered section) ... and there are plenty of choices for unbuffered ECC modules.    Any of those would have worked fine.

 

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... The last Kingston one was actually on the Kingston website as recommended for the board, but alas did not work either!

 

Kingston clearly got it wrong.  But if you'd simply looked in your manual in Section 1.2, it clearly shows that the memory has to be unbuffered ECC modules.

 

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Should have just gone with the memory I listed in the first place. All of my missteps weren't listed in my thread. They included ordering memory off of eBay and learning the same lesson you did in the end never having dealt with ECC memory and its variants. Even called Crucial to confirm due to memory manufactures' tomfoolery with part numbers.

 

As an aside, you gotta love this ASRock motherboard. It's perfect for this project.

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Hi,

 

thanks for the update. Yeah, the memory was a pita. I tried the following:

 

- http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820148545&cm_re=BLS2KIT8G3D1609DS1-_-20-148-545-_-Product MEM 8Gx2|CRUCIAL BLS2KIT8G3D1609DS1 

- http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820148802 Crucial 16GB (2 x 8GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM ECC Registered DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Server Memory Model CT2K8G3ERSLD4160B

- http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820239291&cm_re=KVR16N11K2-_-20-239-291-_-Product MEM 8Gx2|KST KVR16N11K2/16 R

 

None of which worked! Either 4 beeps or one single beep. The last Kingston one was actually on the Kingston website as recommended for the board, but alas did not work either!

 

Only this crucial memory: CT5550279 CT2KIT102472BA186D.000 16GB UPGRADE FOR A ASROCK E3C224D4I-14S SYSTEM , that I could ONLY get at the crucial online store (and which of course was on backorder for a week :) ) worked in the end! VERY picky board.

 

The Kingston KVR16N is not ECC, but the KVR16E is.

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I don't know why I am not getting updates on this thread so I have to apologize. I went back through my orders and found the exact kit from Amazon. That seems to be what is in the PCPartPicker build as well. I am glad you got it figured out and sorry you had such an issue getting it set up.

 

@phreshjive I love the board and the whole setup. It has been running like a dream, I now take my Roku 3 with me when I travel, connect to Plex and I can keep up with my shows when I am in different states. All the money and time spent setting this up was very worth it. I love being able to reboot TretFlix (Plex, NZBdrone, CP and SAB) without affecting the unRAID server. It runs so much better and I have only shut it down/rebooted it to move it or because of network changes.

 

I plan to take a couple of pictures now that I am settled into my house and have the server in it's (hopeful) last spot.

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