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      • 4 replies
    • ICY DOCK flexiDOCK MB524SP-B

      4 x 2.5” SSD Dock Trayless Hot-Swap SATA Mobile Rack for Ext 5.25" Bay


      Like all ICY DOCK products, I have used, the MB524SP-B was packaged very well. Initial inspection, it appears to be very well constructed, mostly metal, very little plastic. ICY DOCK has mobile racks that are tray and tray-less designs, but this is the first mobile rack I’ve seen that is tray-less and has no drive doors.

      Installation was very straight forward, mounting in an available external 5.25” bay. Two things to watch for during installation. First, the power connection is at the top edge of the flexiDOCK. You will need use a straight through SATA power connector if you mount the flexiDOCK in a top bay. Second, use the shortest screws possible to mount the flexiDOCK. If you use screws that are too long, they will keep drives from sliding in properly. The screws that are provided with the flexiDOCK will work for most cases. The server that I tested this in uses rails for the 5.25” bay, so I had to find longer screws.

      Initial testing, I tried inserting 5mm, 7mm, and 9.5mm drives all fit very well. One thing I will note, the eject buttons require a good deal of force to eject a drive. At first, I was slightly concerned about this, but in hindsight I think this is a very good thing. This should help keep drives from being ejected accidentally. Each bay has a power button to power down the drive. The power buttons are recessed to keep them from being accidentally pushed. They are mechanical buttons so power cycling the computer does not change their state. These can be used to power down and eject a drive while the computer is operating. Operating systems vary in the way they handle removable drives or hot swapping drives. Please review how your operating system deals with removable drives before ejecting a drive.

      Performance testing showed that all drives delivered similar performance whether they were installed in the flexiDOCK or not.

      The fan speed can be controlled by a thumb wheel on the front of the mobile rack. At the highest speed, the fan was not too noisy. At the lowest speed, my drives still stayed cool. Temperature will vary due to drive types and use.
      • 3 replies
    • Has anyone started playing with this in their environment? Got a couple of questions...
      1. Does a workaround exist (like in 2012 Essentials) where clients may be added without having to join the domain?
      2. Is Client Backup more stable? Particularly, is the backup database more resilient to corruption when client backups are cancelled, interrupted, etc.?
      The reason I've stayed this long on WHS2011 is primarily because it doesn't require clients to be joined to a domain. This makes it easy on everyone (family members). Though I'm aware that there's a way around it in Windows Server 2012 Essentials, I just didn't thought it was worth my time and effort when WHS2011 is working well for me, up to a certain extent. The only major issue, if any, I have with WHS2011 is that the client backup database would develop a problem every several months. Whether or not it is a software bug or some other issues, it's moot to discuss how to fix it, especially now that I'm considering to move to 2016 Essentials. Needless to say, my setup is now two generations old (N-2), I'm thinking maybe it's time for me to consider running the latest and greatest Microsoft has to offer.
      Thank you.
      • 110 replies
    • Suggestions for connectivity between your new pool house and main house:

      Simplest would be to go wireless (which I know you do not prefer).  If you end up going this route, I would suggest getting a point-to-point wireless bridge.  Luxul and other companies make these products.  They include a pair of WiFi radios with focused antennas (instead of typical omnidirectional antennas) and outdoor enclosures.  Put an Ethernet switch on each end and treat is as a transparent "wire" between the two locations.

      If you do trench and pull cable, I'm sure you know the "rule of thumb" to always pull at least two of every cable, every when you think you only need one.  If you plan on pulling Ethernet and coax, then at least two of each.  Go for the highest rating (cat 6E ?) and highest quality cables.  Material cost is a one-time thing but the labor and effort is something you want to last many many years and not have to re-do in the future because of an "oops".

      Because a pool house to main house is probably a relatively short run, and is only a single point=to-point connection, I would strongly advise running at least a pair of fiber optic cables also.  With only one run, the fiber cost will be reasonable (versus wiring a large port of a house, etc.) and there is so much versatility.  Even if you don't use it initially, you have the potential to push anything through a fiber - unlimited video, audio, data, etc. and not have to use any compromise solutions like video-over-IP or HDMI/CEC-over-IP, etc.

      For security and IP cameras, books have been written but I would advise considering only cameras that are ONVIF compatible so they can be used with many different front-end apps, applications, or NVR (network video recorder) systems.

      FOR NVR, (to keep everything in-house and not pay monthly cloud or hosting fees), the two programs I have used are Blue Iris (for the PC), and Security Spy (for Mac).  Both of these are awesome with lots of configuration options and many different ways they can be used.  Both of them will give you the "live video multi-camera display in a grid" on your computer that you are looking for.

      Last thoughts - SD definition cameras are still cheaper than 720p or 1080p HD cameras.  If you are going to use a lot of cameras (4 or 8 or more) consider carefully if you really need all of them to be HD.  with SD cameras you will save a lot of money on the cameras, and have less bandwidth (and less storage) to handle their streaming output.

      Finally, I would advise paying a little extra to get cameras with H.264 hardware encoding built-in.  This will reduce the bandwidth over your LAN and allow the NVR software applications to handle more cameras simultaneously as a lot of the initial video processing is offloaded to the camera itself.
      • 47 replies
    • I would like to officially announce Meetup 2017!  There is a lot of information to get to you about #Meetup17 and this is the starting point.  Let me start off with what I do and don't know.

      You know how @Joe_Miner always talks about #bestmeetupever? I have a new hashtag for you. #LASTMeetupEver.  Yes, this is probably going to be the last meetup in the Indianapolis area.  I am open to conversations on how to continue Meetup in the future and if things change I'll reconsider but as of now, this is the last one.  I want to be up front with you because I know a lot of folks continue to say, "i'll see you at the next meetup."  I don't want you to miss it!

      I don't know the date yet. Plan for Late September or Early October.  I was originally planning on doing it the last weekend of Microsoft's Ignite conference that way anyone attending from overseas could drop by. Ignite is September 25 - 29. https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/ignite/default.aspx

      SAME Location!  8900 Keystone Crossing, Indianapolis IN 46240 Map here. 

      I'm waiting on a few key pieces of information from a few vendors.  When I have that data I can set dates.

      Same format. Friday night get together, Saturday meetup. Sunday breakfast for those that hung around.

      There will be a cost involved although minimal.  That helps me with numbers and catering. $25 a head. In most cases this is for the geeks and not for family members although I do recommend that family members have lunch with us. Last year we even had the #BestBabyEver when @kylejwx brought his bundle of joy to geek out with us.

      Expect a HUGE Meetup! Last year was big for me as it was the year I ended HSS and started RESET.  I'm sure all attendees remember that little speech. I totally lost it!  Nothing dramatic this year folks just a gathering of good friends and a GREAT time.  Please, do not miss this one. 

      Meetup 2016 thread for information purposes - https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/ignite/default.aspx

      Want to revisit Meetup 16?  https://1drv.ms/f/s!AiBi0ZKn_IuTjKcj3E3rAPvSOqjjFw

      I can't wait to see you guys and gals again.  Talk, discuss, ask questions.  I promise to shore up the details soon. With or without the vendors support!
      • 52 replies