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HELP! I've caught the Home Server bug and need help to stop buying stuff i dont need!


Kips247
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It started out wanting to learn more about networking/ win server stuff - (i work as a desktop/server setup/support guy), played around with vmware worksation and vms. Set DC and messed around win DNS and DHCP, felt good getting things to work.

 

I decided i needed a server.

 

Nothing too big, just a baby one, a microserver if you will. I found a good cash back deal on HP gen 8's and got one. Then i found its not high enough spec to do the things i wanted to learn about! Which was ESXI and vsphere (we have a new team at work specializing in virtualization, would be great to get foot in the door)

 

I saw a good one on ebay for another upgraded gen 8 - xeon 1265v2 16gb - i won it. So now i have 2 servers! I have 2 x 6tb hdds on order - i don't know why! We need storage right?

 

Plan now is to stop reading forums/guides and actually do some planning and setting up.

 

I've been a windows guys for 20 odd yrs so now finding about all these other things is mind blowing. So first step take 2 x 6tb hdds add to the low spec gen 8 and setup storage. but do i do windows and raid them up?Have read that the raid controller is pretty poor and could do with upgrade? or freeNAS? - this will be used to store vms and family vids/photos (currently looked after by onedrive).

 

New high spec server will have ESXI - i want to export my current workstation vms in and have read its possible?

Also on read/would like to learn list - pfsense - i have asus AC56U with standard firmware. Learn more networking for vlan/dmz/firewall knowledge.

 

Any thoughts?

 

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RAID-1 is fine on the B120i, assuming you're just using it for storage.  It's only if you're using that storage for things like database work virtual machine hosting, etc. that this becomes a bigger deal.

 

That said, if you use FreeNAS, you can use ZFS as a filesystem, which has what is considered one of the most robust RAID setups there is.  Certainly an option there without using the B120i in RAID mode at all.

 

You can move the ESXi hosts over multiple ways.  One way would be to use VMWare Converter; I believe it can do non-live moves of a VM from one datastore to another.  However, you may just be able to copy them from one datastore to another if you are running a VCenter VM and have both ESXi hosts attached.

 

Another neat option that is probably faster than VMWare Converter is Veeam's FastSCP for VMWare.  I'd look into this; the tool is free.

 

https://www.veeam.com/vmware-esxi-fastscp.html#fragment-1

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Excellent, appreciate the help! From your reply and reading up the forums posts i am thinking -

 

Dont use filestore for vm storage (It will be for family vids/pics - and backups of vms and homelab work etc)

 

So i can either stick with Windows server and raid-1 the 2 x 6tb WD reds - use as file store

OR

FreeNAS (not a linux man) ZFS file store without raid - but ensure i have backups on external drive etc? how does windows interact with ZFS filestores?

 

For ESXI i will go with o/s on a internal usb - and raid-0 SSDs for the vm storage.

 

I will investigate the  veeam fastscp and i will need to look at them for backups too. Cheers

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Windows will react with whatever can be set up with SMB sharing.  I'm assuming you can do this with FreeNAS and ZFS; that said, I have never set up FreeNAS, as I've had the Windows licenses I need to do full Windows servers, with HyperV if I need additional virtual machines.

 

I'm leery of RAID-0 for VM storage unless you're backing up those VMs regularly.  All it takes for a RAID-0 to go bad is one thing going wrong.  Yes, I'm using it for my boot drive in my main server, but that server is being backed up nightly, and I have my VMs on my RAID-5 storage.

 

I'd be much more tempted to go either RAID-1 or RAID-10 with the SSDs.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Windows will react with whatever can be set up with SMB sharing.  I'm assuming you can do this with FreeNAS and ZFS; that said, I have never set up FreeNAS, as I've had the Windows licenses I need to do full Windows servers, with HyperV if I need additional virtual machines.

 

I'm leery of RAID-0 for VM storage unless you're backing up those VMs regularly.  All it takes for a RAID-0 to go bad is one thing going wrong.  Yes, I'm using it for my boot drive in my main server, but that server is being backed up nightly, and I have my VMs on my RAID-5 storage.

 

I'd be much more tempted to go either RAID-1 or RAID-10 with the SSDs.

 

And, having had a drive in my RAID-0 boot go bad this week, I can now attest to that.  It may be that my new RAID controller revealed the issue, or it could be (unlikely, but not discounting it yet) an issue with the controller, but one of the two SSDs failed pretty rapidly.

 

As I said, I have backups of both my arrays, but prior to restoring from backup, I'm going to a RAID-10 for my boot, with four SSDs, and building some fault tolerance in.

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