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Software setup for Microserver Gen8


sunefred
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So I am taking the leap, buying the Hp Microserver Gen8 some 500 years after its release. Regardless, I am looking forward to some fun labs and getting to know new stuff. I want a solid solution for storage so I can have shares with parity where I can store work stuff and media. It would also be nice if the storage array was easy to expand when I run out of space. I want to run Plex and then of course other things I have not yet thought of. I could really need some advice on choosing the particular softwares. Here is what I got so far:

 

1. ESXI 6.0

 

2. VM with NAS Software

I am considering NexentaStor 5 Community Edition even if it does not really meet all my criteria. Because it uses ZFS it is quite inflexible when it comes to expand-ability. One way to make it expandable could be to set up 2 pools where each pool has 1+1, i.e mirroring, but what a waste of space! ZFS is awesome but it does seem to be designed for servers with 10+ hard drives, and that does obviously not include the Microserver. I like ZFS for its data security however and I like NexentaStor for its simplicity and easy to use web interface. What are you using for your storage setup?

 

3. VM for Docker

Really really need advice here, I have never used Docker before. Is there an easy dist I can use without too much setup? It is going to run Plex and Dropbox if there is a Dockerfile for that.

 

So anyway, this is pretty much a paper based design, I have no real experience with any of the software other than I have tested NexentaStor 4.0 in a lab environment on my workstation. So any real world experiences are highly appreciated.

Edited by sunefred
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Let me add another question to make this a bit more interesting and help me think out of the box.

 

Q: What is your favorite use case for your Microserver? (And what software are you using for that).

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Depending on what films you are hosting on Plex, if you host Plex inside a VM, on a Gen8, the hypervisor may take away some CPU time, and you have have transcoding issue, e.g. unless it's on Bare Metal.

 

How about XPEnology on you Gen8, and the latest versions have Plex, and now Docker, as well as all the other NAS (Synology) features!

 

We actually have them here, as XPEnology NAS, ESXi 6.x, and Bare Metal Hyper-V, we do have a few!

 

We've been moving away from ZFS, we've one last box left running ZFS now, we need something with better, faster support, jumbo frames.

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@einstaingogog: Thanks for your input. DSM looks very promising, although the online demo is extremely limited. I will install Xpenology on my workstation tomorrow. It even supports BTRFS as far as I can tell, do you use that? From what I can see BTRFS supports both replacing a small drive with a larger drive in a pool, as well as simply expanding with more and bigger drives. That is way more flexible than ZFS.

Edited by sunefred
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Let me add another question to make this a bit more interesting and help me think out of the box.

 

Q: What is your favorite use case for your Microserver? (And what software are you using for that).

I have run Xpenology, FreeNAS, unRAID and Windows Server 2012. It really depends on what you want to use it for. I use mine for file sharing, cloud services, Plex, Usenet downloads. Xpenology is solid and easy to use with the Gen8. If your not planning on running vm's then its a good setup to go with.

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I have run Xpenology, FreeNAS, unRAID and Windows Server 2012. It really depends on what you want to use it for. I use mine for file sharing, cloud services, Plex, Usenet downloads. Xpenology is solid and easy to use with the Gen8. If your not planning on running vm's then its a good setup to go with.

I definetly need to run VMs also. Is Xpenology on top of ESXI a bad idea?

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I wouldn't say it's a bad idea. I have seen it done before. I'm sure someone who's running it or has will chime in.

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I definetly need to run VMs also. Is Xpenology on top of ESXI a bad idea?

 

Are you wanting to do this now, latest versions of XPEnology use Docker, do you need VMs or Containers, rumours are that Hosting VMs will be available on DSM soon, the real version, XPEnology whenever!

 

Depends what you want to do with DSM/XPEnology and what size your videos are, if you want to transcode them, and what processor you have in the Gen8!

 

We tried XPEnoloy on ESXi, on ProLant Gen8, DL585, Dell R710, R720 and R730s, and transcoding 20-30GB bluerays rips, it would stutter.....

 

So we've gone baremetal for XPEnology.

 

Really depends how much you are prepared to compromise....on performance of processing, and storage.

 

We've always used what Synology calls SHR and SHR2, on real genuine Synology NAS (10-12 disks) and Microservers Gen8s.

 

Both ESXi and XPEnology are very quick to setup on USB flash drive or microSD card, to test an install, and test XPEnology in ESXi, with no alot of major effort.

Edited by einsteinagogo
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