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Advice on Gen8 Setup, disks, network, performance


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I have the following setup at home (See pic)

I have come back to my server after 1 year. I need some advice as I think I could be doing things better. The main goal is to improve performance in a cost effective way and do things more efficiently.


My main use is rapidly download ISO's and cloning baseline VM's to run new test VM's in my lab with test domain.
If i could get a built in NAS or something on the server that would be good but I have read that FreeNas is best run on bare metal.

I think I want SSD storage for VM's and 2TB SATA to be used as shared storage across the network. Will I need to get 2 SSD's for RAID 0 is this recommended?


I originally purchased only 1 x 2TB SATA as it is just a home lab for testing VM's on and I couldn't afford a bunch of SSD's.

This is setup as 2 logical drives on the Smart Array B120i. I know there are other options in BIOS:
Enable SATA Legacy support

Enable SATA AHCI support


Do I need to enable these instead of B120i what is the difference?


I use virtualbox on my laptop and some VM's if I am away from home or mainly because i don't want the server running all the time due to power consumption?

Am I being silly here is the laptop drawing similar power to the server or is it a lot less?


My Buffalo NAS is very slow on the network and unreliable even though it is supposed to be Gigabit which is why I am now use 2TB Seagate external.


In ESXi the VM options has a selection for SCSI controller:


LSI Logic Parallel

VMware Paravirtual


Do you know what the difference is and which one I need to use for best performance? Is this different for SATA and SSD disks?


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What CPU do you have in the Gen8? An SSD for hosting VM's on the server would make a big performance difference. Do you have the latest BIOS/firmware on the Gen8?

Why do you have the Buffalo LinkStation connected directly to the server? I would think it would be best to have it connected directly to your router/switch.

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It has the Celeron G1610T 2.30GHz.

Are there any preferred SSD's to use in this server or can I get any of the usual brands? Also if I use a single SSD compared to 2 of the same in RAID 0 is there a noticeable difference in performance with a single disk?

The NAS is a single disk and has crashed on me in the past so because of the reliability and it being out of support many years ago I don't want to use it for my main backup but have it as a secondary if the USB 3 Disk fails.

I have the network cables trunked/conduit and there isn't much more space to run more patch leads to the router so left it connected to the server to use for general files or a secondary backup.

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A XEON CPU would help with performance. Two SSD in a RAID0 would be twice as fast as a single SSD, but if one SSD dies you lose everything that was on them. For best performance you would want the SSD's to be in the first two bays as they are SATA3. You would need proper 2.5 to 3.5 adapters.

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Thanks schoondoggy for your helpful advice.

These are the versions from iLO:

Product ID 712317-421
System ROM J06 11/02/2015
System ROM Date 11/02/2015
Backup System ROM J06 08/24/2013
iLO Firmware Version 2.55 Aug 16 2017


Redundant System ROM J06 08/24/2013 System Board
Server Platform Services (SPS) Firmware System Board
System Programmable Logic Device Version 0x06 System Board
System ROM J06 11/02/2015 System Board
System ROM Bootblock 02/04/2012


These are my version numbers from iLO can you tell me if there are any newer versions and where I can get them?

I updated recently to SPP 2017.09.15


Which 2.5" to 3.5" adapter do you recommend?

If i get 2 SSDs Raid 0. How can I use the 2TB SATA as shared storage. Is there a way of making this visible in all VM's by making it into a Datastore?


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