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NL40_User

Re-working my N40L as "mobile suitable" NAS...Advice needed.

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NL40_User

Hi all.

 

We have a few servers in our household, that I'd like to "consolidate" into 1 "mobile friendly" 'box, I can take on our travels (in a converted bus), beginning next year...

 

We are looking to re-purpose our N40L into what might be termed a "mobile NAS". Primarily, we don't want spinning rust in the thing, so I guess what I'm asking is what is the best overall combo of SSDs and controllers that would fit in the box (so, via 3.5-2.5 converters in the 4-bay enclosure, and via some kind of 5.25-2.5 "box" in the ODD bay). I have a molex splitter in the ODD bay already, but would hope to grab one of the ICYbox things which will power more than one drive from a single molex connector...?

 

Ideally, we'd have something like 4 x 1Tb SSDs in the 'bays, 2 x 1Tb SSDs in the ODD bay, and a single OS drive (200Gb SSD) tucked into the gap between the OOD bay and the 4-bay enclosure. (If I run Synology/Xpenology, I won't need the OS drive).

 

My thinking is that I'd run the SSDs as a whole (aside from the OS drive, of course) in a RAID config. but could use advice as what "best practice" is in terms of SSDs. Noting that once initially written, most I/O would be read traffic from then on, if this makes a difference...

 

I'm guessing I'll need to get hold of a dedicated controller to run all the drives if I'm using Windows, so a recommendation as to the best (most recent) controller that works in these boxes would be appreciated.

 

Is there some kind of N36L/N40L/N54L "SSD build BOM" on the forums somewhere, so I could get an idea of - particularly - controllers, and SSDs which will work well in RAID configs?

 

And yes...I get that decent sized SSDs will cost a bomb. I'm hoping that I'll be able to sell my other two (reasonably configured and specced) boxes for enough to fund the SSD purchase.

 

 

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nrf

if you poke around you will see lots of pictures of how people stuffed too many drives into their little cabinets and even designed brackets you can buy to help with the stuffing ;) but I am sure someone here can help with some of those details.

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Dave

Welcome @NL40_User, I'm not sure how much @nrf's post helped or why it was written but here are a couple of links to get you started.

 

 

You should also look at some Icy Dock products to get you started.  This is a must read below:

 

But, yeah, there are a lot of folks "stuffing" hard drives in these boxes and @schoondoggy and @Joe_Miner and the guys that can get you on the right track.

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schoondoggy

As Dave mentioned, you could put a Icy Dock device like this in the ODD:

https://www.icydock.com/goods.php?id=267

This would allow eight 7MM drives in the ODD bay.

You could use a LSI based card as RAID or JBOD to connect the drives to the server. 

If you are going the Windows route I would look at DrivePool to make a pool of your storage:

https://stablebit.com/drivepool

 

Questions:

Will the server be in use when the bus is moving?

How do you plan to mount the server?

Is there a minimum capacity for storage you require?

What type of inverter do you have to power it?

Will you be physically moving this between the bus and your home?

 

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NL40_User

Thanks for the replies.

 

Some good clarifying question above, which I'll answer inline

 

 

Questions:

Will the server be in use when the bus is moving? The intention is to effectively run the thing 24/7, which is why I'm looking at SSDs, rather than traditional hard disks.

 

How do you plan to mount the server? The Server will be put in a dedicated (vented) cupboard, most likely on some sort of foam/vibration-damping mat or base.

 

Is there a minimum capacity for storage you require? Ideally, 5-6Tb

 

What type of inverter do you have to power it? The bus runs "some" solar* and a 2500W trace inverter to power most appliances. *I say "some" as the solar was added some years ago, when it was orders of magnitude more expensive than it is today. I intend to add more to it.

 

Will you be physically moving this between the bus and your home? Not in the short term. In fact, there's every chance that once fitted in the bus, it would stay there.

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schoondoggy

Getting rid of the disk drives will help with reliability, but electrical connections. SATA cables and add in cards can shake loose as well. Mounting the server with foam similar to the material it was shipped in, top and bottom should work. For SSD's, 1TB are around $200. There seems to  lots of these on ebay, SanDisk 1.92TB SATA 6Gb/S CloudSpeed Eco Gen II SSD, I picked up one for $275, it works great. I ask about the inverter because they tend to output fairly square wave power. You may want to consider a pure sine wave UPS to clean up the power for the server. 

You mentioned Xpenology, if you like Synology you could look at one of these:

https://www.synology.com/en-global/products/DS416slim#specs

You would need to use 2TB drives, but it is very small and would be easy to mount.

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NL40_User
6 hours ago, schoondoggy said:

Getting rid of the disk drives will help with reliability, but electrical connections. SATA cables and add in cards can shake loose as well. Mounting the server with foam similar to the material it was shipped in, top and bottom should work. For SSD's, 1TB are around $200. There seems to  lots of these on ebay, SanDisk 1.92TB SATA 6Gb/S CloudSpeed Eco Gen II SSD, I picked up one for $275, it works great. I ask about the inverter because they tend to output fairly square wave power. You may want to consider a pure sine wave UPS to clean up the power for the server. 

You mentioned Xpenology, if you like Synology you could look at one of these:

https://www.synology.com/en-global/products/DS416slim#specs

You would need to use 2TB drives, but it is very small and would be easy to mount.

Cheers mate, appreciate your input.

 

I "believe" that the inverter is a sine wave inverter, but I will check. If it isn't, I'll def. invest in an appropriate UPS.

 

Cheers.

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NL40_User

Just thought I'd "resuscitate" this thread, to ask a few more questions relating to the set up of this thing.

 

To recap, I'm planning to "re-purpose" my N40L as a "mobile-friendly" NAS, for mounting (semi-permanently) in a Motorhome, as a media and file server.

 

It currently has:

 

8Gb RAM

"hacked" BIOS (so, 3Gb/sec SATA speeds and so on).

External e-sata port run into ODD bay

4 x 6Tb WD Reds in the HDD bays

1 x 6Tb Red in the ODD bay (configured as a hot spare).

Boots from USB, as it's running Xpenology.

 

What I intend to do is to replace all the WD Reds with SSDs, so 4 SSDs in the drive bays (via the adapters they sell), and 4 x SSDs in one of those Icy Box 5.25" enclosures which go into the ODD bay, and take power from a molex connector (or two).

 

I'm then looking to configure 6 of the SSDs in a RAID5 array, with the other two configured as Hot spares.

 

Question is, is there a decent half-height, low profile RAID controller out there (pref. with BBWC) that has 8 SATA ports and is known to work in the older N36/40/54L boxes?

 

I'm trying to draft up a BOM for SSDs, enclosures, adapters and a controller card, so I can shop around for the best deal on all the parts.

 

Thanks in advance for any help you can provide.

 

 

 

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schoondoggy

Unless things have changed, Xpenology does not work well with RAID controllers. Most Xpenology guides and forums recommend letting Xpenology set up RAID in software instead of using hardware RAID controllers. In a N40l HPE P410 or P420 RAID controllers work well, but the last time I check there were no drivers for them in Xpenology. I believe there are drivers for LSI RAID cards. You could look at a LSI SAS9260 card for RAID5 support. You may want to check the Xpenology forums to see what is recommended for RAID software or hardware.

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NL40_User

Cheers. Not particularly "wedded" to Xpenology as such, so the OS isn't a factor.

 

I'm more interested in getting the best combination of controller, disks etc. and then planning which OS I'll use around whichever one offers the best/decent support for the hardware. Don't get me wrong, I like Xpenology...but the OS choice is definitely secondary in my thinking...

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