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Server Grunt
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Hi all,

 

I am looking into building a server/home server and virtual host and whilst I have many ideas and some pre-requisites I do need advice and insight into how to best realize.

 

To my ideas

 

Usage

My basic idea is to use virtualization based on server 2008 R2 to host production WHS 2011, Win 7, as well as experiment WHS 2011 and Win 7. The 2008 server would also function as my domain host, active directory manager and net work control center.

 

Case

Use tower form factor (home limitations excludes rack that would have been wonderful to use) – As I want to have as few boxes as possible I am looking at a full tower/server style box with as many HDD places as possible. Current candidates are:

  • Lian Li: PC-343b, PC-P80B/N, PC-A77FB, PC-2150
  • Antec – 1200
  • Xigmatek Elysium Black

 

System drive

My idea was to use a mirrored SSD set up (2 SSD in a 3.5 raid backplane mount) for the host OS and a similar, separate, set-up to host the virtual guests.

Now, most cases have the ability to add one or more system drives, often 2.5” as system drives

However, my planned set up I will use all 3.5 spaces and the one SSD special mount that the Antec has, for example, is not enough.

 

Question: Any suggestions on how to solve this

 

Storage

All of these have 12 external 5.25”, except PC-343b which has 18.

The idea is to use 5.25” to 3.5” converters and try to fit as may HDDs as possible.

Ex: http://www.polywell.com/us/storage/NetDisk9020H.asp ( Antec 1200 based

Or

http://hardforum.com/showthread.php?t=1327338 (Lian-li PC-343b based)

 

I have aneed for this amount of storage

 

Motherboard

All these cases allows for big, powerful motherboards, so the question is really if to go for a PC or server board,

 

CPU:

Should I go for a Sandy bridge or a 1 or 2 Xenon processor set-up?

 

CPU cooling

Low noise is prioritized, but the size of the cases enables very large passiv or active cooler Question: Recommended CPU cooler?

 

Case and HDD Cooling

Fans, fans, fans. These are high spec cases that have ample fan placements to cool any type of build, but noise is an issue and therefore prioritized

Question

  1. what fans to use to get the best noise to air movement ratio?
  2. If I use 5.25 to 3.5 cases, some of these come with mountable fans to push/draw air over the HDDs – Considering that here will be a number of fans at the back managing cooling, would such fans improve or actually make cooling more inefficient?

 

Power

All allow for high power PSU, some even for redundant PSU – something I am considering. It will be a server after all. However, having red up on these I will go with a normal PSU

Question:

  • Using some rule of thumb, I calculated a need of over 1200W – can this be right?
  • What kind of power do I need? Using a

 

RAM

I will go for g.skill and put as much as I can in the box

 

RAM cooling

Something good or just stupid?

 

Ethernet

Question: Should I go with a two Ethernet MB or use an expansion card?

 

RAID

Go or no go? – your take

 

If go:

Raid card

Questions:

  • What raid card set up do you recommend?
  • Which models of RAID cards do you suggest?

 

I would really appreciate your feedback on this matter

 

//Grunt

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  • jmwills

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  • ikon

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  • Server Grunt

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How much experience do you have in virtualization? Are you planning to use VMWare or Hyper V?

 

 

Os: Mirror the OS (1) for redundancy and RAID 5 the storage for sure. With the amount of drives you intend to use, I would think a dual Xeon would be better than anything else. I don't see any need for the RAM cooler, but maybe PCDoc or noControl can chime in on that.

 

An expansion NIC will be fine....just a word of caution to get an Intel NIC as these are better with VM's.

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Guest no-control

Before I can even attempt to answer this question I need to know the following:

  • What is your budget?
  • Exactly how many HDDs do you plan on using? Capacity? 3.5" or 2.5"
  • How much data storage do you need VS how many VMs you are running.
  • What guest OS's are running and how many? (I count 4 + host)
  • Are those the only cases you want to consider?

Answer these and I can help you spec out a system that you'll be happy with.

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Before I can even attempt to answer this question I need to know the following:

  • What is your budget?
  • Exactly how many HDDs do you plan on using? Capacity? 3.5" or 2.5"
  • How much data storage do you need VS how many VMs you are running.
  • What guest OS's are running and how many? (I count 4 + host)
  • Are those the only cases you want to consider?

Answer these and I can help you spec out a system that you'll be happy with.

 

 

Budget

 

Not unlimited but really not an issue within reason. But for argument sake: max $3000 excluding the storage drives

 

Number of drives: Storage: 3.5" x 20 a 3TB System: 2.5" SSD X 4 (intended to be used in a 2 by 2 configuration - 1 for host and 1 for virtual)

 

The virtual home server will have most of the storage for medai etc, say at least 75% of storage capacity

 

Number of OS: 4+host (Virtuals will include: production WHS, test W7, test WHS +2 undecided (to start with)

 

Cases: Yes as these are the only ones with the potential cpaciry for the number of storage. I can not use a rack system due to teh wife acceptance factor)

 

Virtualization: Ass i am going to use Server 2008 R2 as host i intend to go with Hyper V

 

/Grunt

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I dont have much to suggest other than possibly looking at the Antec TWO HUNDRED case. I believe newegg sells this case for $49.99.

 

I use this case for my WHS 2011 server and I like it. Its a "large" mid-tower case and has 10 bays total. From the factory, one of the bays contains a 2.5" hotswappable bay, but you can remove that and it turns into a normal 3.5" bay.

 

The case also has good ventilation. There is room for two 120mm fans up front, a 120mm fan in the back and a 120mm fan on top. The power supply is bottom mounted. The front of the screen comes with a mesh filter for intake air as well.

 

I think it would also quality in the wife-acceptance category as its not ugly to look at. Its certainly not high end, but its built well, but a name brand company, has good ventilation, 10 bays, and was within my price range when I bought it.

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Mike,

 

The Antec 200 is a smaller brother to one of the candidates of mine: Antec 1200.

The reason for not going with the 200-case is tjat it does not have teh capability of 3 external 5.25" bauys that can be converted to house 20 3.5" HDDs

 

But it is a good value case and being an Antec it has very good build quality and ventialtion properties.

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Hi all,

 

I am looking into building a server/home server and virtual host and whilst I have many ideas and some pre-requisites I do need advice and insight into how to best realize.

 

To my ideas

 

Usage

My basic idea is to use virtualization based on server 2008 R2 to host production WHS 2011, Win 7, as well as experiment WHS 2011 and Win 7. The 2008 server would also function as my domain host, active directory manager and net work control center.

 

Case

Use tower form factor (home limitations excludes rack that would have been wonderful to use) – As I want to have as few boxes as possible I am looking at a full tower/server style box with as many HDD places as possible. Current candidates are:

  • Lian Li: PC-343b, PC-P80B/N, PC-A77FB, PC-2150
  • Antec – 1200
  • Xigmatek Elysium Black

System drive

 

My idea was to use a mirrored SSD set up (2 SSD in a 3.5 raid backplane mount) for the host OS and a similar, separate, set-up to host the virtual guests.

Now, most cases have the ability to add one or more system drives, often 2.5” as system drives

However, my planned set up I will use all 3.5 spaces and the one SSD special mount that the Antec has, for example, is not enough.

 

Question: Any suggestions on how to solve this

 

Storage

All of these have 12 external 5.25”, except PC-343b which has 18.

The idea is to use 5.25” to 3.5” converters and try to fit as may HDDs as possible.

Ex: http://www.polywell....etDisk9020H.asp ( Antec 1200 based

Or

http://hardforum.com...d.php?t=1327338 (Lian-li PC-343b based)

 

I have aneed for this amount of storage

 

Motherboard

All these cases allows for big, powerful motherboards, so the question is really if to go for a PC or server board,

 

CPU:

Should I go for a Sandy bridge or a 1 or 2 Xenon processor set-up?

 

CPU cooling

Low noise is prioritized, but the size of the cases enables very large passiv or active cooler Question: Recommended CPU cooler?

 

Case and HDD Cooling

Fans, fans, fans. These are high spec cases that have ample fan placements to cool any type of build, but noise is an issue and therefore prioritized

Question

  1. what fans to use to get the best noise to air movement ratio?
  2. If I use 5.25 to 3.5 cases, some of these come with mountable fans to push/draw air over the HDDs – Considering that here will be a number of fans at the back managing cooling, would such fans improve or actually make cooling more inefficient?

 

Power

All allow for high power PSU, some even for redundant PSU – something I am considering. It will be a server after all. However, having red up on these I will go with a normal PSU

Question:

  • Using some rule of thumb, I calculated a need of over 1200W – can this be right?
  • What kind of power do I need? Using a

RAM

 

I will go for g.skill and put as much as I can in the box

 

RAM cooling

Something good or just stupid?

 

Ethernet

Question: Should I go with a two Ethernet MB or use an expansion card?

 

RAID

Go or no go? – your take

 

If go:

Raid card

Questions:

  • What raid card set up do you recommend?
  • Which models of RAID cards do you suggest?

I would really appreciate your feedback on this matter

 

 

//Grunt

 

 

Her is my two cents:

 

Case: IMO, Antec builds some of worst cases on the market. Putting that many drive in this case will most likely be noisey, warm, and vibrate. I would go with a the Lian-Li and make sure you have one with rubber mounts.

 

System Drive: Sounds good.

 

Storage: Go with the PC-343b

 

Motherboard: I would place more importance on your RAID card than your mother board. Either will work but for a VM stay away from the "K" version if you go with a sandy bridge. Personally I would go this way so I could use things like quick sync.

 

CPU: 2600 or the new 2700

 

Cooling: Since Sandy bridge runs very cool, there are a bunch of options for this. You could go with a liquid cooled Corsair unit or a large Noctua cooler.

 

Case Cooling: Most lian li case are very quiet. IF not or if you buy another case, get some Scythe, Enermax, SilenX, or Noctua fans.

 

Power: Not sure how you calculated but it should draw more like 200-250 watts. With this many drives you have only one requirement "SINGLE RAIL". 600-800 should do the trick. Did I mention a single rail. I have 12 drives with I5-2500 and 8Gigs and I am drawing 110 watss out of the wall.

 

RAM and Cooling. GSkill is great RAM, get the fastest CAS setting you can and skill the ram cooling.

 

RAID: You have no choice with this many drives and it would insantity not to use RAID. Plan on spending $600+ to drive this many drives though. Cards that support 24 drives are not cheap. To manage single drives with without a raid controller would be crazy if you are going to spend this much on a system, you want reduncy, effiecientcy, and speed and you will not get that from a DE replacement.

 

http://www.newegg.co...N82E16816115095

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Guest no-control

For that kind of money here is my recommendation:

 

Case: Lian Li PC-A77F with 3x Supermicro 5x 3.5" Hotswap cages

 

PSU: Corsair TX750M or SeaSonic X750

 

CPU: XEON E3-1230

 

Mobo: Asus P8B WS

 

Memory: 2x 8GB Patriot ECC OR 4x 8GB G.Skill DDR3

 

RAID: HighPoint 2760A for basic or Areca 1880ix on the high end

 

CPU Cooler: Corsair CAFA70 or Corsair H60

 

 

While this is totally overkill this is about the best money can buy without going to an OEM. Honeslty for what you're looking to do keep the Case and PSU recommendation and go with a Core i3-2100, a Z68 board, and 16GB of RAM. Even the stock cooler would be fine. As for Air flow and cooling the A77 has 2x 140mm on the top and a 120 at the rear. the SM Raid cages have a 90mm (x3) You have plenty of cooling. Only modification I would make is to take 1 of the extra 120mm fans from the case and mount it above the raid card. The PC-343B is not a practical case nor is it a very good one. If you want a dbl wide case look at a semi-custom one from MountainMods.

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Have to agree with pc-doc re: Antec cases. I just threw one out that I bought years ago. I was about to re-purpose it. Then, I noticed that the PSU can only be installed/uninstalled from inside the case. I had to remove the entire mobo to get it out. That's plain nuts! So, out it went. :)

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Guys!

 

Once again I bow my head in awe. Not only do I do this because of your insights and suggestions, but also for your willingness to share from your plentiful chest of knowledge.

 

I will now ponder the given information and probably get back to you. This said I do have some immediate questions:

 

 

1.

I am probably going to go with the Lian-li A77F case, and use hot swap cases for the storage drives.

Now the A77 has 12 5.25", so in theory it would be possible to use 4 hot swap cases

 

Question: What would be the main reason not to, other than that there would be no "natural" place to put the system disks (something I think can be solved by moving that case a little further back (as there are holes in the bottom of the case.....

 

 

2.

As I already know that i am fairly quickly going to expand beyond the capacity of this case in terms of storage, I am already considering how to expand the storage.

One of these ideas is to use something like RAID Tower XIII (RT134SDEU3).

 

Question: How would the best way be to add such a solution and would the above suggested RAID card suffice or would I have to go for its bigger brother that also includes “external” ports?

 

/Grunt

Edited by no-control
bumped up font size it was tiny and hard to read
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