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Krueger86

Decided to setup a N54L microserver. Need help.

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Krueger86

New N54L on its way.  Need help in figuring out what else I might need and suggestion from

those in the know.  I decided to purchase my Proliant N54L mainly because of the research I had been doing and the advice that I came across in this forum.  So, I hope that I can get some help through this setup.

 

I decided to build this server for many reasons.  I have two NAS units.  Both D-link.  One is a DNS-323 with two 1TB drives in a raid 1 configuration and the other is a DNS-324 with four 1TB drives in a raid 5 setup.  My search really started when my DNS-324 started acting up and telling me that I had one failed drive and another failing.  This put me in a bind because I do not have anything that is a true backup solution.  So, when this happened I shut down the 324 and ordered two 1TB drives to replace the ones that were reported failing and hoped to save my files.  I had been having trouble with the firmware that was on it for awhile.  So, after I received the drives I powered it up and the drives reported normal.  But the raid was degraded.  I took a shot and updated the firmware to the latest beta and decided to do a rebuild on the raid.  Well it appears that all is well for now.  But all this had me thinking that I need something better.  I had no place to really transfer ALL the data on the raid to... and once a raid is degraded it would have taken forever to just copy files to other drives. 

 

So, now I have two 1TB drives and didn't really need them.  I also have an HP Media Center PC that I am using as a HTPC.  It has two 500GB drive in a raid 1 configuration.  (OS drive in case of failure.  Which it has a couple of times and raid has saved me.)  It also has 3 Maxtor 1TB USB drives, one 500GB in a USB enclosure and 1 250GB in a USB enclosure.  I run Beyond TV on this box and use Always Sync to backup files so I have duplicates of stuff I don't want to lose, family pictures, music, video etc. across a wireless network connection.  One Maxtor 1TB is dedicated to TV shows.  Not a big deal if that one crashes.  One I am using for pictures, music files and documents backups from my families 4 laptops and two desktop computers.  The other I have movies on etc. So, I have been using Always Sync to manually copy files from the NAS 324 drive to the USB drives, just so there is two copies of important files.  In case one crashes I have the other to copy from. 

 

I would like to use the server as a HTPC also.  I was thinking I could move Beyond TV to the server and ascess the shows from there.  I would also output to a HD TV.  I would also like to backup the OS drive.  Not sure what will be needed for that.  I want to use the four drives I purchased below in the 3.5 in slots. If possible I might take the USB drives off my HTPC and move to the server.  Maybe hook them up to a USB hub?  I would like to be able to backup all the PC's in the house to the server and manage our pictures and itunes collection from there.

 

I have purchased two Netgear gigabyte hubs to update my network to take advantage of faster data transfers. 


I know there is stuff I am forgetting to order.  I would just like to have most everything together when the server arrives.


Thanks for the help in advance.


Items purchased:


Newegg


2 X ($74.99) Seagate ST310005N1A1AS-RK 1TB 7200 RPM SATA 6.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive-Retail kit
Item #: N82E16822148321
$149.98


2 x ($104.99) Seagate Barracuda STBD2000101 2TB 7200 RPM 64MB Cache SATA 6.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive -Retail kit
$209.98


1 x ($34.99) SAPPHIRE Radeon HD 6450 1GB 64-bit DDR3 PCI Express 2.1 x16 HDCP Ready VideoCard ( 100322L)
$34.99


1 x ($339.99) HP ProLiant G7 N54L Ultra Micro Tower Server System AMD Turion II Model Neo

N54L 2GB 250GB LFF None 704941-001
$339.99


1 x ($49.99) Microsoft Windows Home Server 2011 64-bit OEM System Builder - OEM
$49.99

 

B&H Photo


SiliconDust HDHR3-US HDHomeRun Dual TV Tuner B&H# SIHDHR3US • Mfr# HDHR3-US
Qty: 1
price: $81.3

 

Datavis.com

 

CT2KIT102464BA1339
Crucial 16GB DDR3 SDRAM Memory Module - 16 GB (2 x 8 GB) - DDR3 SDRAM - 1333 MHz


DDR3-1333/PC3-10600 - Non-ECC - Unbuffered - 240-pin DIMM $86.99
Items $81.99 w/ $5 off coupon
Shipping $7.64
Total $89.63

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judgeschambers

Looks like a good build. I was big on the Acer Revo 3610 for HTPC usage and did a lot of blog posts on my site for set up and mods. They worked pretty darn well for what they were in the day for SFF PC's. The N54L's CPU is even better, plus, with the video card you bought it is miles better too than the stock Nvidia ION 9400M video card that came with the Revo.  Though I would not typically recommend WHS for HTPC, it should work fine with that video card handling the video offloading chores. Especially if they are AVI, MKV, H264 MP4, mpeg or DVD TS/VOB files and alike. Now, if you run Plex which "re-encodes" all files and pushes it out....then I'd be concerned about the CPU utilization. Typically, as I do, the WHS machine is just the storage & backup unit. Then I have dedicated HTPC's at the HDTV's around the house (lab). Plus, a random boxee box and now a roku.

 

Additional build needs:

I'd say the only things you'll need are an external USB DVD drive to install WHS with. Then to back up the OS, you'll need to dedicate either one of your new drives in one of the bays for OS (server) backups or get a USB drive and allocate it for your OS (server) backups.

 

JMHO--since you want to make this a HTPC as well, I'd consider getting an SSD drive and put the OS on it (drive #5). That way all your data is separate from your OS drive in case you hose the OS somehow. Also reserves all your drive bay HDD's for data only. I followed Joe Minor's and several others lead on that thought even without using it as a HTPC.

 

OS backups, pictures and iTunes management:

WHS specializes in backing up the OS of every PC on the network once you create an account for each and install the WHS Connector Dashboard. Total OS image and easy to restore a PC if needed.

WHS too stores all your data, photos and music alike.  Run your favorite photo manager on the client PC's (picasa or whatever). Same for iTunes.

Edited by judgeschambers

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judgeschambers

One last point--

 

Sever File duplication:

To backup your files on WHS, you'll need to get the StableBit DrivePool add-in. (It's sorta like a raid, but not.)  Then you can set it to duplicate your folders across your 4 drives. If a drive fails, you've got a backup on another drive. Replace the failed drive, and Drive Pool will re populate the drive to its original state.

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ikon

OK, several things:

 

One, I strongly recommend a more robust backup system. You need at least 3 copies of all important data, and of them has to be located off site. Here's a couple of links, one to my server setup and another to my backup strategy:

http://homeservershow.com/forums/index.php?/topic/1899-whs-2011-storage-strategy/page__st__140#entry47628

http://homeservershow.com/forums/index.php?/topic/4788-what-i-hope-to-acheive-with-your-help/page__p__51373#entry51373

In the end, I don't think you have too many drives. In fact, I think you may need a few more to put really good backup strategy in place. If you have any concern about losing data, you don't have enough backup.

 

Two, for the best performance of you network, you would do better to have 1 good Ethernet switch at the core of your LAN. I had trouble streaming HD video to my TV from my WHS when I had multiple LAN switches. Once I switched to a single 16 port switch and ran cables to each PC in the house, all those issues went away.

 

Three, I don't know if you are, but don't use the Ethernet ports on a wireless router to connect PCs to your network. A wireless router should only have 1 cable connected to its Ethernet ports; one that connects it to an Ethernet switch. The reason is that the Ethernet switch circuitry in wireless routers is not very good. Think about it; you can buy a wireless router for less than $50, yet most Ethernet switches cost more than that. How would it be possible for the manufacturers to make a device that does several jobs (router) and sell it for less than $50 and yet they can't make a good Ethernet switch and sell it that cheap. I don't think that's a coincidence.

 

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Krueger86

One last point--

 

Sever File duplication:

To backup your files on WHS, you'll need to get the StableBit DrivePool add-in. (It's sorta like a raid, but not.)  Then you can set it to duplicate your folders across your 4 drives. If a drive fails, you've got a backup on another drive. Replace the failed drive, and Drive Pool will re populate the drive to its original state.

 

Not knowing which was better I purchased two licenses to Drive Bender and downloaded the software for widows and server.  Not sure if it is better than DrivePool or not. 

 

Looks like a good build. I was big on the Acer Revo 3610 for HTPC usage and did a lot of blog posts on my site for set up and mods. They worked pretty darn well for what they were in the day for SFF PC's. The N54L's CPU is even better, plus, with the video card you bought it is miles better too than the stock Nvidia ION 9400M video card that came with the Revo.  Though I would not typically recommend WHS for HTPC, it should work fine with that video card handling the video offloading chores. Especially if they are AVI, MKV, H264 MP4, mpeg or DVD TS/VOB files and alike. Now, if you run Plex which "re-encodes" all files and pushes it out....then I'd be concerned about the CPU utilization. Typically, as I do, the WHS machine is just the storage & backup unit. Then I have dedicated HTPC's at the HDTV's around the house (lab). Plus, a random boxee box and now a roku.

 

Additional build needs:

I'd say the only things you'll need are an external USB DVD drive to install WHS with. Then to back up the OS, you'll need to dedicate either one of your new drives in one of the bays for OS (server) backups or get a USB drive and allocate it for your OS (server) backups.

 

JMHO--since you want to make this a HTPC as well, I'd consider getting an SSD drive and put the OS on it (drive #5). That way all your data is separate from your OS drive in case you hose the OS somehow. Also reserves all your drive bay HDD's for data only. I followed Joe Minor's and several others lead on that thought even without using it as a HTPC.

 

OS backups, pictures and iTunes management:

WHS specializes in backing up the OS of every PC on the network once you create an account for each and install the WHS Connector Dashboard. Total OS image and easy to restore a PC if needed.

WHS too stores all your data, photos and music alike.  Run your favorite photo manager on the client PC's (picasa or whatever). Same for iTunes.

 

 

Question about an SSD drive for the OS.  Will I have to do a BIOS update to be able to use an SSD in port 5?  I have also seen some Icydocks that have a DVD drive incorporated.  But, I haven't found them online yet.  Was wondering if that would work for OS install and as a place for another drive or two?

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judgeschambers

Not knowing which was better I purchased two licenses to Drive Bender and downloaded the software for widows and server.  Not sure if it is better than DrivePool or not. 

 

 

 

Question about an SSD drive for the OS.  Will I have to do a BIOS update to be able to use an SSD in port 5?  I have also seen some Icydocks that have a DVD drive incorporated.  But, I haven't found them online yet.  Was wondering if that would work for OS install and as a place for another drive or two?

 

Drive Bender is good too. I and many others have used StableBit Drive Pool in the past, so we roll with it.

 

 

SSD can be plugged directly into the 1 extra SATA port on the front of the MOBO. No, the bios mod is unneeded to do that. I had mine set up a few weeks before doing the Bios Mod. The bios mod will allow you to change the default Sata speed from 1.5gb to 3.0 gb speed and allow that extra Sata port to perform better.

 

If you get the IcyDock, which I am looking to do myself, to hold the SSD and a 5th LFF HDD....the SSD would still go to the Sata Port on the front of the mobo as mentioned above. The LFF HDD would have to plug into the eSata port on the outside of the tower as there's no other port left (eSata to Sata conversion cable required).

 

As for either a HDD or a DVD Drive of the Icy Dock Installation--- I know you can convert the eSata cable to Sata and the HDD will work, but I've no experience if a Sata DVD would work as well. I would assume so as it's simply another drive basically. Hell, if it does, I may go that way vs a 5th HDD.

 

Icy Dock 2.5 + 3.5 HDD on NewEgg. ICYDOCK BAY

 

Icy Dock Install: Joe Minor's Icy Dock Install

 

Icy Dock Twin 2.5 HDD + Slim Optial Drive Bay

 

Other JMinor N40L mods that work on N54L: N40L & N54L

 

Have fun.

Edited by judgeschambers

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ikon

SSD can be plugged directly into the 1 extra SATA port on the front of the MOBO. No, the bios mod is unneeded to do that. I had mine set up a few weeks before doing the Bios Mod.

 

True, but without the modded BIOS the maximum speed of the mobo SATA port is SATA I, or 1.5 gigabit. With the modded BIOS it's SATA II, or 3 gigabit. Neither of those can keep up to an SSD, but obviously the SATA II is better than SATA I.

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judgeschambers

True, but without the modded BIOS the maximum speed of the mobo SATA port is SATA I, or 1.5 gigabit. With the modded BIOS it's SATA II, or 3 gigabit. Neither of those can keep up to an SSD, but obviously the SATA II is better than SATA I.

I updated my post to clarify the Bios Mod benefits. Thanks.

 

To your point of achieving maximum SSD speed, you could install a  4 port Sata PCI card and rout all the new drives and DVD roms to it and realize Sata III 6 gb speeds. Correct?

 

HighPoint Rocket Controller

Edited by judgeschambers

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ikon

Yes, you could use an add-in card to get 6Gb speeds for the drives. People are already doing that by installing RocketRaid 2720 cards. They also happen to be RAID cards, but they are 6Gb

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Drashna Jaelre

Yup. And they're nice cards too. :)

I will need to get a second one eventually.

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