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N54L as a PC and Mac backup/nas?


three_jeeps
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I am considering getting a n54L as a backup target. I believe it is 'useful' out of the box, I am disappointed by: only supports 3.0gb/s sata drives (not 6),  max RAM is 8GB,  max disk size is 2TB. The disk size/speed issue can be gotten around by buying another disk interface card.  (so why not just get an inexpensive MB, several of which have 4+ 6gb/s sata support?).  Memory is not too bad, and some ppl report system works with 16GB installed (but is system using the top 8GB?)

 

I want this box to be a backup target for 2 windoz machines, and 2 macs.  I want to install 4 - 2TB drives, organized in pairs and Raid1 (disk #1:win backup target, disk#2 win backup mirror), (disk #3:OSX backup target, disk#4 OSX backup mirror).  Disks 1&3 will be partitioned in half (e.g 1TB each partition) to be mapped to win machine #1,#2, and same for mac osx of disks 2 & 4. ( I would *really* like 4TB disk support...sigh)

 

My bare metal restore method is: From a clean install, create a disk image on another external HD - Simply pop in the clean image and restore user data from backup server....Done!  well+run a few scripts to pull out bookmarks and system settings that M$ embeds so deeply in the OS file systems....sigh.

 

So my questions are:

What sw/os would support this scenario? am considering WHS, freenas,ubuntu server running Amanda etc.  although I am negatively biased to M$ products for a variety of reasons but would consider a good reason as to its viability).

 

Does the N54L support 2 windoz disks and mirroring, and 2 OSX disks and mirroring?

 

thanks for any insight.

 

-J

 

 

 

 

 

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Maximum HDD size = 2TB?  Not true.  I think HP just had not updated their literature.

 

From what you want to do, I think WHS 2011 is a good candidate.  From their you could create two RAID 1 mirrors and have some redundancy with support for your MAC clients also.

 

Anyways, welcome aboard and lookout for the Joe_Miner  "List of Links" to be posted soon...all great information that he has compiled and passes along freely.

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I'm not addressing your direct questions, but I thought I would mention that I'm not aware of any 2TB HDD limitation in the N54L. I believe there are several forum members running 3 and/or 4 TB HDDs in their MicroServers.

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There you go...the definitive word from up North! 

 

And oh by the way...HAPPY BIRTHDAY CANADA

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Hi Three_Jeeps & Welcome to the Forums!


Q. What sw/os would support this scenario?


As JMWills suggested WHS2011 or Server 2012 Essentials may be the solutions you are looking for – check out this link first First Timer MicroServer With WHS Build then check over the two links at the bottom of that Forum Post for Stats on NASPT.   For other ideas you can check our links in Useful Links and Hardware Links and I’m sure many people will have additional ideas for you.   In the above you will find links on Ubuntu Servers and how folks are backing up to that successfully too – if you’re looking for an alternative to M$.

 

Q. Does the N54L support 2 windoz disks and mirroring, and 2 OSX disks and mirroring?

 

Yes – you can mirror drives in WHS2011 or Server 2012 Essentials in Drive Management as you will see in the first link above.

 

Best regards,

 

Joe



 

Edited by Joe_Miner
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There you go...the definitive word from up North! 

 

And oh by the way...HAPPY BIRTHDAY CANADA

 

Thank you sir! And an early happy birthday to the USA in 3 days.

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Thank you for the replies....gee, I just had two 'chats' with HP reps....both said 2 TB limit, I saw  some posts in forum that suggests ppl r using 3 tb...haven't seen 4 tb drives mentioned. 

I had similar experience with RAM capacity....HP says 8 GB, i've seen 16gb cited in this forum...(but is all of it accessable? - for example on some machines+OS, windoz will show 4 GB but can only use 3.2 or 3.3GB....I understand why, but not sure about this server).

 

One other question: With WHS, if I start out with 1 disk as target, how easily is it to add a second disk as a mirror with no side effects e.g. the source disk some how gets corrupt,  the machine tries to mirror but hangs, etc....I've seen waaaay to many promises that are never fulfilled in reality...

 

Oh, and can someone point me to a list of 'features' that the BIOS mods enable?

 

J

Edited by three_jeeps
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Q. … only supports 3.0gb/s sata drives (not 6), max RAM is 8GB, max disk size is 2TB. The disk size/speed issue can be gotten around by buying another disk interface card. (so why not just get an inexpensive MB, several of which have 4+ 6gb/s sata support?). Memory is not too bad, and some ppl report
system works with 16GB installed (but is system using the top 8GB?)


HP certifies it for 8GB of ECC RAM and most of us recommend that for a production machine (i.e. Like a home server protecting important data) you stick to HP’s certified amount of RAM – BUT many people have successfully installed 16GB RAM and use their MicroServer as a test/training box (i.e. a Hyper-V play box for instance). Lots of discussions about this => Check out the RAM links/Discussions in Hardware Links

For HDD”s larger than 2TB you’ll have to initialize them GPT and I’m not aware of any size limitation for GPT HDD’s in the MicroServer. For a windows OS HDD it will have to be initialized MBR which means for the OS drive only it will have to be 2TB or smaller. The video by JPLTim in the first link I gave you explains how to install a 3TB drive in WHS2011 via disk management on a MicroServer.

SATA II saturates at 300MB/s while SATA III saturates at 600MB/s. There are no HDD’s that I’m aware of that will saturate a SATA II Port. Only SSD’s could potentially saturate a SATA II and would therefore perform optimally on a SATA III Port. You could get SATA III ports with some RAID cards and some SATA cards or you could RAID0 together a number of FAST HDD’s on SATA II Ports to achieve SSD or better than SSD on SATA III performance.

Q.  One other question: With WHS, if I start out with 1 disk as target, how easily is it to add a second disk as a mirror with no side effects e.g. the source disk some how gets corrupt, the machine tries to mirrow but hangs, etc....I've seen waaaay to many promises that are never fulfilled in reality...

It should be no problem => see posting #16 in First Timer MicroServer With WHS BUILD

Q.  Oh, and can someone point me to a list of 'features' that the BIOS mods enable?

HP ProLiant N40L MicroServer Build and BIOS Modification Revisited => check the section Modifying the BIOS for the big points: Setting Ports 4 & 5 to AHCI (you need this for Trim if you put a SSD on either of those Ports), Setting Ports 4 & 5 to full SATA II speeds (300MB/s)from the default SATA I speeds (150MB/s), and after the BIOS-MOD if you follow Alex’s instructions you can enable Port Multiplier on the eSATA Port (Port 4). If you don’t need any of those features you probably don’t need the BIOS-MOD.

Edited by Joe_Miner
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Good point JM: yes, for the system drive, 2TB is probably max if it's going to be a Windows system, but 3 TB or larger is usable for data drives.

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