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New home servers


Paranoia
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Hey guys. Im new here and wanted to show my servers and ask some advice.

 

My first server is a dell poweredge 1950 1u with dual intel Xeon 5300 cpu's, 4gb ram, 2 146gb 10k drives (deciding if I want to raid or not), dual 10/100/1000 ethernet pirts, fiber optic card, remote management controller, dual 670watt supplies. I was using as a test esxi server, but ill probably change to gaming server and add some more ram.

 

The second server I recently picked up is an ibm x3650 m1 version 1 2u chasis. Dual intel Xeon 5160's, 16gb ram, 4 500gb 7500rpm drives (again not sure if I want raided or not), dual 10/100/1000 ethernet, fiber card, dual 835watt power supplies. Currently this is my storage/media server. Only issue is that the raid card doesnt support my wd 2tb drive so its all split on thr 500gb drives. Im going to transition this to my esxi server for testing and maybe web server hosting.

 

Im about to buy another amd mobo and cpu and throw it into a 4u case I have. This will server as media / storage server in the next week or so.

 

Im also planning a rack build but havent nailed down the specifics on materials yet.

 

Anyway, im new to home servers and wanted to ask your guys preference for software, suggestions for usage of servers, and any recommendations for networking tools and such.

 

Glad to be hear and I hope I can be of help on the forums.

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That is some powerful hardware for home networking. Don't be surprised if you take some flak about power consumption from a few members ;)

 

I'm partial to Windows Home Server 2011, but it is getting old now and many members are moving on to Windows Server 2012 Essentials, or its R2 version. I think one of the biggest advantages of the MS Home Servers is their ability to back up and restore Windows client computers.

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Thats true. Yea all the hardware cost a whopping $130. So over powered is fine with me. Im also looking into renting space out and such thus I was only looking for dual quad cores. I figured what the hell. If im getting into servers and hosting sites/game/VM's might as well go big or go home. Thanks for the reply. Im looking to see what the difference between windows server 11 or 13, vs linux and such. Lowest resources vs highest performance. So far only using windows 7 to test remote stuff. Ill check out the windows backup through ms 11 or 12 tho. Thanks for the info.

Edited by Paranoia
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  • 2 weeks later...

I have used WHS V1, WHS 2011 and Windows Server Essential 2012.

 

Overall best in terms of ease of use and functionality was WHS 2011. Only problem was for me that I continued to have issues with getting clients connected after system changes. I tried everything, every internet hint and tip, every MSDN article I could find, but alas one of my HTPC machines would just not re-connect and therefore I could not do backups: Bummer.

 

So far, Server 2012 has been reliable and dead solid on making backups, day after day. I have restored from it many times for various reasons with nary a hiccup.

 

But Server Essentials 2012 is a business solution, and requires a bit more configuration and maintenance. Also, it is a "domain controller" and causes a number of new issues in your network in terms of authentication. If you use SE 2012, read up on DCs and methods for installing client software with and without using a domain user ID. Also, avoid storage pools. Don't take my word for it. Read the buzz - and beware.

 

Bottom line, given the caveats and going in eyes open - Server Essentials is my pick for the most robust solution, but WHS 2011 is probably easier to setup and manage

 

Oh, and for the record, my WHS2011 machine is my main data server. It has all folders, sits on a fast ASUS 8GB motherboard with a mix of Highpoint RAID, motherboard mirrors and various internal and external drives to host the folders.

 

My Server 2012 Essentials machine sits on a HP Prolient Microserver, modified to include a slot-load slim Blu-Ray drive, SSD system drive and an external RAID cluster hanging off a PCIe HighPoint card. I also have a USB 3.0 card in there. Not much horsepower, but enough to do client  backups and stream HD to one client. Spinning on these drives are secondary copies of data. A backup copy of the client backups folder is on the main data server (reminds me I haven't backed it up recently).

 

My main HTPC has less power than the WHS 2011 machine, but way faster than the HP, and has and a large RAID pool of 2TB hand-me-down drives from my main servers (all 3 and 4 TB). This is where I tinker, mess with downloaded software, run media products, etc. Spinning on this system are the remaining secondary copies of folders, and extra space for sandbox projects (converting data formats, ripping, etc.).

Edited by mediadogg
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My upgrade plans include selling off the 2TB drives and external RAID cabinets, move the 3TB drives over to the HTPC and repopulate the servers with 5 or 6 TB WD Red drives. I'm looking to cut down on my footprint and power requirements.

 

Off topic: Oh, I also have an amazing media box called KDLinks 720. It plays virtually everything, including DVD and Blu-Ray ISO files. It has space for an internal hard drive, so it also has space allocated for secondary copies of folders that are on the main server. I use it as though it were offline backup storage.

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mediadog, I'm surprised you've had so much trouble getting clients to reconnect to the server. You're not the first one to encounter issues but I've never really encountered them myself.

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I completely disagree with the authentication issues.  In fact, I think they work better.

WIthout a domain, you can use a Local Account or a Microsoft Account. It makes access shares much harder if you use Microsoft accounts.

 

With a domain, you log into a domain account, and then link your Microsoft account to it. You get the benefits of both, the ease of connectivity of local accounts, and the sync features of a Microsoft account.

 

But yes, Server Essentials is much more "work". It's a domain controller, and much more sensitive for "failure" that WHS2011. You really need to have a server backup setup. 

But as for maintenance.... not really.

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@Drashna, I think your words are more precise in getting to my meaning. The whole idea of Domains was new to me, and I still don't have a good understanding of the functionality. Guess I need to go do some more study ...

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Perhaps a good way to think of Domains, at least to begin with, is to think of them as a way to implement single sign-on. Once you log into a Domain, any permissions assigned to that account are available from any computer.

 

In a workgroup, if you log onto one computer with an account, you don't gain access to resources on other computers until those computers are configured to know about that account. This can make setting up shared resources a PITA. With a Domain, any servers in that Domain know about the account automatically. In fact, there is an automated process in the Domain that syncs accounts between member servers.

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To add to what ikon said, the domain allows you to control all aspects of your environment from one location.

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