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pandemonium

Best OS for HP Microserver N54L NAS?

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ikon

Since this is an N54L, you have an eSATA port you could use. Joe_Miner did this: he routed an eSATA-to-SATA cable from the outside eSATA jack back to the inside of the chassis.

 

As Drashna indicated, the performance you would get by connecting an eSATA SSD to a USB port would be much less than if it was connected via (e)SATA. I couldn't really recommend running the OS from a USB drive.

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Joe_Miner

You have the ODD SATA Port (Port5) on the System Board and the eSATA Port (Port4) on the back of the case -- If you flash the BIOS Mods for the RomPaq you can change those two ports from IDE emulation mode to AHCI and get the full SATA II transfer rates (3Gb/s) you can currently see from your other 4 SATA Ports (Port0 thru 3) in the main 4 drive cage.  Otherwise, if left in IDE emulation mode those 2 SATA Ports (Port5 & Port4) will run at approximately SATA I speeds (1.5Gb/s)

 

I've had no problems running 5 HDD's plus a SSD off of the 6 Ports in the N54L (Ports0-5)

 

You can find a lot of information on this in the threads pinned to the top of this Forum.

 

A number of folks have attached HDD"s via the USB connector on the System Board though I don't recall their transfer rates being very noteworthy -- but it can be done as I understand though I haven't tried it -- I've only done drives off of the 6 SATA ports -- I've also flashed the BIOS-Mod (on the Previous ROMPaq version -- see the Blog Post associated with the HSS 2013 Meetup) and downloaded the AMD drivers that Forum User Alex discovered to turn on the Port Multiplier on the eSATA (Port4) and for awhile was running 5 HDD's in the MicroServer plus 4 HDD's in a box attached to the Port Multiplier and using a Rocket 640L I attached my SSD to that.

Edited by Joe_Miner
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pandemonium

The picture's getting clearer! Just to clarify for my own self... here's my route to NAS bliss!

  • Finish the current backup... format the drives...
  • Read, read, read... and then read... thanks for all the pointers gents... much obliged...
  • Upgrade the BIOS to install ROMPaq version
  • Get a decently priced SDD - 128/256 GB... since its just going to serve the purpose of a server, I should be able to run it light I suppose
  • Connect the SSD to the eSATA onboard port
  • Install Windows 8.1 / 2011 / 2012E
  • Install StableBit DrivePool & Scanner
  • Come back and annoy you folks again if I get stuck  :D

One question's still outstanding though... Which OS to choose? 8.1 / 2011 / 2012E ? If cost was not a constraint and performance & ease of use were your only criteria, what would you choose & why?

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ikon

Ignoring cost, I personally would choose 2012Er2. However, I would be remiss if I didn't point out/remind you that 2012 has to run as a Domain Controller. I have no problem with that, but some people do. YMMV :)

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ikon

I realize that, but some people still have issues with it. I would, in fact, be running with a Domain myself, with Client Computers as members of the Domain, if not for the fact that I would have to redo my User Accounts. The thought of having to do that just isn't appealing.

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yodafett

WHS2011 would require a script file created on a USB to install on less than 160. Doable but a step. WSE2012r2 has no limitation

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pandemonium

Thank you all once again... some key pointers there. Since the last posts, I've been reading up and stocking up my knowledge... but I still have a bit of confusion about the OS to install.

 

My needs are fairly simple:

  • Really slick/quick interface (most important... FreeNAS has improved substantially, but its nowhere close to a Windows desktop!)
  • A really fast NAS... FreeNAS was brilliant initially... but off-late its been increasingly slow with my data going past the 1.5Tb/2Tb mark... to the extent that its slower than a flippin 6 year old 2GB USB2.0 drive!
  • An effective media server for audio/video/photos... never could get the FreeNAS server to work reliably... it would drop connections/etc randomly - perhaps I didn't set it up correctly
  • Download NZB/Torrents in the background
  • Media conversion from mkv to avi in the background... stuff like that... time intensive tasks that you'd want to run in the background
  • Possibility of using virtual machines (good to have)... I'd rather do the downloads/conversions/etc on the VM rather than the server... to keep the server memory clean essentially. I could easily reboot the VM without bringing down the server if things became slow I suppose.

Whilst reading up info on the installation, some peeps seem to suggest that WS2012R2E may be an overkill and is a more confusing/difficult to setup. Whilst I'm not a noob (I'm a software engineer who got into management 15 years back!), I'm not an expert (IT guy) either. I'm pretty apt at following guides - both hardware & software. But, I still haven't found a noob/idiot's guide to setting up a WHS - not only installing, I mean setting up various things once it is installed... for instance - as ikon hinted above - I'll need to set it up as a Domain Controller... stuff like that. I'm not really sure what I'll need to do once I've installed the server. I suppose that's true for 8.1 as well... it just "seems" easier for some reason!

 

If Win8.1 Pro will do everything I need - do I really need WHS2012E? What I really would like to know is - how does 2012e beat 8.1 particularly with the above tasks in mind? If someone can explain that - I'd be much obliged.

 

Google searches comparing 8.1 to 2012E don't yield much from an end-user's perspective. And for someone who's not setup a server before (nor used one!), its a daunting task. I do apologize beforehand, but, these are my limitations. I'm willing to go and read and follow instructions. Just point.

 

Sorry for my rant above... thank's for listening. And many thanks once again in advance.

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Taffeys

Have you tried NAS4Free ( http://www.nas4free.org )? I tried both FreeNAS and NAS4Free on my N54L and found NAS4Free better suited to my needs and skills (I've always used Microsoft OS until setting up my N54L).

 

Here is a recent comparison of FreeNAS and NAS4Free http://arstechnica.com/information-technology/2014/06/the-ars-nas-distribution-shootout-freenas-vs-nas4free/

 

However, you will get much more support and information for any Microsoft OS here than for any BSD-based OS.

Edited by Taffeys
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ikon

The biggest advantage, to me, of WSE2012(r2) over Win8.1 is that it will back up your client computers and provide you with the ability to do Bare Metal Restores of them. Having automatic, regular BMR backups of all my client computers gives me real peace of mind.

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