Jump to content
RESET Forums (homeservershow.com)

Questions on Planning and Preparing for a Gen8


darkarn
 Share

Recommended Posts

Hi guys, after some more reading up and asking around, I decided to consider the Gen8 too alongside with the N54L, here's some of my questions:

 

Questions

1. Will it be harder to maintain a Gen8, especially in getting BIOS updates and drivers with the current state of HP's support? (Expectations)

2. Should I save that single PCIe slot for a graphics card, or is it better used for something else? (Hardware)

3. How can I use the dual NICs well? (Hardware)

4. For my use cases, will the lowest CPU be alright? (Hardware)

5. Which OS I should go for? Or will hypervisors (i.e. ESXi) be more suited for my use cases? (Amahi, Ubuntu, WHS/Windows 8 are my top choices currently) (Software)

6. If I were to go for a hypervisor, what should I look out for? (Expectations/Software)

 
Thanks! (Below is more background data that I hope will come in handy)

 

Current Setup

Computer(s): 1 Sager NP8170 (HDD changed into a Crucial M550 256GB)

Main Storage: 1 HGST 3.5" 3TB Deskstar HDD in a Hotway USB 3.0 external enclosure. Connected to my laptop as Windows 7 local drive via USB 3.0.

Backup: 1 3.5" 2TB HDD, 1 3.5" 1TB HDD in a shared PC. Connected to my laptop as Windows 7 network drives over the home network (i.e. PC to router, router to laptop).

Router: Asus RT-AC66U

(All drives above are formatted in NTFS)

 

Planned Setup

Computer(s): 1 Sager NP8170 (HDD changed into a Crucial M550 256GB)

Main Storage: 1 3.5" 2TB HDD, 1 3.5" 1TB HDD in a Gen8. (Gen8 to switch, switch to laptop, switch to router)

Backup: 1 HGST 3.5" 3TB Deskstar HDD in a Hotway USB 3.0 external enclosure. Connected to my laptop as Windows 7 local drive via USB 3.0.

Router: Asus RT-AC66U

(Not sure if should stick with NTFS due to OS choice in the Gen8. I prefer not to reformat if possible.)

 

Use Cases
1. Storing my data in my HDDs and being able to access them (i.e. NAS) (High priority)

2. Monitoring HDD health with real-time alerts (High priority)

3. Media streaming (in home network mostly, but if can be done ) (Medium priority)

4. Production server for web projects e.t.c. (LAMP setup maybe?) (Medium priority)

5. Media transcoding (then again, I think my devices can handle untranscoded stuff...?) (Low priority)
6. Creating an environment where I can learn the usage and deployment of servers for fun and for career (yes, I know, this sounds naive at best...) (??? priority)

 

Items to Get/Prepare

Gen8 itself

HDD/SSD since none will be supplied

DDNS Hostname for router (done!)

Switch

Thumbdrive with OS and BIOS mod if need be (need to decide OS first)

Extra Ethernet cables for the setup

 

I hope this is not too much... Thanks!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

 

Hi guys, after some more reading up and asking around, I decided to consider the Gen8 too alongside with the N54L, here's some of my questions:

 

Questions

1. Will it be harder to maintain a Gen8, especially in getting BIOS updates and drivers with the current state of HP's support? (Expectations)

Once a server is running OK, I don't bother with updates unless they are to patch a security or performance issue. Generally a server just runs in the corner and isn't subject to the normal use that a PC will get, so updates are not as important.

2. Should I save that single PCIe slot for a graphics card, or is it better used for something else? (Hardware)

I can't see you have any need to use the slot.

3. How can I use the dual NICs well? (Hardware)

If you have lots of clients, you could channel bond to increase the LAN capacity but be aware that you will only get a max of gigabit per client.

4. For my use cases, will the lowest CPU be alright? (Hardware)

Your biggest CPU load would be transcoding. the basic CPU should transcode a single HD stream fine. 

5. Which OS I should go for? Or will hypervisors (i.e. ESXi) be more suited for my use cases? (Amahi, Ubuntu, WHS/Windows 8 are my top choices currently) (Software)

​I wouldn't bother with an OS - just use FreeNas or Xpenology

6. If I were to go for a hypervisor, what should I look out for? (Expectations/Software)

If you are doing this for career, then I would suggest ESXi as VMWare is probably more useful on your CV than the others. 

 
Thanks! (Below is more background data that I hope will come in handy)

 

Current Setup

Computer(s): 1 Sager NP8170 (HDD changed into a Crucial M550 256GB)

Main Storage: 1 HGST 3.5" 3TB Deskstar HDD in a Hotway USB 3.0 external enclosure. Connected to my laptop as Windows 7 local drive via USB 3.0.

Backup: 1 3.5" 2TB HDD, 1 3.5" 1TB HDD in a shared PC. Connected to my laptop as Windows 7 network drives over the home network (i.e. PC to router, router to laptop).

Router: Asus RT-AC66U

(All drives above are formatted in NTFS)

 

Planned Setup

Computer(s): 1 Sager NP8170 (HDD changed into a Crucial M550 256GB)

Main Storage: 1 3.5" 2TB HDD, 1 3.5" 1TB HDD in a Gen8. (Gen8 to switch, switch to laptop, switch to router)

Backup: 1 HGST 3.5" 3TB Deskstar HDD in a Hotway USB 3.0 external enclosure. Connected to my laptop as Windows 7 local drive via USB 3.0.

Router: Asus RT-AC66U

(Not sure if should stick with NTFS due to OS choice in the Gen8. I prefer not to reformat if possible.)

 

 

Use Cases

1. Storing my data in my HDDs and being able to access them (i.e. NAS) (High priority)

2. Monitoring HDD health with real-time alerts (High priority)

3. Media streaming (in home network mostly, but if can be done ) (Medium priority)

4. Production server for web projects e.t.c. (LAMP setup maybe?) (Medium priority)

5. Media transcoding (then again, I think my devices can handle untranscoded stuff...?) (Low priority)

6. Creating an environment where I can learn the usage and deployment of servers for fun and for career (yes, I know, this sounds naive at best...) (??? priority)

 

All the above could be done with FreeNas. You have the added advantage of Jails where you could deploy a LAMP stack, or the VirtualBox plugin could be used.

If you want to play with deployment of stuff, I would get yourself a cheap N36/40/54 or something as well. You don't want to be messing with your real backups etc by experimenting. The best way to learn is to break things and fix them again!

 

Items to Get/Prepare

Gen8 itself

HDD/SSD since none will be supplied

DDNS Hostname for router (done!)

Switch

Thumbdrive with OS and BIOS mod if need be (need to decide OS first)

Extra Ethernet cables for the setup

 

I hope this is not too much... Thanks!

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thanks for your reply!

 

1. Will it be harder to maintain a Gen8, especially in getting BIOS updates and drivers with the current state of HP's support? (Expectations)

Once a server is running OK, I don't bother with updates unless they are to patch a security or performance issue. Generally a server just runs in the corner and isn't subject to the normal use that a PC will get, so updates are not as important.

2. Should I save that single PCIe slot for a graphics card, or is it better used for something else? (Hardware)

I can't see you have any need to use the slot.

3. How can I use the dual NICs well? (Hardware)

If you have lots of clients, you could channel bond to increase the LAN capacity but be aware that you will only get a max of gigabit per client.

4. For my use cases, will the lowest CPU be alright? (Hardware)

Your biggest CPU load would be transcoding. the basic CPU should transcode a single HD stream fine. 

5. Which OS I should go for? Or will hypervisors (i.e. ESXi) be more suited for my use cases? (Amahi, Ubuntu, WHS/Windows 8 are my top choices currently) (Software)

​I wouldn't bother with an OS - just use FreeNas or Xpenology

6. If I were to go for a hypervisor, what should I look out for? (Expectations/Software)

If you are doing this for career, then I would suggest ESXi as VMWare is probably more useful on your CV than the others

 

1. Hmm... I am asking as I understand that you have to download patches for the server once you open it out of the box to avoid the red screen issues, does not having a warranty plan (is that how you call it?) affect this?

5. How is FreeNas or Xpenology better than the OSes?

6. Looks like I need to check out how to get ESXi for free/low price...

 

 

All the above could be done with FreeNas. You have the added advantage of Jails where you could deploy a LAMP stack, or the VirtualBox plugin could be used.

If you want to play with deployment of stuff, I would get yourself a cheap N36/40/54 or something as well. You don't want to be messing with your real backups etc by experimenting. The best way to learn is to break things and fix them again!

 

Would love to have a N54L to play with but I can only afford either the Gen8 or the N54L :D

I understand that I cannot run the virtual OS 24/7 in VirtualBox unlike ESXi right...?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thanks for your reply!

 

 

1. Hmm... I am asking as I understand that you have to download patches for the server once you open it out of the box to avoid the red screen issues, does not having a warranty plan (is that how you call it?) affect this?

If its a new machine, you should have a years warranty that you can download updates once you have registered the serial number on the HP site. If its not new, there is a link on here somewhere for the latest SPP ISO that contains all the driver updates rolled into a bootable disk that can be mounted over iLO.

5. How is FreeNas or Xpenology better than the OSes?

Its a simple all-in-one point and click software. Yes, you could set what you want up using an OS, but its not an all-in-one solution and requires periodic maintenance. Personally I like to keep things simple :)

6. Looks like I need to check out how to get ESXi for free/low price...

ESXi is free for personal use, limitation is that you can only use the Windows vSphere client for management (or the new beta web management fling) but for basic use thats fine.

If you go this way, make sure you create VM's as version 8 though; to edit some features in later versions needs the VCSA web management appliance which isn't free.

 

 

Would love to have a N54L to play with but I can only afford either the Gen8 or the N54L :D

I understand that I cannot run the virtual OS 24/7 in VirtualBox unlike ESXi right...?

As far as I know, the FreeNAS VirtualBox plugin just runs in the background, so as long as the server and FreeNAS is running (and VirtualBox jail started), your virtualised OS will be running...

Edited by snapper
Link to comment
Share on other sites

 

Thanks for your reply!

 

 

1. Hmm... I am asking as I understand that you have to download patches for the server once you open it out of the box to avoid the red screen issues, does not having a warranty plan (is that how you call it?) affect this?

If its a new machine, you should have a years warranty that you can download updates once you have registered the serial number on the HP site. If its not new, there is a link on here somewhere for the latest SPP ISO that contains all the driver updates rolled into a bootable disk that can be mounted over iLO.

5. How is FreeNas or Xpenology better than the OSes?

Its a simple all-in-one point and click software. Yes, you could set what you want up using an OS, but its not an all-in-one solution and requires periodic maintenance. Personally I like to keep things simple :)

6. Looks like I need to check out how to get ESXi for free/low price...

ESXi is free for personal use, limitation is that you can only use the Windows vSphere client for management (or the new beta web management fling) but for basic use thats fine.

If you go this way, make sure you create VM's as version 8 though; to edit some features in later versions needs the VCSA web management appliance which isn't free.

 

 

Would love to have a N54L to play with but I can only afford either the Gen8 or the N54L :D

I understand that I cannot run the virtual OS 24/7 in VirtualBox unlike ESXi right...?

As far as I know, the FreeNAS VirtualBox plugin just runs in the background, so as long as the server and FreeNAS is running (and VirtualBox jail started), your virtualised OS will be running...

 

 

1. Thanks! This is one of the major concerns I have over HP's stuff ever since I heard about that warranty issue...

5. I see, but I understand that I will have to reformat my HDDs from NTFS into ZFS if I were to use FreeNAS?

6. Sorry, I am still a wee bit confused about this; I heard that some versions (5.2 and below?) are totally free, while the others are free but the tools to manage it are not free (effectively making it not free)?

7. Ah I see, didn't know that I can run it in the background...

Link to comment
Share on other sites

1. Thanks! This is one of the major concerns I have over HP's stuff ever since I heard about that warranty issue...

Yeah but the Gen8 line is being replaced by the Gen9, so updates are going to tail off anyway as they concentrate on the newer devices...

5. I see, but I understand that I will have to reformat my HDDs from NTFS into ZFS if I were to use FreeNAS?

Yep, but you will have to do this as well for any other non Windows OS, including ESXi. 

The only way around this with ESXi would be to get an additional HBA card and upgrade to a Xeon CPU and use PCI Passthrough to present the NTFS disks directly to a WIndows OS.

6. Sorry, I am still a wee bit confused about this; I heard that some versions (5.2 and below?) are totally free, while the others are free but the tools to manage it are not free (effectively making it not free)?

The basic ESXi hypervisor is free for home use, as is the depreciated vSphere Windows client (although it still works fine with a few limitations).

The preferred management tool is now VCSA which is paid for. 

You can use ESXi fine at home with the Windows client, or if you are a non Windows user, there is a free web based management UI in beta.

At work we have the fully licensed VMware, but at home I use the free edition and haven't found anything that I need at home that cannot be done with the free licence/tools. 

7. Ah I see, didn't know that I can run it in the background...

Edited by snapper
Link to comment
Share on other sites

 

1. Thanks! This is one of the major concerns I have over HP's stuff ever since I heard about that warranty issue...

Yeah but the Gen8 line is being replaced by the Gen9, so updates are going to tail off anyway as they concentrate on the newer devices...

5. I see, but I understand that I will have to reformat my HDDs from NTFS into ZFS if I were to use FreeNAS?

Yep, but you will have to do this as well for any other non Windows OS, including ESXi. 

The only way around this with ESXi would be to get an additional HBA card and upgrade to a Xeon CPU and use PCI Passthrough to present the NTFS disks directly to a WIndows OS.

6. Sorry, I am still a wee bit confused about this; I heard that some versions (5.2 and below?) are totally free, while the others are free but the tools to manage it are not free (effectively making it not free)?

The basic ESXi hypervisor is free for home use, as is the depreciated vSphere Windows client (although it still works fine with a few limitations).

The preferred management tool is now VCSA which is paid for. 

You can use ESXi fine at home with the Windows client, or if you are a non Windows user, there is a free web based management UI in beta.

At work we have the fully licensed VMware, but at home I use the free edition and haven't found anything that I need at home that cannot be done with the free licence/tools. 

7. Ah I see, didn't know that I can run it in the background...

 

 

1. Now that we are talking about Gen9... Feels like I should wait it out but then again, something tells me that even if Gen9 comes out, it will be too expensive for me :S

5. I see, looks like I should double-check the OSes before installing...

6. Thanks, that clears up quite a bit! So they just want us to pay for whatever that controls the ESXi?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
 Share

×
×
  • Create New...