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PostPosted: Wed Sep 17, 2014 12:13 am 
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Joined: Sun Feb 26, 2012 2:25 am
Posts: 798
Location: Princeton, New Jersey
Anyone have experience running actual server-grade hardware in a casual setting?

I'll set the bar for "server-grade" fairly low here: Servers that use ECC memory, small business firewalls/switches, etc. all qualify. What's your setup? What do you like about them? Any interesting stories?




I've been running all manners of make-shift home servers for a while: Raspberry Pi, different ARM-based devices, stripped laptops, small Atom computers, etc. They do an adequate job running long downloads, seeding various p2p software, and sharing files, but throughput is always lacking, barely 10MB/s over Gigabit / Wireless N.

Recently a 1TB external hard drive failed on me, taking away with it my mirror of Lenovo drivers. (Fortunately I have backups for things that can't be found on the internet.) Since then I've been thinking about building a proper NAS, one with several hard drives in a ZFS soft RAID for data integrity, and that would require a server with ECC memory.

Weird thing is, before I started looking, there were regular deals on lower end tower servers like the HP MicroServer N54L, Lenovo ThinkServer TS140, or Dell PowerEdge T20, but the deals have dried up completely once I'm in the market. :roll: So I'm still looking.

_________________
X60 tablet 6363-P3U, 3GB ram, 128GB SanDisk Extreme SSD, SXGA+ screen, Intel 6300
T61 Frankenpad in 15 inch T60 body, UXGA LED-lit AFFS LCD, T9300, 6GB RAM, NVidia NVS140m, Intel 6205, 128GB Crucial M4 SSD, 1TB HGST HDD + eBay caddy in Ultrabay
701c butterfly, 75MHz 486DX4, 40MB ram, 1GB CF card


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PostPosted: Wed Sep 17, 2014 6:39 am 
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Senior ThinkPadder
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Joined: Fri Sep 30, 2005 3:27 am
Posts: 2384
Location: Glendora, CA
FWIW: I have deployed a few of these for clients and will be getting one for my home. It can bind to active directory for file/folder access control.

http://www.buffalotech.com/products/net ... ion-5400-1

Pretty neat NAS. They've been running 24x7 for almost a year with no major issues and about 50 staff per site accessing them.

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New:
Thinkpad T410, i5 M520, 8GB DDR3, 1440x900 LCD, 128GB SSD, DVD-RW, Bluetooth, fingerprint, webcam. 2522-26U

Old:
Dell Latitude E6500, E6520, Precision M4400 (Still in use), D630
ThinkPad Tablet 16GB 1838-22U
IBM Thinkpad X61T, T61, T43, X41T, T60, T41P, T42,


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PostPosted: Wed Sep 17, 2014 5:43 pm 
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Contributing Member
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Joined: Sun Apr 13, 2008 7:11 pm
Posts: 1565
Location: RTP, North Carolina
Moons ago, perhaps 2 years, I picked up a Linksys EFG80 with two 120 gig hard drives installed. VERY dated, but has run flawless, with only incidental power failures for the entire time. Its not huge by any stretch but Im not kidding I have set it and forgot it. I stream music off it 5 or 6 times a week onto Clementine. Is on the local network, not internet but I invested $35.00 including shipping!

Ron

_________________
I see in my son's eyes, each day, the wonders I have squandered fortunes to possess and have sought my entire lifetime to attain. jrr 09/2011

X30 x 2
X31 x 2
T30 (down to one, the rest donated)
Z61t (my NEW primary)
Z61m (wife's new daily driver)


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PostPosted: Tue Oct 21, 2014 3:18 pm 
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Joined: Sun Feb 26, 2012 2:25 am
Posts: 798
Location: Princeton, New Jersey
I've picked up a nice deal for a Lenovo ThinkServer TS440 with Xeon E3-1245 CPU and 8 3.5 inch hot swap bays. It even comes with a Lenovo-branded LSI 8-drive SAS/SATA RAID card. This thing is a beast!

Been playing with it for a few weeks and slowly gathering hardware components. Right now it has 6 3TB hard drives and 24GB of ECC memory, still waiting on an Intel 530 SSD for the system drive. I plan to use FreeNAS for the storage, putting the hard drives in a ZFS RaidZ2 array for integrity. Most likely I'm going to virtualize that too so I can consolidate some other computers I have running all the time into the same server.

_________________
X60 tablet 6363-P3U, 3GB ram, 128GB SanDisk Extreme SSD, SXGA+ screen, Intel 6300
T61 Frankenpad in 15 inch T60 body, UXGA LED-lit AFFS LCD, T9300, 6GB RAM, NVidia NVS140m, Intel 6205, 128GB Crucial M4 SSD, 1TB HGST HDD + eBay caddy in Ultrabay
701c butterfly, 75MHz 486DX4, 40MB ram, 1GB CF card


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PostPosted: Tue Oct 21, 2014 9:58 pm 
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Junior Member
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Joined: Sat Jun 23, 2012 2:26 pm
Posts: 310
Location: Dresher, PA
I run W7 on a Tyan S7025 dual processor board. The original justification was to have a single high end computer for possible video editing, or construction of a Fermi system.

It works well. However, a few notes:

1. Unlike high end Asus consumer boards, the Tyan board doesn't exclusively use organic capacitors. Conventional caps dot the board, where they probably thought they could get away with it.

2. With 8 real cores, and 16 hyperthreaded ones, it takes a lot longer to boot or restore than a machine with fewer cores. The lag may be proportional to the number of cores.

3. I used to see a lot of program bugs from programs that had not been debugged with so many cores. Missed mouse clicks, out-of-sequence windows, missed refreshes, etc. Either I've tuned it out, or it's less common.

4. It is no more responsive in running consumer apps than lesser machines.

5. I don't think it's ever crashed.

An interesting anecdote about the "killchip" feature. When building, I installed 16GB of RAM, but for the first year, it saw only 10GB. I assumed this was due to a bug. I discovered that two of the DIMMs had not been properly inserted (by yours truly.) Fixing that, all 16GB was recognized. The chipset had simply mapped around the "defective" RAM, without telling me why!

My other machines are based on AMD consumer hardware, because, unlike Intel, they allow the use of ECC RAM, though unbuffered AMD consumer boards are a little lopsided, having only two memory lanes for as many as 8 cores on a single CPU. But I don't anticipate building another Intel server.

_________________
W500x3 with T9900, T400 1400x900 with T9900, T400 highnit 1280x800 with T9900, X61sx3, X61Tx2.


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