Sign in to follow this  
Followers 0
Pasanda

New server

21 posts in this topic

I've had a servers for the past 10-12 years now. Mostly used for serving the house with films, TV, photos and music, running Plex media server too. I've never spent much money on them and always expect them to be upgraded every 4-5 years. Such is the case now. I am using a Dell PowerEdge T20 - a small tower server with a mediocre pentium G3220 cpu, 8Gb RAM a small SSD running the W10 OS, then HDD of 1Tb, 2TB, 3TB and 4TB. So 10TB in all.

Working in IT, a few old servers came up for disposal recently and i threw my hat in the ring. I was the only person who asked for one, and said i'd have the best i can for £100. Late last week, i was delivered an HP380 G7 rackmount server. Here are the spec.

2* 2.66 GHz Six Core (Xeon)

2 * 146 GB 10K SAS

192 GB Kingston server RAM (yup, you read that right).

6 fans

2 * 750w PSU

2 port 10Gbit ethernet PCI card

4 Gbit ethernet PCI card

2 channel Fibrechannel ethernet PCI card.

2 onboard 1gb ethernet ports.

8 hot swap 2.5 inch drive bays.

 

They basically decided it would cost them money to strip out the extras and RAM, so i got it as was.

I'm almost certainly not going to be using the PCI expansions, as the 2 * 1Gg ports are plenty.

I put my Windows 10 SSD from my current server into one of the hot swap 2.5 inch caddies, and low and behold the thing booted right up.

The biggest issue is that the HDD slots are all 2.5 inch and my 4 main storage drives are all 3.5 inch. The HDD interface is SAS, which will drive up to 4 * SATA. There are also no Molex power connectors. So i've ordered an adaptor for the 10 pin motherboard connector to Sata, and a data adaptor from SAS to 4 * Sata. I don't think the drives will fit into the server housing, so they're likely to be externally and loosely housed. although i have seen 2nd hand "Icy Dock" housing that might work.

Without the unwanted PCI riser and 3 cards, the thing runs silent, and chews through a very polite 72 watts when ticking over. With the riser and 3 cards, it sounds like a jet fighter taking off.

With room to expand. inherent reliability, lots of RAM, and, hopefully, plenty of grunt to do the video decoding, this thing will hopefully last a while.

 

p.s. I've been chewing over a business idea for the past 5 years, to set up a company that builds, installs and maintains home music/media/AV/automation for people with too much money. It's something i get a lot of pleasure from and i think it's the future.

 

IMG_20200121_132316.jpgIMG_20200121_125743.jpg

 

Dunnar and ChuckWagonMTG like this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

yea, they are nice.  We have an HP 380 at work that we use for file storage.  It looks a different from this one, has 3.5" bays. ^_^

  Surprised it uses so little power with the Xeon's,

Edited by Boag
Pasanda likes this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The 3.5 bays are called the LFF option. Mine has the SFF option. The LFF is 3-4 times the price (i suspect it's a supply and demand thing). You can buy an LFF upgrade for the 380 G7, but it's like £300-£400 just for the upgrade.

So i've bought an Icy-Dock caddy 2nd hand, which is 5 drive bay 3.5 inch caddy. It has Sata power and data ports on the back. I've bought 5 Sata power and data extension leads, which i'm going to plug into the ports at the rear of the 2.5inch bays on the server, and then into the back of the Icy-Dock. That should work.

 

455_largeview.jpg

s-l640.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

This could in all honesty be a huge update, but i'll spare you, as i suspect TL;DR would occur. Heck it probably will anyway. Worth a read if you ever get the chance to try anything similar.

So the aim was to install windows 10 and transfer my existing media disks across with the media on them. I have been on this for a few hours most days in the past few weeks, and i am literally no closer. For every tiny speck of fortune, i am met with hordes of resistance. Bear in mind that i have access to an army of server experts (who i am desperate not to piss off with constant demands for attention and help -  this is my personal toy after all).

In a nutshell, the server is built with a raid controller, which will only see logical drives. Making physical drives into logical ones wipes the data (all my media content = bad).

I gave up on the first server, which i could not get to recognise any drives. Although i now realise it was no fault on the server, i did manage to get a newer model with 350gb RAM /evil grin.

The only SATA interface on the machine is for the DVD drive, and it's a slimline sata cable.

It's taken me until yesterday to work out that you can fudge the controller away from RAID modeo, to HBA mode - which means it will only see standard physical disks. Woo-hoo,

There is an idiosyncrasy that, in HBA mode, you cannot create or boot from bootable HDD disks. Boooo.

I have two options left to me. I've just ordered a slimline sata to sata convertor, to see if i can put the bootable windows SSD in place of the DVD drive. This should work, but then so should at least a dozen of other things I've tried. As i mentioned, every positive step forward has been met by at least 1 negative step backwards.

My 2nd option is to use an app called Rufus to create a bootable Windows USB stick. This should work, but it could be very slow.

If none of that works, i'm probably looking at buying Sata expansion cards for the PCI bus. At which point i might just give up. Although the thought of a server with 32 cores of Xeon processor and a 1/3 of a Tb RAM does keep me going.

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

We boot from USB stick on the 5 i have at work.  You would only notice the slow down when booting, after that it should be fine.

Pasanda likes this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 08/02/2020 at 6:41 PM, Boag said:

We boot from USB stick on the 5 i have at work.  You would only notice the slow down when booting, after that it should be fine.

Into Windows 10?

W10 was loading when i left on Fri. It had been loading for around 1 hour. I was in no rush, so i left it running. Had the Windows log and swirly, but i'm not hopeful.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

no, it was a form of linux that was running on usb drive.  :(   We have since switch those units over to windows server software, in November, but I haven't had a chance to check were it was installed.

Are you using a 128g stick?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Booting into Linux or Unraid using a USB is relatively trivial compared to W10 i think. As in, they're built to enable that, and W10 is not.

No, it's a 64Gb stick. I don't have a 128gb and don't want to buy one just for this project at the moment. I have reached around 25 dead ends so far and have a host of kit in front of me, that i've bought, but is no use because this thing never pans out how i expect it to.

Ta-da!!!!!

Pretty much everything in this photo (aside from the phone and darth vader), has been bought to get this working, including the 5-bay caddy on the window sill.

 

IMG_20200210_132338_resized_20200210_012423026.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It's been over 9 years since I built this rig ... and I know next to nothing about server architecture.  I'm afraid I'm not much help here. :)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Bah skip this since you want to see internal drives.

yea, Linux is much easier to usb.   Can't believe with the docking station your still having so many  problems.   Here is a youtube that should help.  I am following the video to make a usb bootable and had a small snag with getting the windows ISO but other than that the install is still in progress, using a slower usb 2.0 stick, it is a 32g sandisk that shows as a fixed drive.  

 

Edited by Boag

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Trying to clone my HDD onto a spare HDD in a docking station.  The docking station is plugged into a usb port.  Only a 2.0 so will take 3+ hours before I can try and boot off of it.  Will keep you posted.  I have a Sandisk usb that is set to fixed and if the HDD docking station works I may try cloning to the usb stick.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Ok, the Cloning didn't work.  But the Windows to Go on a usb stick did and it sees other drives, just not other C: drives.  I can see both of my external drives just not the SSD with windows.  So it should work for you, but I would try and use usb 3 if at all possible.  Usb 2 is very slow and laggy but works.  The first link shows you step by step and the second explains the whys and whats.  Main thing is to have a usb stick that acts like a HDD or fixed drive, most usb sticks are not.  The second link goes into this in detail if you need it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Built the USB and tried to get it to boot for a few bays with no luck. Just stuck on the swirly.

Then bought a slimline-to-fat sata cable to swap the DVD drive for a bootable windows disk. Seems HP checks for genuine drives attached. Bastards. Talking to the server guys, one of the reasons they're selling off the servers is they found HP very difficult to work with. HP try to tie you in completely to their ecosystem. That's possibly what i'm seeing too. 

Almost given up. Borrowed a sata PCI card that i might try.

My last option is to rebuild a raid array, as it originally was and copy my data onto it somehow (slow external USB drive possibly.)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Well, sorry to here that.  I only did the usb drive on my home pc.  Did you try the usb drive on your pc first to make sure it worked?  In the video I watch the guy said he had problems with different versions of Rufus other than 2.2.  Talking about slow, you could try a bootable DVD to use in that drive.  Or Linux, since it is just going to be a storage unit.

Good Luck and let me know how things go.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

No. To be honest, i couldn't see the USB boot drive as being a permanent solution anyway. I think the performance would have been too poor. I just wanted to experience it and learn more about the servers limitations.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Just checking in. A quick update. 

I managed to establish that adding my existing data disks into the RAID array as RAID0, was not deleting the existing data. So this is the route i am taking.

I'm just waiting for some connection cables to arrive, as i'm keeping all but the boot SSD in an external 5.25 inch caddy, then it should be cool. I just need to get this done before we're all sent home to work for the next 6 months, while the virus abates.

 

Boag likes this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yea, they are starting to close places here in the states.  Wishing everyone the best.  I could do most of my job from home, but if it gets to that then the company would go under.  Casino's are not a critical business.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I am quite interested in your progress with this. I may be able to acquire an old RSA server since they went virtual this year, for free, and may do something similar.

And regarding the virus stuff, my work place has told us that unless we have work that requires us to come in we are now to work from home as well now. Not sure how I feel about that, can totally do my job from home but we had a good deal of banter going on in the office, and will need to set up things properly here (which I totally haven't done).

Boag likes this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Well hope you all stay safe over on that side of the pond.  I hear your PM is taking all of you out on a skinny limb.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 14/03/2020 at 4:05 PM, Boag said:

Well hope you all stay safe over on that side of the pond.  I hear your PM is taking all of you out on a skinny limb.

Pretty much. Boris Johnson is a twat usually, but all I can think of to explain his current (lack of) actions is that they are hoping to cull the ones who need the NHS the most lol.

Share this post


Link to post
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
Sign in to follow this  
Followers 0