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Green server update, finally!

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  • Green server update, finally!

    So I know I've been talking about upgrading my server for quite some time, well I'm not sure this is an upgrade in terms of computational power. It is an upgrade on power usage though! Currently we are running 2 different servers one a 20 bay file server that's ~60% filled with drives and is loud as balls, the other is a blade server running a celeron and it's our gateway (virus scanning firewall etc) and it's even louder than the file server! So I've been wanting to update this setup as I believe I can likely save somewhere around 30-50 dollars a month on my electric bill just by replacing these 2 pieces of gear that run 24/7. So today I ordered the parts for the server.

    Fractal Designs Node 804 M-ATX Cube Chassis

    Buy Fractal Design Node 804 Black Window Aluminum/Steel Micro ATX  Cube Computer Case with fast shipping and top-rated customer service. Once you know, you Newegg!

    ASRock C2550D4I Mini-ITX Avoton Quad Core Server motherboard

    Buy AsRock Rack C2750D4I Mini ITX Server Motherboard FCBGA1283 DDR3 1600 / 1333 with fast shipping and top-rated customer service. Once you know, you Newegg!

    Corsair Force 120GB SSD (was on sale for 49.99 otherwise I would have went with the 60gb for 44.99)
    Buy Refurbished: Manufacturer Recertified Corsair Force Series 3 CSSD-F120GB3/RF2 2.5" 120GB SATA III Internal Solid State Drive (SSD) Manufactured Recertified Factory Refurbished with fast shipping and top-rated customer service. Once you know, you Newegg!

    Crucial 8GB Kit (2x4GB) DDR3 1600 UDIMM 240 pin PC3-12800
    Newegg is proud to offer United States the best prices, fast shipping and top-rated customer service for Computer Parts, Laptops, Electronics and more!

    That's everything for now, hoping to reuse my PSU but I may end up looking for a more efficient version of that as well? This setup should idle around 15W without the hard drives. I still have to order hard drives but I'll probably be spreading it out over 2-3 months. That motherboard is pretty sweet though, its a quad core Intel Avoton which is a server grade Atom CPU, it also comes in an 8 core! It's got 12 on board SATA headers and can take up to 64GB of ECC/Ubuffered ram. It's got dual Gigabit ethernet, as well as a port specifically for remote management over a network. I know the Atom sister of this CPU seems rather weak, but this is the newer version based on Baytrail and you can actually transcode 1080p high bitrate files on the fly pretty good, there are people with the 8core version doing 4+ 1080p high bitrate streams to devices on their network! I will be running 2 VM's with this, one for my file server, and one for my gateway needs.

  • #2
    That is neat, but what are you doing with all that at home?


    • #3
      Media server and gateway services. I'll be setting up a transcoder for my movie backups so the kids can use them on their tablets and stuff as well. I mean it seems high end I guess but they are still only Atom based cores. Its nowhere near as much power as my current server which is a dual quad core opteron with 16gb of ecc ram.

      Honestly I looked all over at lower end board with lots of sata ports and really there aren't many and by time I add cards to get as many as I want and add a CPU the price ended up being close to this board so it felt silly not to go the simpler route.
      Last edited by Hdale85; 28 July 2014, 10:38 Monday.


      • #4
        Nice! I might have to consider one of those boards for my next firewall/gateway box if/when my old Dell Pentium III dies. And if I ever have "disposable income" again.


        • #5
          Yeah, why do you think it took me so long lol. Honestly we didn't really have "disposable" income still, it's just it would eventually pay for it self due to the savings in electricity. I imagine we're using close to 1k watts with all the stuff running in that room! Also this new box might be quiet enough for me to put somewhere else that's not so enclosed. It at the very least shouldn't get nearly as hot as what's in there now.


          • #6
            Nice looking case :T A bit bigger than the Lian Li case I plan on using but I assume you're going to be putting in more HD's etc.

            As for disposable income...yeah I'm waiting for a sale :lol:

            You using Linux Dougie?


            • #7
              My current server is using FreeBSD but the new one likely will be going back to Linux. I am not sure what I'll use for the gateway likely ClearOS or PFSense.


              • #8
                Well for the case in today, my first Fractal Designs case. I must say fit and finish is crazy nice! I see why people love their products and this case was only 100 bucks.

                Motherboard and SSD will be here tomorrow, not sure about the memory. I may use a drive I already have for the OS and stick the SSD in my desktop lol.


                • #9
                  Well got the SSD and motherboard in, I have to say this little board is so cool! So much packed into such a tiny package! The memory won't be here until Saturday though.


                  • #10
                    Well I got the memory today instead of tomorrow, spent the last couple hours disassembling the old server and then reassembling the new one. I had to modify the PSU as there was just way too many extra cables on it so I tested that the motherboard would turn on with it first (apparently it draws so little power that some PSU's have issues detecting it) and it worked so I stripped the PSU down and cut all the extra connectors out that I no longer needed. Even so it's still a bit tough to manage the cables around the hard drives on that side, but you can't see it so meh? The motherboard side is baron though haha!

                    Now onto the software! This might take longer than putting it all together haha.


                    • #11
                      Looks good Dougie :T


                      • #12
                        Yeah, so far I have to learn IPMI which is a server management suite, as well as ESXi which is a VMWare visualization software... fun times lol.


                        • #13
                          Ok now that I understand IPMI, it may be the coolest thing I've ever seen and easily something I could never go back to what I did previously!

                          Basically you have access to the server at all levels remotely, complete control even when the system is off. You can power on, power off, reboot, control the bios, everything remotely. You can even setup virtual devices such as cd/dvd-rom, floppy disk, usb thumb disks etc etc. So basically the only reason to ever visit the box at all is hardware upgrades, or hardware failures. It's all accessed via a web interface using JAVA.


                          • #14
                            Ok, figured out IMPI pretty good now, got ESXi installed but I have to figure it all out still.


                            • #15
                              Ok, ESXi is working good now. Just got PFSense up and running so that I'm actually routing through the new server now and both of my old boxes are now offline!


                              • #16
                                Pretty cool. I'm curious how hot it gets when under load? Looks like you're packing a lot of heat

                                I haven't kept up with the Atoms but I know the first one way back when got really hot.


                                • #17
                                  Nope this one doesn't get very hot at all. I think it's idling around 45c in an enclosed closet! That closet got extremely hot with the previous servers in there, but since putting this box in there since yesterday it's just a couple degrees warmer than the rest of the house which is expected since there's no AC in there.

                                  I'm ditching ESXi for now.... I thought I'd be able to use passthrough for the ZFS pool but apparently the Avotons don't have Vt-d. So for now I'm reverting back to my DD-WRT router and running the new server as a full media server no VM's.


                                  • #18
                                    Well just got FreeBSD 10 installed, just started importing my ZFS Pool finally. After fighting with ESXi all night long, kind of disappointed I couldn't run the VM's the way I need. I could have probably made it work but it would of been hacked together and it might of broken whenever ESXi gets updated. So I decided to go this route instead, I might buy a cheap low power ATOM based mini PC to run PFSense on or something at some point. Either way it's still tons less power than I was using! And WAYYY less heat that's being pushed into my house.


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