It's time for something a 'little' different.

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  • technodanvan
    Senior Member
    • Nov 2009
    • 983

    It's time for something a 'little' different.

    I have a 36U rack in my office that currently contains all my network gear (5U worth), a big uninterruptible power supply (UPS), a very big 4U server case, and a couple shelves for spare work laptops and two Synology NAS devices (an 8x16TB from around 2018 and 2x16TB 2023 model). The server basically just runs Roon server (for music) and Plex (for music and movies) under Windows 10. Other than a few random hiccups due to Windows updates, this has been a solid setup for me since I moved into this house five years ago. However, there is some room for improvement:
    1. I would LOVE to get the 36U rack out of my office. As theSven can probably attest, it's a bit cramped in there.
    2. My energy bill is only increasing, as (I assume) is the norm these days.
      1. The network gear sucks down a fair amount of power, I have a network gateway in addition to two large switches, one of which provides POE to several other devices.
      2. The server isn't exactly the pinnacle of efficiency (power or space), though I believe the power supply is at least Platinum rated.
      3. The server and my desktop computer are basically turned on 24/7.
    3. The network panel in my house is actually in the master closet, and it is a mess that spills over into the closet itself. My wife would like it to not be that way anymore.
    4. When starting a movie out of nowhere, there is a delay as the Synology NAS comes out of hibernation and spools up the hard disks. This also happens for music, but it's even slower as the PSU in the 2x16TB NAS (that which holds my music media) can only spool up one drive at a time. I find this irritating.
    5. My desktop computer I currently use for work (though I should be using a work laptop) is setup for gaming with an Nvidia 3070Ti. Problem is, I don't game on it - ever. It's on 24/7 as I often use this for compressing movies once ripped, and this is a bit time consuming (even with the 3070Ti and an [older] 16-core processor).
    6. My desk is very cluttered. I currently have two laptops and a desktop setting upon it with a 38" ultrawide monitor. I would like to reclaim some of that space.
    So, I believe a change is needed, and since I decided to not buy a car at the very end of the year (who knew a freaking Jeep Wagoneer MSRP is over $100,000???) I think now is a perfect time to invest in my IT situation.

    And so it begins.

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    - Danny
  • technodanvan
    Senior Member
    • Nov 2009
    • 983

    #2
    Well I was surprised late this afternoon by what I thought wouldn't be here for another week: the Intel NUC that accompanies the parts in the previous post! This particular NUC is the latest (and last) version manufactured by Intel as they recently came to a deal with Asus. Intel i7-1360p laptop processor with four performance cores (two threads each) and eight single-threaded economy cores. In pure horsepower it is probably 10% faster than the old AMD 2700x processor currently in my server. Not a lot, but that doesn't matter for my purposes; the important bit is Quick Sync and the Xe GPU that accompanies the processor.b This is also the 'tall' version, which comes with a bit more room for a 2.5" drive and more room for airflow.

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    Car keys for reference. These things are quite small.

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    Interior populated with the 2TB NVME drive (boot drive and any program files), 4TB 2.5" SATA drive (I regret not getting 8TB already), and 64GB of memory (only because memory is dirt cheap...I think 8GB would have been enough for my purposes).

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    I'm entering this post on the machine now from my dining room. I ended up installing Windows 11 over Ubuntu for a couple of reasons, but the big one is I just don't use Linux often enough to remember commands. I was surprised that I ran into a few driver difficulties on the device, but I resolved them without too much fuss and got most of my programs installed, excepting those server-specific things I'm not quite ready for. Hoping I have some time tomorrow to start cleaning off my desk and getting a few things rearranged in my office in preparation for the migration.
    - Danny

    Comment


    • theSven
      theSven commented
      Editing a comment
      Linux is the best! Once you start you won't go back to Windows very often at all!
  • Evil Twin
    Super Senior Member
    • Nov 2004
    • 1531

    #3
    The Force is with this one...

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    DFAL
    Dark Force Acoustic Labs

    A wholly owned subsidiary of Palpatine Heavy Industries

    Comment

    • JonMarsh
      Mad Max Moderator
      • Aug 2000
      • 15209

      #4
      As a mutual friend would say, "Cool Beans!"
      the AudioWorx
      Natalie P
      M8ta
      Modula Neo DCC
      Modula MT XE
      Modula Xtreme
      Isiris
      Wavecor Ardent

      SMJ
      Minerva Monitor
      Calliope
      Ardent D

      In Development...
      Isiris Mk II updates- in final test stage!
      Obi-Wan
      Saint-Saëns Symphonique/AKA SMJ-40
      Modula PWB
      Calliope CC Supreme
      Natalie P Ultra
      Natalie P Supreme
      Janus BP1 Sub


      Resistance is not futile, it is Volts divided by Amperes...
      Just ask Mr. Ohm....

      Comment

      • technodanvan
        Senior Member
        • Nov 2009
        • 983

        #5
        Originally posted by theSven
        Linux is the best! Once you start you won't go back to Windows very often at all!
        Unfortunately I need MS Word and Excel for tasks both personal and work-oriented, so Windows makes the most sense. I will be using the NUC as both my personal desktop and the server, in addition to some work loads as well.

        I will say I really enjoyed Linux Mint on a laptop I had a while back though.

        So today I started getting Plex migrated over and got Roon Server setup. Boy did it migrate fast on the 4TB SSD. Music startup is so much better now as well. I'm also cleaning out the queue of media that I hadn't yet added to the server. I'm also reducing the number of 4K rips I have stored on the server - I think I'll leave them on standalone hard disks for backup purposes (as ripping and compressing them takes some effort) but these are flicks that I don't think I'll be watching soon.

        Next step is to copy my most watched TV shows to the 4TB SSD as well. There are several shows that I spool up on random for background noise while doing other things. Bob's Burgers, Seinfeld, Always Sunny...just some short comedies like that. I'd like them to start up faster given they see common usage.
        - Danny

        Comment

        • theSven
          Master of None
          • Jan 2014
          • 845

          #6
          Originally posted by technodanvan

          Unfortunately I need MS Word and Excel for tasks both personal and work-oriented, so Windows makes the most sense. I will be using the NUC as both my personal desktop and the server, in addition to some work loads as well.

          I will say I really enjoyed Linux Mint on a laptop I had a while back though.

          So today I started getting Plex migrated over and got Roon Server setup. Boy did it migrate fast on the 4TB SSD. Music startup is so much better now as well. I'm also cleaning out the queue of media that I hadn't yet added to the server. I'm also reducing the number of 4K rips I have stored on the server - I think I'll leave them on standalone hard disks for backup purposes (as ripping and compressing them takes some effort) but these are flicks that I don't think I'll be watching soon.

          Next step is to copy my most watched TV shows to the 4TB SSD as well. There are several shows that I spool up on random for background noise while doing other things. Bob's Burgers, Seinfeld, Always Sunny...just some short comedies like that. I'd like them to start up faster given they see common usage.
          I run Roon and Plex in a container. My biggest problem is the Chromecast always having issues with Roon and dropping causing the connection to require manual intervention to start streaming again. Plex on the other hand has been very good thus far. I have to add to my list to build another Pi2AES for the den where the Calliope reside. I had to resubnet the house last week and now I can't chromecast to the den with Roon. Apparently chromecast requires the devices to be on the same subnet. Frustrating indeed, but it will get sorted after I get another switch for the den and the Pi2AES.

          There is LIbre Office for Linux which has open formatting standards that will most likely outlive any MS Word or Excel documents...

          On the other hand you can install WSL and start dabbling on Windows.
          Painter in training

          Comment

          • technodanvan
            Senior Member
            • Nov 2009
            • 983

            #7
            The next piece of my IT realignment has arrived. It is also quite diminutive.

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            - Danny

            Comment

            • theSven
              Master of None
              • Jan 2014
              • 845

              #8
              I need to order another UPS for my upstairs workstation and I also want to get a 5 port 10gb switch too. I just ordered another Pi2AES card to put upstairs now and deprecated the chromecast for Roon streaming.

              Is that the 10gb Flex 10 GbE? That is what I want to order once I get back to the US at the end of the month. I already have a 48 port with 6 10GB ports in the basement which is the main trunk for the wired side. I put in an OPNSense firewall now too. That broke chromecasting since that has to be on the same subnet 😢. The Pi2AES will take care of that though and the Chromecast will be used only for streaming plex now.
              Painter in training

              Comment

              • technodanvan
                Senior Member
                • Nov 2009
                • 983

                #9
                This is a tiny gateway, not a switch. I've been reading some reviews on it and think it 'may' have just enough horsepower for what I'm doing...but I'm also considering a Fortinet device. This would definitely be a downgrade in throughput and security compared to what I have now, so we're calling this an experiment for the moment. If this doesn't work, the next thing I'm looking at is much larger.



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                I will not be adopting 10GbE in this house. Or 2.5 GbE for that matter, which is unfortunate.
                - Danny

                Comment

                • technodanvan
                  Senior Member
                  • Nov 2009
                  • 983

                  #10
                  Well, as I suspected the little guy didn't cut it. Time to move on to bigger (bit still slim!) things. Keys present for scale...

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                  - Danny

                  Comment

                  • technodanvan
                    Senior Member
                    • Nov 2009
                    • 983

                    #11
                    Before pics:

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                    - Danny

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                    • technodanvan
                      Senior Member
                      • Nov 2009
                      • 983

                      #12
                      Progress pics:

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                      After pic:

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                      - Danny

                      Comment

                      • technodanvan
                        Senior Member
                        • Nov 2009
                        • 983

                        #13
                        Quick synopsis: My network originally ran in my office with Wi-Fi access points in my house. This was mostly due to the network panel being located in the master bedroom closet - imo, a terrible place to put it. However, given the design of the Dream Wall I thought I could install it in the closet where it would be relatively innocuous. I found a piece of 1/2" bamboo and shaped it up, then attached it to the wall covering the panel. The Dream Wall then mounted to the bamboo. I'm fairly happy with how it turned out, but one problem I haven't been able to solve is the cable modem - it's located inside the panel, completely enclosed. What I have now is just a temporary solution as I'd 'like' to mount the modem to the bamboo panel below the Dream Wall. There are some practical problems doing that, but I need to get it out of there if only so I can access it if it needs to be reset.
                        - Danny

                        Comment


                        • JonMarsh
                          JonMarsh commented
                          Editing a comment
                          Slow work takes time, but you've made a lot of progress. Doing a wired network is something I've been putting off until key projects are completed- I don't even try to have a timeline, just take things a day and development at a time!
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