Getting started section

ASUDave

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Nov 11, 2015
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This site has a lot of great information. However, as a complete beginner, I feel most of the information is way over my head. I think a Getting Started or Beginner section would be a great resource for people like myself. Basic thoughts on hardware, software, options to consider, etc all in a handy section.

I'm sure there are plenty of threads directed at people such as myself, but doing a search, I was not able to find them.
 

markarr

Active Member
Oct 31, 2013
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You may want to start with what you are looking to do in the build section. And then ask questions from there. Without a starting point trying to figure out what road you want to take is a plinko game. Or are you looking more for a good, better, best comparison? Outside of hardware that is really hard to do and even then not easy.
 

CreoleLakerFan

Active Member
Oct 29, 2013
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I have often silently remarked that it is rather ironic that a site entitled "servethehome" has so much front page and forum content focused on enterprise-type gear. I guess the bitheads that hang out here are all about serving our homes with data center grade stuff, myself guilty as charged.

That said, I think you will find that the community here is very willing to help ... ask away! :)
 

TuxDude

Well-Known Member
Sep 17, 2011
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I like the idea of some starter-guides for people with no IT knowledge/experience at all - everyone had to start from there at one point. But I think it will have to be more than just one guide - IT is a large and fast-moving field and I couldn't even begin to talk about how to get started without knowing more specifically what a person really wants to do. For example my own interests and professional experience are in servers/storage, with experience covering your typical enterprise virtualized compute with FiberChannel SAN, and interests looking at where that might go in the future (scale-out software-defined-storage, hyperconverged clusters, etc.) But I know only enough about networking to be dangerous, and virtually nothing in areas like big-data, or the kinds of workloads that could make use of clusters of GPU's or that kind of stuff.

Perhaps the best thing to do would be to just make another sub-forum as a kind of reference library. Any starter-guides or similar things that anyone wants to write could be moved there. But also any other threads that evolve into good reference documentation could be trimmed down and copied/moved there too.
 

Chuckleb

Moderator
Mar 5, 2013
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I think a starter forum would be good, since not everyone knows where to post things. Discussions could be moved as needed? As a new user coming to a site, I may not know where to correctly ask a question and how strict the boards are. At the minimum, a general discussions or questions should be the top forum on the page.

On an aside, I have finally learned how to use Reddit (ha-ha, yes...). I've helped answer questions and redirected people that STH, hoping they come and use the resource. This makes me more aware of the need for a friendly place to land.
 
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Quasduco

Active Member
Nov 16, 2015
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I think a starter forum would be good, since not everyone knows where to post things. Discussions could be moved as needed? As a new user coming to a site, I may not know where to correctly ask a question and how strict the boards are. At the minimum, a general discussions or questions should be the top forum on the page.

On an aside, I have finally learned how to use Reddit (ha-ha, yes...). I've helped answer questions and redirected people that STH, hoping they come and use the resource. This makes me more aware of the need for a friendly place to land.
HA HA, I just started Reddit, too. My wife constantly shows me things on it, and I finally caved.

On a snobbier, elitist level, I dread an influx of the painfully noobish questions that a lot of sites have (ala Ubuntu forums...)
 
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Patrick

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Dec 21, 2010
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I like the idea of a getting started point. The idea of a reference guide/ place would be very easy to setup (e.g. resources but as @Chuckleb may share, I have nightmares involving that feature and the great crash.)

How about this, give me some potential topics and I can start writing on planes over the next few weeks.

And @CreoleLakerFan I now tell people home = the /home/ directory in Linux. :) STH has grown so much that it is well beyond home now.
 

bash

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Dec 14, 2015
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It really comes down to your intended use case. For example my NAS solution for mass storage with regards to media is far different from my needs when it comes to VM's and compute.

My Norco 4224 Unraid build is great for storage and dockers but I would probably not recommend it over more traditional hypervisor solutions.

Im guessing ASUDave is a nod to ASU, are you still in the valley?
 
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RobertFontaine

Active Member
Dec 17, 2015
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Within the context of "servethehome" as opposed to I have a purchase order and a big fat budget..

I can think of a list of topics from a home lab perspective:

- I would love to be able to find information on salvaging 4/8 Gb Fibre Channel and running zfs/nfs to build an inexpensive san.
- How to daisy chain 40gb fibre channel cards in linux.
- Bandwidth and IOPS how to get it right.
- nvme is getting plenty of coverage right now but I suspect most home labs are looking at getting the most performance out of pci/sata ssd in the 100 gig range.
- Teaming ethernet adapters
- Basic BIOS hacking - afudos, IPMI
- Spicy Chips and mating motherboards
- tips and tricks for fast vms.
- proxmox, esxi, xen in a small lab environment pros and cons

For a real servethehome

media servers
home security
monitoring systems
voip/telecom
automation
 
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Patrick

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When I look at the forums I see a few key themes:
  1. Storage (NAS/ SAN/ iSCSI/ ZFS/ Scale out)
  2. Building out colo installations
  3. Networking (switches, pfSense, firewalls/ routers, direct connect networking)
  4. Building home/ work labs for demo/ proof of concept/ certification/ learning purposes
  5. Virtualization/ All-in-Ones (napp-it + ESXi, Proxmox, Hyper-V)
  6. "Connected home" type content (e.g. cameras)
Does that seem about right?
 

bWonder

New Member
Dec 25, 2015
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Thanks @ASUDave. I've been too shy to suggest this.
I love the site though lots of stuff goes over my head. The forums seem really "clean". A couple of ads seem to have leaked through in the last couple of days. The professionalism in the forums has kept the usual interwebs comment craziness to zero.
I hope that beginners section does not lure in too much immature forum activity. None of You good guys on this site deserve that.
 

bWonder

New Member
Dec 25, 2015
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Sorry for asking this on @ASUDave 's thread. If similar questions are already answered link to thread would be appreciated. Or if there is a sister-site for beginners guide me there, please.

I would like to know some opinions on "How low can you go" with beginners first build. I can see that used previous gen Xeons are still pretty hot in Buy/sell section. But I am wondering, are people just buying them for spare parts for their older systems. Where to draw the line with older stuff? First build would be just for learning to set up a NAS and keep going from there. I would not try VM's on my first build. Need to learn a lot more before investing to all the necessary RAM for virtualization. I try to break this down to smaller questions.

1) When looking at used parts and need to scavenge everything(start from scratch), how many generations back should I look? When to stop? IvyB? Further back?
2) Would the perf/watt be really awful with older chips?
3) Any advice on what instruction sets i should/must get?
4) Should I dismiss Opterons completely?
5) How do I make the Mrs understand/appreciate my tinkering needs?
 

T_Minus

Build. Break. Fix. Repeat
Feb 15, 2015
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Sorry for asking this on @ASUDave 's thread. If similar questions are already answered link to thread would be appreciated. Or if there is a sister-site for beginners guide me there, please.

I would like to know some opinions on "How low can you go" with beginners first build. I can see that used previous gen Xeons are still pretty hot in Buy/sell section. But I am wondering, are people just buying them for spare parts for their older systems. Where to draw the line with older stuff? First build would be just for learning to set up a NAS and keep going from there. I would not try VM's on my first build. Need to learn a lot more before investing to all the necessary RAM for virtualization. I try to break this down to smaller questions.

1) When looking at used parts and need to scavenge everything(start from scratch), how many generations back should I look? When to stop? IvyB? Further back?
2) Would the perf/watt be really awful with older chips?
3) Any advice on what instruction sets i should/must get?
4) Should I dismiss Opterons completely?
5) How do I make the Mrs understand/appreciate my tinkering needs?
If it's to learn and get a feeling I think starting with x58 / 1366 generation is a good spot to start. $20-60 CPUs (4-6 core each), $75-100 2P motherboards. $65 16GB DDR3 if you want to go with a chunk of ram, if not 4GB for $5-7 or $8gb for 15-25$.... cheapest to build, not too hard on power usage, and a great starting point.

The problem going back so far now (even 2011 r1/2) is that the generation doesn't have a lot of SATA 6Gb/s ports, and may not work with NVME adapter cards... etc, but if you're just starting those are likely no issue anyway.

As long as you don't get a x56## generation chips your power usage will be low, these chips are powerful for their age but they do use more electricity than newer generations, I would urge a "L" based chip, L5630 / L5640 / L5639 as they are low power.

If you can get a super cheap AMD setup not bad to learn on.

You're tinkering to help the family earn more money by bettering yourself in the job market...right? ;)
 
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bWonder

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Dec 25, 2015
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If it's to learn and get a feeling I think starting with x58 / 1366 generation is a good spot to start. $20-60 CPUs (4-6 core each), $75-100 2P motherboards. $65 16GB DDR3 if you want to go with a chunk of ram, if not 4GB for $5-7 or $8gb for 15-25$.... cheapest to build, not too hard on power usage, and a great starting point.

The problem going back so far now (even 2011 r1/2) is that the generation doesn't have a lot of SATA 6Gb/s ports, and may not work with NVME adapter cards... etc, but if you're just starting those are likely no issue anyway.

As long as you don't get a x56## generation chips your power usage will be low, these chips are powerful for their age but they do use more electricity than newer generations, I would urge a "L" based chip, L5630 / L5640 / L5639 as they are low power.

If you can get a super cheap AMD setup not bad to learn on.

You're tinkering to help the family earn more money by bettering yourself in the job market...right? ;)
Thanks a lot @T_Minus. I tried to look at the DIY...Builds thread first, but everyone is just so far ahead. I grew tired of other enthusiast/system builder sites. They are all about buying the newest stuff for better framerates. Oh, and LEDs!!! I see more diy mentality here. It is just hilarious when someone links a good deal and in 2 minutes the stuff is gone. Like sharks. Rabid sharks.

Now I am gonna hit eBay. Oh those RAM prices look good! Too bad, I live in Finland, far edge of Europe. So I cannot possibly get the best deals because not everyone is willing to ship overseas. Then there is the EU customs. I think the tax-free limit is as low as 80€, need to check. I try to narrow the search to GB and Germany, perhaps that helps. That Phi group order thread made me cry a little...
 

Diavuno

Active Member
I think a welcoming/beginners guide is a great idea!

Depending on the type of users desired will really dictate what resources are put together.

Are we/Patrick looking for script kiddies, Consumers who think tech is neato, prosumers. SoHo, enterprise?
This also brings up thoughts about Home or Business. I think all the active members here seem to be working in the field already.
 

Quasduco

Active Member
Nov 16, 2015
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Sorry for asking this on @ASUDave 's thread. If similar questions are already answered link to thread would be appreciated. Or if there is a sister-site for beginners guide me there, please.
I think bWonder might be on to something... <snootiness>What if we funneled the 'noobs' to a sister site, something like servethenoob.com?</snootiness>
 

Patrick

Administrator
Staff member
Dec 21, 2010
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think all the active members here seem to be working in the field already.
That is spot on. From the demographics STH is basically guys who work in IT/ programming/ web hosting/ infrastructure/ admin or in related fields. That is why there is a lot of seep between business and home discussion.
 

RobertFontaine

Active Member
Dec 17, 2015
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Winterpeg, Canuckistan
The advertising/reviews are certainly pointed at the Network Administrator/IT Director purchasers rather than home labs in most cases. The activity on the forum seems to a great extent to be about re-purposing 2nd and 3rd gen corporate hardware for home labs, soho, educational and odd edge cases with the occasional reach to current gen.

It would be interesting to know how much silent traffic there is on this site and who they are. It is certainly the best/only forum like it that I have found. A couple of the enthusiast sites have a sub-forum/thread that crosses over into corporate gear but most simply do not have a use case for core/threads, bandwidth/latency, SMP, or distributed networking. Games are single threaded and mostly like Hz. The SOHO video production guys have a some overlap but focus on their unique use cases.

Servers/Networks are generally tools or components of a solution(s) rather than having a purpose all of themselves so it is quite possible that many of the visitors to this site are transient.... Build out network/server, solve issue, check alternatives ... Move up/down the stack.

rambling... In real life for quite a few years I worked in a very large IT organization that provided me with the infrastructure solutions I required to implement applications on top of. In my basement I am infrastructure guy, network guy, dba, developer, tester, solution architect, pm and user.

At this point in time, this forum, is a wonderful asset to me and more information on integrating 2nd gen hardware and open source, hypervisors, vms, development, production environments would make me more "productive" but then I will jump to configuring development environments databases, misc business functions and other application related software that is outside of the scope of this set of forums.

Am I your customer? Yes, no, maybe... Watering down this site isn't likely to be a good thing. i.e... there are enough gaming forums on the planet. Does integration fall within the scope of ServetheHome... What's your "mission statement", mission, vision, goals, objectives yadda yadda... If you have your business case penciled out it then the answers to most of these question should be mostly apparent.

Everything to everyone isn't usually a good business plan even if most of us tend to just go wherever the wind pushes us.

OR you should just do the stuff that interests me and to heck with everyone else... :)
 

Patriot

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Apr 18, 2011
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I think this is a gap best filled with member contributed articles... When I finish carving on that round tuit I will publish that braswell nuc vs hp stream mini review... for htpc purposes.
 
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