Time to replace my DIY Freenas

BoredSysadmin

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Mar 2, 2019
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Last Friday it gave me a heart attack then my old DIY Freenas box(based on Gigabyte board and I3-3220T) refused to complete the boot, was stuck at AMI logo. Turns out bad USB device/port. since fixed.
I have Poweredge R200 II around which I could use, but:
a) it currently has only 8GB ram and it's using a less common unbuffered low-power DDR3 UDIMMs. - I estimate about $120 to max it at 32GB (eBay prices)
b) it only has one PCIe expansion slot - I could use it for (required) external SAS HBA, but its onboard networking is the only 1Gig, so it won't leave me room for a 10gig card.
c) its power/performance isn't great by today's standards.

One idea is to get a more modern R230 server on eBay, but their prices seem high to me. I'd rather stay under $300 for a server with at least cpu installed (memory optional), storage non needed.

Any other suggestions? My FreeNAS isn't running any jails, I don't expect any significant CPU needs at all, but I don't want to warm my basement either. Fan noise isn't an issue. One reason to look at servers in the first place is OOB (ipmi/Drac/ILO) is needed on occasion and using my Lan Spider which possible, isn't ideal.
I'd like a built-in solution.
 

Terry Wallace

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You could consider something like this for the $300 and under
HP 380 Server

dual 6 core 2.6gh 64g ram easy expansion ipmi and html5 KVM.
I have about 8 of these as proxmox nodes and 4 as truenas filers.
 
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BoredSysadmin

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Thanks, Terry.
I love the 64gb memory included, and cpu power is a-plenty. One feature that I find amazing is 12x3.5 drive slots with caddies that seem to be included.
One thing against it is that dual 95W 32nm Sandy Bridge space heaters - my electric bill is going to hate me. Would removing one CPU and setting it into some sort of power-saving more would at least address the issue partially?

What must I do to get a bit more efficient with the power usage system - is the answer is DIY and/or increased budget?

My point of reference for Dell R230 is this particular sale - maybe the seller didn't fully know what he had:

From the listing photos, it even shows a Rack Keyboard/Monitor.


For another example this item: DELL POWEREDGE R230 1U SERVER (0M62Y2) - SR2HG Intel I3-6100 2C 3.70, no memory | eBay - CPU is I3-6100 with only 2 cores, but fast enough for basic Freenas and still supports ECC. The problem is at $400 asked without any memory it seems steep to me. I'd think $200 would be the price I'd be ready to pay for that barebone.
 
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gregsachs

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Here's another idea, from my watch list...
$95, obo, has been renewed at least once.
This is an intel r1208GL platform, which means 2x e5 v1 or v2, 16 dimm slots. (VS the GZ platform, which has 24 slots). Takes 2 full height PCI cards plus a mezzanine card for networking, which can be 4x 1gb->2x 40gb depending on card. This one has the 4x1gb, plus 4x 1gb on the mb and 1x ipmi ethernet. Mezzanine connector for internal HBA or raid for the 8 bays on the front. I have one, use a lsi 9286-cv8e for external 3.5" bays, connected to a xyratex 12 bay unit and a netapp ds2246 plus a home made jbod.
 
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BoredSysadmin

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Thanks, Greg, I already have LSI SAS9200-8e. Not sure if 9286-cv8e would significant improvement (no SSDs)
 

gea

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9286-cv8e is a hardware raid 6/60 card and is not suitable for ZFS software raid at all. LSI 9200 is a better choice.
 

gregsachs

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Thanks, Greg, I already have LSI SAS9200-8e. Not sure if 9286-cv8e would significant improvement (no SSDs)
As @gea said the 9200 is better for freenas, my mention was mostly that external storage is not a major problem.
two specific things to note about the one I linked;
1: PCI slot 2 hangs off of CPU 2, so you need a second cpu to use the second slot.
2: Unclear if it has a heatsink for the second socket, that could be a little tricky to track down. The intel manual states that the heatsink must always be present, so it should, but....
a pair of e5-2620v2 is ~$25, or get a single e5-2650v2 if you only need one pci-x slot.
Advantage of intel over HP is that all the downloads, manuals, etc are readily available without a contract.
 
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Terry Wallace

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The 2450L in these maxes at 70w But runs about 15w idling in freenas...

HP stuff you can download for free (with the serial number off your server) and they keep it updated. latest firmware and kvm bios are from 2020. You can use single socket if you want. you will be limited to 3 pci slots.
$262 oh and that company ships free.. I use them all the time.
:)
oh They come with ilo advanced. So full machine control (power cycle etc) full kvm control from a web browser.. no monitor or keyboard needed.
 
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BeTeP

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HP DL380e Gen8 12LFF
Make it HP DL380p Gen8 12LFF. I would very much like those extra 16 PCIe lanes for almost no extra cost. Might come handy for an NVMe SLOG for example.

R1208GL platform
I do like Intel servers but R1208GL is 1U 2.5" x 08. The R2312GL would be much better for a home NAS. The EMC branded units were selling at the same price point but have become rather scarce recently as more people learned about these.

Also for the dedicated NAS build I would recommend populating just a single CPU socket with something like E5-2628Lv2.
 
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BeTeP

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Another very interesting option to consider (I do not endorse the specific seller though - 94% rating seems kind of low)

There are other sources of similar Seagate/Xyratex storage appliances. But the Microsoft branded units come with larger DOM and more RAM than the other ones - since they run Windows Server. Also they have built-in UPS (obviously, condition of the batteries may vary in every unit and replacement batteries are expensive, but I thought I would still mention)
 
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gregsachs

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Make it HP DL380p Gen8 12LFF. I would very much like those extra 16 PCIe lanes for almost no extra cost. Might come handy for an NVMe SLOG for example.


I do like Intel servers but R1208GL is 1U 2.5" x 08. The R2312GL would be much better for a home NAS. The EMC branded units were selling at the same price point but have become rather scarce recently as more people learned about these.

Also for the dedicated NAS build I would recommend populating just a single CPU socket with something like E5-2628Lv2.
The alternatives mentioned by OP are also 1U units, and he is using an external SAS card, which I interpret as meaning he isn''t concerned with internal capacity.
Full disclosure: I'm currently debating whether or not to upgrade my R1208 to a R2xx unit, mostly for GPU support. Ability to use a pair of PCI SSDS would also be nice. That said, as a 1U that supports dual FH PCI cards plus a mezzanine dual 40GB card it is a nice package, especially at an entry cost under $100. I've also been debating that exact unit as a spare...

RE: the storserv unit. How easiy can one boot a normal os on them?
 

BeTeP

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the storserv unit. How easiy can one boot a normal os on them?
You have asked me before. The answer might depend on the person's definition of "easy" and "normal" but I'd say it was pretty straight-forward. I have successfully tried 3 different methods:
  • pulling SATA-DOM out and installing OS in another compatible system
  • installing a video card into the internal x8 slot using an extender cable
  • using OS installer with a serial console support
 
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BoredSysadmin

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The alternatives mentioned by OP are also 1U units, and he is using an external SAS card, which I interpret as meaning he isn''t concerned with internal capacity.
Full disclosure: I'm currently debating whether or not to upgrade my R1208 to a R2xx unit, mostly for GPU support. Ability to use a pair of PCI SSDS would also be nice. That said, as a 1U that supports dual FH PCI cards plus a mezzanine dual 40GB card it is a nice package, especially at an entry cost under $100. I've also been debating that exact unit as a spare...
Well yes and no. my current DIY box holds 6x 3.5 drives. I could get the Symantec sas shelf mentioned in another thread or the regular sas version of HB-1235. having 12 LFF right in 2U will spare me from buying a new SAS shelf. that said that cost maybe comes even (or even more expensive) if I have to purchase disk caddy/trays separately. Running SLOG on a dedicated PCIe card could be interesting, but


Another very interesting option to consider (I do not endorse the specific seller though - 94% rating seems kind of low)

There are other sources of similar Seagate/Xyratex storage appliances. But the Microsoft branded units come with larger DOM and more RAM than the other ones - since they run Windows Server. Also they have built-in UPS (obviously, condition of the batteries may vary in every unit and replacement batteries are expensive, but I thought I would still mention)
This seems unnecessary complicated and having dual controllers, isn't going to help me much since afaik only way to get HA with TrueNAS is one you have to buy from them - ie: hardware. having UPS in-the device isn't necessary as I already have enough power backup between two ups units.
750VA and 1500VA.
 

BeTeP

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This seems unnecessary complicated
It's not for everyone. But it is a very good value nonetheless. I do not know for sure about that specific lot but the units I bought before came with E5-2648Lv2 CPU, 4x16Gb RAM, 128Gb SSD per controller. On board you get dual 40Gbps CX-3, SAS2308, BMC.

You do not have to use both controllers. Think of the second one as a free spare.
 

gregsachs

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You have asked me before. The answer might depend on the person's definition of "easy" and "normal" but I'd say it was pretty straight-forward. I have successfully tried 3 different methods:
  • pulling SATA-DOM out and installing OS in another compatible system
  • installing a video card into the internal x8 slot using an extender cable
  • using OS installer with a serial console support
Oh yeah, i forgot! I was under the impression that some of these controllers used an odd SAS controller, is that maybe an older version?
 

BoredSysadmin

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It's not for everyone. But it is a very good value nonetheless. I do not know for sure about that specific lot but the units I bought before came with E5-2648Lv2 CPU, 4x16Gb RAM, 128Gb SSD per controller. On board you get dual 40Gbps CX-3, SAS2308, BMC.

You do not have to use both controllers. Think of the second one as a free spare.
given that list time I got the same thing but with SAS controllers - It was $150. SATIT2 alone on ebay is $100. $404 seems a bit too steep. at $350 it would be fair. at $300 a deal of the century. My issue is these "blade" servers aren't exactly supported by Freenas. The whole point is getting a system that would run stable for years and easy to fix then it doesn't.



The 2450L in these maxes at 70w But runs about 15w idling in freenas...

HP stuff you can download for free (with the serial number off your server) and they keep it updated. latest firmware and kvm bios are from 2020. You can use single socket if you want. you will be limited to 3 pci slots.
$262 oh and that company ships free.. I use them all the time.
:)
oh They come with ilo advanced. So full machine control (power cycle etc) full kvm control from a web browser.. no monitor or keyboard needed.
I do like Proliant a bit more.
How's this for plan:
I get this server instead:
Separately the CPU:
DDR3 RDIMM Memory I believe I either have or could get a-plenty at no cost.
Drive trays are the last annoyingly expensive item: I estimate another $80-90
Total:
around $270 all in or in fact maybe the seller would be so kind to configure the server in that config and at or below my estimated price.
 

BoredSysadmin

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The E5-2660Lv2 is not going to work in the DL380e because it is an LGA1356 platform. Get the DL380p like I said before.
ok, so this would do?
 

BeTeP

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Back in 2019 I used to be able to buy the whole DL380p for under $150 shipped. It's no longer the case. This is how I buy HP servers nowadays - I just buy the cheapest barebone system (i.e. chassis + mobo + heatsinks + power supplies) I can find regardless of storage config. Something like

Then I replace the front drive cage with the 12LFF drive + backplane assembly like
Yes, DL380e and DL380p use the same drive cage.

As for the $400 not being a good price for the StorSimple 8100, I disagree. First of all you can't find a HB-1235 enclosure with all trays for $150 anymore, the current market price is closer to $250 shipped. Then there are bunch of extras/upgrades included with that lot vs regular expansion shelf - more powerful higher efficiency power supplies, batteries, 4x QSFP-to-SFP+ adapters, 4x SFP+ transceivers. The included SATIT2 controllers have higher specs than the $100 ones as well. So in my opinion, even if it's not the deal of the century, it's more than fair.
 
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BoredSysadmin

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Thanks, @BeTeP. Q: What makes you think that these SATIT2 controllers have higher specs than the $100 I've - these look the same to me. I guess I am missing something?

Still, the big question is can it run Truenas Core, or more accurately could it run it without me writing custom BSD drivers?