A new entry, been some time... lot of changes in my life. Most of you have probably noticed my activity on the Forum has dropped off a lot over the past while. Not nearly as involved in the Folding section as I want to be. I really need to thank @tobben and @Imakuni for all their help in supporting the folding team and users on the forum.
This past fall my wife and I separated. It was something coming for a long time. I am doing much better now. But of course had to scramble, lot of changes and my life has been pretty busy sorting all that out.
I now have my own place and getting settled in, adjusting to the new normal. :)
Starting all the folding systems back up, and helps I don't pay for power now. Right now I have 5 GPU's folding away. I would like to get more, I have tons of spare parts, just no spare GPU's. If anyone wants to make a GPU donation, I will accept. :D All Titan cards welcome. lol
Have also spent time consolidating a lot of systems as room is a premium now. Ungraded my unRaid server to the latest version and have taken advantage of Dockers and VM functionality. With 3 Dockers and 2 VM's running I was able to eliminate 6 systems I had going and make better use of the unRaid hardware, so a win-win situation.
Looking forward to getting more Folding going and living life. :)
The unRaid server was upgraded with a MSI Xpower motherboard, a 4790K and 16GB of ram to handle all the load. Also swapped out the Antec 1200 case as it didn't support XL-ATX and got myself a CM Storm Stryker. Must say, very nice case.
Then I upgraded my main rig with the new Thermaltake Core X2 and a bunch more radiator space to handle both 780's folding full time and not need to run the fans at a god awful speed.
Need to swap one of the GPU folding systems into a new case today with better airflow, cards are overheating.
Well, that's all for now kiddies... Happy Whaling!
So, day-to-day, what am I running in my back pocket. Hmmm... Well, as I mentioned, I have a crawl space where all my networking comes into the house. In here I have a few of the "no touch needed" systems. These include an older HP AMD server, ML110 G6 model I think. I have on that a voice solution running for various things. Also in here is the main unRaid server. Beside that I have an HP ML330 G6 system running Server 2012 R2. This is my main test platform and I use Hyper-V extensively on it. I think right now I have a couple of exchange servers, a couple of SQL servers and a few other test systems running. Finally I have the backup firewall here, an untangle unit.
Oh ya, and heating the whole basement, I had the 4P Folding systems in here. Now though I just have a GPU/SMP folding system in here that I use primarily for testing and trouble shooting other users issues on.
Moving over to my desk I have my main work/gaming system, all setup in an Aerocool DS Cube unit. Check my profile for exact specs. I have 2 x 22" monitors and a 24" monitor setup. Over on the side of the desk I have my 8 port KVM setup. I have connections ready to run up to three systems, for testing, builds, etc. I also have one little generic Intel box sitting there. This is my "download" systems, basically where I grab any files I might need, test for viruses and such before they get copied onto the storage server. This is a somewhat isolated little unit.
Right now on my workbench, I have a Hadron Air case that I am doing up with a black/red them. Thanks to @Zeal for all his help doing up a custom job on the PSU and a bunch of additional sleeving work. Once it progresses a little farther, I will be putting up a build log.
So, that pretty much sums up the rest of the systems we have running in Whale's Place. All told, on average there is probably about 14 systems powered on in the house, a NAS unit (for work), storage server, switches, firewall and some backup-to-disk units. Yes, you do get used to the underlying hum eventually. :)
This will be a lot different then some of my recent ones... something I have been thinking about...
How often do we see someone, some random person as we go about our day, and wonder "Will I ever see that person again? Who was that person?"
The Story... (full disclosure, I am married... but, I do like to look, and my wife is ok with that, so yea...)
Yesterday I was in Collingwood, was about 9am or so. I ran into MacDonalds to grab a quick bite. As I was coming out, I noticed her. You now, as a guy, you sometimes notice "her"? The one you can't help but stare at? That takes your breath away? Well, there she was, leaving the store just in front of me... I am not sure what it was, but wow. As we walked out, I just keep staring at her. She was walking down the length of the parking lot out to the street, obviously not driving and I slowly made my way to my car, just watching. Now, let me describe her... Being 6'4" most everyone is "short" to me... that being said... she was maybe 5"6" to 5"8... blond hair... down past her shoulders. She was wearing a nice outfit.. business like. Dark jacket, white blouse if I remember correctly, black short skirt. Some very nice patterned hose and heels. Wow, were those some killer legs... I just couldn't help thinking how sexy she looked... but beyond that. Something about her was just stunning and grabbed my attention.
Needless to say, I couldn't help but think about her all day. :) I thought about who she was, what was she up to, all dressed up... were was she off to? This chance encounter... would I ever see her again? Would, this being even a more interesting thought, I even recognize her again, assuming she would be dressed differently? Should I be at MacDonalds the next day, same time, to see if I can notice her? (I didn't - that's creepy)
I also got to wondering after the fact, if I had actually had the courage, would she have appreciated being told... how nice she looked? Is that something a girl likes to hear from a complete stranger?
"Excuse me, I have never done this, but..." as she turns to looks at me, wondering who this weirdo is...
"But, I just wanted you to know, that you look simply stunning today. That's all. I just though you might like to know. Maybe brighten you day. Have a nice day" and continue on my way...
Ya, that may just come across as creepy... Course, if some woman came up to me and said the same "Excuse me sir, you look very handsome today, have a great day" ya, might through me a bit off... but then I think, yes, I would appreciate that as the day went along. That someone noticed me. Bring a smile to my face....
So, I sit here today... wondering who the mystery woman I saw yesterday at the MacDonalds in Collingwood was. And I hope she had a great day and I hope she knows how good she looked, even if just to me...
So... what do I have running? Well first off, I have a SonicWall CDP 110 unit running in the crawl space. This is a backup-to-disk solution. Agents on all the local pc's back up files as they change. I keep about 15 revisions of everything. All this data is then replicated late at night to an offsite unit I have.
The main storage system is an unRaid solution. As per Looney's storage post, I originally had one unit running about 40TB of space. I recently split that up. In the house I have a unit with 18 drives, about 32TB of space. On this I store all the movies and TV shows, tons of ISO's and backups I have, all the household photo's and music, etc. I also use PLEX to stream all the media content.
I then have a second offsite unit with about 15 or so TB that is a backup target with all the important data. I use Beyond Compare to FTP data between the two at random periods.
Each of the unraid servers are AMD athlon units, couple GB ram, biostar mobo... nothing to fancy. They each have an 8 port SuperMicro sata card and a 4 port Promise sata card. I also have various models of 5x3 and 3x2 cages installed in antec 900 cases. These suckers weight a ton.
Basically this takes care of all my storage needs and backs up all the important stuff and subsequent sends it offsite.
Shot of the SonicWall CDP units...
And then one of the unRaid servers during build and test...
So, now that you know a bit about the underlying makeup of the network in the house. In this Blog I will talk a bit about all the other systems.
Each of the kids have a gaming class rig. My oldest saved up money for a while, and with some parts from dad is running a pretty sweet build. Corsair 540 with all the fans bitfenix spectre with the gold LED's. Asus Z87 pro board, 16GB ram, 4670k, plextar m5 256GB SSD boot, couple of 1TB for storage, and a massive phanteks cooler. Gold one with bitfenix fans on it with the LED's. 660ti,,, Looks really striking. All tied in with powerline to the network.
For the other kids... an 24" all-in-one HP unit, course I did upgrade the CPU, disk, memory... so not so much an HP unit anymore. :) Rest are mid range gaming systems... All hooked up via wireless.
My wife does photo editing and other things, so she has a CAD workstation, Xeon system.
We also have a couple of laptops floating around for the kids to use for homework in the dinning room and to take to school when needed. On the TV's I have Patriot Box Office units as well as HTPC builds for all our viewing pleasure. My main storage system uses PLEX which I love! If you have a large movie/tv collection I recommend you check it out. Anyways, the HTPC's boot right into plex and all the computers in the house can also access it. With friends also using it, at anytime i might be streaming two or three items. Nights can get pretty busy as well with gaming.
Hence the requirements for the rock solid network, at any given time I have an enormous amount of traffic coming in and out. Not to mention voice servers, sending data offsite for backups, etc.
All in all, about 8-9 pc's that I don't directly use each day running here... Did I mention the power company sends me thank you cards? :)
Every good system boils down to the network. This is the underlying foundation for your entire setup. If this isn't rock solid and supports everything you need to do, it doesn't matter how fast that rig of yours is, you will still lag as your switch drops packets due to a network flood.
Most people seem to think when they need one, the thirty dollar switch is just a good as the fifty dollar one. Most cases they are correct, when you only have a few connections not pushing the limits of the switch. But, a two hundred dollar one? In networking most times you get what you pay for. There are reasons why we have five hundred dollar switches and five thousand dollar ones. Course some brand names carry their own costs, <cough> cisco <cough> but that is another story... Why do I rant away on this? So, you might better understand why I have some of the gear I have. Because when it comes down to it, I do not want the network to be the cause of any issues in the house.
So, first off, I have my main network hub in the crawl space. Coming into the house I have my cable connection on which modem I have reset in bridge mode (don't get me started on these crap cable and DSL modem/router units) and use my own firewall.
The firewall is a higher end SonicWall unit. Why this? Due to my job, certifications and partnerships I have access to this and other gear a very low costs for personal use and training. So voila... For those of you that know, I am running all the security services on the unit.
Feeding of the firewall is what I referencing as my "server" switch. This is a mid range HP 24 port GB switch with a very decent back plane. Off this switch are all my secondary connections as well as my Folding farm, which also resides in the crawl space, my Hyper-V server, unRAID server and my voice server. I also have a redundant one sitting there. Why... just in case and because I could.
From this switch I lead out to:
My wireless AP unit, an Aruba unit, powered via PoE, which is nice. I ran cabling up through wall and roof and this sucker sits nicely hidden away on the main floor.
A HP GB Switch, a specific edge model, to my main desk. I have a few of my desktops there, test beds, etc.
A low end HP GB switch at the main media area, hooked into this is a HTPC, media streaming device and few other things.
A powerline adapter for one of the bedrooms. I always wanted to test this and was having wireless issues to this one spot, so voila. And works really well.
All the networking gear in the crawl space runs off a nice UPS, mostly to protect against power surges. Don't forget a good power surge unit for that shiny gear.
All in all a fairly complicated setup and more then what 99% of home users need, but I work a lot with this gear, so I also do lots of testing and such as well with this gear. Should hear people scream when I reboot the firewall to test something.
As you can see, my underlining network is more then adequate to support the throughput I may have from various sources. The system gets hardest hit when say all of the kids are streaming movies from the unRAID server (I use PLEX, what an awesome product), as well as some buddies and lots of folks on the voice system. Then myself playing some game or other... But everything works without a hiccup.
Now I just need the cable company to stop calling me because I am flooding their network.
The "network room"
Here you can see the firewall, switch, cable modem and VoIP unit, along with a spare switch. PDU unit...
And here is what my Aruba AP looks like...
Yep.. in the floor... In case wondering, that is not a ducted vent - just open to the basement to let air pass through between floors. Very handy.
So, many people have asked about the Whale's Place - what hardware, how many PC's, where does it all come from... In this section I will work to describe my various systems builds (or link to my builds already on the forum), upcoming plans, my network layout, etc... I tell you, running CAT6 in coral is a pain in the butt...
To generalize, I have a enterprise grade firewall, three redundant GB switches, high end wireless N and some powerline gear running as the core network. For backups of local systems, I have a backup-to-disk solution running that replicates to an offsite unit. I have a 40TB storage server that basically holds everything that also rsyncs to an offsite unit. I have the main Folding systems running, a Hyper-V host (here is where I do a lot of testing), a voice server, two HTPC systems, about 8 PC's in the house for various things and a couple of laptops floating around.
In upcoming entries I will work to give more details on the various systems and config here that keep Whaler's Happy Fun House running.
Shot of my main work area....