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LoneStarfish

Storage Server Build Advice

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Posted · Original PosterOP

I'm part of an engineering design team at my university (Formula SAE for those who may be familiar) that is constantly running into storage limitations with the amount of server space the school will allow us to have. They provide us with roughly 1.5TB while we currently use approximately 1TB every year. Our current "solution" is moving older files to various external drives where they then become next to useless and impossible to find. For a more sustainable solution, I've started looking into options for us to build our own NAS and customize it to best suit our needs. While I have experience with PC hardware and building, and watch LTT religiously, this is not my area of expertise so I'd appreciate some help from the community.

 

Here's a quick list of the current goals I've come up with:

  • 2-3TB of SSD storage for files being actively worked on and frequently accessed
  • Another 10 or so terabytes of HDD storage for "cold storage" of older files that are less likely to be accessed
  • SFTP or similar setup for remote access
  • At least 3 Ethernet ports for connecting to the heaviest used computers (a switch may be used to connect to a few more lower priority systems)
  • Ability to upgrade down the line to host at least one VM to offload some simulation (not a priority for now)
  • Hopefully fairly inexpensive ($1000-$1500)

And here are my thoughts on setup so far:

  • ATX or Micro ATX form factor to use standard PC parts
  • Ryzen 3200G (good price-performance and upgradability)
  • 16 GB RAM
  • 2 2-port 10Gbit/s network adapters
  • FreeNAS OS (free and easy to use from what I gather)

Having never worked with it, I'm not sure exactly the capabilities and requirements of FreeNAS. For instance, is there an easy way to automate offloading old files from SSDs to mechanical storage and would it allow us to set up VMs in the future? I'm probably completely overlooking several things as well.

 

Thanks in advance for any advice and criticism

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Get a B450 motherboard and a Ryzen 3600 CPU. If you don't need 10gbps, stick with the built in Ethernet. Else get a 10gbps network card. Spend around $200 for a case that can house a lot of hard drives and a PSU. Spend the rest of the money on drives.

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PCPartPicker Part List

CPU: AMD Ryzen 7 2700 3.2 GHz 8-Core Processor  ($162.99 @ SuperBiiz)
Motherboard: ASRock X470D4U2-2T Micro ATX AM4 Motherboard  ($300.00)
Memory: Crucial 16 GB (2 x 8 GB) DDR4-2666 Memory  ($63.99 @ Adorama)
Storage: Intel 660p Series 2.048 TB M.2-2280 NVME Solid State Drive  ($204.99 @ Newegg)
Storage: Intel 660p Series 2.048 TB M.2-2280 NVME Solid State Drive  ($204.99 @ Newegg)
Storage: Seagate Enterprise Capacity 10 TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive  ($246.99 @ Amazon)
Case: Thermaltake Core V21 MicroATX Mini Tower Case  ($64.00 @ Amazon)
Power Supply: SeaSonic S12III 450 W 80+ Bronze Certified ATX Power Supply  ($58.98 @ Newegg)
Total: $1306.93
Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available
Generated by PCPartPicker 2019-12-07 14:04 EST-0500

Something like that?

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I'd suggest against processors with integrated graphics, simply because they'd limit your pci-e slot to 8 lanes.

A pci-e x1 video card is not expensive and can be connected to a slot that comes from chipset.

 

 

This leaves you the pci-e x16 fully available, and a 2nd pci-e x16 which is limited to x4 speed. You could put a 70$ Aquantia 10g ethernet card, and if you want you could put a dual 10g optical card in the first slot.

The optical cards may be a bit more expensive if you factor in the DAC cable cost (ex 180$ with 2 DAC cables for a 2 x 10g Intel x520-DA2, 108$ without: https://www.unixplus.com/collections/network-adapters-refurbished/products/refurbished-dell-intel-x520-da2-10gb-s-network-adapter?variant=3694281752603)

 but you'd be saving money on the network switch, you can buy 16+ x 1g ports + 2-4 sfp+ ports for cheap. 10g ethernet switches are more expensive.

You could use for example

280$ : 24 x 1g + 4 x 10g SFP+ ports: https://www.amazon.com/TRENDnet-28-Port-Lifetime-Protection-TEG-30284/dp/B01EOPSRP6/

238$ :  8 x SFP+ 10g ports: https://www.amazon.com/MikroTik-Desktop-Gigabit-Ethernet-CRS309-1G-8S/dp/B07NFXN4SS/

 

The power supply is a bit expensive, but it's picked because it has 4 peripheral "headers", in which you can plug cables with SATA connectors. Also, the pinout is standardized, so you can go on Cablemod and pay ~10$ to get one cable with 4 SATA connectors on it. So, the psu could handle 4 x 4 = 16 SATA devices easily.

It also has very long warranty and all that.

Cheaper power supplies have only 2 or 3 "peripheral" headers, so you'd be limited in how many drives each power supply can power.

 

For hard drives, go with WD drives. I like HGST but they're sold now under WD brand.

 

You'll want ~ 1 GB of RAM per TB, so it's best to go from the start with 32 GB, and leave room for a couple more sticks for the future if you need to. 

 

For case, you may want to jump on this one that's 70$ off right now: https://www.newegg.com/p/N82E16811147053

It looks "gamer" but it can fit 6 3.5" drives and also has 6 5.25" bays in which you could insert adapters (convert 2/3 bays to insert drives vertically there)

 

image.thumb.png.ceba389b1884114877f89614943a8537.png

 

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Posted · Original PosterOP

Thanks everyone for the build suggestions. A lot of what you guys have recommended using falls in line with the list ideas I’d come up with, with the main difference I’m seeing is a more powerful cpu. 
If anybody could provide any more insight into freenas and its capabilities, is my goal of automated migration of old files to the hard drives reasonable?

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9 hours ago, Zagna said:

This is a good drive but if you need to save some bucks you can go for the IronWolf Pro, also a NAS level HDD but a little cheaper than Exos depending on the place you purchase it.


Seagate Technology | Official Forums Team

IronWolf Drives for NAS Applications - SkyHawk Drives for Surveillance Applications - BarraCuda Drives for PC & Gaming

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On 12/7/2019 at 11:55 AM, mariushm said:

For case, you may want to jump on this one that's 70$ off right now: https://www.newegg.com/p/N82E16811147053

It looks "gamer" but it can fit 6 3.5" drives and also has 6 5.25" bays in which you could insert adapters (convert 2/3 bays to insert drives vertically there)

 

image.thumb.png.ceba389b1884114877f89614943a8537.png

 

I have that case.  (It's sitting in a corner since I'm not currently using it.)  If the OP wants to use higher-capacity 3.5" drives, watch out!  They won't work with the 3.5" drive trays - see the photos.

 

IMG_20170701_202859671.thumb.jpg.8fb09673dc2d4dc216724b876f0298f9.jpg  IMG_20170701_202839054.thumb.jpg.d24bbeed84e0785d2f95226bb700bf8f.jpg

 

The top drive is 5TB, the bottom one is 8TB.

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22 minutes ago, PianoPlayer88Key said:

I have that case.  (It's sitting in a corner since I'm not currently using it.)  If the OP wants to use higher-capacity 3.5" drives, watch out!  They won't work with the 3.5" drive trays - see the photos.

 

Do you really HAVE TO screw them with 4 screws?

They should be perfectly fine with just two screws. It's not like the case will be moved around. Once the drives are in, they won't be moved.

I guess the drives won't sit nicely on 4 rubber rings, but you could just add a cheap rubber / sponge band on the opposite end so that the drive will sit on it instead of vibrating or sitting directly on the metal.

It's certainly not a deal breaker.

If you really want to, you can also just drill two holes on the sides and screw the drive from the sides as well. See picture below.

 

As for the other, here's for example 4 x 3.5" into 3 x 5.25" : https://www.amazon.com/Rosewill-5-25-Inch-3-5-Inch-Hot-swap-SATAIII/dp/B00DGZ42SM/

Here's 5 x 3.5" into 3 x 5.25" (you can find much cheaper from other brands, same mechanical stuff) https://www.newegg.com/p/N82E16817994155?Description=hdd cage 5.25&cm_re=hdd_cage_5.25-_-17-994-155-_-Product

 

cage_mod.thumb.jpg.05dcdb9e8ca07490524539b10ac6428a.jpg

 

 

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15 minutes ago, mariushm said:

Do you really HAVE TO screw them with 4 screws?

They should be perfectly fine with just two screws. It's not like the case will be moved around. Once the drives are in, they won't be moved.

I guess the drives won't sit nicely on 4 rubber rings, but you could just add a cheap rubber / sponge band on the opposite end so that the drive will sit on it instead of vibrating or sitting directly on the metal.

It's certainly not a deal breaker.

If you really want to, you can also just drill two holes on the sides and screw the drive from the sides as well. See picture below.

 

As for the other, here's for example 4 x 3.5" into 3 x 5.25" : https://www.amazon.com/Rosewill-5-25-Inch-3-5-Inch-Hot-swap-SATAIII/dp/B00DGZ42SM/

Here's 5 x 3.5" into 3 x 5.25" (you can find much cheaper from other brands, same mechanical stuff) https://www.newegg.com/p/N82E16817994155?Description=hdd cage 5.25&cm_re=hdd_cage_5.25-_-17-994-155-_-Product

 

cage_mod.thumb.jpg.05dcdb9e8ca07490524539b10ac6428a.jpg

 

 

Ahh, I hadn't thought of that.  I was concerned about the drive only being screwed in at one end, leaving the other end (no matter how slightly) semi-loose/flexible.  And I don't think I had even considered adding screw holes in the side of the tray.  (It could be due to my aversion to making any modifications that would void any product warranty - sometimes I'm even wary to do that if the warranty has expired, as usually my budget never has room for replacement parts.)

 

Also, for a 5-in-3 cage, what do you think of this one for a budget option?

https://www.moddiy.com/products/5%2din%2d3-Device-Module-Hard-Disk-Cage-SAS{47}SATA-Expander-Enclosure.html

 

 

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Maybe someone covered this, but why wouldn't you do a Dell R710?

Configured with 12TB 64g ram and dual 6core it's only $620 and that's with quad gigabit

https://www.servermonkey.com/refurbished-dell-poweredge-r710-6-port-configure-to-order.html

 

I'm sure for under 2k I could get something to rival the purposed system.

 

*edit: This R720 configured with 8x2Tb 96g ram and dual 8 cores is under $1500

https://www.servermonkey.com/refurbished-dell-poweredge-r720-3-5-8-port-configure-to-order.html

 

Just put the ssd where the optical drive is like I did on my 710

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Posted · Original PosterOP
21 hours ago, Psittac said:

Maybe someone covered this, but why wouldn't you do a Dell R710?

Configured with 12TB 64g ram and dual 6core it's only $620 and that's with quad gigabit

https://www.servermonkey.com/refurbished-dell-poweredge-r710-6-port-configure-to-order.html

 

I'm sure for under 2k I could get something to rival the purposed system.

 

*edit: This R720 configured with 8x2Tb 96g ram and dual 8 cores is under $1500

https://www.servermonkey.com/refurbished-dell-poweredge-r720-3-5-8-port-configure-to-order.html

 

Just put the ssd where the optical drive is like I did on my 710

I went towards a standard tower pc build rather than something like a PowerEdge solution mainly for noise and standard parts reasons. It still looks like a decent option though. 

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