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Help planning All-In-One Server

Hello,

 

I am aiming to begin on a journey through the world of servers. I want to build a server that is capable of the following: VPN, Cloud Storage (Similar to google drive), Plex streaming, Steam link/Cloud gaming, Cloud Computing, Smart Home Automation, and other basic NAS functionalities. I do have a decent amount of computer knowledge so I can afford some degree of high level verbiage about computers. I want the server to be iterative. Meaning, I do not need the all the functionalities of the server to be present at the end of the build. I would like the hardware to be capable of all of these things and then the software to iterate through its various functions as I need them. All in all I wish for this to be a learning experience as well as a practical investment. I have never built a server and have never set up a server OS. Therefore, I am seeking help in these two areas. I am unsure what parts are going to make my streaming preferences ideal, I do not know how to adequately cool, what I assume will be, a power hungry machine, and I am afraid of picking an OS that may be limited in its functionality as my aspirations are broad. Please ask questions if I failed to make myself clear in any of my requests. I sincerely appreciate any help that can be given!

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Perfect, welcome to the world of servers 🙂

 

Before we beign, please answer folowing Questions:

 

  • Whats your budget in mind ?
  • What are your views in terms of Power consumption ?
  • What form factor would apply best for your needs ?
  • Will you continuously do upgrades to the Server ?
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I think you may confused as to what a "server" really is. A server isn't the machine itself, nor is it even the OS that you're running. A server is an application that serves data to a client. Therefore, the system you're looking to build doesn't necessarily need to be anything special. Sure, you could buy a server chassis, mount it in a rack, and buy a Xeon/Epyc CPU to boot, but is that really necessary?

 

My home server hosts a VPN, Samba shares, SQL server DB's, and a Windows Server VM (Ubuntu as the host). I do all of this with a standard "gaming" chassis, Corsair VS PSU, FX 6300 CPU, and a GT 610 GPU. This is to say that consumer hardware is more than capable of handling server tasks with a low number of users. My only recommendations would be to purchase a RAID controller (for redundancy, if you feel you need it) and possibly a USED 10GbE NIC. I purchased two used 10GbE NICs, one for my server and one for my main rig and connect them directly for high speed networking. Total cost: $40.

 

As for an OS, you can just throw any Linux distro on it and be done. If you elect to NOT install a GUI that could pose a challenge if you're unfamiliar with command line. You could also install Windows 10 as your server OS, provided you don't plan on using any Active Directory services that only Windows Server offers.

QUOTE ME IF YOU WANT A REPLY!

 

PC #1

Ryzen 7 3700x@4.4ghz (All core) | MSI X470 Gaming Pro Carbon | Crucial Ballistix 2x16gb (OC 3600mhz)

MSI GTX 1080 8gb | SoundBlaster ZXR | Corsair HX850

Samsung 960 256gb | Samsung 860 1gb | Samsung 850 500gb

HGST 4tb, HGST 2tb | Seagate 2tb | Seagate 2tb

Custom CPU/GPU water loop

 

PC #2

Ryzen 7 1700@3.8ghz (All core) | Aorus AX370 Gaming K5 | Vengeance LED 3200mhz 2x8gb

Sapphire R9 290x 4gb | Asus Xonar DS | Corsair RM650

Samsung 850 128gb | Intel 240gb | Seagate 2tb

Corsair H80iGT AIO

 

Laptop

Core i7 6700HQ | Samsung 2400mhz 2x8gb DDR4

GTX 1060M 3gb | FiiO E10k DAC

Samsung 950 256gb | Sandisk Ultra 2tb SSD

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First off, thank you for your speedy and pleasant replies. As for the this set of questions: 

12 hours ago, Haraikomono said:

Perfect, welcome to the world of servers 🙂

 

Before we beign, please answer folowing Questions:

 

  • Whats your budget in mind ?
  • What are your views in terms of Power consumption ?
  • What form factor would apply best for your needs ?
  • Will you continuously do upgrades to the Server ?

My budget is around 1,500. I am unsure how expensive I should be ball parking, but as far as video decoding goes I won't need a GPU for the rig as I will be putting my old 2080ti once I upgrade my main rig. 

As far as power consumption I have little to no idea what's should expect. I am currently okay with the average as most of the time I expect the server to be used as a "Google Drive" machine and every now and then stream a game or movie.

I would like to branch into the rack form factor. I want to eventually continue to build onto this foundation I am planning and I'm assuming a small rack would be a good start to eventually upscale storage or compute units.

Upgrades can be garunteed at least once per year once she is running.

12 hours ago, BigDamn said:

I think you may confused as to what a "server" really is. A server isn't the machine itself, nor is it even the OS that you're running. A server is an application that serves data to a client. Therefore, the system you're looking to build doesn't necessarily need to be anything special. Sure, you could buy a server chassis, mount it in a rack, and buy a Xeon/Epyc CPU to boot, but is that really necessary?

 

My home server hosts a VPN, Samba shares, SQL server DB's, and a Windows Server VM (Ubuntu as the host). I do all of this with a standard "gaming" chassis, Corsair VS PSU, FX 6300 CPU, and a GT 610 GPU. This is to say that consumer hardware is more than capable of handling server tasks with a low number of users. My only recommendations would be to purchase a RAID controller (for redundancy, if you feel you need it) and possibly a USED 10GbE NIC. I purchased two used 10GbE NICs, one for my server and one for my main rig and connect them directly for high speed networking. Total cost: $40.

 

As for an OS, you can just throw any Linux distro on it and be done. If you elect to NOT install a GUI that could pose a challenge if you're unfamiliar with command line. You could also install Windows 10 as your server OS, provided you don't plan on using any Active Directory services that only Windows Server offers.

I guess I should have been more clear on my definition of server. I want a rig that does items people typically associate with a server i.e. home automation server, cloud storage server, vpn server, ... etc. In terms of an OS I've heard of something called Docker which sounds like it would be useful for the large array of items I want the rig to do. I believe it is run from a Linux distro but am unsure of it's application and if it does what I assume it does. Thanks for your advice on the controllers and the NICs. I will definitely do that once I get her built.

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the question regarding power consumption is mainly how much are you willing to spend to keep that server running.

 

Just to give you an idea, my power costs me about 0.28€/kWh that means every watt of power that is being consumed for an entire year will cost me 2.50€ 

So if i would run a server that constantly consumes 100W i would spend 250€ a year to keep that server running.

 

That cost can add up real quick which is why its important to think about what you really need the server to do.

 

What exactly do you mean with that the server should stream games, are you planning to install steam in the server and want the server to render the game for steamlink?

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39 minutes ago, Pixel5 said:

What exactly do you mean with that the server should stream games, are you planning to install steam in the server and want the server to render the game for steamlink?

That is exactly what I imagine the server being able to do. I would like to be able to run parsec or something similar for when I am not on the same network as well. 

Power consumption wise, I am okay with a few hundred a year. I feel that should be a great goal.

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2 hours ago, cayubweeums said:

That is exactly what I imagine the server being able to do. I would like to be able to run parsec or something similar for when I am not on the same network as well. 

Power consumption wise, I am okay with a few hundred a year. I feel that should be a great goal.

well if that is what you want the server to do that means your server will basically need to be a gaming PC, all the other points are super simple and could be done with an i3 10100 without even adding a GPU to the server but the game streaming basically means you have to decide how much gaming performance you need and which games you wanna play and select the parts as if you are building a gaming PC.

 

Beside this you will also need to think about how much storage you need and how many HDD´s you want to have space for not only in the case but also in terms of SATA ports or possibly buying an HBA to get more SATA ports.

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19 hours ago, Pixel5 said:

well if that is what you want the server to do that means your server will basically need to be a gaming PC, all the other points are super simple and could be done with an i3 10100 without even adding a GPU to the server but the game streaming basically means you have to decide how much gaming performance you need and which games you wanna play and select the parts as if you are building a gaming PC.

 

Beside this you will also need to think about how much storage you need and how many HDD´s you want to have space for not only in the case but also in terms of SATA ports or possibly buying an HBA to get more SATA ports.

Awesome! Thanks for the advice. I believe I know the direction I need to go more so now with the hardware. I am interested still in what OS I should aim to use and what to use for the various tasks I want to accomplish through the rig. Also, I still do not have much direction on what to look for in a chassis and server rack. I want a small one similar to the size of MKBHD's rack that Linus gave him when building his studio a server. Should I just seek to find that rack or are their more considerations to have? I simply have no server perspective so I do not have any idea of the intricacies of picking a rack and chassis.

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as the OS i would recommend Unraid, you can run most of the stuff you want as a docker container and run a windows VM to handle the game streaming for Steamlink.

 

regarding rack mount hardware thats another part which would make this much more expensive because what you would need is not only a rakc mount case but you need one that supports at least one full sized GPU for your game streaming.

 

Personally i would recommend to either go for a regular case or if you want something small but not quite rackmount you could get a Silverstone 381 which supports an AIO cooler for the CPU and has space for most full sized GPU´s as well as having space for 8 HDD´s and two SSD´s

 

i have my NAS in this exact case and its quite tight in there but in the end you only build it once and then it just works so that was no problem for me.

 

The case that they used on the MKBHD video is from 45 drives and costs more than your entire budget.

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19 hours ago, Pixel5 said:

as the OS i would recommend Unraid, you can run most of the stuff you want as a docker container and run a windows VM to handle the game streaming for Steamlink.

 

regarding rack mount hardware thats another part which would make this much more expensive because what you would need is not only a rakc mount case but you need one that supports at least one full sized GPU for your game streaming.

 

Personally i would recommend to either go for a regular case or if you want something small but not quite rackmount you could get a Silverstone 381 which supports an AIO cooler for the CPU and has space for most full sized GPU´s as well as having space for 8 HDD´s and two SSD´s

 

i have my NAS in this exact case and its quite tight in there but in the end you only build it once and then it just works so that was no problem for me.

 

The case that they used on the MKBHD video is from 45 drives and costs more than your entire budget.

This is amazing help. Honestly, you have made me feel much more comfortable about the whole process. I think all I have to do now is do it!! Thank you so much for the help. Linus and MKBHD make some of the items they have or build with seem like no big deal when they show them. This it makes me assume they are cheap!

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