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Elderly and complex care ward

Hi Folks,

 

Im looking for a bit of assistance sourcing a cheap (relatively speaking - on a budget) Epyc processor, ram and motherboard for a media server project for a elderly care unit. Used would be fine. Doing this as a volunteer/donation thing. 

 

Simply put, the ward has been decimated resource wise because of the pandemic. The ward has patients staring at the ceiling with very little interaction, not good for elderly people. Many have dementia and are stuck in their long term. Ive sourced a load of TV's and adroid boxes. Got 50TB worth of drives and multiple SSD for cache pool, multiple network ariel tuners (HD home run). 10G switch, cabling etc etc. Just need to build a media server and need to source processor, ram and motherboard on a tight budget.

 

Intending to go unraid, which I intend to setup as both a plex server and to run multiple VM's which they can use for watching/recording TV from central tuners over the network, watching movies which have been ripped from DVD (donated). Perfectly legal in the UK because it's considered a backup so long as you own the original DVD. And, of course with the VMs, the ability to use video conferencing, check email etc. 

 

Any pointers to potential places to pick up an epyc (preferably 32 core) processor, MB and Ram would be great. 

 

Cheers

 

Martin

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Do you need epyc? Id probably go with something like a dell r730 here. Pretty cheap used and a very capable server.

 

What drives do you have? Id probably avoid unraid here and go with something based off zfs or hardware raid for the much better performance

 

HOw would the users connect to the vms? Id suggest just getting cheap desktops/laptops for the users to have computers to use, esp with unraid thats really not made for vdi deployments

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First, we need a budget.
Second, why specifically epyc? GPU prices are crashing and you can get an NV card to do all the transcode heavy lifting and you can pipe an HDHomeRun or similar networkable tuner into Plex and let it do all the DVRing. You should be able to get several dozen clients out of consumer hardware that way. As for using VMs for general computing, do they already have thinclients that are just not powerful enough for a web browser or what's the deal there?

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Just now, Electronics Wizardy said:

What drives do you have? Id probably avoid unraid here and go with something based off zfs or hardware raid for the much better performance

 

There is a ZFS plugin for Unraid, but you can't run only ZFS pools. 

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Just now, OddOod said:

First, we need a budget.
Second, why specifically epyc? GPU prices are crashing and you can get an NV card to do all the transcode heavy lifting and you can pipe an HDHomeRun or similar networkable tuner into Plex and let it do all the DVRing. You should be able to get several dozen clients out of consumer hardware that way. As for using VMs for general computing, do they already have thinclients that are just not powerful enough for a web browser or what's the deal there?

I have about $1500 left in the budget. So it's a biggest bang for the buck.

 

As for epyc, that's just personal preference a but would certainly be open to other alternatives if I can get bigger bang for the buck. My thinking with epyc is the load of 16 rooms each pulling from the plex server and the VMs obviously. 

 

With the transcoding and HDHomeRun/DVR/Plex, was exactly the way I was thinking of going. 

 

As for thin clients, probably should correct myself. The boxes are not specifically android. They are mini pc's so my intention was to take android off, go thin client route with them and install plex app on whatever OS we are going to use.

 

Not much experience in setting up thin client to access unraid VM's, any recommendation on a guide for that? 

 

 

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7 minutes ago, Electronics Wizardy said:

Do you need epyc? Id probably go with something like a dell r730 here. Pretty cheap used and a very capable server.

 

What drives do you have? Id probably avoid unraid here and go with something based off zfs or hardware raid for the much better performance

 

HOw would the users connect to the vms? Id suggest just getting cheap desktops/laptops for the users to have computers to use, esp with unraid thats really not made for vdi deployments

I had a look at r730's, (I have an r720 in my office). What's the script with their raid cards, do they need to be reflashed for HBA or is there an option now to select between it and raid?

 

Any recommendations on alternate ZFS?

 

Access to the VM's as I said in my reply above, the boxes I have are more mini pcs. Intention is to go the thin client route. Plex app on the VM. As for connection, I have the hardware (donated) for 10G to each room. 

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Just now, Spontaneocus said:

I had a look at r730's, (I have an r720 in my office). What's the script with their raid cards, do they need to be reflashed for HBA or is there an option now to select between it and raid?

 

Any recommendations on alternate ZFS?

 

Access to the VM's as I said in my reply above, the boxes I have are more mini pcs. Intention is to go the thin client route. Plex app on the VM. As for connection, I have the hardware (donated) for 10G to each room. 

Ceiling panels throughout the ward are just the business liftable ones so can run the cables no problem without creating a mess. 

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10 minutes ago, Electronics Wizardy said:

Do you need epyc? Id probably go with something like a dell r730 here. Pretty cheap used and a very capable server.

 

What drives do you have? Id probably avoid unraid here and go with something based off zfs or hardware raid for the much better performance

 

HOw would the users connect to the vms? Id suggest just getting cheap desktops/laptops for the users to have computers to use, esp with unraid thats really not made for vdi deployments

Open to alternatives, but was just thinking in terms of load and resources. 

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9 minutes ago, OddOod said:

There is a ZFS plugin for Unraid, but you can't run only ZFS pools. 

Is there O_O - (googling for my own unraid server). LOL

 

As for drives. Managed to get 5 ironwolfs. 10TB each

 

Also have 4 1TB samsung SSD's

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Unless someone is doing real heavy computing, most minipcs should be able to handle the lifting for old folx internet usage. 
How many clients do you anticipate? Both peak concurrent and total

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Just now, Spontaneocus said:

I had a look at r730's, (I have an r720 in my office). What's the script with their raid cards, do they need to be reflashed for HBA or is there an option now to select between it and raid?

If you have hardware raid cards, Id use them. You get good performance from then, and they generally work well.

 

This also really depends on the card thats included

 

1 minute ago, Spontaneocus said:

Access to the VM's as I said in my reply above, the boxes I have are more mini pcs. Intention is to go the thin client route. Plex app on the VM. As for connection, I have the hardware (donated) for 10G to each room. 

What are the specs of the mini PCs? Most mini pcs should be plenty for playing back videos, basic web browsing, email checking, word processing and other tasks. I don't see the point of vms unless your running some heavy tasks(and then a single epyc/dual xeon probably won't be enough). Id probably go with a x86 pc, just gives you much more options for os and much easier to change the os. Id pick something like a optiplex 3040 micro here. Small, low power, fairly fast.

 

3 minutes ago, Spontaneocus said:

Access to the VM's as I said in my reply above, the boxes I have are more mini pcs. Intention is to go the thin client route. Plex app on the VM. As for connection, I have the hardware (donated) for 10G to each room. 

What standard for 10G?

 

10G seems way overkill here, 1g is more than plenty for 50 users watching hd video at the same time.

 

 

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3 minutes ago, Electronics Wizardy said:

If you have hardware raid cards, Id use them. You get good performance from then, and they generally work well.

 

This also really depends on the card thats included

 

What are the specs of the mini PCs? Most mini pcs should be plenty for playing back videos, basic web browsing, email checking, word processing and other tasks. I don't see the point of vms unless your running some heavy tasks(and then a single epyc/dual xeon probably won't be enough). Id probably go with a x86 pc, just gives you much more options for os and much easier to change the os. Id pick something like a optiplex 3040 micro here. Small, low power, fairly fast.

 

What standard for 10G?

 

10G seems way overkill here, 1g is more than plenty for 50 users watching hd video at the same time.

 

 

Intel Atom Z8350,2 GB RAM

 

The VM option is easy of administration. I'll be administering things at a distance and accessing the pc's themselves would be a pain in the butt. 

 

The 10G is for other things as well, separate vlan for another project we're working on. So it's 10G switch to switch, then 1G out to machines. 

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11 minutes ago, OddOod said:

Unless someone is doing real heavy computing, most minipcs should be able to handle the lifting for old folx internet usage. 
How many clients do you anticipate? Both peak concurrent and total

 

16 rooms 36 mini pcs. 

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Just now, Spontaneocus said:

 

16 rooms 36 mini pcs. 

Expectation of up to 20 in operation at one time due to staggered visiting hours. 

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4 minutes ago, Spontaneocus said:

Intel Atom Z8350,2 GB RAM

 

The VM option is easy of administration. I'll be administering things at a distance and accessing the pc's themselves would be a pain in the butt. 

 

The 10G is for other things as well, separate vlan for another project we're working on. So it's 10G switch to switch, then 1G out to machines. 

About how much are those mini pcs? Id really try to get those used optiplexes, there much faster, and should be a simmilar cost or cheaper.

 

Its pretty easy to admin the pcs remotely, lots of software for this. And should really reduce the amount of setup time and issues with the remote desktop. You can install something like a vnc server on all of them so you can remote into them whenever you want.

 

 

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3 minutes ago, Spontaneocus said:

Intel Atom Z8350,2 GB RAM

 

The VM option is easy of administration. I'll be administering things at a distance and accessing the pc's themselves would be a pain in the butt. 

 

The 10G is for other things as well, separate vlan for another project we're working on. So it's 10G switch to switch, then 1G out to machines. 

Ooof, those *are* trash.I'd just be so tempted to try sourcing a lot of 40 SFF optiplexes from a local uni or something

Honestly, I'd separate concerns here. Grab something consumer for the plex server. 8-10thgen i5 with some ram and an NV GPU for the video stuff, then work on sourcing a hypervisor server from somewhere and let that be its own thing.
Maybe even go so far as to have a storage box, a PLEXetc. box, and a hypervisor box. All three of those have very different requirements


My general advice would be to scour local liquidators for decent deals and cobble together what you can with whatever budget you can squeeze 

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14 minutes ago, OddOod said:

 

Ooof, those *are* trash.I'd just be so tempted to try sourcing a lot of 40 SFF optiplexes from a local uni or something

Honestly, I'd separate concerns here. Grab something consumer for the plex server. 8-10thgen i5 with some ram and an NV GPU for the video stuff, then work on sourcing a hypervisor server from somewhere and let that be its own thing.
Maybe even go so far as to have a storage box, a PLEXetc. box, and a hypervisor box. All three of those have very different requirements


My general advice would be to scour local liquidators for decent deals and cobble together what you can with whatever budget you can squeeze 

Just spoke to the supplier. Got him to give me a deal on 40 Dell OptiPlex 3040 SFF's, Intel i5, 8GB RAM, 240GB SSD. Being used, works out £200 cheaper than the atoms. Exxxthhhheeeleeent

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15 hours ago, Spontaneocus said:

Just spoke to the supplier. Got him to give me a deal on 40 Dell OptiPlex 3040 SFF's, Intel i5, 8GB RAM, 240GB SSD. Being used, works out £200 cheaper than the atoms. Exxxthhhheeeleeent

For sure go the route of putting an os on those systems route then

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On 5/19/2022 at 10:59 AM, Spontaneocus said:

Just spoke to the supplier. Got him to give me a deal on 40 Dell OptiPlex 3040 SFF's, Intel i5, 8GB RAM, 240GB SSD. Being used, works out £200 cheaper than the atoms. Exxxthhhheeeleeent

YEAH BOY! 
Those are *perfect* grandpa boxes. Depending on your management platform you might even look into something like PopOS or PuppyMint to squeeze the extra performance out of them and get the added bonus of security through obscurity. Though you might want to see if you can source an extra 3-6 machines to be hanger queens

 

Now you don't need the cores for VMs, you can definitely optimize for a hybrid storage/content box which will involve finding an HBA/diskshelf arrangement that works and an NV GPU which shouldn't be too too dear given the crashing used market


 

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