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The Craziest Server We've EVER Built

jakkuh_t
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Gaming Rig: 5900X, 32GB 3600MHz TridentZ, EVGA RTX 3080, 2*4TB Black, 1TB MP600

NAS: Xeon W-2195, 64GB ECC, 76TB of HDD's: 3*4TB + 2*8TB + 4*12TB, 500GB 850 Evo Cache


 

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Future Jake will thankful for labeled drives and a spreadsheet.

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Hey, there is a Solution to your "SAS Dual Path with SATA Drives"-Problem: "SATA to SAS interposer-Cards". Its not the Cheapest approach (because of the many drives you need to interpose), but cheaper than switch all Harddrives.

And I'm not sure if they fit in the Supermicro case.

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Those connectors on the back are often just known as "backplane connectors", since they are often used to connect to a backplane. (however, actual "product names" varies on the manufacturer.)

 

But a rather nice looking enclosure. Though, I would check if the rack is built to take that load. (since I have seen some server racks only rated for way less than a 1000 kg, even down to 400 kg for a 42 U cabinet. You really do not want it to collapse, and one shouldn't venture into the safety factor either. Edit: There should exist a service tag on the rack stating its maximum load.)

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@jakkuh_t @LinusTechNice choice, keeping it simple and just using expansion shelves 👍

 

Also I like how each time you look at some different actual server/enterprise hardware you end up going "nice, that's really cool". We actually want and like to pay a little extra for quality of life improvements plus reduces risk a lot. Everything being easily accessible, almost always hot swap, reduces operator error which is pretty much still the most common cause of system outages and data loss.

 

 

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Isn't compression kinda pointless if almost all the data is video?

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7 minutes ago, leadeater said:

@jakkuh_t @LinusTechNice choice, keeping it simple and just using expansion shelves 👍

 

Also I like how each time you look at some different actual server/enterprise hardware you end up going "nice, that's really cool". We actually want and like to pay a little extra for quality of life improvements plus reduces risk a lot. Everything being easily accessible, almost always hot swap, reduces operator error which is pretty much still the most common cause of system outages and data loss.

 

 

I think we all get to a point in our tech lives where the quality of life stuff in server hardware becomes way more exciting than the lights on gaming hardware.

 

I'm way more excited by hot swapable things and fan mounts for HBAs and NICs than for some pretty RAM.

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4 hours ago, kuro68k said:

Isn't compression kinda pointless if almost all the data is video?

Yes and no, compression is skipped if the first initial data doesn't compress enough and then it just writes through uncompressed. So basically no point turning off compression since the system is smart enough not to try and compress already compressed data format/file. Anything that can compress will.

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@LinusTech I remember ages ago we spoke about tiering but back then I don't remember any good options, at least free ones anyway. What's changed? Did you find something good, any spoilers you can offer up? 🙃

 

Is it this?: https://github.com/45Drives/autotier or bcache, lvmcache?

 

Edit:

Oh right I forgot, you were running Windows back then, that's why there were no good options.

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Tdarr one option. but it very heavily by what data in the video.

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A couple observations from my own experience working with large storage servers and systems after watching this video.

 

1) Dual connected SAS for clustering can be a pain to deal with. There are a lot of opportunities to run into split brain scenarios where you end up corrupting the entire filesystem unless you are very careful with the setup. It works but it's not the most robust option, definitely the least expensive way to go.

 

2 Also you'll probably find that your server is not the thing that is most likely to fail in a good storage server build. It'll be the filesystem/RAID software you're using or something like double drive failure late in the life of the drives (think 5 years out). We see comically high failure rates on drives hitting year 6 in our datacenters, they basically fall off a reliability cliff and start dropping like flies. With the larger drives it's easy to see a double or triple drive failure in year 6+ especially if you don't keep sufficient hot spares/space to cover multiple drive failures and if you have drives drop on a Friday night and alerts going somewhere that someone isn't willing to drive in and immediately swap drives for.

 

3) Please god get a tape library. They're cooler then you think especially something like a Spectra Logic T380. You can watch the robotic arm moving around tapes and loading drives all day on the webcam and it never gets old. It hits that Robbie the robot corner of your brain (if you're old enough to remember those). And don't get me started on how fast of a stream rate you can get to even 4 modern LTO drives. Also you can use something like LTFS or one of many other automatic tiering technologies to deep archive older video footage, keep it totally safe and stable on offline media and do it for a song per TB versus spinning media. Bonus points that it's near impossible for your typical ransomware actor to encrypt a tape library unlike spinning media without a level of knowledge/effort they aren't willing to apply, they're specifically exploiting linux vulnerabilities these days with their toolsets exactly because most larger shops are running *nix on their backup and storage systems. 

 

4) Don't do firmware updates on Supermicro servers without dumping your entire BIOS and IPMI config and key first, or better still just don't do them unless support tells you to. You'll thank me later, they almost always zero out the serial number stored on the board on update, drop the IPMI key (so you can't use remote console and advanced features) and pick a random card detection order post firmware update. It can wreak havoc on any RAID config that cares about things like the device ID in *nix. This is contrary to what you'd typically do with an HPE/Lenovo/Dell/Cisco server which all in my experience have much more matured firmware update tools and processes. It's not meant as a ding on Supermicro, their stuff is very reasonably priced but it comes at the cost of some creature comforts. We use them for a lot of our storage server gear specifically because they don't completely rip you off on the price of pre-installed memory and drives versus all the big name brands. Cisco will charge 8x the commodity price for 64GB stick of ECC DDR4 memory and tell you their memory is 'special' and better than the samsung infinitely cheaper memory sticks that they are clearly reselling. If you need to restore that serial/model info to the server after a firmware update the easiest way is under the 'user' menu when connected to the servers in IPMIview, which is a free download from the supermicro FTP site.

 

5) If you do 3 you might end up needing to dabble in fiberchannel. Don't be intimidated by it. It's easy for a simple Server <> Storage network setup and even used FC switches from Cisco or Brocade will last forever with the occasional replacement fan. These things are the late of a dying breed of massively overbuilt network gear with very flat feature enhancement curves (Read: They have very few bugs in their code because FC doesn't evolve quickly). We run literally years between reboots on this gear and it's only because we're obligated to push a firmware update periodically to patch a security bug. Also there's something to be said about having the ability to connect a server to multiple pieces of storage equipment, it makes HA clusters a breeze, tape library sharing is possible between servers, and you can multi-path for more bandwidth or redundancy at any point without having to rework a SAS setup.

 

6) Longshot but I really think you guys should try pinging Pure Storage sometime and see if they'd be willing to lend you gear. I know they're very liberal in their "have a free taste" program for potential customers and maybe their media team would be saavy enough to realize there's a lot of overlap between your audience and people working for their customers. You really need to play around with something like a Flashblade object/network storage system. These things are comically fast and the architecture on them is really interesting.

 

7) If you're going 208v you're going to actually get a return on the power savings over time. The power supplies on servers are a measurable amount more efficient running on 208v and they output less waste power. 

 

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Get a Genie Lift before you drop one of those things on your feet loading/unloading it from a rack. We use a GL-8 in our DC and a serverlift in the other. The GL-8 is a LOT cheaper though and good enough if you add the load platform option to it so it has a flat loading surface instead of forks. Also has high enough lift to get to the top of a server rack. The first time you drop a 20k server on the floor AND break someone's foot/hand you'll wish you had one. I ummm... yeah....

 

https://www.genielift.com/en/material-handling-products/material-lifts

And the load platform for the GL-8 is this model from the accessories catalog off the GL-8 listing in the link above: 37148GT

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On 7/3/2022 at 1:18 PM, leadeater said:

@LinusTech I remember ages ago we spoke about tiering but back then I don't remember any good options, at least free ones anyway. What's changed? Did you find something good, any spoilers you can offer up? 🙃

 

Is it this?: https://github.com/45Drives/autotier or bcache, lvmcache?

 

Edit:

Oh right I forgot, you were running Windows back then, that's why there were no good options.

Hrm this might be more of a Jake question for now. I haven't got the latest update from him

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20 hours ago, Satirist said:

3) Please god get a tape library. They're cooler then you think especially something like a Spectra Logic T380. You can watch the robotic arm moving around tapes and loading drives all day on the webcam and it never gets old. It hits that Robbie the robot corner of your brain (if you're old enough to remember those). And don't get me started on how fast of a stream rate you can get to even 4 modern LTO drives. Also you can use something like LTFS or one of many other automatic tiering technologies to deep archive older video footage, keep it totally safe and stable on offline media and do it for a song per TB versus spinning media. Bonus points that it's near impossible for your typical ransomware actor to encrypt a tape library unlike spinning media without a level of knowledge/effort they aren't willing to apply, they're specifically exploiting linux vulnerabilities these days with their toolsets exactly because most larger shops are running *nix on their backup and storage systems. 

"A couple observations from my own experience working with large storage servers and systems after watching this video."

 

 

Hard pass. I dealt with mostly newer libraries like the Spectra Tfinity and all the sizes below it, as well as some large 12 tile sized IBM backups. I have had nothing but severe issues one after another with Spectra. I was in a meeting with a technician and he showed me how every tape drive has a backdoor that is accessible from the internet and you only need the local password. Which many people leave blank, default, or something easy as they assume it's not accessible from the internet. But after roughly 19 months Spectra wasn't able to fix their own library and it's stuck in tech support limbo and keeps getting put off. They also run an old ass version of embedded windows filled with exploits that will never see an update in their life. On the other hand I never once had to do maintenance on an IBM tape library. Which were bigger and older

ƆԀ S₱▓Ɇ▓cs: i7 6ʇɥפᴉƎ00K (4.4ghz), Asus DeLuxe X99A II, GT҉X҉1҉0҉8҉0 Zotac Amp ExTrꍟꎭe),Si6F4Gb D???????r PlatinUm, EVGA G2 Sǝʌǝᘉ5ᙣᙍᖇᓎᙎᗅᖶt, Phanteks Enthoo Primo, 3TB WD Black, 500gb 850 Evo, H100iGeeTeeX, Windows 10, K70 R̸̢̡̭͍͕̱̭̟̩̀̀̃́̃͒̈́̈́͑̑́̆͘͜ͅG̶̦̬͊́B̸͈̝̖͗̈́, G502, HyperX Cloud 2s, Asus MX34. פN∩SW∀S 960 EVO

Just keeping this here as a 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20 hours ago, BuckGup said:

On the other hand I never once had to do maintenance on an IBM tape library. Which were bigger and older

Quantum has been super rock solid for me, currently using HPE libraries atm due to cost but would be using Quantum if I could. Either way I've never liked LTFS when you look at the more technical aspects of it and the draw backs of it. Automated archival and recall to me is a lot better, either through file subs or other methods. Fully integrated solutions that move data down to tape that don't use LTFS is by far my preferred way, not that we use this. Quantum did pitch theirs to us but it's a solution we might need in 5 years, not now (not big enough for it to make sense yet lol).

 

100% guarantee if LMG used tapes they would suck dust all through it, destroy drives and tapes and be an epic disaster. Does anyone really think they are going to be able to keep the environment clean enough? Not a knock on them or anything, it's just you have to actually be more careful and planned if you want to invest big in tape and not live to regret it.

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2 hours ago, leadeater said:

Quantum has been super rock solid for me, currently using HPE libraries atm due to cost but would be using Quantum if I could. Either way I've never liked LTFS when you look at the more technical aspects of it and the draw backs of it. Automated archival and recall to me is a lot better, either through file subs or other methods. Fully integrated solutions that move data down to tape that don't use LTFS is by far my preferred way, not that we use this. Quantum did pitch theirs to us but it's a solution we might need in 5 years, not now (not big enough for it to make sense yet lol).

 

100% guarantee if LMG used tapes they would suck dust all through it, destroy drives and tapes and be an epic disaster. Does anyone really think they are going to be able to keep the environment clean enough? Not a knock on them or anything, it's just you have to actually be more careful and planned if you want to invest big in tape and not live to regret it.

 

If you aren't using the smaller autoloader libraries dust isn't really an issue from what I've observed. I've seen the bigger IBM and Spectra libraries run in some really poorly maintenance datacenters with black dust from chiller fan belts burning up from bad tensioning for years that never had problems with tape reliability. But it helps that the libraries have a filter and they run positive pressure so they really don't accumulate dust internally easily unless you're constantly opening the manual service door. Also could be that the latest gen LTO densities are more sensitive to dust then they used to be when saw those systems (LTO6 vintage gear mostly).

 

Agreed on something doing stubs or automated archiving over LTFS but seems like LTT loves to brew their own solutions versus buying a prebuilt technology stack. It's certainly a lot more expensive for most of the prebuilt solutions out there unless there's something open source that can do that for a windows file share that I don't know about? If there is I'd love to hear about it because that would be sweet.

 

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23 hours ago, BuckGup said:

"A couple observations from my own experience working with large storage servers and systems after watching this video."

 

 

Hard pass. I dealt with mostly newer libraries like the Spectra Tfinity and all the sizes below it, as well as some large 12 tile sized IBM backups. I have had nothing but severe issues one after another with Spectra. I was in a meeting with a technician and he showed me how every tape drive has a backdoor that is accessible from the internet and you only need the local password. Which many people leave blank, default, or something easy as they assume it's not accessible from the internet. But after roughly 19 months Spectra wasn't able to fix their own library and it's stuck in tech support limbo and keeps getting put off. They also run an old ass version of embedded windows filled with exploits that will never see an update in their life. On the other hand I never once had to do maintenance on an IBM tape library. Which were bigger and older

 

That's interesting same on the IBM and Spectra gear and I've really seen no difference in reliability in anything we've ran but I'm sure it really depends on the drive/model/use scenario combination. The tape drives in spectra libraries are IBM LTO drives (or at least that's what we've always ordered with ours) so if they've got a backdoor on it the same thing likely exists on IBM libraries too. Can't say I've ever bumped into that specifically either but we put all our management/ipmi network connections on a microsegmented vlan behind a dedicated PA firewall pair at each site with a default network > wan deny rule on them. That said I don't think I've ever see any callhome chatter from our spectra libraries or our IBM libraries when we've looked a FW logs from those systems for other reasons but it wasn't something I was specifically watching for. Would love to know more details about that though, certainly seems like something they should be disclosing and patching whoever owns the responsibility of updating the firmware on them.

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1 hour ago, Satirist said:

If you aren't using the smaller autoloader libraries dust isn't really an issue from what I've observed.

That's what LMG is going to be able to afford, the ODM 6U scalable models. The self contained ones are easily out of their's, and most people budgets.

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I manage a 30 petabyte lustre server and use similar drive enclosures (just like 60 of them instead of 1). I can't imagine NOT being able to pull the whole enclosure out to hotswap a drive in production. I replace a few per month, sometimes multiple per week. I don't label mine though because I use sas instead of sata. If there's a problem I'll find it by the slot and my drive sleds have leds to show amber lights anyway.

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