Homeserver rebuild - Gideon 2.0 post

Gideon 2.0

Out with the old

I've been using an ancient Dell C1100 as a home server for a while now. It's an absolute monster that could easily be mistaken for a space heater given the amount of heat it generates.

  • Windows Server 2016
  • 2U Dell Case
    • 12 HotSwap bays for Storage
  • 2 x Quad Core AMD Opteron 2373EE
  • 2 x PERC H310 SAS HBA Controllers
  • 64GB DDR2 ECC
  • 250GB Samsung Evo for Host OS

This will henceforth be known as Gideon 1.0, as I've decided to modernize (slightly)

Establishing requirements

Storage

I have a ton of spinning disks. I started out with a couple 4TB drives and within a few years I'm at a number I'd prefer not to mention. My long-term plan was to switch to higher capacity disks as the prices dipped over time, but due to unforeseen circumstances, that never happened.

So now I have an abundance of drives, and need somewhere to put them.

Performance

Gideon 1.0 contains a couple of old 'Energy Efficient' CPUs are effectively E-Waste at this point, they're old 45nm chips that were built to last but as with all tech haven't aged too well.

This became more obvious when I built a new PC, and it became much quicker to do work on the server over a FileShare than directly on it due to the CPU bottleneck.

As well as this, most of the servers workload is CPU bound, in a world where GPU workloads are becoming increasingly common, this thing has 16MB shared video memory and a VGA output...

In with the new

I needed to fix this. I didn't want another server board with the oddities it brings, I'm not doing anything that specifically requires it. So although I'll lose the benefits of tech like ECC or hotswap components, I decided to switch to consumer tech.

  • ProxMox
    • Open-Source server virtualization management platform
    • Plan on running some windows, Linux VMs
    • Native ontainer support is nice to have
  • 500GB Samsung Evo for Host OS
    • Previous 250GB OS will be cache drive, or something :)
  • 4U 'Logic Case' SC-415H
    • ATX compatible rackmount case, has 15 internal drive bays on a pivoting cage.
  • i5-4690K
    • The best mid-range CPU to have in 2014!
  • 16GB DDR3 Non-ECC
    • Not great, not terrible!
    • Nvidia Quadro P600 2GB
      • For GPU workloads
      • Artificial limitations can be removed with patched driver
  • 2 x PERC H310 SAS HBA Controllers
    • From Gideon 1.0
    • Also two PCIe 1x to 16x breakout adaptors

The Build

Assembly was easy enough, I love this case:

Picture of chassis Picture of chassis
Picture of chassis Picture of chassis
Picture of chassis Picture of rack

I then Installed ProxMox to the new SSD, went through the setup process and was pretty much ready to go. A list of self-inflicted problems I'm ignoring:

  • Used a cheap motherboard with a less than ideal BIOS
  • Installed parts after setting up the OS, causing configurations to break
  • changed my node hostname taking breaking the link to my existing containers/VMs
  • Linux Kernel/Nvidia Driver combination issues
  • Various cable adaptors, extensions, etc

In the end it was definitely worth the upgrade, playing with containers/VMs with proper pass-through support is super cool :)

The Setup

Rounding up as of now, I have Four 'active' containers:

  • Plexbox
    • 4 cores, 512mb RAM
    • Nvidia GPU passed through for hw transcoding
  • TransJackVad
    • 1 core, 256mb RAM
  • RadSon
    • 1 core, 1gb RAM
  • HAProxy
    • 1 core, 128mb RAM

And two 'active' VMs:

  • WinServ
    • 2 cores, 2gb RAM
    • both SAS HBAs passed through to Windows
      • Managed with DrivePool
      • shared over SMB
  • Rancher
    • 1 core, 2gb RAM

With a buttload more sitting inactive Screenshot of UI

And in the end, all of this for this screenshot:

Screenshot of UI

Thanks :)

Categories: homeserver

Tags: proxmox, plex, windowsserver