*New 11.3 series Release:
2019-10-05: XigmaNAS 11.3.0.4.6928 - released, 11.2 series are soon unsupported!

*New 12.0 series Release:
2019-10-05: XigmaNAS 12.0.0.4.6928 - released!

*New 11.2 series Release:
2019-09-23: XigmaNAS 11.2.0.4.6881 - released!

We really need "Your" help on XigmaNAS https://translations.launchpad.net/xigmanas translations. Please help today!

Producing and hosting XigmaNAS costs money. Please consider donating for our project so that we can continue to offer you the best.
We need your support! eg: PAYPAL

Dell Precision mania - 10GbE 690 and T7500...and a mutt 755

Show off that NAS4Free system!
Forum rules
Set-Up GuideFAQsForum Rules
Post Reply
cudak888
NewUser
NewUser
Posts: 7
Joined: 24 Dec 2015 16:01
Status: Offline

Dell Precision mania - 10GbE 690 and T7500...and a mutt 755

#1

Post by cudak888 » 12 Feb 2017 16:34

I got into NAS4Free after I realized I needed reliable storage and back-up for my video projects. And so, about a year or two later, I can proudly say that things quickly got out of hand:

ImageNAS4Free Dell servers by cudak888, on Flickr

The HP Z800s are Windows workstations; the Dells are the NAS4Free servers.

Functionality - not looks - is the name of the game with my units. Though the ill-suited (but ever so gallant) Optiplex 755 made of 100% used parts was my first test build (and thus sits in front of the pack on the day it was withdrawn from service), let me focus on the actual workhorses; the two Precisions. I chose to build my boxes around the Precisions, knowing that they run ECC memory, their chassis can fit 10 drives without the slightest hackery - just parts - and that they can be had dirt cheap at times (both are Craigslist finds).

ImageNAS4Free Dell servers by cudak888, on Flickr

The Precision 690 at left was the first build. Dual quad core Xeons (I don't remember which) provide the processing power, and it's got 32GB of DDR2 in it. As it was designed for video editing, it also has a dual port Mellanox 10GbE PCI-e SPF+ card in it, hooked up directly to both of the HP Z's. It sustains about 225mb/s write speed, and about 145mb/s read based on AJA's System Test software. Good enough for my needs.

Drives in the 690 are a RaidZ2 of 2TB Hitachi Ultrastars on a Dell H200 flashed to IT mode, with a pair of 6TB WD Reds poorly applied as individual backups of the RaidZ2. Ideally, at least one of these shouldn't be in the box but an external backup, but it is what it is. Overkill...unless I get zapped by lightning, or the box fries. Perish the thoughts.

About a year later, I decided that my mess of 1TB WD1001FALS drives (These things are troopers!) in my main HP Z800 and video editing Z800 would do better in a RAID, and since I had some spares sitting around, I hatched a plan to build another NAS4Free server. And so entered the T7500 on the right, which looks like this inside:

ImageNAS4Free Dell servers by cudak888, on Flickr

Unlike the 690, I stuffed this one with cheap (but not so cheap to buy!) trayless drive adapters - which work pretty good, all things considering. Like the 690, it's a RaidZ2 of six drives, all 1TB; a mix of the WD1001FALS drives, one WD Red, and a Seagate. Shortly after putting the box in service, I packed four additional drives into the factory drive slots, a RaidZ1 built of a mix of WD, Hitachi, and two Toshibas; essentially, whatever I had sitting around that had a good SMART score.

The two 2TB drives are running off a flashed Dell H310 card, while the 1TBs share the three SATA ports and three-of-four onboard LSI 1068e ports. The best part about this is that I was able to reflash the onboard motherboard chip as if it was an addon card. Probably not news to anyone here, but for me, this was an epic win. (FYI, don't bother doing the same with the 690 - I don't know if they updated the chip on later boards, but I've found that they run the LSI 1068, not the 1068e, and every 1068 IT FW file I've tried ends on a "can not flash 2mb image to 1mb flash" failure).

The T7500 proved to be a massive pain to get running, as NAS4Free (and IIRC, GParted) would NOT play well with it if hyperthreading was enabled, but Windows would. Turning it off solved the problem entirely. Also, I had my doubts whether that second processor/memory riser would be reliable in the long term, so out it went. Runs fine without it, and it's less cluttered inside as a result. You may also notice that it's pretty messy in there, but I'm not spending the rest of my life trying to come up with cable routing that satisfies the mess of factory cabling PLUS all the other cable adapters used for the drive bays.

At any rate, they've all been excellent, but it'd be unfair if I didn't give a spotlight to the test box that started it all - the "MUTT." This was it's last day of service...and as you can see, I didn't give a poop about inspecting it regularly!

ImageNAS4Free Dell servers by cudak888, on Flickr

Yes, those are IDE cables. No, I'm not insane (all right, just a bit).

This unit is a little Dell Optiplex 755 (at least the board is - it's in a functionally identical GX620 case) built up from parts rescued from the county recycling dump. And since I built it ONLY as a way for me to test out whether I could figure out NAS4Free, it was built with four virtually unused 500GB Seagate IDE drives that I bought at a yard sale, but had NO idea what to do with (as a bonus, I already had a PCI IDE adapter that worked with NAS4Free). As you can see, I figured that problem out. Not without a massive cable nightmare, but I figured it out. It also ran a single 2TB WD for backup, just to make sure I could have two more cables in the way.

Of course, this thing doesn't use ECC memory, so I think that's why I ran software raid 5 instead of a ZFS RaidZ1 on it. And believe it or not, the thing not only worked, I ran it almost non-stop for the last two years until this January, when the T7500 replaced it.

ImageNAS4Free Dell servers by cudak888, on Flickr

This looks pretty ugly, but it shows off my favorite zero-dollar hacks on this thing: I used two Dell Precision floppy drive adapters in the 5.25 bays to hold the 500GB drives (not present is the 2TB WD - now in the T7500 - which sat in the GX620/755 case's actual floppy slot), and the lack of cooling was made up for with the only spare Cooler Master fan I had on hand at the time of the build with a grill installed at the front, and joined to a spare 90mm-to-120mm adapter that would have been useless for anything else, but became downright brilliant when glued to the front of this box!

And so there you have it. Glad to answer any questions. Hope you've enjoyed it.

-Kurt

User avatar
b0ssman
Forum Moderator
Forum Moderator
Posts: 2458
Joined: 14 Feb 2013 08:34
Location: Munich, Germany
Status: Offline

Re: Dell Precision mania - 10GbE 690 and T7500...and a mutt 755

#2

Post by b0ssman » 12 Feb 2017 21:42

get yourself a air purifier. pcs are no substitute for that :)

also pc dust filters work nicely as well.
Nas4Free 11.1.0.4.4517. Supermicro X10SLL-F, 16gb ECC, i3 4130, IBM M1015 with IT firmware. 4x 3tb WD Red, 4x 2TB Samsung F4, both GEOM AES 256 encrypted.

kenZ71
Advanced User
Advanced User
Posts: 403
Joined: 27 Jun 2012 20:18
Location: Northeast, USA
Status: Offline

Re: Dell Precision mania - 10GbE 690 and T7500...and a mutt 755

#3

Post by kenZ71 » 12 Feb 2017 23:41

Nice home lab
11.2-RELEASE-p3 | ZFS Mirror - 2 x 8TB WD Red | 28GB ECC Ram
HP ML10v2 x64-embedded on Intel(R) Core(TM) i3-4150 CPU @ 3.50GHz

Extra memory so I can host a couple VMs
1) Unifi Controller on Ubuntu
2) Librenms on Ubuntu

cudak888
NewUser
NewUser
Posts: 7
Joined: 24 Dec 2015 16:01
Status: Offline

Re: Dell Precision mania - 10GbE 690 and T7500...and a mutt 755

#4

Post by cudak888 » 13 Feb 2017 01:24

b0ssman wrote:
12 Feb 2017 21:42
get yourself a air purifier. pcs are no substitute for that :)

also pc dust filters work nicely as well.
Oh, I wouldn't worry too much about the dusty state of the 755. That thing sat horizontally on the floor in the one part of the room that collects more dust than anywhere else. The other boxes never have that problem. Not sure why it's the case - pun not intended - but that's how it seems to work in this room.

-Kurt

mariad
Starter
Starter
Posts: 29
Joined: 03 Mar 2017 12:57
Status: Offline

Re: Dell Precision mania - 10GbE 690 and T7500...and a mutt 755

#5

Post by mariad » 16 Mar 2017 08:32

Surely needs heavy cleaning.

Post Reply

Return to “Gallery”