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Semi-New Build Setup Recommendations


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#1 Bigsease30

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Posted 15 November 2014 - 02:30 AM

Hello All. I am to a point where I either have to upgrade cases to support more HD's or to lose space by replacing my current HD's with larger one. I have decided to go with the option of replacing the case. My current setup includes the following:

 

Case:  SUPERMICRO CSE-743T-500B

Motherboard: ASUS P8Z68-V LX

Ram: Kingston DDR3 2x 4gb sticks

Controller: 1x - HighPoint RocketRAID 2720SGL

OS Drive: 2x - Seagate Barracuda ST1000DM003

Storage Drives: 8x - Seagate Barracuda Green ST2000DL003

 

 

The case that I just ordered from Newegg is the: Norco RPC-4220

 

I guess my question is that I want to utilize all of the components above in the new case but how do I go about making the Raid card work with 20 drives? Do I just add 2 more 2720's and use the motherboard connections or would it be best to buy a new raid card that will host them all? I only want to use the JBOD function. Any help would be appreciated.

 

 



#2 p3x-749

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Posted 15 November 2014 - 03:09 PM

...you can try an expander, like the Intel RES2CV240, RES2SV240...these work well with LSI based HBAs or RAID-Controllers...don't know if the 2720 will.



#3 Bigsease30

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Posted 15 November 2014 - 05:46 PM

...you can try an expander, like the Intel RES2CV240, RES2SV240...these work well with LSI based HBAs or RAID-Controllers...don't know if the 2720 will.

 

Looks like I will go with a LSI 9201-16i and use a reverse breakout cable for the additional 4 drives. Let me know what you think.



#4 p3x-749

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Posted 15 November 2014 - 08:41 PM

If this is within your budget, there's nothing wrong going that route, I'd say.



#5 Christopher (Drashna)

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Posted 15 November 2014 - 09:18 PM

Well, the Norco RPC-4220 is a very nice case, but I would have recommended the 4224. (and the "hanging drive bay accessory).

 

Also, a backplane would have worked well in your case:

http://www.newegg.co...N82E16817121405

 

 

I would avoid the reverse breakout cables actually. It may have been just my system, but I was using Norco reverse breakout cables, on a norco case, and was getting issues with them (2 out of the 4 ports were flaky). It could have been a bad cable, but .... I tried another one, and same issue. 

 

 

Another alternative is to get a IBM ServeRAID M1015 card, "cross flash" it, then one of those expander cards p3x-749 mentioned. Connect one port to the expand card. And the 5 ports on the expander to connect to the case. 

http://www.servetheh...ted-lsi-92208i/

http://www.newegg.co...7-207-_-Product

 

 

Personally, I'm using two M1015 cards (and a third one jus sitting there for future use).


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#6 Bigsease30

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Posted 15 November 2014 - 10:18 PM

Well, the Norco RPC-4220 is a very nice case, but I would have recommended the 4224. (and the "hanging drive bay accessory).

 

Also, a backplane would have worked well in your case:

http://www.newegg.co...N82E16817121405

 

 

I would avoid the reverse breakout cables actually. It may have been just my system, but I was using Norco reverse breakout cables, on a norco case, and was getting issues with them (2 out of the 4 ports were flaky). It could have been a bad cable, but .... I tried another one, and same issue. 

 

 

Another alternative is to get a IBM ServeRAID M1015 card, "cross flash" it, then one of those expander cards p3x-749 mentioned. Connect one port to the expand card. And the 5 ports on the expander to connect to the case. 

http://www.servetheh...ted-lsi-92208i/

http://www.newegg.co...7-207-_-Product

 

 

Personally, I'm using two M1015 cards (and a third one jus sitting there for future use).

 

 I already own a 5in3 bay but I was getting alot of read errors withit and removed it.

 

After further inspection of my motherboard thats stats 2 x PCI Express 2.0 x16 on the box actually only has a x16 and a x4. So adding another card will not work 100% since they require x8.

 

Thanks for the help guys.



#7 Christopher (Drashna)

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Posted 16 November 2014 - 12:22 AM

From what the specs say, the port is a 16x slot, but 4x electrically. 

It means that you could use the larger card, but you will be limited in the bandwidth. However, unless you're using a RAID array for some high end speeds, you should have more than enough bandwidth for a large number of drives.

 

http://en.wikipedia....iki/PCI_Express


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#8 Bigsease30

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Posted 25 November 2014 - 04:52 AM

I have another question. Now that I got a bigger case , Norco 4220, and a LSI 9201-16i.  I would like to experiment with esxi 5.5 and run my Windows 2012 essentials R2 and maybe a Mac os or freenas. I have never installed or used esxi before and the videos and info that i have found dont really answer my questions. When you install esxi, does it use a whole hard drive or just a small portion? If it uses just a portion, can I install the 2 vitual machines on this drive as well?



#9 otispresley

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Posted 25 November 2014 - 02:08 PM

I have another question. Now that I got a bigger case , Norco 4220, and a LSI 9201-16i.  I would like to experiment with esxi 5.5 and run my Windows 2012 essentials R2 and maybe a Mac os or freenas. I have never installed or used esxi before and the videos and info that i have found dont really answer my questions. When you install esxi, does it use a whole hard drive or just a small portion? If it uses just a portion, can I install the 2 vitual machines on this drive as well?

 

I have the exact same case and card, and also run ESXi 5.5.  It will use the entire hard drive you choose.  There will be several partitions.  What it does not need for the OS, it will use as the Local Datastore.  I installed mine on a 60GB SSD and only use the Local Datastore for storing the ISO files I use for installing the OS for my VMs.  I use 3x 240 GB SSD in a RAID 0 for my VMs (VM Datastore) and use a great free script called GhettoVCB for backing up my VMs (Backup Datastore) to a 1TB HDD in an eSATA dock.

 

The VM Datastore and Backup Datastore have to be created manually after install and can be named whatever you want.  Using the ESXi Windows Client, select your server and go to the Configuration tab and choose Storage.  I put all my SSDs inside the case so I can have the full 20 HDDs in the front for DrivePool.  I have passed these disks through to my WS2012E VM for DrivePool since my disks are on 2 separate controllers, one of which is also used for my OS and VM Datastore disks.  If you have separate controllers dedicated for DrivePool, then you can just pass the entire controller(s) through to the VM; this results in faster VM boot times.

 

Refer to this post about how to get SMART data in DrivePool with ESXi,  It also tells you how to pass your HDDs through.  Read these instructions if you want to use PCI passthrough.  I hope this helps!



#10 Bigsease30

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Posted 25 November 2014 - 09:57 PM

I have the exact same case and card, and also run ESXi 5.5.  It will use the entire hard drive you choose.  There will be several partitions.  What it does not need for the OS, it will use as the Local Datastore.  I installed mine on a 60GB SSD and only use the Local Datastore for storing the ISO files I use for installing the OS for my VMs.  I use 3x 240 GB SSD in a RAID 0 for my VMs (VM Datastore) and use a great free script called GhettoVCB for backing up my VMs (Backup Datastore) to a 1TB HDD in an eSATA dock.

 

The VM Datastore and Backup Datastore have to be created manually after install and can be named whatever you want.  Using the ESXi Windows Client, select your server and go to the Configuration tab and choose Storage.  I put all my SSDs inside the case so I can have the full 20 HDDs in the front for DrivePool.  I have passed these disks through to my WS2012E VM for DrivePool since my disks are on 2 separate controllers, one of which is also used for my OS and VM Datastore disks.  If you have separate controllers dedicated for DrivePool, then you can just pass the entire controller(s) through to the VM; this results in faster VM boot times.

 

Refer to this post about how to get SMART data in DrivePool with ESXi,  It also tells you how to pass your HDDs through.  Read these instructions if you want to use PCI passthrough.  I hope this helps!

 

Thanks for the great information. Just so I understand correctly, I am able to install esxi 5.5 on a 1 TB hard drive and use the rest of the available drive "datastore" to create my virtual OS's and run them?



#11 Christopher (Drashna)

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Posted 25 November 2014 - 10:28 PM

Yes, you should be able to do that without an issue.

 

And if you should definitely use the links that otispresley provided, if you want SMART data for the drives that you pass through to the VM.


Christopher Courtney

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Microsoft MVP for Windows Home Server 2009-2012

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This is my server

 

Lots of "Other" data on your pool? Read about what it is here.


#12 otispresley

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Posted 25 November 2014 - 10:30 PM

Thanks for the great information. Just so I understand correctly, I am able to install esxi 5.5 on a 1 TB hard drive and use the rest of the available drive "datastore" to create my virtual OS's and run them?

 

Yes, you can do that, but performance will become quite slow once you get around 3 or more VMs on there due to the increased competition for storage resources against that disk, unless you use an SSD.  You can try and see how you like it.  If you do decide to later switch to a RAID or SSD for your virtual machines, then just shutdown your VMs, remove the VMs from the inventory, move the folders and files to another datastore, and then add them (using the VMX files) back to the inventory.



#13 Christopher (Drashna)

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Posted 25 November 2014 - 10:35 PM

Otispresley is absolutely correct here.

 

If you're hosting multiple VMs on the same HDD, you will absolutely see a hit in performance for each VM you run off of the same drive. It has a limited bandwidth, and HDDs are much slower. 

 

 

And setting it up correctly the first time is a better idea. Less issues in the long run.


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This is my server

 

Lots of "Other" data on your pool? Read about what it is here.


#14 Bigsease30

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Posted 25 November 2014 - 11:56 PM

Thanks for the help guys. I am only planning on installing 2012 r2 essentials for my shares (drivepool) and pc backups and probably freenas or equivalent to backup my wife and daughters mac through time machine.



#15 Bigsease30

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Posted 26 November 2014 - 12:35 AM

Thanks for the help guys. I am only planning on installing 2012 r2 essentials for my shares (drivepool) and pc backups and probably freenas or equivalent to backup my wife and daughters mac through time machine.

 

I could always install Freenas to an internal usb id esxi allows that?



#16 otispresley

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Posted 26 November 2014 - 01:27 AM

I could always install Freenas to an internal usb id esxi allows that?

 

ESXi unfortunately does not support USB drives.  There is a very limited set of USB devices that it supports for passthrough.  You can install ESXi itself onto a USB device.



#17 Bigsease30

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Posted 26 November 2014 - 01:32 AM

ESXi unfortunately does not support USB drives.  There is a very limited set of USB devices that it supports for passthrough.  You can install ESXi itself onto a USB device.

 

What would you do?

 

1) install esxi on the HD then create w2102e and freenas on the same drive, or

2) install esxi on a USB then create w2102e and freenas on the same drive by themselves?



#18 otispresley

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Posted 26 November 2014 - 02:48 AM

What would you do?

 

1) install esxi on the HD then create w2102e and freenas on the same drive, or

2) install esxi on a USB then create w2102e and freenas on the same drive by themselves?

 

I always prefer to have the OS and applications on separate drives, so I would do #2.  You will get the best performance that way.



#19 Christopher (Drashna)

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Posted 26 November 2014 - 04:20 AM

Personally, I'd go with #1, but use a SSD rather than a HDD.

 

That is unless, it's a USB3 flash drive.


Christopher Courtney

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This is my server

 

Lots of "Other" data on your pool? Read about what it is here.


#20 otispresley

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Posted 26 November 2014 - 01:52 PM

Personally, I'd go with #1, but use a SSD rather than a HDD.

 

That is unless, it's a USB3 flash drive.

 

The speed of the USB stick really doesn't matter much with ESXi, because it loads everything into memory during boot.  It will take some time to boot either way, but the system will perform exactly the same once it is up and running.






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