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Unread 05-18-2007, 04:43 PM   #1
superrican
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Default picked up a free computer

well i was at work and saw this Huge computer , and my boss said i could have it , turns out to be a IBM Netfinity 5600 , server computer , it has allllllllllllllll types of room for anything , 3 HUGE fans , and hot swap hardrives of 4 , 100 gig ibm hardrives , and crazy expansion slots , 3 psu's , i guess it seems to be a little old seeing that it has a Pentium 3 .......WOULd this be anygood to me? or could i make a cool project out of it .......
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Unread 05-19-2007, 01:55 PM   #2
superrican
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Default Re: picked up a free computer

nobody?
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Unread 05-20-2007, 03:25 PM   #3
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Default Re: picked up a free computer

Plenty of projects.

I'd set it up as a Linux Server, and use it as a file server, and/or print server (among other things).

Always a fun project.
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Unread 05-20-2007, 07:36 PM   #4
jaydee
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Default Re: picked up a free computer

I was thinking a linux file server also but then again you can get a 500gig harddrive for $100usd these days. Makes having an entire power hungry server with 4 100gig drives seem a little excessive.
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Unread 05-27-2007, 12:38 PM   #5
blue68f100
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Default Re: picked up a free computer

It would make a good NAS box, look at FreeNAS it's getting better.
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1 Snap 4500 - 1.0T (4 x 250gig WD2500SB RE), Raid5,
1 Snap 4500 - 1.6T (4 x 400gig Seagates), Raid5,
1 Snap 4200 - 4.0T (4 x 2gig Seagates), Raid5, Using SATA converts from Andy

Link to SnapOS FAQ's http://forums.procooling.com/vbb/showthread.php?t=13820
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Unread 05-31-2007, 09:05 AM   #6
Brians256
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Default Re: picked up a free computer

I got a computer like that too. It was a dual P3 server with SCSI RAID, dual power supplies for redundancies, hot-swap hard drive cases, etc... You could do what I did.

It was loud as a vacuum cleaner. So, I threw the innards out and put in modern stuff. I have an ASRock (cheap) 939 mobo with 1GB of RAM, an S3 PCI (yes, PCI) VGA card, and then I started to get excited and spend money. I put a 3Ware 9590SE-8ML SATA RAID card in there (4-lane PCI-Express), added 4 750GB SATA drives to it (I later added two more), 3 500GB PATA drives, and then got it booting from a disposable 120GB drive. Oh, and I used an old 400W sparkle PSU instead of the redundant PSUs that were in there, because they were only 300W. Running Windows Server 2003, it's not bad as a place to hold all my DVDs (bought and ripped to avoid fingerprints, scratches and peanut butter globs from teh kids). 5TB FTW!

I'd rather run FreeBSD or Linux, but never got around to it, and, well ... it works now. Changing it just requires me to, erm , do stuff instead of watching those movies or playing with the kids.

NOTES

1) OCE (Online Capacity Expansion) simply rocks. Slow as molasses, but incredibly useful. I've done it twice to go from about 2TB to 3.5TB on my RAID controller.

2) Auto-carving is also wonderful. Having the RAID controller present a huge 3.5TB RAID-5 array as 2TB chunks was nice. In retrospect, I'm half inclined to goto GPT partitions to have the whole array as a single drive. But, that'd make it hard to migrate to FreeBSD/Linux sometime later. The jury is still out.

3) RAID-5 makes me feel better.

4) Cooling 11 drives (including DVD) is requires quite a bit of airflow, and so the server is definitely not quiet.

5) A 400W power supply is actually inadequate to boot this server! For a cold boot, I have to depower my half of my RAID array drives, let the others spin up, and then let the other half spin up. Otherwise, I trip the overcurrent protection in my power supply. At least I know it now works.

6) Having that many drives is actually a pain to cable for power. I had to use splitters, and that makes me uncomfortable.

7) Having that many drives is normally hard to cable for I/O but SATA makes it easier. I also needed 1m cables, not your normal 0.5m cables, since the drives are in the other half of the server case. The breakout cables used by 3ware are particularly nice in that they click into the 3ware card with a single connector serving 4 SATA drives. A breakout cable thus goes from one 3ware connector to 4 SATA drives.

8) The iStar drive enclosures are good. I have two: one from the local Fry's and another from newegg to save me a 1h drive (30 min each way) and the horrible temptation to buy more stuff once I walk into the Fry's door. iStar enclosures at NewEgg These enclosures hold 4 SATA drives in the place of 3 drive bays and allow hot swapping. I only use the hot-swapping ability (now) to turn power off on half of my drives during the boot process. Yes, I need a bigger power supply.
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Unread 05-31-2007, 09:10 AM   #7
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Default Re: picked up a free computer

Oh, by slow OCE, I mean 3 days of slow. To add a single 750GB drive to the RAID-5 array, it took me either 2.5 days or 3 days to complete.
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Unread 05-31-2007, 09:18 AM   #8
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Default Re: picked up a free computer

Oh, and NO I don't backup. RAID-5 is not a backup solution, I know it, and I don't care. The server IS my backup, since those DVDs are in my attic.

Also, I get the impression that my 3ware controller isn't all that fast although I'm not sure why that is the case. It takes a long time to move 1TB of data from one spot on the RAID-5 array to another (I was moving stuff from one auto-carved chunk to the other). It took about 2-4Hrs to do so. I know that that's something on the order of 70-140MB/s but it just seems slow because the drive lights didn't stay on continuously. It looks like the bottleneck is the CPU or the 3ware controller not the drives.
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Unread 06-03-2007, 01:10 PM   #9
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Default Re: picked up a free computer

Nice work Brian! I've been looking into building a NAS or a file server, I haven't decided which way to go yet. For the sake of cost, I'm opting for an array of IDE drives, Raid 5. It's probably gonna be experimental, until I get something serious going . I've been eying 3ware 8-port IDE controllers.


A "serious" solution would use an Adaptec scsi controller.
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Unread 06-04-2007, 02:13 PM   #10
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Default Re: picked up a free computer

According to my research and the IT guys at work, both IDE and SCSI are not good solutions. If you want better performance, go with 10K RPM SAS drive array. If you want higher reliability, go with RAID-6 or RAID-10 arrays with SATA drives for better reliability at less price.

SCSI is overpriced for marginal reliability improvements of the array (individual drives will be better, of course). IDE is a dying standard with inferior cabling.

The sweet spot price/GB of drives seems to be 320GB to 500GB. I bought 750GB drives because I know that the 750GB drives will come down in price and if I went with 250GB or 500GB drives, I would have had to go with a more expensive RAID card, a bigger power supply, a larger case, etc... just to get the same capacity. As it stands, I can probably add another 8-port 3ware card and have the array span the two cards.

For a low-end NAS, just get a mobo and run FreeNAS to do RAID on the built-in IDE or SATA ports. However, unless you are determined to use drives already in your possession, why wouldn't you buy SATA?
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Unread 06-05-2007, 02:08 PM   #11
nuclear
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Default Re: picked up a free computer

Btw, SAS is scsi. it's using the new sata cable but the protocol is scsi-3, same as fibre channel.
also, you could buy a sas controller (they are faster and have more cache) and run sata hd off it
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Unread 06-05-2007, 05:02 PM   #12
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Default Re: picked up a free computer

Sorry BB2k and nuclear. Yes, I know that SAS is actually Serial Attached SCSI, but I was just being lazy in my language. What I meant was the "old" SCSI. I just didn't want anyone to think that ribbon-cable SCSI was a "serious" solution anymore.

SAS is a very nice interface, but it is so expensive that it scarcely seems meaningful unless extreme performance or 6-sigma uptime is your goal. The 3ware controller was a good set of features for me. It was the cheapest good quality controller (i.e. not Rocket) that had OCE, SATA support for more than 4 drives and support for more than 2TB. SAS is great for a cluster of VM servers though. We use it here at work and it definitely helps. Migrating a server image is ever so smooth with the SAS array.

Areca's line of RAID controllers looked good too, but there seemed to be a lot of complaints about poor compatibility and poor customer support. If the Areca worked, it seemed to be faster than the 3ware. I was just afraid it wouldn't work on a non-server mobo and couldn't find a lot of anecdotal reports of "it worked on <X> mobo". Both 3ware and Areca don't do well in supporting every mobo in existence, which makes business sense. How many people are silly enough to put 5TB server in the garage? Most "extreme" consumers put a 1TB Buffalo NAS in the closet or under the desk and call it good. 3ware and Areca do well to cater to the small to mid-size businesses.
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Unread 06-07-2007, 06:07 PM   #13
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Default Re: picked up a free computer

Hum... seeing that I'm really just playing around, for now, I'm looking at eBay lots of 40 to 80 GB IDE drives (quantities vary, up to 20), and an 8 IDE channel controller.

I don't believe the hype about raid above 5, but I guess that's because I don't fully understand the purpose of doing anything above raid 5. To me, raid 5 is reliable and recoverable, and anything above would only add reliability, beyond what I would need or expect.

I'm going to try this array on an Ubuntu server, before I port it over as a NAS. Much work to do... will report results later. I'm still strugling with my linux firewall/gateway.
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Unread 06-14-2007, 10:19 AM   #14
satanicoo
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Default Re: picked up a free computer

Can you breefly explain why normal SCSI is that bad compared to Serial atached SCSI?
320mb SCSI card are, in my humble opinion, more than enought for the speed of the HDDs of today market, why pay the premium and go higher? I am asking performance and reliable wise only.
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Unread 06-18-2007, 06:29 AM   #15
Brians256
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Default Re: picked up a free computer

Older U-SCSI isn't bad, it merely suffers from techno-age. There are two consequences for being out of date, though. First, the parts get more expensive than they used to be instead of getting cheaper. Second, there exists another standard that is "better" (in this case, faster).

If you want to have higher performance than 320MB SCSI, you can get faster throughput by using SATA array. The newer SATA drives are faster on latency and throughput, and the cmd queuing and other SCSI advantages aren't quite good enough to catch up. Also, the SATA-2 standard is 300Mbps per drive, not an aggregate 320Mbps per cable of up to 7 drives.

If you want more reliability, then (to me) having RAID-6 with cheap and (most importantly) easily available drives is wonderful. The key here is cheap and easily available. The older SCSI drives just aren't as easy to find. Being able to get a replacement drive for my array within 40 minutes is very convenient (local stores carry SATA drives but no one locally carries SCSI drives any more). No standard can prevent failures, but RAID-6 makes failures very unlikely to be serious and SATA makes the failures easy to deal with.

Those are my opinions. Real IT people will certainly have more info and may have different criteria.
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Unread 06-18-2007, 01:54 PM   #16
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Default Re: picked up a free computer

Something that I didn't mention, but probably should have, is that the SCSI and next-gen SAS do is greatly improve multi-tasking throughput. For an I/O intensive server, SCSI/SAS do help quite a bit on the pseudo-random I/O presented by multiple threads of execution. This was not a benefit to me, since I just want a huge bag-o-bits to hold my movies with some extra reliability.

I don't even benefit from the higher throughput available with my RAID array, since all I need is 10-20Mbps (or about 2.6 MB/sec) to easily satisfy remote play of DVDs. The array can saturate the gigabit ethernet switch that I have installed, but I don't need much more than 1-3% of it. My maximum load scenario is ripping a DVD while I watch another DVD in another room. If the pre-built NAS boxen had supported 8 drives and OCE (online capacity expansion), I'd have used one of them, since the 3ware card is total overkill for my performance needs. The cheaper RAID cards didn't do OCE.
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Unread 06-28-2007, 09:29 PM   #17
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Default Re: picked up a free computer

Ok so a colleague of mine needed to part with 3 SCSI controllers and a stack of HDDs, so I now present:
Ghetto-Raid!
(still in test)
Attached Images
File Type: jpg IM002742.JPG (144.7 KB, 21 views)
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Unread 06-29-2007, 02:11 PM   #18
jaydee
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Default Re: picked up a free computer

Nice HDD rack!
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Unread 06-29-2007, 02:41 PM   #19
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Default Re: picked up a free computer

Quote:
Originally Posted by BigBen2K
(still in test)
Big Ben is IN the house. Be afraid.

How many hard drives? Which models? Which model controllers? Any preliminary results? (feels slow/fast/KNOCKS_MY_SOCKS_OFF)?
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Unread 07-01-2007, 05:49 PM   #20
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Default Re: picked up a free computer

Actually, the array won't recognize the drives.

One of the controllers is an Adaptec 2944W, and I started out with 3 HP (Seagate) 9.1 GB drives. I have the Ctrl-A option on startup, but the Disk Utility (to format the drives) fails, with error: "Unexpected timeout" while scanning for scsi device #0. I can't get past it right now.

I turned on bus mastering in Bios, but no effect.

I have a 2940UW to try next.

I haven't played with SCSI in 10 years, so confidence is low. Adaptec manuals are no longer on the site, except for a basic 14 page installation guide, that any monkey could follow blindly.

I've had to put an adapter on the drives, to connect them to the 68 pin connectors on the cable (that's the green board visible on the pics), most of these scsi drives have an 80 pin connector, originally. These boards also allow me to assign a scsi address, with jumpers. I first tried #1,2 and 3, then I switched to 0,1 and 2, then I tried one drive (only) with address #0, but I still get the same message above. I tried changing the controller address from default of 7 to 15, no effect.

The cable I'm using *appears* to have a terminator built at the end of it. I've got other cables to try.

I also have 13 other drives, most of which are 9.1 (a few are 18 GB). Most have the 80 pin connector, some have the 68 pin. They're either Seagate (some HP), IBM or Western Digital. (One of the drives was a Seagate 18 GB Fiber Channel )

Next I'm going to try the 2940uw, and possibly one of the drives with an original 68 pin connector. I also have a real Adaptec cable.

The third controller is an old HP Netraid (with three scsi channels, can do raid 50, has onboard ram slots), but won't fit in this computer, because it's too long. The PC I'm using is an old Compaq Despro, EN series, P2 - 350, SFF (Small Form Factor, aka tiny desktop case) with 256 MB ram. I'm avoiding testing these controller and drives on my main computer, because I don't want the downtime right now (looking at the picture, waddya think I've been doing for the past 6 months? ).


Rigging up drives like this isn't something I'd recommend: the bottom drive is sitting on top of the PSU, but the other two get no ventilation/cooling, and heat up nicely. Ok for testing, but I wouldn't run them any longer than I have to. The drives get hot enough to where I can't hold on to them for more than a few seconds.
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Unread 07-03-2007, 04:35 PM   #21
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Default Re: picked up a free computer

The 2944W was dead: swapping the 2940UW in, I was able to format my first drive.

Next, I gotta see if I can cram the HP NetRaid card into this Small Form Factor case (maybe if I rip out the floppy ).

Otherwise I confirmed that the 2940/2944 are not Raid capable (hardware), so I'm gonna focus on the NetRaid card now, which can do raid 0,1,3,5,10, 30 and more importantly: 50 (i.e. three channels each running at raid 5, setup as raid 0.).

These old controllers typically sell for $10 on EBay, and these 9.1 GB drives can be had for ~$5 ea. Using drives that old (manuf 1997 to 2000) brings up reliability issues, so I'm making sure that Raid 5 is up first.

The HP Netraid card is "hot spare" and "hot swap" capable. It also has SNMP capability, to monitor drives failures.

I'm probably going to use this for a small MySQL server, on the internal side of my home network (I've got a data repository software to test).

Oh yeah, I put the drives in a couple of drive cages, removed out of my old case. I'll mount a couple of fans on them.
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