5 TB server

Modulok modulok at gmail.com
Fri Nov 28 10:38:38 PST 2008

On 11/28/08, Valentin Bud <valentin.bud at gmail.com> wrote:
> Hello community,
>  I have to come up with a solution for a company that has as we speak
> 4 TB of data spread among 3 computers with lots of HDDs. Of course
> i've recommend
> them to buy a server for that storage capacity and for data organization.
>  I thought of going on the ZFS way (on FreeBSD of course) with some
> raidz. One of the problems
> is that the server will stay in their office so it has to be quite silent.
>  I honestly don't know what hardware to look for so if you have any
> suggestions
> i'm more than open to hear them.
> a great day,
> v

I'm not sure what kind of fans everyone here is running, with all
these complaints about noise...

For a single server sitting in an office, use a regular desktop case
with some good 12cm fans. Get a few fan-speed-controllers to reduce
the RPMs a little and you can have a computer with several disks in it
that is damn near silent, even when it is sitting right next to you.
Put a good power supply unit, with a slow 14cm fan in it and you can't
hear the computer at all. As far as heat goes, a well ventilated
aluminum desktop case disperses heat very, very well, permitting the
reduction of fan speed.

I have a server built this way sitting not 2 feet from me, which
contains 5 hard drives providing 24/7 file storage via samba for the
entire local area network, and unless one puts their ear against the
case, it's difficult to tell if it is even running...even under heavy
load. (This is in a quiet room.) As far as heat goes, the case blows
out room temperature air and all components are cold to the touch.
Built for around...$800-$900 USD. (I'm not exactly sure on the figure,
as some components have been upgraded over the years.)

Case: Lian Li PC-7B Plus II ATX Mid Tower. Best case ever. Cheap.
Simple. Roomy. Very well ventilated. I now personally own 4 of these
cases. No regrets.  Ditch the factory fans though. Replace them with a
few Zalman 12cm fans. These usually come with a resistor so you can
reduce the fan speed (and noise).

Processor: Whatever. I went with a cheap dual core Opteron at the time.
Board: I usually stick with Tyan. whatever fits your processor, your
budget and provides you with enough SATA headers. For a simple file
server, stick with a lower-end single-socket board. Unless you plan to
do some serious number crunching or have a lot of money to spend, you
don't need the extra processors sitting around doing nothing, with
their fans making noise.

Memory: Start with a few (say 2) gigs, it's cheap.
Power Supply Unit: I've had good luck with Thermaltake W0144 Purepower
RX. They use 14cm fans which are silent, but move a lot of air and
I've had zero problems with them. The ability to only plugin the power
components you require helps maintain good airflow in the case.

Network: Not all network cards are created equal! Go with one (or two)
PCI Intel network cards. If it's based on the Intel PRO/1000GT, it
will be supported by the em(4) driver on FreeBSD. I use the Intel
PWLA8391GT. Zero problems.

As far as hard drives go, I've found recently that Western Digital
drives are quite silent, even under heavy read/writes, but I haven't
tried Seagate or any of the other major drive manufacturers in a long
time, so they may be about the same.

With a little work, your goal of a silent, high-capacity server is
quite attainable. It can be pretty cheap to build too.

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