New Server and NAS


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+Fahim S.

Thinking about replenshing my "servers" (Two very old HP Microserver N40L).  One currently acts as a NAS (running FreeNAS), and the other hosts VMs (mainly Ubuntu) on ESXi, of which some host containers (mainly a K8s platform to experiment with).  Two important VMs are a Windows VM acting as an always-on machine to access the network from externally (via TeamViewer), and an Ubuntu VM running the Ubiqiti Unifi controller.  Other VMs are for experimentation. I also have another NAS which I really need to retire (single disk QNAP from 2008 with a 1TB Samsung disk from the same time).  I have 2x4TB disks to use a storage in "NAS", and would like to run the VMs off SSDs (which I also have). 

 

Options are:

  • Cheap 2 disk NAS + Xeon D server
  • NAS with virtualisation support
  • Prebuilt server to run VMs/containers, and a NAS VM.
  • Build my own

 

Building my own is really a last resort.  I don't really have the time or energy.

For running the VMs, RAM is important.  Not tons but a decent amount (32GB initially) with an option to expand.

 

For a cheap 2 bay NAS, mainly used for just storage but also other tasks (downloads, streaming etc), I've been looking at Synology for these, or a QNAP.

The potential Xeon D server I have been looking at is the Supermicro SuperServer E300 or E302, as this allows expansion through to 256GB.

The NAS with virtualisation support would be something like the QNAP TS-473 but I am not sure about the processor (it does support RAM expansion to 64GB).  I can't find a Synology that fits the requirements and comes in at a decent price.

The prebuilt server would be something like HP Microserver Gen 10 Plus but the memory ceiling is 32GB which isn't very high.  Another option is the Supermicro SuperServer 5029C.

 

A small (physical) footprint is a non-negotiable (no large towers, or rackmounts).  I'd prefer a single box to 2, so long as the concessions weren't too much.  I have an ideal budget of around £1000 for the project (minus any drives, as I have these) but can flex this if I deem it worthwhile.

 

Any opinions as to which way I should go?

 

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  • 3 weeks later...
+Fahim S.

anyone?

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Steven P.

Paging @Fezmid I also asked him to have a look at your requirements :) 

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grunger106

I'm not a fan of attempting to run VMs/Containers on a NAS directly but I've never actually tried it to be honest, but I've always thought it's not really what they are for

 

Your SM boxes look reasonable, the other option you could look at could be a NUC - https://www.scan.co.uk/products/intel-nuc-10-kit-nuc10i7fnh-frost-canyon-core-i7-10710u-ddr4-so-dimm-m2-25-sata-intel-uhd-graphics-b - 64GB limit on them though

You could roll your own NAS with a MS G8 or something, or get a Synology which would be my preference, I'm not a fan of QNAP kit.

NAS+NUC is still a certainly a small footprint. (*Looks as 2x DL360G8 and 2xR230 units in the rack.....*)

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REM2000
32 minutes ago, grunger106 said:

I'm not a fan of attempting to run VMs/Containers on a NAS directly but I've never actually tried it to be honest, but I've always thought it's not really what they are for

 

Your SM boxes look reasonable, the other option you could look at could be a NUC - https://www.scan.co.uk/products/intel-nuc-10-kit-nuc10i7fnh-frost-canyon-core-i7-10710u-ddr4-so-dimm-m2-25-sata-intel-uhd-graphics-b - 64GB limit on them though

You could roll your own NAS with a MS G8 or something, or get a Synology which would be my preference, I'm not a fan of QNAP kit.

NAS+NUC is still a certainly a small footprint. (*Looks as 2x DL360G8 and 2xR230 units in the rack.....*)

 

i agree, you have listed your requirements which seem not to intensive. It's very easy to get caught in the i might want to have 128GB in the future but usually for me anyway, by the time i get to large memory i would upgrade the PC/server. I used to have pretty beefy machines for virtualisation but looking at a lot of the workloads, testing was the hardest (setting up test AD's, Exch etc..) but generally as long as you have the RAM you can do a lot with i7's and i5's.

 

For things like PiHole, linux file servers and other test machines i went with a sff / micro Lenovo PC off ebay, maxed the RAM out to 16GB on an i5 uses barely any electricity, quiet and stays pretty cool. 

 

I do use synology NAS's for storage on my network, again these are quite, cool and very reliable as well as performant. I agree i dont think i would run too many VM's on these as they do only have Pentium/celeron processors. I just leave them to do NAS things and keep the Virtualisation separately. 

 

If you have a need for more memory than say 64GB i can understand the XEON. however as Grunger mentioned you could grab a NUC, theres no reason why you couldnt grab a couple and setup a small cluster to share the workload. 

 

for me in the end the design came down to electricity running costs, noise / heat and then finally RAM and then processing power.

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grunger106

I'd also ditch the TeamViewer method of remote access, much prefer a VPN for remoting back.

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Fezmid

I agree with the memory comment -- you don't really say what you're doing with these VMs/Containers, aside from "experiment" - so chances are you don't need more than 32GB. If you did, you'd know it.  Heck, just a couple of weeks ago I was running 4 or 5 VMs on my Windows 10 desktop -- and I "only" have 32GB there, and still had some left over.

 

I've experimented with running VMs on NAS and honestly, for a small home setup, it's great.  I don't know that I'd do it with a 2-bay NAS, but if you buy a slightly larger one (which gives you more storage as well), I'd have no problem running some purpose-made containers if you need them.  Check out the "Virtualization" section on my review here:

https://www.neowin.net/news/review-of-synologys-ds1517-five-drives-for-all-your-server-and-storage-needs/

 

Or this review of the (old) QNAP TS-451 here:

https://www.neowin.net/news/qnap-ts451-review-storage-and-virtualization-in-one/

 

(Steve, the images are broken in the 2nd link!!! :( ).

 

Now if you want to play with building your own K8s cluster, then you'd probably want a server as opposed to running a bunch of virtual machines and then K8s on top of that.  I loved the old HP Microserver I worked with, that'd be great for your instance.  If space is at a premium, you could look at Antsle too. I have no first-hand experience with them, but their servers sound kind of cool, and fit into your budget.

https://antsle.com/buy/#0

 

You should also look into buying a NAS with more than 2 bays (because they don't cost that much more), and you can then use it to share iSCSI out to your server to do virtualization with ESXi, etc.  That way you don't need to buy extra disk for your server, all of the main disk lives in the NAS.

 

I also second the VPN >> TeamViewer comment, and the VPN can easily run on the NAS... or the router... or pretty much anywhere you want it to, but it doesn't require a Windows server in that case, which saves you resources.

 

My 2 cents, anyway.

 

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