Random thoughts.... [Tech Edition]

Then you need to make a parts list and link all firmware and drivers to this thread with tips and suggestions to replicate
 
So, I've been thinking about putting up a new homeserver / NAS to replace both the Raspberry Pi that's currently running my HomeAssistant and all related stuff (Zigbee2MQTT, Mosquitto, some other minor scripts for local backups etc) and the aging Qnap 2-bay NAS. Current idea is a mostly silent, all-SSD setup with a low-power SoC mainboard/CPU, since it runs 24/7 and I don't really have any compute-heavy tasks for it - the NAS portion is a data dump, and HA with all its stuff really doesn't produce much load on the system at all. After some research, I think I settled on the following basics:

SoC: Intel N100 on a Mini-ITX board (either ASUS Prime N100I-D D4 or ASRock N100DC-ITX),
RAM: 16GB DDR4, max supported by the chip, should be plenty overkill
Case: Jonsbo N2, see below
PSU: beQuiet! SFX 300W or similar

I really like the look and internal layout of the case:

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It fits up to 5 hot-swappable 3.5" drives (plus a 2.5" system SSD above the PSU) and a single 120mm fan for airflow through them, so kinda perfect for a DIY NAS solution. Mini-ITX board goes on top, it's passively cooled but gets a lot of air around it, and with 6W TDP on the N100 should really not become an issue thermally.

I'll probably initially set it up with a system SSD only and migrate all my HA setup and stuff from the Raspberry Pi, which will then get a new life in another project. And then fill the drive bays with SSDs for some nice, silent, and fast storage.

My only issue right now are, well, SSD prices for storage. Looking at price history graphs, I missed a window of opportunity late last year when the prices dipped, and now they are peaking, with 4TB SATA options starting north of 200€. And I really want to make this a flash-only setup, so that it can live in my living/work room and not make any perceptible noise at all - currently the Qnap had to move in here due to some room re-structuring going on, and I can absolutely hear it over the silent laptop setup while working, which was kind of the whole trigger for this project to get going in the first place. I guess I'll wait it out a little, and eventually bite the bullet and fill at least 3 slots with 4TB SSDs, to get a 8TB RAID5 (or RAIDZ1, not sure whether to go for ZFS...) setup.

Software-wise, candidates are:
- OpenMediaVault - nice and simple, Debian-based so I can do whatever I want with it basically (esp Docker for HA and other stuff), supports all the NAS needs I have out of the box, supports ZFS with plugins if I want it. Downsides - not as big a community as TrueNAS.
- TrueNAS - slightly more involved, enforces ZFS. Supposedly rock-solid. Slightly less flexible in what other stuff I can run in parallel on it, not even sure getting Docker up for HA / Z2M / Mosquitto is even an option here, need to read up some more.
- Ubuntu Server (or any other "naked" Linux distro) - barebones, rock-solid, but would need to DIY the whole NAS setup which I kinda don't feel like doing if it's been done by others already.

Thoughts?
 
In this country at least you're very sadly a few months behind the price floor of the 8TB Samsung QVO, which is what I chose to use in my home server to replace most of the disk array. I hesitated on getting a third one for £250 in the Amazon Black Friday deals, they've never dropped below £300 since.

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The slightly silly price of 2.5" SATA SSDs means that the Corsair MP600 Core XT is still one of the best SSD deals, fortunately/unfortunately it's M.2. Performance beats any 2.5" but as we discussed in my build thread, there's no practical way to adapt M.2 NVMe to SATA.

SSD only is absolutely the way to go, however depending on what you buy I would be careful with any traditional RAID setup, as I understand it stresses SSDs more than necessary and you don't get the best performance out of them. On the basis that RAID isn't a backup I chose to use mine separately. I already had my data split up, so I could use the disks individually without too much trouble. It might not fit your use though and my concerns may be misplaced.
 
I'm not yet sure about RAID, tbh - research is ongoing. RAID5 and 6 appear to be indeed not ideal for SSD usage, but it's been done. Performance impact is not of much concern, the whole setup will be limited by Gigabit ethernet anyway, and I don't plan to use it for applications where random writes of many small files are a concern - in my use case it's a backup / media / etc dump, not a network-attached workspace.

Another alternative is ZFS, which seems to superseed pretty much all that usual RAID arrays offer and add a bunch of advantages on top. With TrueNAS it would come out of the box, with OMV it's also available with a plugin and some added setup work. And it seems to work nicely with SSDs out of the box, by design. Some people recommend only running ZFS with ECC-enabled RAM though because of write caching, which I won't have available on this system - but then others maintain it's not _that_ critical... More research needed to make a decision here, I think.
 
I run a TrueNAS setup as backup and a home media server. I should probably check on it more often but so far it has just worked. I just checked and its current uptime is 406 days.
 
in my use case it's a backup / media / etc dump, not a network-attached workspace
IMHO for this use case you don't need a RAID since RAID just improves availability in case of a drive failure. Your use case is a classic JBOD with regular (!) backups to an external backup target which is offline except for the duration of the backup. With a JBOD you don't have to use the same size of SSDs so you're more flexible in the future.

That said, since I never saw a use case for a NAS at my home I've never really evaluated the different options so I can't comment on which option would be best for you.
 
Your use case is a classic JBOD with regular (!) backups to an external backup target which is offline except for the duration of the backup. With a JBOD you don't have to use the same size of SSDs so you're more flexible in the future.
I guess that's the simplest option, really. I do have a 8TB external drive that can be used as an offline backup - or maybe something like S3 Glacier or Backblaze could be an option, as well. "Drive failure" is indeed the only reason I am considering a RAID here, performance isn't of much relevance.
 
I already had a 3.5" SATA bay in my server machines for my offsite backups, so I just use one of the 8TB HDDs I removed during the SSD upgrade as an on-site but offline backup. Bung it in every week and it gets a copy of the most important data.

I would ultimately like to put it in and power the disk on and off via a timer but I haven't got that far yet, I won't have any free HDD bays until I've retired the last two HDDs and moved that data to SSD.
 
PSA: Don't put an empty SIM card adapter (the bit that's left when you punch the NanoSIM out) in a spring-loaded SIM tray. I did, becuse I have a card I move back and forth between my iPad and mobile router as needed. The router takes an old school mini-SIM while the iPad obviously takes Nano. I didn't want to lose the adapter, so I put it back in the router. It got stuck in the SIM card contacts and wouldn't come out without violence. The router is now a paperweight. A paperweight that boots up nicely but keeps telling me to insert a SIM.

At least a mate sold me a spare router for €10. Yes, a new basic 4G router is €60 or so these days but I juuuust need it often enough that not having one puts me in annoying situations a couple of times a year.
 
PSA: Don't put an empty SIM card adapter (the bit that's left when you punch the NanoSIM out) in a spring-loaded SIM tray. I did, becuse I have a card I move back and forth between my iPad and mobile router as needed. The router takes an old school mini-SIM while the iPad obviously takes Nano. I didn't want to lose the adapter, so I put it back in the router. It got stuck in the SIM card contacts and wouldn't come out without violence. The router is now a paperweight. A paperweight that boots up nicely but keeps telling me to insert a SIM.

At least a mate sold me a spare router for €10. Yes, a new basic 4G router is €60 or so these days but I juuuust need it often enough that not having one puts me in annoying situations a couple of times a year.
Not possible to disassemble? Had something similar happen to a Nokia
 
I have a NAS-related question. As some of you are probably aware of already, I'm running a file server (I'm not sure if it's a true NAS, but I keep referring to it as such) that I built by slightly upgrading my parents' old desktop and throwing a bunch of 6TB HDDs in.

It's finally working reliably *knocks on wood* and as intended. It's a bit on the slower side, but I suppose that's due to the fact I don't have a dedicated PCI(e) NIC in it, and use the motherboard's Ethernet port instead. Maybe the fact it only supports SATA II plays a factor as well, but for now, I'm not planning on upgrading the motherboard, and my current net's still too slow for a 2.5 Gbps NIC to make sense.

But the question I have is, should I let it run all the time or shut it down occasionally? It's running TrueNAS Core, and the HDDs are 3x WD Red Pro WD6003FFBX and 1x Toshiba HDWN160 (that's gonna get upgraded to another WD Red Pro once it's not a problem for me to throw €200 on a HDD). I don't really use it all the time, but I do occasionally find needing it, and then waiting for it to boot up gets tedious. Besides, I've read on the net turning it on and off too often can damage the HDDs (even if I don't do it too often).
 
If the power draw isn't a concern, you would be better leaving it running. Turning on and off can wear the disks more, I used to set my mechanical disks to sleep at night though and never had any problems with doing that for years.

SATA II would be fast enough for mechanical disks if you were just using them as individual disks, if you're running a hardware or software RAID then that's going to eat up some of the bandwidth. SATA III PCIe cards are cheap. What NIC does the machine already have? If it's gigabit already you aren't going to benefit from using a PCIe NIC instead of the onboard one, it would be better to spend the money on the SATA controller. I'm still only using gigabit, at full speed it's fine even for big files.

Something like the Dell PERC H310 I have in mine (which is largely redundant now I've migrated to SSDs and have plans to expand to M.2 with PCIe cards) is cheap used/refurb and gives you up to 8 SATA III ports along with hardware RAID. It will slow down the boot up of the machine, so another reason to leave it running.
 
I'll have to calculate the power draw, but that's my brother's biggest concern. Mine is the longevity of HDDs, as the last one I bought ended up costing me almost €250, lol.

The NIC is a gigabit NIC, the chipset is Qualcomm Atheros Attansic L1E/AR8121 (that's quite a mouthful).

I've looked into SATA III PCIe cards, more specifically the Dell PERC H310. They're around €25 shipped and taxed on eBay, extra €10-€15 if I want the cables too. That is what I found on eBay, and it is shipped from China, which leaves room for a bit of concern, but I guess I should be fine. I would still like to know how to search for those cables specifically, in case I want to order them separately.
 
I'll have to calculate the power draw, but that's my brother's biggest concern. Mine is the longevity of HDDs, as the last one I bought ended up costing me almost €250, lol.
You could buy a power meter, but the cost of that would probably equal to several weeks of this thing running overnight.

That NIC will be fine, keep the money for power or the SATA III controller.

The cables are Mini-SAS to SATA cables, I bought mine separately to the H310, which came out of an old server at work. They work great.
 
I have a HDD connected to my Raspberry Pi for both backing up of pictures and stuff, aswell as for downloading/viewing video.
Given that it's been there since 2015,and I've transferred pretty much every show/movie I've seen since then on and off it, and has never been off. .... you'll be fine.
 
One of my better impulse purchases is this cheap USB wifi adapter I accidentally bought probably over a decade ago.

I have no idea what the specs but it lives in my laptop backpack and comes in handy at least once a year when I’m somewhere doing something and need to get a computer online. Windows supports it out of the box with no bullshittery.

Oh and the box it came in lives behind the plastic insert in my silverware drawer, to make sure the insert stays in place.

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