Koozali.org formerly Contribs.org

Preferred Hardware for Server 10 & 9, Rack Server, Regular Server, Workstati

It seems to have been a few years since discussion of hardware and I would like to here what the experts have to say, not for the minimum but for reasonable or perhaps levels of reliability.

I would like to replace a Rsynced backup unit with something as capable as the original or better so the day I need it, it will reliably do the job.

It seems there is a lot of used hardware out there so my thought is to use either inexpensive Server or Workstation hardware which typically includes ECC Error Correcting RAM. Maybe dual Power Supplies, etc. and if a Rack Server I assume you can have 1 plus maybe a rsync backup & or a test unit  so you are not ruining your day to day operations in a smaller space.

Do you recommend a rack server sysle. If you have a Rack server, what do you recommend to watch out for? SATA vs SAS drives (does SAS even work with a contribs.org server)
Would something like this be good

 http://www.ebay.ca/itm/1U-140W-Low-Power-Web-Host-Server-Intel-Xeon-Quad-Core-16GB-1TB-SATA-4x-1GBE-LAN/142499589410?ssPageName=STRK%3AMEBIDX%3AIT&_trksid=p2055119.m1438.l2649 or overkill.

RAM, what amount is efficient and at what point does it become wasted ? My current unit has 4 Gigs

Processor and processor cores, whats enough and enough speed and what's overkill to provide email, a web site and do all the the antivirus checking.

Drives, as I am currently at a Terabyte of graphics data I have 2 Terabyte mirrored Western Digital Black 5 year warranted drives but how does mirroring compare to 4 or more drives?

Computer Power supplies, I only have 1 in any computer I've ever purchased but can version 10 or 9 support redundant power supplies if the used device I buy happens to have them?

Thanks,

Ken Graham
 

Offline hfwang

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    • Koozali SME Server
What is the relevance to SME Server please? What do you want SME Server to do for you?
As for the recommendations on hardware, please see the HW compatibility list of RedHAT.

Offline ReetP

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First thing is what level of use are you expecting ? Users/traffic/data ? Check the wiki for some typical usage/hardware requirements.

If it is a backup server then you requirements are pretty low most likely. If you you use affa with it's amazing rise feature it can become your replacement server but you would need to consider whether it has the grunt to replace you main system.

Get a rack. You'll never go back :-) Although racks can have their own issues (internal cooling etc) you can lob all your kit in to a nice tidy box.

Drives would be immaterial if you use the server hardware RAID card which you would get in a decent server (I'm talking a DECENT card, not some fakeraid type of thing). SAS being better than SATA, but pricier :-)

I'd also look at RAID types. As drives get ever larger you need to consider the probability of failure during a rebuild - it's an issue that is getting more and more problematic. Personally I'd prefer a whole bunch of small drives in a RAID 6 or 60 over a 2 big drive mirror (though you can do a 3 drive mirror in SME so in event of failure of one drive you still have a pair which reduces the rebuild problems). Slower write speeds, but good security in event of failures.

RAM - depends on usage. Processor/cores too.

Power supplies - SME would know nothing about them as they are usually controlled by the server firmware. If you use HP kit then you can get SME to inquire the status and report accordingly etc etc. Other manufacturers probably have their own systems for doing this.

So in essence, state exactly what you are trying to do (as it isn't very clear) and for how many  people/work, and maybe we can help some more.

B. Rgds
John
...
1. Read the Manual
2. Read the Wiki
3. Don't ask for support on Unsupported versions

Bugs are easier than you think: http://wiki.contribs.org/Bugzilla_Help

If you love SME and don't want to lose it, join in: http://wiki.contribs.org/Koozali_Foundation

Offline DanB35

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    • http://www.familybrown.org
Drives would be immaterial if you use the server hardware RAID card which you would get in a decent server (I'm talking a DECENT card, not some fakeraid type of thing).
It would be better yet if SME supported ZFS, but Grub booting from it is still a little dicey as I understand.
......

First thing is what level of use are you expecting ? Users/traffic/data ? Check the wiki for some typical usage/hardware requirements.

If it is a backup server then you requirements are pretty low most likely. If you you use affa with it's amazing rise feature it can become your replacement server but you would need to consider whether it has the grunt to replace you main system.

Get a rack. You'll never go back :-) Although racks can have their own issues (internal cooling etc) you can lob all your kit in to a nice tidy box.

Drives would be immaterial if you use the server hardware RAID card which you would get in a decent server (I'm talking a DECENT card, not some fakeraid type of thing). SAS being better than SATA, but pricier :-)

I'd also look at RAID types. As drives get ever larger you need to consider the probability of failure during a rebuild - it's an issue that is getting more and more problematic. Personally I'd prefer a whole bunch of small drives in a RAID 6 or 60 over a 2 big drive mirror (though you can do a 3 drive mirror in SME so in event of failure of one drive you still have a pair which reduces the rebuild problems). Slower write speeds, but good security in event of failures.

RAM - depends on usage. Processor/cores too.

Power supplies - SME would know nothing about them as they are usually controlled by the server firmware. If you use HP kit then you can get SME to inquire the status and report accordingly etc etc. Other manufacturers probably have their own systems for doing this.

So in essence, state exactly what you are trying to do (as it isn't very clear) and for how many  people/work, and maybe we can help some more.

B. Rgds
John

1st my apologies, I probably should have put this question in general discussion in case a moderator wants to move it, but with every advance on SME server one wonders if the previous requirements are obsolete and I thought perhaps the Wiki needed updating for the different levels?

Your advice John looks logical, I will be more specific of my case. We are a 3 person print shop down from 5, but multiple computers and individual RIPs for the print devices.
Files are kept mostly forever for potential re-runs and upgrades thus we have a Terabyte of Data and growing.

Quickbooks appears to need a NTFS file system to run so that is used at a workstation but backups are to the SME server

We've hosted our main website remotely but our email and part of our web identity is on our SME server. Specifically we use Soupermail which shows a web page for the SME server where users can upload large files to us and it conveniently arrives as a email, of course we have to have our email parameters opened up to receive large emails. However the abiltiy to also send large files and remove old files would be nice. Currently I upload to the web server and provide precise subdirectory name, the problem is to remember to delete later. I see a program at http://zend.to that looks promising - I don't suppose any one has already set something of this nature up and has recommendations?

Our Current server is a  HP Proliant, 4 core about 2.6 or 3 Ghz with 4 gigs of RAM. In the BIOS it is set for high speed use as other wise backups take too long. We use Winrar as I found the DAR could not show a file if one wanted to browse and restore a single file when there is this much data.

What I think I will do as a result of your recommendations John is to

1. Get a Rack Server for the shop equal or better than current and take the current one home to be used as a Affa backup.

2. Add a 3rd drive to the current HP and consider 3 drives for the replacement system.  I will inquire of hardware RAID, I was thinking SATA drives as SAS seems to be for 15k drive speeds and for us 7200 has been fine.

Any recommendations on a rack server given our current one is working with 4 gigs of RAM. I had linked to a small one in the 1st message. Here is a larger one with 8 bays and 48 gigs of  ram which would handle RAID 6 allowing lots of expansion

http://www.ebay.ca/itm/1U-Supermicro-8-Bay-2-5-4-Nic-Server-X8DTI-LN4F-2x-Xeon-Low-Power-Hex-Core-48GB/132319676355?_trkparms=aid%3D222007%26algo%3DSIM.MBE%26ao%3D2%26asc%3D20170831090034%26meid%3D9eb260451c2646c885d0fe68eba466cd%26pid%3D100005%26rk%3D3%26rkt%3D6%26sd%3D142499589410&_trksid=p2047675.c100005.m1851











Offline ReetP

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1st my apologies, I probably should have put this question in general discussion in case a moderator wants to move it, but with every advance on SME server one wonders if the previous requirements are obsolete and I thought perhaps the Wiki needed updating for the different levels?

Nope - sensible question

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Your advice John looks logical, I will be more specific of my case. We are a 3 person print shop down from 5, but multiple computers and individual RIPs for the print devices.

Files are kept mostly forever for potential re-runs and upgrades thus we have a Terabyte of Data and growing.

Yup - we do promotional merchandise so I get the issue of large artwork files for customers :-)


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Quickbooks appears to need a NTFS file system to run so that is used at a workstation but backups are to the SME server

We used to be dependent on Sage, but I moved to using Freeagent/Iris https://www.freeagent.com/ No more dependence on Windoze :-)

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We've hosted our main website remotely but our email and part of our web identity is on our SME server. Specifically we use Soupermail which shows a web page for the SME server where users can upload large files to us and it conveniently arrives as a email, of course we have to have our email parameters opened up to receive large emails. However the abiltiy to also send large files and remove old files would be nice. Currently I upload to the web server and provide precise subdirectory name, the problem is to remember to delete later. I see a program at http://zend.to that looks promising - I don't suppose any one has already set something of this nature up and has recommendations?

Because I have a couple of different sites (we live in Spain but the company is still based in the UK with employees there) when we moved I moved my mail and CRM off site to a server with online.net For large mails we use the DL contrib which works very well https://wiki.contribs.org/DownloadTicketService

We also use Pydio occasionally.

However, all the files that are received by whatever means are brought down to a local server for storage (i.e. no files are permanently stored online). I then use unison to sync the file servers between here and the UK (just a FYI - not something you would need to do)

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Our Current server is a  HP Proliant, 4 core about 2.6 or 3 Ghz with 4 gigs of RAM. In the BIOS it is set for high speed use as other wise backups take too long. We use Winrar as I found the DAR could not show a file if one wanted to browse and restore a single file when there is this much data.

Sounds like a ML310 or similar then ? Probably for most of your work that's probably fine - chuck in a bit more RAM will help. You can never have too much !
I have a ML310 G5 tower here in Spain running Proxmox with a couple of VMs but am going to upgrade to a rack shortly (I have gone over to using all VMs rather than real instances these days - apart from the 2 affa backups server which are real boxes)

I run a USB backup for extra security, but it is slow and a pain. Affa is great to pick out and restore odd files if required (depending on how much you archive).

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What I think I will do as a result of your recommendations John is to

1. Get a Rack Server for the shop equal or better than current and take the current one home to be used as a Affa backup.

Yup - I will do the same here, and have done exactly that in the UK. Getting a better machine is not hard !

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2. Add a 3rd drive to the current HP and consider 3 drives for the replacement system.  I will inquire of hardware RAID, I was thinking SATA drives as SAS seems to be for 15k drive speeds and for us 7200 has been fine.

If it is just for affa then that's probably fine for your affa backup box. If you are going to upgrade to a rack server then take a serious look at a larger array of smaller disks. As you are running lots of large files look at network speed, RAID throughput and disk speed.

Check some stuff on SATA vs SAS - you don't need to get the highest speed SAS drives.

http://www.turbotekcomputer.com/resources/small-business-it-blog/bid/57900/SATA-vs-SAS-What-is-the-difference

Plenty more on the subject out there.

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Any recommendations on a rack server given our current one is working with 4 gigs of RAM. I had linked to a small one in the 1st message. Here is a larger one with 8 bays and 48 gigs of  ram which would handle RAID 6 allowing lots of expansion

I always go for decent 2nd hand kit rather than new..... my requirements aren't high and I don't need brand new.

If you are looking at HP then DL38* boxes are usually good. G6 or G7 depending on your pockets. You can get loads on ebay with shed loads of RAM - just need to add drives. For the UK I got myself a DL 360 G6 with 32Gb RAM for pennies 18 months ago. Awesome in comparison. Just load it up with drives and off you go. For the RAID card make sure you get battery backed write cache - prefer higher RAM in the RAID card, and a spare RAID card AND battery on the shelf. And some spare drives too :-)

The 1U 360 takes less drives than the 2U DL380. And they can be MUCH noisier if that's an issue. To run all 8 drives in a 360 you will need an extra cable to the RAID card.... !

The ONLY real drawback is that HP decided to limit firmware upgrades to people with support contracts only. B*stards.

Dell do some good stuff too, without the firmware limitation, but I am not sure on recommended versions as yet (I will be looking for non HP for my next purchase due to the firmware)

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http://www.ebay.ca/itm/1U-Supermicro-8-Bay-2-5-4-Nic-Server-X8DTI-LN4F-2x-Xeon-Low-Power-Hex-Core-48GB/132319676355?_trkparms=aid%3D222007%26algo%3DSIM.MBE%26ao%3D2%26asc%3D20170831090034%26meid%3D9eb260451c2646c885d0fe68eba466cd%26pid%3D100005%26rk%3D3%26rkt%3D6%26sd%3D142499589410&_trksid=p2047675.c100005.m1851

Supermicro are also very good. That box looks very similar to the DL360 with 8 x 2.5" drives. RAID card look good for a choice of RAID levels. I have a little 1U Atom box for my router and it is great. The KVM access is good - no license required for remote console unlike HP.... certainly Supermicro have some good reviews - they hide their light under a bushel ;-)

Not sure on your network, but getting everything over to Gigabit helps.

As a last tip, with 2.5" SAS drives in particular, beware of sellers advertising 'bulk new' drives. If the price seems too good to be true, then it probably is. These are 2nd hand drives repacked and they can then get away on ebay as advertising them as 'new' when in fact they are anything but. Fine if you know what you are buying - I usually get them as emergency spares for the shelf - but don't get lulled into thinking they are brand new !

Hope that helps - ask away.

B. Rgds
John
...
1. Read the Manual
2. Read the Wiki
3. Don't ask for support on Unsupported versions

Bugs are easier than you think: http://wiki.contribs.org/Bugzilla_Help

If you love SME and don't want to lose it, join in: http://wiki.contribs.org/Koozali_Foundation