Home server setup -- whats right for me

Long time watcher of the shows, but new to the forum.
Firstly I hope that it is OK to necropost in this thread.

And secondly. I have been fascinated by this setup and wanted to do a similar setup in my home lab. So wondering if it would be OK to discuss my setup so that I don´t make any big mistakes.

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Better to make a new thread for it.


done, to help @Groaghach out, and it still links to the context of the original post. maybe more useful than only closing an old necro


Great, thank you for the support with setting up the new thread instead. :pray:

My goal is to have something similar to what you created in the YouTube clip “172tb+ Storage Server”.
And I wanted to get your guidance on what to start with so that I don´t buy the wrong stuff or get anything wrong, that will bite me later.

I have scavenged a Dell R510. It isn’t the most powerful machine, but hopefully something that I can start with and grow with for a while before it needs to be replaced. Stats of the Dell R510 that I have:

  • Single E5603 processor
  • 16GB RAM
  • 12 3.5" HDD slots in the front
  • 2 2.5" internal slots
  • Dell PERC H700

For future expansion I also have:

  • Netapp NAJ-0801 / DS4246 with two IOM6 controllers and two PSU´s
  • Netapp NAJ-1001 / DC2246 with two IOM6 controllers and two PSU´s

I was thinking of using the two internal 2.5" slots for TrueNAS (and what is needed to run the machine), and hopefully be able to use the 12 3.5" slots in the front for the first setup before I need to scale out to external disk enclosures.

I know that I would need a card to be able to use the NetApp disk shelves.
And I assume that I will need to replace the Dell PERC H700 with something better.
I still want to use the 12 3.5" slots in the front of the server (unless that is a bad idea).
But what are the best options available?

  • Can I still use the backplane for the 12 3.5" slots?
  • What is the best solution regarding HBA cards to be able to in the future grow into the two NetApp disk shelves? Is there a card that I can use for both the backplane, the two 2.5" internal slots and also for the two NetApps or is it better to have separate cards for each?

And for the future expansion to the NetApps, is there anything that I would need to buy to the disk shelves or anything that should be changed?

So there are a lot of questions.
It isn’t urgent to get this up and running, and it doesn’t need to be perfect before I start up either.
Thankful for all the guidance and support that I can get, and if possible some prioritization of what is most important etc.

  • Single E5603 processor
  • 16gb ram
  • perc h700

tbh, especially since you have the netapps, this is not worth fooling with.

Think of the netapps as enabling you to use any chassis you want… you need not be constrained to an old server/rack.

on a per-core basis any cpu of the last 3 years, even an i3 or a ryzen 3, will be 3-4x the realized ipc of the e series xeons… and faster memory/platform/etc… it’s a no brainer.

an amd 5600g 6 core or whatever you can get for the $200-$300 range with the proper lsi card will absolutely destroy any older stuff because we’ve come so far in a very very short time

Imagine you have a really awesome antique lantern you want to use

but instead of doing that we just put in a lithium polymer battery and a really bright LED…

that’s what we’d be doing putting a newer server in front of those netapp shelves. it doesn’t make economic sense for your power bill or complexity to try to keep the old stuff going when you will need the same cabling and physical interfaces to your netapp shelves when you can use a different platform with a little more longevity than that

ofc you dont get to use the 12 3.5" in the back plane… you only use the netapp shelves… thats fine imho?

and you can use whatever local 2.5 or even 3.5" drives you have for the front-end computer that’s going to run the disk shelves.

one of those gives you dual redundant paths to 2 disk shelves and will work in a pcie 3 x16 slot (make sure it has airflow, you might have to build that!) and the cables to go from that to the netapp are $100ish each. which stings more than anything else in this whole setup.

its like $400 of cables and $400 of literally the entirefront end computer with 32-64gb memory that will run circles around the e5603 and the perc h700 is more headache than the $29 of that lsi controller

I’ve seen surplus actions with i.e. dell x740s which are skylake gen xeons go for $100-$150 w/o ram or drives (but with cpus, usually a pair of bronze or sliver cpus)… you could do that maybe and throw in a $29 lsi card and make out like a bandit


So basically ditch the R510 and start over with finding a new front-end to host TrueNAS.

Is there anything “wrong” with the NetApps, anything that I need to update them with before continuing?

You can do a ton better on perf and power savings with something within the last couple gen of CPUs


So glad that I got your support.
It would have been so much easier to start with the HW that I have, but if that is the wrong way to start the journey with then I am glad that I could get this corrected now.

You can start with what you have, but honestly its just not worth it over the long run if your going to run it 24/7.

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Yes, the plan is for having it running 24/7.
But it will only be a small environment. (he said knowing that it will probably evolve into bigger projects in the future, hence already got the NetApps) :smiley:

A good use for that system might be for a cold storage backup server until you do a 2nd server upgrade. Also assumes you get more disk for having a backup at some point

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Good point @mutation666.

Just realized that I didn’t mention what it was going to be used as, or how big the environment is.
The plan is to start out with TrueNAS and I would like to self host Nextcloud on it as well for storing files.
And the size is only a handful of clients connecting to it. So we aren’t talking about a big company nor super-fast networking (yet).

So basically an overgrown home lab. :joy:

So when searching for a suitable skylake or newer server, would that be:

  • HPE ProLiant Gen 10 and newer
  • Dell PowerEdge R/Tx40 and newer
    (haven´t learnt SuperMicro standards)

As I am not living in the US it is quite smaller market in the EU, with a bit higher prices. At least when checking eBay and adding in the shipping.

Consumer systems will idle lower for sure, I mean you could get x370 + like 1800x /3900x (not sure how much the price difference is) and probably 2x32gb sticks of unbuffered ecc probably decently cheap (could go cheaper on ram but figured if you spend a bit more for 2x32 you can just add more later without having usless sticks)

AM4 gives you upgrade to 5950x at some point

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If you go this route make sure you get a board with bios flashback on it or a cheap cpu to flash the bios

Check the boards website to see if supports ECC (Assuming you want that) most asrock boards do from what I cant ell. I would look for a board with 2 m.2 and 3 full length pcie slots to give you good flexibility. But idk what exactly you are running.

I have a small rack that I want to use, and don’t mind getting hold of reused enterprise hardware. (as long as the hardware isn’t too long for the rack)

You can get a rackmount case for regular motherboards.

But I like when it is built for rack mounting from the beginning, with airflow within the case and components made for it.
And the added comfort of redundant PSU´s etc.

redundant psu = wasted power. Just have a spare on hand if you want short downtime. its not like 1hr tops = you losing money

They also do make ATX dual PSU

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