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Looking for Home Server Recommendations


I am doing a little bit of pre-planning and info gathering for some upgrades and consolidation of my server setup. With this I am looking to replace my main storage server, VM server, try to reduce power usage and not completely drain my bank account.

My current setup is:

1x QNAP TS-1679u-rp in raid 6 with a hot spare. Most of the drives are 4tb with 2 8tb to replace failed drives. This is my primary storage server

1x Ryzen 2700x with 32gb ram, a few spinning rust and 3 NVME. This is one of my ESXI servers, which is “working” but is not the way I would like it due to lack of support for consumer hardware. I have most of my VMs on this machine it includes a Plex Media Server, Docker server, domain controller, backup server and download server.

1x Some old hp desktop with 24gb ram running ESXI for few VMs that are not critical to my network.

4x raspberrypi running various things.

Several Switches, access points and personal machines that will not be part of the change other than maybe adding in some 10g support.

My thoughts right now are to combined by Hypervisor and Storage server into one box possibly putting something like FreeNas or UNRAID on a VM and passing an HBA into the VM with a smaller number of high capacity drives match my current NAS while keeping my power lower. So with that being said maybe using a 16-24 core threadripper in maybe 12-24 bay chassis or there is the option of doing a smaller chassis and grabbing a DiskShelf but my guess is that will come at a higher power usage.

As a side note on why I am replacing the storage server. I am looking for something that is easy to expand the storage without having to replace every drive, cut down on the number of drives and the QNAP is 5+ years old and I am expecting to start having failures other than drives and most of it being proprietary parts. The QNAP will not be going away, it will just be used to store monthly backups.

I have watched most if not all of the builds Wendell has done for LevelOne and others which has me second guessing what I think is the right way forward for me. I do know that some of what I am asking is more software relate than hardware.

If you have any recommendations on some good rackmount chassis, HBAs, etc… what could accomplish this or even have a full on build with software recommendations it would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks in advance

Unraid would be better as the hypervisor, same for freenas tbh.

If you arent going to run unraid as the host then I’d say go with whatever distro you like as a roll your own solution, or proxmox.

or you could go with an old dell r710 maybe?

what is your budget?

I personally have XCP-ng running on my host with an HBA passed to my FreeNAS VM. unRAID is fine too but you’re limited to single disk speed and IOPS.

I have run Unraid before as my hypervisor and wasn’t exactly a fan of it as a hypervisor/docker host. Most of my issue were around not having a good way of backing up the VMs, the BTRFS cache completely failing multiple times for no apparent reason. As a storage server I loved it, managed to come back from drive failures and easily increase capacity.

From the 20 min I played with proxmox it seemed good an from my understanding I should be able to raid some of the internal drives so there is some resiliency so I might move over to that.

I haven’t exactly come up with a budget yet for this. My goal was to see my options and possibly piece it together over time. such as find a good chassis pick it up and maybe move the ryzen from my old corsair 800d into it, maybe then add the HBA it and maybe flip over to proxmox and play with getting a test storage server running then grab a threadripper on a good sale and so on.

The main reason I am looking at a threadripper is the number of cores and speed. I would like to some changes to the media I have such as compress some files that are too big, get to a standard set of codecs, etc… cores and speed will be important for this and I have considered adding a GPU for encoding as I did not see a difference my self between what my 1080ti did in a text compared to my cpu and the speed difference was massive.

I just rsync my /mnt/user/domain to my backup server and call it backed up.

proxmox is also good.

I’m not a fan of freenas.

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I say Unraid because they have good support and take feature request and bug reports. I would say an Epyc Rome “storage server” like one of the Supermicro or Gigabyte equivalent. I was looking into this my self. The Gigabyte looked like a more complete package. They are rack mountable.

SATA / SAS 64 and 32 core dingle and dual CPU


Their are many more to choose from. Any of these should meet your needs now and far inti the future. Supermicro has bare bones and motherboard options.

You only have about 15T usable storage? How big is your dataset? How big of a dataset would you be looking for?

I’m asking because with the drive capacities of 12T / 16T being available at around ~25/T today … means that you may be able to get by with a much simpler raid setup (raid-1 + keep existing disks in that machine for a bit longer, keep reading…)

Also, magnetic vs flash is only 1:4 in price today. In ~2 years from now magnetic storage might go away entirely. Today, you can get 2.5" 7.5T micron qlc drives for ~800ish (although with a stupid data interface…)

Generally not a fan of hyperconverged for storage if the rest of the hosts are running noisy /changeable loads like lots of docker containers. It is fine to run a domain controller, print server and a surveillance server but anything that may be used for “playing” increases the risk to your data. Your choice but not a risk I will ever take.

Budget is a key decision point and you may spend a bunch on threadripper only to find it doesn’t do everything you wanted. Certainly newer threadrippers don’t run cool /low power so you are already negating the value of convergence versus a server grade CPU.

If you are going for proxmox or Unraid look for a chassis with a backplane and get a HBA. Easier to pass through all the disks in one go to a storage controller and let the guest use them baremetal. Means you can run ZFS etc ont the guest.

I think you would do better getting a couple of machines, one for data and one for converging all your VMs. Get a fast link between them and you would have a simpler time.

You have a lot of PCs… Perhaps time to sell a few :slight_smile:

I am running at 47TB available with 26TB used. I would probably run a few 10TB drives for now as I have 2 10tb and 2 8tb sitting around doing nothing. There have been a few purges I have done to keep usage low for now so I can actually back it up lol.

For the most part I am with you on the idea hyperconverging hypervisor and storage, but I thought I would toss the idea out there and see what the thoughts are on it.

I think the Threadripper will still meet the lowering power usage as it does have a lowish idle power usage, but it is definitely a power pig running at full power. Looking at my cpu usage for the last 30 days I am at 15% of a 2700x, not including the 2 VMs on the other machine which is 15% of a i7 3770. By dropping from 16 disks to maybe 8, removing 2 old CPUs and 1 newer for a power pig cpu and removing the additional power usage of all the needed hardware to run the other systems should at least land me in the same spot.

If running both storage and hypervisor in the same box is a bad idea an alternative solution could be to grab a 3950x which would meet my higher core count and speed need, might need a better cooler but everything else would work. Then maybe pickup a 3200 or 3400 possibly a 3600 and a mid range board for the storage server as it just needs some PCI for an HBA and a possible 10g nic.