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PC as storage device ONLY?

Hey guys - I feel like this is a stupid question but I will ask it anyways. I have two PC’s - one is a Supermicro X58 board with X5680 and 24GB mem and with 15TB of drives plus the OS drive. Lot’s of extra compute power as well. I am using it as a Plex server, occasional VM use, Nextcloud server…second computer is an HP Z600 with 2x X5660’s 12C/24T with 48GB mem, sapphire R9 280X, and some SSD’s for storage.

What i am wondering is, what is the best config for this to use all of the storage of them and CPU/GPU power of them combined, or is that even possible? What I was thinking was to add some of the SSD’s to the X58 board for fast storage connected via the 2x gigabit connections to the dual CPU HP, then have that HP act as as regular computer with all of the storage of the one and the compute and GPU power that it has…would this make sense? or is it better to ust connect the X58 to the switch along with the HP and just accept whatever little extra latency may be there? Or should I connect the two with say, 10G networking (would have to buy that) and then connect one to the network? I am just not sure…all this power and how to get the MOST out of it without a confusing set of VM’s, transcoding, serving mixed up…

I am SURE this is a stupid question so, what would YALL do with these? I am pretty comfortable with Ubuntu Server and intend to use it on the X58 as I am now…I was thinking of unraid or another hypervisor of that sort on the HP since it has all of those cores…but it only has the one GPU soooooo, i wasnt sure…perhaps I could buy a few G210’s for extra VM’s with dedicated GPU power added? AAARRRGGGGHHHH I’m pumped but also a bit lost in the possiblitiies and not good enough with server stuff to know what to do…???

Those CPUs are garbage, well, maybe that’s a bit harsh, but very close to garbage. They generate tons of heat for what few instructions they can crank through.

If you don’t pay your electric bill, well, put all the ram and drives in whatever chassis has the largest volume (for cooling). One old 5680 vs two old 5660 won’t make much difference to the machine running as “storage only”.

Neither makes a good workstation, not even in the slightest.

Just my humble…

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thing is, its what ive got, so 'good; is relative in that, i frankly dont have the cash for a 3800X or something like that or i would go that route…dont get me wrong, i realize they are inefficient 10yr old CPU’s but at the same time, im not really dependent on them to crunch thousands of calculations per blah blah blah…im mostly using these to learn and getting plex and nextcloud out of it too so for me, these are perfect and luckily cheap…dont get me wrong, id LOVE something better…but until then, ill suffer the consequences (since they arent worth shit to SELL either)…my recent thoughts were to use one of the older even lower power CPUs that i have laying around like an L5420 (I think it is) in there thoug, if i recall those are like 80W anyways so i dont know that it even makes sense…anyways, point is i thought to use a lower power one for storage since i agree, it shouldnt matter, use it headless as JUST storage and connect them with like inexpensive 10gig fiber or something like that with btrfs on that single CPU machine and edit the fstab of the dual cpu workstation so that it mounts it as a regular drive each time it boots (and as a cron job if not mounted immediately) so that i can hopefully get enough speed to use it as a standard internal drive…does that make sense? sound logic or dumb??

i just checked - i have a slow e5520, a slightly better e5640, both are 80W (so the 5640 would be better), and i have an X5680 in there now (130W)…so i guess the e5640 would probably be the best choice out of the 3 based on what i have here,…

What youre talking about is a home lab kind of arrangement, or as I call it a “chew toy” something of no consequence to use for entertainment and education. Without a structured plan everything can seem infinite. Id say virtualization would be your friend here. Some kind of stable normal base install and then get all you toys into VMs to delete or power off at will. The final thing though will be just picking something and doing it. You can do a mineraft server, a web server, an FTP server, a domain controller since windows server evals are good for 6 months you can play with that. Look into GNS3 which is great for virtualizing a complex networking setup. Seems like you gotta decide what youre into a come up with a goal first.

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so yes, youre correct, just a home lab and youre totally right, no consequence really…
i DO intend to use the setup for VM’s and i already AM in fact doing so with the singel CPU x5680 setup so i am familiar with that
i still intend to use it for plex and nextcloud and as a nas box all together and with the workstation i am intending to use a G210 for the host OS with the R9 280X passed through (if i can, it might be too old of hardware, im not sure) to whatever VM i am running and i am HOPING to be able to run an instance of win10, perhaps macos, and any number of linux oses to try out randomly and play around with…absolutely…the questioni suppose is, what do you think is the best way to get the most possible out of the resources that i have?
i THINK that using the one box as ONLY a storage box connected with some high(ish) speed connect to the dual-cpu rig so that i can run a ton of possible VM’s off of the storage box directly and the reason i am thinking of btrfs5 or 6 is for the redundancy and speed though, if i have the money i think i would get more speed out of say a RAID10 setup but this is where i am a bit lost…what interconnect (i am hoping i can get say 2Gbps min throughput???i think thats a reasonable thing to STRIVE for anyways considering i will use the SSD’s in there as well???) but the details are bugging me…and i am wondering frankly, will it even work??? perhaps if i were to make a diagram it would better explain what i am currently thinking about doing as i dont think i am explaining it well enough…

Look into something like Proxmox. You get both virtualization and ZFS/Btrfs. Let each box manage it’s storage, and bounce snapshots and virtual machines around.

I keep my hardware around until it dies, and that handles whatever assortment of x86_64 hardware it’s running on that day.

Proxmox is built on Debian, so it should feel at home to someone who is familiar with Ubuntu Server. You can install it on top of Debian if you want (or have) to get creative with your storage.