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Seeking Feedback on a Home-Server build [NAS, Plex, Git, Game-server, more]


#1

Greetings L1T-Forum,

for my first ever post here I was wondering if you fine people could help me and give me feedback on a little project I have planned for myself.

I am planning to build myself a nice “little” Home-Server for multiple reasons (see “Planed Usage” below) and I have thrown together a nice little part list on Pc Partpicker (see below).

I would be seeking some constructive feedback from anyone who can spare the time and maybe has some experience in this space.

Planed Usage

  • Basic NAS
  • Maybe Plex Server
  • Git / VCS Server
  • Docker Container server
  • CI Server (Jenkins or similar)
  • VM Host (don’t know how well that would work)
  • Game server (for the verry few games that still support dedicated servers)
  • TS3 server ?
  • (maybe pfSense)?

Nice to have aspects

  • near silent
  • inconspicuous (easier to position at home, very objecttive so can be ignored)

Part List
Original
PcPartPicker-List (Updated see Edit2)

(NOTE: I AM NOT GERMAN, just to be clear here! Also, the prices listed in there aren’t the best available to me as PcPartpicker doesn’t use all the shops available to me for its prices.)

Budget
As I am not willing to specify this you can assume that the price in the list would be something I would be willing to pay for a “future proof” Home-Server

OS
most likely freenas

What I would like to ask from You?
If you can spare the time and preferably have som experiance with FreeNas or Home-Servers to have a look at my list and tell me your thoughts. All constructiv feedback is much aprecheated!

(NOTE: for constructive feedback not just a “YOU ARE WRONG” message as this would not help :P)

Final Note
I know this system is most likely a bit OP but hey I thought it would suit my planned use cases best :stuck_out_tongue: + I would like to point out that I wouldn’t be asking for feedback if it where final.

Oh and I’m not sure if I posted this in the right section of the forum tbh, if not please let me know and i shall delete this one and post it where it belongs :sweat_smile:

Thanks for your time!

[EDIT0: added budget section]
[EDIT1: add OS section]
[EDIT2: slight change in parts (drop from gt730 to gt210, due to no need for more “power”)]


#2

I was also looking at using the 2950x because, well, cuz I wanna. Keep us updated when you build it!

Have you looked into container orchestration? Like with Kubernetes?

Also, what game servers would you be running?


#3

hey reavessm, thanks for your reply!

I currently work only with “vanilla” Docker, no kubernetes or open shift atm, but would love to look into it.

For game server you can assume the likes of Factorio, (ill regret writing the next) Minecraft, some old-school COD4 and other Lan-Party alike Games that still offer a dedicated server.


#4

Nothing is standing out that is wrong with the hardware.

As for being VM host, the hardware should work great, however Freenas is not necessarily the best choice. From what I understand, bhyve requires a couple hoops to jump through to run windows VMs, which you need for some of the game servers.


#5

I would somewhat agree that freenas is not the absolute best choice.

Are you able to go into more detail with what you plan to do? Is it required to be all in one machine? Also with the amount you are spending on the system, I will assume you are getting a UPS right?

What is the plan for the NAS? What is the specific use case?

For the possible container server, are you looking to do with it?

I will ask more questions later, going to lunch?


#6

Okay, first of all thanks for your replies!
Second, yes, a UPS would definitely be in that plan too (just didn’t want to add it to that list).

So now about FreeNas, I know it isn’t perfect therefore I am not 100% sure if i want to use it but it seemed to be the “easiest” and fast all-round solution. Tinkering with it should not be a “problem” as i do like tinkering with software to make it work for me (Software Engineering Student so yeah :stuck_out_tongue: ).

The general Plan is to have this thing as quite the “all-round box” to handle my “needs” (wishes) described in the “Planed Usage” section.

And for the Container server, well I currently work with Docker at Work and thought it would be fun to have some kind of a “Test Lab” environment at Home for myself trying some stuff for myself, if that makes any sense.

(hope to have covered all questions so far and enjoy your lunch :wink:)


#7

You could install something like Fedora Server on the M.2 (really any distro will work but I’m partial to Fedora) and ZFS on the HDDS and use the last SSD for the SLOG. (ZFS on Linux isn’t as hard as it used to be). You can still create NFS/SMB shares on Fedora and you can use virt-manager for a simplistic VM Host.


#8

hmmmm, I see.
Sadly, all my “Linux” experience to this date is based on Debian, yet I am working on RHEL servers at work so maybe Fedora Server could work, yet it would mean a longer setup-time due to me learning Fedora.
Thanks for the suggestion


#9

You could just as easily use the debstros, but alas, I won’t be much help


#10

A suggestion could be to rune ESXi 6.7 as the base OS and use VMs for everything.

If something breaks, you really would only need to migrate the VMs to a new set of supported hardware and everything should be good.

I am only tossing this suggestion into the pool because you have so many services it looks like you want to run.


#11

I appreciate the Idea but VMWare (although good and all) is definitely a company I want to stay away from.
Though that said your idea seems interesting and out of the blue wouldn’t Unraid do the same trick?

As to that point that I would like to run so many different services: yes, true, but all I intended to do was to give a list of use-cases I would like to be able to do with the hardware so the feedback on my hardware-choices wouldn’t just consist of: “You don’t need x as y is already more than plenty…”
(I know this kind of responses wouldn’t likely have happened but as a precaution)

So, what I’m trying to say is my initial thought for posting this was getting feedback on my hardware-choices, but since we seem to also cover OS choices it may seem that these use-cases got a lot more important. And quite frankly I am thankful that I also get this kind of feedback as it is interesting to me and makes me reconsider my original plan :smiley:


#12

Have you looked at openmediavault? It is based on Debian, so you should be right at home.

OMV does support ZFS, although you need to separately install a plugin. However you can also use any file system that Linux supports, unlike Freenas which is ZFS only.

You can use KVM-QEMU or virtualbox for your Windows VM(s), and there is a docker plugin for the web GUI. You could control KVM VMs through SSH and libvirt(or direct qemu scripts if you want), or use SSH with X forwarding and use Virt-Manager. Alternately, virt-manager does support connections to remote hosts.

Another option is to use Unraid, or really any Linux distro with KVM+QEMU, and virtualize Freenas and everything else. Or use docker and only have VMs for some things. Freenas is ok to virtualize as long as you can PCI passthrough a HBA for your HDDs. There are LSI cards that can be flashed to HBA mode for not that much.


#13

Hey,

Did you build the system yet? If you didn’t pull the trigger, maybe my experience with my home lab could help.

IMHO 64GB is low. I’d say that RAM should be your first priority. I have 5 servers:
4 x Intel Xeons E5 2689 with 64GB running ESXi 6.5u2 with 2x QLogic 4Gbps Fibre Channel and 4x 1Gbps Ethernet each
1 x Intel Xeon E5 2640 with 64GB for FreeNAS with 2 QLogic 4Gbps Fibre Channel

The CPU usage on the ESXi servers is 10% average and ~200GB of 320GB used RAM. I have ~40 Virtual Machines with: VMWare VSAN, NSX, Automation, Orchestrator, OpenShift, Operations Manager, Log Insight, pfSense, VPN servers, Active Directory, DNS, Horizon with VDIs, Plex Media server, Nextcloud, Zimbra, Backup server and so on…

So… you simply don’t need that much CPU or at least your CPU to RAM ratio is too low.

I know you are trying to have everything on one box, but consider having the Storage server running on it’s own. I use FreeNAS; but whatever you chose to use, it will become the target storage for everything in your house sooner rather than later. It would be a good design choice to build something for that purpose, reliable, always online and not subject to constant modifications, which would happen if it coexist with other projects.

Just my 2 cents.


#14

depending on how important your data is making sure you get into the habit of frequent backups.
most of the time you can use optical media or you can use spare hdd/sdds

but you can also go old school and use tape drives ( we used to run backup on the plant servers with tape drives on a daily basis and cycle the tapes weekly)
crucial updates and system snapshots were done to an external drive dock for backups dating back more than a week

you can also use cloud storage for backups (But Im too privacy minded ((paranoid:rofl:)) to use cloud)


#15

How do you put the fibre channel cards in target mode using freenas?


#16

Tapes is a dying tech even on the datacenter. Most of the backups go to VTL (Virtual Tape Library), which are in fact hard drives. We have legacy tapes, but those are mostly for backups that require a 10 year retention policy.

For home use I’d recommend cloud backup (encrypted :stuck_out_tongue: ) and an external hard drive. You have to be extremely unlucky to lose data on your storage AND lose your external HDDs.

You could also run FreeNAS Snapshots frequently and be protected against ransomware.

I’m running FreeNAS 11.1 U4, and it works just fine with Fibre Channel. Didn’t try 11.2.

Go to Tunables and add:

ctl_load value:YES type: loader
hint.isp.#.role value:0 type:loader

Replace # with each FC HBA (0, 1, and so on).

That’s it. There is a catch. FreeNAS is not prepared to use FC, so it will use all of the LUNs created in your iSCSI configuration and all of them will be accesible by any FC initiator. Also, LUN ID is ignored, and will automatically asigned.

It’s dirt cheap compared to 10GbE, it becomes a SAN so your storage is isolated from the network, and the performance is simply awesome:

image

ARC: 50GB RAM, L2ARC 240GB SSD, 8x3TB HDD.


#17

true but when you are given the equipment you try to get as much use as you can from it.
external drive backup yes. but due to the security and sensitivity of the information for my clients cloud back up (absolutely not)!
nothing illegal or immoral mind you but extremely important none the less.


#18

Have you considered xenserver instead of freenas instead of esxi that you have said you want to stay away from?

https://xenserver.org/overview-xenserver-open-source-virtualization/open-source-virtualization-features.html


#19

Okay,

First of all, thanks for the further comments!
Second, quite surprised this posed got further comments (kind of did not expect it), but definitely THANS A LOT!

So now with my thank-yous out of the way:

  1. no, I have not pulled the trigger yet (Uni is keeping me busy atm and I want to be able to focus on the build as soon as I start)
  2. thanks for the heads up with the ram “problem” I see that too BUT ram is just too EXPENSIVE atm for anything more than what is spect in my list (and I am not planning to have all my pc activities virtualised just maybe 2-3 vms running some game-servers/docker container, at least that’s the plan atm)
  3. I was planning to do backups, no worries. Whether or not I would use the cloud: idk I’m not such a big fan of the “cloud” but with encryption (which gets native support with the likes of FreeNas) maybe. otherwise I have most of my media in Blue-Ray form so backed up already :stuck_out_tongue: , just my other “shit” would need backing up and I guess that I have the external hdds to do that
  4. and finally, thanks for the heads up on xenserver, I personally stumbled on that project during my research for this project and I have to say it looks interesting, but I can’t say for sure if I want to use it or not :stuck_out_tongue:

Okay hope, I have clarified things a bit further and thanks again for the additional comments :smiley: very helpful and nice insights!
Anyway, if there is anything else you want to let me know of or give me feedback, insight to keep it going! (I just might not answer in a timely fashion since most of my time is used up by work and Uni, sorry)

ps.: if anyone of you could recommend me a good/great UPS I would appreciate it, as I have no experience with them :frowning: and don’t want to fall into a situation with a bad UPS ruining my equipment


#20

I second using either ESXi or Xenserver as your host and virtualizing all the rest of the stuff. Threadripper should be able to provide you with all the things you want, and your 2nd parts list looks really good, but I’d add a couple more fans to it for intake to keep the hard drives cool and also be set for any expansion you may add later