[rescue] The State of SunHELP (new server build, etc)

Bob Darlington rdarlington at gmail.com
Mon Jun 10 04:22:13 CDT 2019

Raidz3 all the way.   There are other under the hood tweaks we use and I'll
get you the list when I am in the office and remember.


On Thu, Jun 6, 2019, 2:07 PM Bill Bradford <mrbill at mrbill.net> wrote:

> Long email - but it should give you an idea of the state of SunHELP and
> related properties.
> Also, on the health front - I'm not ded yet!  Still doing monthly IV chemo
> and
> having to take unpaid days every month, but it's not getting any worse OR
> any
> bettery.  I'm lucky that for the most part nothing actively hurts most of
> the
> time, and my ruined left shoulder still permits me to live independently
> and
> type and do desk work for a living.  I wheeze and have to use a cane to get
> around, but I'm mobile!
> I'm in the process of building the new SunHELP master server.  I'd thought
> about building a Ryzen 5-based system, but recently stumbled upon a great
> deal on an older Dell box via ebay and I'm going with that.
> here's the plan:
> - Dell T410 (got for $125 *shipped*!), currently has an E5620 Xeon single
>   CPU (4 cores/8 threads), 4G of RAM, and two 250G HDs.  Also has iDRAC
>   Enterprise, a PERC 6i RAID card, and the 6-drive hot swap backplane up
>   front.  Dual Broadcom Gigabit NICs.
> - Planned upgrades (I already have most of these parts) - CPU going to be
>   upgrade to a Xeon X5670 (6 cores/12 threads), 16G of RAM, a LSI 9211-8i
>   HBA (in IT mode as I'm going to use ZFS) instead of the limited PERC,
>   and a dual-2.5" hotswap bay in the empty 5.25" bay for a pair of 250G
>   Intel 545s SSDs in RAID-1 for the OS.  Not sure if I should buy an Intel
>   dual-gigabit-NIC PCIe card to use instead of the Broadcom onboards.
> So far I've got about $250 invested in the box but it should be fairly
> decent and better compared to the current server (a PC tower I built about
> nine years ago with a Phenom II X4 960T, 16G of RAM, and a pair of 1T
> drives
> in RAID-1).  Having properly hot-swappable drives will be a great help;
> I never like having to take down the entire system just to swap out a bad
> drive.
> If you've ever wanted to see what the current system looks like:
> http://mrbill.net/ohno.jpg
> (and a pile of failed disks from the past couple of years:
>  http://mrbill.net/badhd.jpg - and you can see the UPS and
>  BrickWall power conditioner behind them)
> Phenom II X4 960T, Gigabyte GA-880GM-UD2H motherboard, 4 x 4G DDR3 sticks,
>  Corsair 450W power supply, three 1TB SATA drives (RAID-1 plus a
>  hotspare).  Broadcom PCIe NIC (instead of the onboard Realtek).
>  External eSATA bay holding another RAID-1 pair + hotspare, plus
>  a "standalone" drive.  I had to move two VMs to external drives,
>  because the amount of disk I/O that everything was doing on a single
>  RAID-1 was thrashing the drives heavily and causing premature disk
>  failure.  I've had to replace every fan in the system at least twice,
>  so for the last round I went all Noctua fans where possible.
> In addition to being my primary personal server, I also run / host sites
> for my Masonic lodge, mailing lists and web for a local boy scout troop,
> and a few other charitable organizations.
> (Thanks a bunch to the folks at RSYNC.NET for giving me their F/OSS
>  discount pricing - I recently moved away from CrashPlan and switched
>  to rsync.net for off-site backups, and I'm SO much happier now!)
> Thoughts on the proposed Dell config?  I technically only need about
> 1.5-2TB
> of usable space so I'll be doing RAID-Z2.  Giving it five 1TB drives will
> result in 2.6T of usable space.  I'm not sure if I should use RAID-Z3,
> (adding
> one parity disk) or use that 6th drive as a hotspare.
> I definitely don't want to go back to using Linux software RAID (mdadm,
> etc) now that ZFS-on-Linux is pretty mature.
> Things I would love to have donated if people have them sitting around in
> closets:
> - 32G of DDR3 ECC RAM (4 x 8G sticks).  I've only got one CPU installed in
>   the machine so I can only use four of the RAM slots.
> - I might look into adding a second CPU if I order the L5640 60W low-power
>   6-core Xeons off eBay and can find the right Dell heatsink; this runs at
>   home so I gotta worry about power consumption and cost.  Unfortunately it
>   looks like Dell F847J heatsinks run $60 (!) each, so yeah, I'll have to
> stick
>   with a single CPU.
> - DRIVES.  A year or two ago, a couple of you donated a bunch of 1T SATA
>   HDs (mostly Sun-branded); I ended up with about 15 usable drives out of
>   the bunch.  I've gone through at least half of those due to failures and
>   such (I tend to have to replace a drive in the current RAID-1 every 3-6
>   months), and if I fill the six hotswap bays in the T410, that leaves me
>   with only one or two spares.  So, I need 1TB or bigger 3.5" SATA drives.
>   I would love to be able to fill those bays with cheap $100 1T SSDs, but
>   with all of my current chemo copays and such I just don't have that kind
>   of money to drop on storage.
> - Good thoughts and "hopes and prayers" etc.  If you'd like to contribute
> to
>   my medical fund for cancer copays and treatments, see
>   https://www.gofundme.com/misterbill.  Thank you so much to those of you
> who
>   have contributed over the past couple of years and made it so that I can
>   worry a tiny bit less about getting bills paid.
> As always, I welcome questions / comments / complaints / insults /
> whatever you'd want to say in my general direction.  It's sort of hard
> to believe that I've been keeping SUNHELP up and running for about 22
> years now.
> I've never made any decent amount of money off the site - never intended
> to -
> but occasionally made enough off of ads (when I ran them) to take my very
> understanding wife out to dinner once or twice a month to keep her
> placated.
> :D
> It's really weird when people tell me that the site helped start or further
> their career, or that people who I've looked up to for 20+ years refer to
> me as their peer, etc.  I just try to help people whenever I can.
> Bill
> --
> Bill Bradford
> Houston, Texas USA
> _______________________________________________
> rescue list - http://www.sunhelp.org/mailman/listinfo/rescue

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