Phase 1 of network upgrades: buying some things!
I’m almost to the point where the NAS can actually be installed, configured, and tested with some existing drives.
New NAS hardware
I ended up buying a used server with the following specs via Ebay:
- SuperMicro SC846 24-bay 4U chassis
- 2x SuperMicro PWS-920P-1R power supplies
- SuperMicro X9DRi-F motherboard
- 2x Intel Xeon E5-2630L v2 6 core/12 thread CPUs
- 4x 4GB ECC DDR3 RAM
- LSI 9211-4i SAS HBA
Project “Quieten the NAS”
Unsurprisingly, this machine is quite loud. A lot of research led me to some good ideas for quietening the machine while keeping it at acceptable temperatures, notably this very useful YouTube video. I bought a few things so far:
- 1x SuperMicro PWS-920P-SQ power supply ($50 used vs $200 new!)
- 2x Noctua NF A8 PWM 80mm fans to replace the exhaust fans
- 3x Noctua NF-F12 iPPC 3000 PWM 120mm fans to replace the mid-chassis fan wall
- 2x Noctua NH-D9DX i4 3U CPU coolers to replace the passive SuperMicro ones
Unfortunately, Amazon have somehow managed to get the 120mm fan order stuck in fulfillment limbo and they haven’t even SHIPPED after a week 😒
Other NAS bits and pieces
- 1x SuperMicro MCP-220-84603-0N dual 2.5” drive tray which attaches to the power supply wall
- 2x Kingston A400 128GB SSDs for a mirrored boot volume ($22 each, madness)
- HP T730 thin client - powerful, quiet, and cheap ($140 shipped)
- Intel I350-T4V2 4-port 1GbE NIC - 4 ports is overkill for now, but $39 with both brackets is hard to argue with. Hopefully it’s a real one and not a counterfeit…
A rack… sort of
Cheap racks tend to be low quality and difficult to ship, and good quality cabinets are a bit too expensive right now. Thanks to posts on r/homelab I found a solution that will work for now, won’t break the bank, and will be reusable in the future: restaurant shelving 😅
… for a total of $115 shipped (inc. CA tax). Fits in the available space, strong enough to support heavy servers (much higher weight limits than cheap 4-post racks), and enough shelves to fit 2 servers + networking gear + printer + wifi + store some bits and pieces.
- 4x 24” SATA cables - the only spare ones I have are 18” with awkward right-angle connectors
- 2x 75ft Cat6 ethernet cables - 1 each of orange and purple because my wife liked those colors
- 2x 6ft power cables - we somehow had none of these spare
- Removed the existing 50ft ethernet cable and ran the 2x 75ft ones. This was quite a workout, especially when I moved everything back and realized that I hadn’t actually left enough slack to connect the cables 😫
- Moved the router/WAP next to my computer where the “rack” will end up. Orange cable from modem to router, purple cable from router all the way back to the TV switch.
- Removed the 5 port switch that was connecting our desktops to the network, they’re directly connected to the router for now.
Probably have to wait a while to buy anything else, especially the drives. Hoping that external drives get solid discounts during Black Friday/Cyber Monday sales!
- Install the new CPU coolers in the NAS.
- Install FreeNAS on the NAS.
- Install pfSense or OPNsense on the new router machine.
- Work out cable management with the shelving.
- Move the UPS over to the shelving.
- Buy a small UPS for the modem, maybe?
- Buy a “new” network switch. Currently leaning towards a used Brocade/Ruckus ICX 7150 24- or 48-port PoE model if I can find one at a reasonable price. Very solid hardware, full L3 capabilities, and a convenient silent mode to run without fans until we need more than 150W of PoE.
- Buy some more RAM for the NAS, ideally taking it to 64GB.
- Buy 3x 10GbE NICs - 2 for servers, 1 for my workstation.
- Buy drives 💸