Tag Archive: Fileserver

Servers Re-Racked

After running power out to the garage it was time to move the servers out and re-rack them. It all went pretty well…

Here’s the mess at the back of the rack before I stripped it out:

Once all the cabling was stripped out:

Testing the 2U cable dump panel for the power cables:

And covered up:

Seems to work nicely but I only have one at the moment and I need that for the network cables:

Power cables re-run using standard 1U cable management bar:

Network leads patched in (2 for each ESXi server, 1 for the WHS 2011 server, 2 for IPMI and 1 running back to the house- hopefully to be replaced shortly by 2 fibre LAG):

And covered up:

Front of the rack (bit of a rubbish photo, but you can see none of the equipment has any front connections, also quite a lot of redundant gear):


*Update* I removed StableBit DrivePool beta after realising how much it was degrading performance (this is expected behaviour as it is still an early beta). Today DataCore have announced the beta of their Drive Extender replacement Drive Harmony: http://www.mswhs.com/2011/05/datacore-de-replacement-beta-announced-at-tech-ed-2011/?utm_source=twitterfeed&utm_medium=twitter&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+MSWHS+%28MS+Windows+Home+Server%29&utm_content=Twitter

I tried the WHS 2011 install again today and this time it succeeded (I only did two things differently: 1. entered the product key during installation & 2. left the default US locale/keyboard layout)

I started to configure my drives as described in my earlier post: https://tickett.wordpress.com/2011/05/07/windows-home-server-2011-released/ but realised you can only setup mirroring on a per disk basis (unless I’ve missed something?). So instead I’ve decided to try the StableBit DrivePool BETA which adds the old WHS v1 DriveExtender functionality. I currently have 4x 1.5TB disks in a single pool.

So far, so good- just transferring all the data from my old fileserver. I’m also in the process of trying to setup the server to work with Time Machine on my Mac.

Will try and keep you posted.


Completely missed this! I had been waiting for the release of WHS2011 for my new fileserver, but hadn’t been regularly checking. Alas, I looked a few days ago and it has apparently been available on technet since 05/04/11 (en_server_install_disc_windows_home_server_2011_x64_dvd_658487.iso).

Unfortunately, I tried installing it and came across an error (which already appears to have been logged): https://connect.microsoft.com/WindowsHomeServer/feedback/details/662605/setupmon-exe-fails-to-complete-configuration-suggests-i-should-reinstall

Annoyingly RC1 worked flawlessly so I’m not sure what has been added which is causing this error.

Meanwhile I’ve been trying to decide how I want to organise the drives once I get it up and running. I have a load of 1.5TB drives laying around but don’t think 6TB will be enough initially (including mirrored data/backups etc). I think if I get an additional 3TB drive I’ll be good to go:

Drive1 (1.5TB): Downloaded Applications, *Business Accounts, *Videos
Drive2 (1.5TB): *Movies
Drive3 (1.5TB): *Photos
Drive4 (3.0TB): Mirrors & Computer Backups

All of the items marked with * will be mirrored (initially this should be less than 3TB)

I will probably retry the installation in the next few days, although I expect the same result.


I’ve decided to stick with my rackable systems box as my fileserver because it’s relatively quiet and “green”. I have two identical servers so all i had to do was pop 4x 1.5TB drives in the new one (the old one had 4x 750GB) and migrate the data! The old server is running FreeNAS 7.2 and I loaded FreeNAS 8 RC2 onto the new one (ZFS support).

I can briefly remember attempting the migration task in the past and finding it somewhat easier said than done!

First i tried from a windows box connecting to each server using samba simply dragging/dropping the files. The transfer goes from the old server to the windows box then back to the other server so I decided this was a no go (performance was pretty poor and the samba process on both servers seemed to be eating the CPU but at least i got a progress bar).

Now I decided if i want the transfer to go directly from server to server i’d need to SSH into one of them and initiate the transfer from there. I mounted the old server on the new (mkdir /mnt/oldnas | mount oldnas:/mnt/data /mnt/oldnas) and proceeded to copy a folder (cp -R /mnt/oldnas/test /mnt/data). Unfortunately I couldn’t tell how fast the transfer was going nor the progress it had made!

So googling suggested rsync (rsync –progress) which provided speed and progress- great! Or not… unfortunately performance was even worse than before, only this time rsync was eating the CPU!

Next google result… scp (scp /mnt/oldnas/test newnas:/mnt/data)- using both local paths doesn’t display progress so one path must be nfs. Poor performance again! You guessed it… scp eating CPU.

So… back to cp! This time i passed -v to get an update after every file completes (cp -R -n -v /mnt/oldnas/test /mnt/data). Excellent! Only 10% CPU utilization… but can i determine how fast the transfer is going without timing how long a file (or group of files) takes to transfer? After trying a bunch of useless commands i finally found systat -ifs which shows current network throughput and peak network throughput- perfect!

Another update shortly!

P.S. I found that: systat -ifs doesn’t work prior to FreeBSD 8 (not a problem for me as i think FreeNAS 8 RC2 is based on FreeBSD 8.2) but: netstat -Iem0 -w1 -h is mildy helpful if you are running FreeBSD < 8.

Deliveries & New Fileserver


Got the fiber HBAs, SFPs and cables. Still waiting for the fiber router, wireless IP phone & the new fileserver bits detailed below :)

New Fileserver

Ended up going with a 3U Supermicro server w/ 2x Dual Core Opterons, 8Gb ram, 2x 8-Port LSI raid cards and 15x hot swap SATA bays. I’ve initially ordered 8x 1.5TB Samsung Ecogreen SATA disks to go in it.

Fiber Gear

Some of the fiber gear has arrived: (cables and, what i thought were NICs but are in fact HBAs- all part of the learning process!)

Not really much use till i get the fiber switch and new fileserver (i think i’ve picked the hardware which i’m going to get shipped from the US- still a lot cheaper than sourcing here in the UK). No idea for the operating system- whether to go with Windows Home Server, Freenas, Openfiler or something else? ZFS or hardware raid?

I’m also in the process of moving house, so all my gear will get re-racked then i can hopefully post some shots up!

P.S. Is it fiber or fibre?

P.P.S. I possibly saw the best Simpsons intro ever this afternoon so i’m going to try and cap it and post it up (there’s a few back-to-front poor quality versions on youtube…)


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