Looking for replacement of power hungry SAN

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ddaenen1

Senior Member
I am running FreeNAS on a Supermicro X8SIL-F server with Xeon L3426 CPU and 32 GB ECC RAM connected through a HBA card to a Dell MD1000 with 15 2TB 3.5" SAS drives.

The setup runs really well and extremely stable and functions predominantly as 9Tb Plex-server and a 7 Tb general purpose share.

My issue is that the MD1000 is extremely power hungry with its 2 x 488W redundant PSU's and very loud fans. I didn't really consider this as i have PV panels and to that point, the PV configuration was generating more power than we consumed in the household and since my server rack is in the basement, fan noise was not a concern. Also, i don't really need that much storage space. My current library currently occupies less than 5% of the available storage capacity.

Bottom line, i am looking for a less power hungry solution. I would like to keep the Supermicro with FreeNAS and the HBA but replace the MD1000 with a solution that is more power consumption friendly and i would settle for anything that could provide a storage capacity of 4-6Tb as long as it is rack mountable but i do have a depth limit of about 50cm.

Any recommendations are much appreciated.
 

coxhaus

Part of the Furniture
You can switch to a couple of big hard rives but it will not perform as well plus you would be on a shared network if you switched to a NAS. You have enterprise equipment and you want to down grade to "consumer equipment" so to speak. You could buy a bigger server case and mount big drives in it and build your own NAS or server. I have a rack full of 3U Supermicro server cases. I just change motherboards. This is all past tense as I am old and I have turned off my server rack but I used those Supermicro server cases for years. I even bought a hot swap backplane for a 8 drive RAID which of course was noisy and power hungry with all those drives.

If you want the same kind of performance you could build a NAS with memory SSD drives and add the NAS and server to a couple 10 gig ports on a L3 switch something like one of the Cisco small business layer 3 switches like a Cisco SG350X-24 or a SG250X-24. Without layer 3 switching access to data it will be slow but could be done in layer 2. The way I would set it up is to build a network for the server and NAS at 10 gig. I would setup L3 switching for that network. The server and NAS will have 10 gig layer 2 access to the NAS and 1 gig clients can be wire speed switched using L3 layer 3 to the NAS network. This will stop the 1 gig ports from slowing down the 10 gig network.

There are a lot of choices and options. You need to pick one.
 
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ddaenen1

Senior Member
Well, it is only the MD1000 that is very power hungry so i was investigating what i could replace it with but so far, i haven't come up with many alternatives. It appears there are very few storage solutions that i could hook up to the Supermicro's HBA card with fewer drives and lower power consumption without compromising the stability and performance i currently have.
 

sfx2000

Part of the Furniture
Any recommendations are much appreciated.

Not to push you off the forum - but I do suggest another community that is focused on HomeLabs and Enterprise Level HW...

https://forums.servethehome.com/index.php

STH is a great resource - Like Tim Higgins here on SNB, Pat Kennedy has built a community over on STH that is a good fit for this question.

BTW - the MD1000 is a very nice filer/storage box, but as some have mentioned - it's dimensioned towards a certain market, and there, the power needs are a bit different - the smart forum members over on STH might be helpful if you want to keep the MD1000 in your rack.
 

coxhaus

Part of the Furniture
It seems your controller card for MD1000 is 6 gig/second so I would think moving to a 10 gig LAN solution would match or better what you currently have.
 

ddaenen1

Senior Member
Not to push you off the forum - but I do suggest another community that is focused on HomeLabs and Enterprise Level HW...

https://forums.servethehome.com/index.php

STH is a great resource - Like Tim Higgins here on SNB, Pat Kennedy has built a community over on STH that is a good fit for this question.

BTW - the MD1000 is a very nice filer/storage box, but as some have mentioned - it's dimensioned towards a certain market, and there, the power needs are a bit different - the smart forum members over on STH might be helpful if you want to keep the MD1000 in your rack.

Thanks for the tip. I will have a look there.
 

ddaenen1

Senior Member
Well, i know this is an old thread but there is news. Since end of last year i have a digital power consumption meter which allows you to monitor your day to day consumption and my suspicion has been confirmed. At night, when nothing else of significance is running, i consume roughly 5kWh which is huge so i decided it is time that the MD1000 needs to go. Also, i must be honest that the 16Tb that i currently have is way too much. Currently, we don't even consume 5% of the storage space and at the rate that data is being stored (mainly Plex and Nextcloud), that is never going to happen so i will also be downsizing. I do however want to recycle as much as components from the set up, e.g. the Supermicro serverboard, the SSD's, as much 2Tb SAS HDD's as needed and any other HW that i may need.

I searched for an rack enclosure that could house at least 2 SSD's and 4 SAS HDD's and would fit my X8SIL-F uATX server board and i finally found what i need.

I bought an Inter-Tech 2U-2404S enclosure which is a 4 bay hotswap with a SAS backplane. Details HERE. The advantage is that it can house an ATX PSU, which i still have, a good one too Enermax 365W. It will allow me to connect to a SAS HBA which is what i need for TrueNAS and fits the X8SIL-F and 2 SSD's. Plan is to reuse 4 2Gb SAS drives which will give me 5Tb storage in ZRAID1 - more than enough for my current and direct future needs. I can always upgrade to bigger swapping out the drives with 3Tb or 4Tb SAS drives in the future. TrueNAS allows you to do that. Still waiting for the SAS HBA to arrive but i have started the build. In any case, with only 4 SAS HDD's and one 365W PSU, i am expecting that my power consumption will go down dramatically.

To be continued...
 

coxhaus

Part of the Furniture
The 365W PSU sounds a little on the low side but you can always swap it later. I always tried to use around 500W PSU just for when they start getting old and they age.
Downsizing will save you some. I had a 20-amp dedicated circuit just for my rack in the old days.
 

ddaenen1

Senior Member
The 365W PSU sounds a little on the low side but you can always swap it later. I always tried to use around 500W PSU just for when they start getting old and they age.
Downsizing will save you some. I had a 20-amp dedicated circuit just for my rack in the old days.
I thought about that too. I will change it if i can pick up a 2nd hand PSU for cheap. I also have a dedicated 20 amp circuit for my rack :)
 

ddaenen1

Senior Member
I thought about that too. I will change it if i can pick up a 2nd hand PSU for cheap. I also have a dedicated 20 amp circuit for my rack :)

Funny enough it seems quite a challenge to find an ATX PSU with an 80mm fan on the back. They all seem to have top fans nowadays.
 

ddaenen1

Senior Member
Well, the deed is done. I got all the parts in last week and built the new system over the weekend. Surprising everything worked from the first boot. I am still missing an I/O shield and i also found out that the 3-wire fans that included in the chassis are always running at full speed because supermicro uses 4-wire fans to control speed. I ordered the same brand/model but 4-wire and once they arrive, i will need to pull the server once from the rack to do all at once. I did a clean install of TrueNAS and did encounter some router DHCP issues when i configured the LACP which basically made me restart my whole network :rolleyes: and a second time DHCP issues because the vnet MAC that TrueNAS generated for Nextcloud was identical to the one of my old server causing some plugin installation issues. For the rest, all went smooth. I also found a simple way to get all my data from the previous install. Good old FTP! Simple and fast.

In the end, everything back up and running on the new system. Did some minor tweaking and tuning today and this evening i switched the MD1000 off. Let's see in the next days what my consumption at night now looks like...
 

ddaenen1

Senior Member
So i made some more changes to tweak the NAS more. I exchanged the standard 3-pin 40mm fans from the chassis that were screaming at 9000rpm with 4-pin versions which are now running at 7500rpm which in terms of sounds is significantly less but i still find it a bit on the high side. BIOS is on "optimal" settings though so i do not know what else i could do. I also added a 2nd SSD to the boot pool in zmirror for redundancy which went flawless and for the rest, it is just running smooth. I also thought about exchanging the X3430 with an L3426 with a much lower TDP but since i wasn't sure what the performance impact would be, i left it as-is.

I have started to focus on other devices. I exchanged my Dell R210 (Xeon X3430) which was running pfsense with a more modern E3-1220v2 on a X9-SCL+-F board in a supermicro chassis that i had spare from the NAS swapover to the new chassis and whilst the main reason for this was AES-NI, i did also notice that there was an upside in terms consumption. The E3-1220v2 has better TDP properties than the X3430 and i also noticed the fans are running at lower speeds compared to the Dell.

So all in all, all good. TrueNAS is extremely stable and does exactly what it needs to do. I am continuing my quest for power reduction so i really need to find out why the fans of the Netgear switch are running so fast where i am not even using half of the switch ports and only use POE+ on 4 ports :rolleyes:

I am however still looking out for a newer generation Supermicro board with a newer gen. CPU to retire the old X8SIL-F and the powerhungry X3430 CPU but there is no rush for now.
 

ddaenen1

Senior Member
I think POE+ is where most of the power is used in small switches.
I also would assume so but the fans of the Netgear are running very fast. I do not believe they have dynamic RPM and running at full speed constantly. There is no related setting in the GUI. It is not really a small switch. 19", 48 + 4 SPF ports.
 

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