A Baby File Server Evolves

Over the years, it's safe to say my storage needs have evolved. What started off as a handful of Western Digital USB drives has evolved into a multiple multi-Terabyte ZFS arrays with numerous backups.

Xeon D

Some time ago, I migrated my main file server from a TS140 to a SYS-E300-8D. The reasons were pretty simple. I wanted something small and quiet and that sipped power. Both were connected to an external 12 bay drive enclosure, so it's actually less of a migration and more of a "unplug cable from server #1 and plug into server #2". Easy and integrated 10GbE was a plus as well.

SYS-E300-8D

Not really a solution

As I quickly found out, even switching servers didn't really fix the core problem. The disk array still sucked a bunch of power, upwards of 75 watts without drives. And it was loud. I mean jet engine loud.

sa120

Unfortunately the cooling in that particular enclosure is terrible, and I had a bunch of drives that ran hot anyway. This combination resulted in fans that needed to run at almost full speed to keep the drives below 50C.

An interim solution (and ultimate failure)

A DS2015xs was my solution. Synology has developed software that is probably second to none.

There's a problem. The DS2015xs is a bit of a weird product. It's got 10GbE in it, but it's completely incapable of actually saturating that connection. The CPU is a bit of a turd, and I'm pretty sure there is a bug in the more recent versions of the DSM software. Any iSCSI traffic would kill the whole array.

So with great regret, I returned the unit and started a new plan.

The actual solution

I was torn on my next steps. The thing I adored about the DS2015xs was that it was quiet, and it absolutely sipped power. It was going to be a bit difficult to replicate that setup.

I started looking at building an entirely new server. I figured I could drop all the drives in a big case, put a power-sipping cpu/motherboard in there, and be good to go.

I played with a bunch of combinations. Most of them were revolving around a C2750 from Asus (which unfortunately was reviewed VERY poorly) or another D-1508 or D-1518.

After spending weeks playing with various potential setups, that's when I decided the SYS-E300-8D was getting Frankenboxed.