Yet more ponderings on the new server

So, it’s getting to the time of year when I’ll actually have some money to start buying the new server. Obviously this means I’ve been re-rethinking a lot of things about it!

I’m still thinking a Ivy Bridge i3 system, ECC RAM, FreeBSD 10 and ZFS is a good starting point for the core hardware. I’m mostly pondering what to do for the main storage pool:

Previously I was thinking of recycling the four 2TB drives being used in aether (the current server), but that involves a total of 10 drives (8x2TB storage, plus 2 for the boot zpool) – I’m now thinking that starting with a paid of 4Tb drives and using a spare drive I’ve got lying about for a testing OS drive. I can then test various settings to benchmark what kind of performance I’ll be able to get from it. It’ll also mean that I’ll have a safe copy of the data on aether and I can test the complete hardware performance.

Once the core hardware has been bought, I was thinking about using a couple of mSATA drives for the OS, as they come in sensible sizes for servers (i.e 20GB/30GB are available instead of starting at 120GB!) – I can then use partitions to split the capacity into 4GB (mirrored) for the OS, another 4GB  (mirrored) for the ZIL and ~20GB (striped) for L2ARC.

This has the major advantage of only needing 6 SATA ports, which come built into the motherboard, so I won’t need an additional controller card, which will save around £200!

Going with the above does lead to the “problem” of me having the entirety of the old server still lying around, but I’m sure if I ask around, someone could find a use for a pre-built and configured file server with 8TB raw capacity 😉

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