Muffin’s New Storage

Intro, A look back into the past.

So a while ago, I posted this rundown of my Plex server and storage setup for media, and it got some traction, which is nice. In that post I mentioned that my storage setup left a lot to be desired and I had issues with it, let me explain.

I started collecting media when I was about 13, starting off with a small HTPC custom build with 2 hard drives, over time this grew but I was still just adding disks randomly to create a pool, this is why I used FlexRAID at the time. The ability to add random disks at will and still have a protected pool was ideal for teenage muffin and his limited funds. Over the years I have continued this setup due to the price benefits and it’s pinched me in the ass a few times.

FlexRAID is awful. I’m dubious as to whether it’s working at all to be honest, but long story short, I’ve come close to total data loss a few times, and these days I am constantly losing data and having it randomly pop up due to the software not working how it should, so I decided it was finally time to drop some dough and create a proper storage server to migrate this one over to.

This post will be about that build, and how I managed to talk myself into buying a motherfucking 60 bay chassis.

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Building a Rackmount Storage Server

Surprisingly, I don’t have any backups of my stuff. Apart from my Microserver Gen8 FreeNAS replication project which was necessary for my photos and personal media I don’t have any backups of my VM hosts, laptops or machines I use everyday which is very, very bad. A lot of my stuff is stored on RAID or RAID-like systems which I know aren’t by any means secure, but it’s kept me going and the sheer thought of having to invest in another storage system to store things  that are already on storage servers makes my stomach sink a little; I’m only (currently) 20, and have just started my career so I don’t really have the money to keep spending on hardware unfortunately.

Apart from exceptions of course.. Continue Reading

Muffin’s Plex Server

I’ve gotten a few requests from various places to show my Plex server to the world, this is not by any means as good as it gets but it is mine and it works phenomenally. I’ve had a lot of concurrent streams with this thing and it’s yet to break a sweat.
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Enable Disk SpinDown on LSI 9211/IBM M1015

I have a lot of 9211-8i’s in the lab, probably about 12, all flashed to IT mode. These are a godsend as they just work. They’re easy to flash to IT mode (rids them of any RAID, they become HBAs) and are 6GBp/s which is awesome.

One of the things I didn’t know until quite later on is that these cards by default (on Windows at least) do not support spindown calls from the OS, meaning my disks are running 24/7 which wasn’t a problem until I had about 20 disks all running and I realised how much power that actually was for no good reason. After a little searching I found forum posts from people who had modified the INF driver of the card and gotten the power down to work, after putting it off for a while I finally did it and got it to work and have noticed both power loss and a little bit of a temperature drop which is nice.
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HP MicroServer Gen8 storage & Syncronisation across the internet

This plan didn’t work as intended. I had to come back to the drawing board and rethink/simplify some stuff. I have left everything as-is up to the point of failure incase it’s important to anyone and it really makes no sense to delete it.
Below is what I wanted to do and a few of the steps I documented towards this goal, here is where I revisited this project with a much different approach. I would read this first anyway before reading the revisited version.
If you don’t try you’ll never know, right?

So I’ve had this problem for a while since moving out, but I excuse it because, well, she gave birth to me. My mother calls me constantly asking me to fix stuff or implement something new in my old home which I am fine with but sometimes it feels extremely tedious as I could have sworn I fixed that same issue not 1 month ago…
The latest problem I’m facing is photo storage. My family have a few MacBooks with very limited storage onboard which they seem to fill up quite fast. Upgrade the storage? Sure, but that’s short term and not exactly safe, not in my eyes anyway. My solution? The following…
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Revisiting MicroServer Gen8 storage & Syncronisation across the internet

If you’re reading this revision first it’s probably better to read my initial plan as well before continuing as there are more details outlined there as to my overall goal and information about the hardware setup. You can read this here.

Right, so, at this point I was to make a post about how I setup the storage under FreeNAS running on ESXI with both RDM on one machine and passthrough on the other with the upgraded CPU but I ran into some problems. Pretty shitty ones.
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Installing FreeNAS on a HP MicroServer Gen8

FreeNAS will install just fine on the MS without any modifications and everything seems to work just fine, so i’ll skim over the install and add some detail to the configuration I used.

As of writing this the current stable version of FreeNAS is 9.3. All that needs to be done is to download the ISO from the FreeNAS website and copy this bootable ISO to a memory stick using your prefered method, I personally use my trusty ODD emulator (as seen in this archived post) and use iLO to get through the installation (again, detailed in this archived post.)
Boot from your chosen installation media using ‘F11’ at bootup and let the FreeNAS installer do it’s thing.
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Installing virtual machines in ESXI

Right so this is where things start to change quite a bit between these two boxes, and I’ll explain best I can.

The box at my mother’s house, now known was MUFFHOST04, or MUFF04, needs to have pfsense running on it as well as FreeNAS. I can create a ptp link using DDWRT (what she has right now) but I would much prefer pfsense as I am certain of its performance and reliability. I will be setting up pfsense at my house and then simply plugging it all in offsite which poses some configuration hurdles.
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