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Forget WHITE BOX, it's time for JUNK BOX NETWORKING

Tom 38 Silver badge

My media server is largely ebay sourced, at least for all the interesting bits. The "server" itself was not, its a stock i5 that I bought from components.

For the drive enclosures, I found an ebay store selling Rackable SE 3016, which is a 3U half-depth enclosure with 16 hot swap SAS/SATA drive bays, a SAS 1 expander, a PSU and a SFF-8088 cable for $100 each (+insane shipping - I bought two, total cost was ~£500).

To hook this up to the server, I got a Dell branded "SAS 6GB 8e" controller, with two external SFF-8088 ports, again from ebay, £70 (free shipping!). The trick with this one is knowing that this is in fact an LSI SAS 2008 card, after some fiddling with flashing various BIOSes I soon had it behaving as an LSI-9211-8e in IT (infrastructure) node - meaning each drive connected appears as a drive to the OS, no RAID.

To house the enclosures, I use an IKEA LACK side table, which is exactly 19" wide, and has ~6.25U of storage. The servers sits on top of the side table, the enclosures inside it. I took the backs off the enclosures, and replaced the noisy data centre PSUs with consumer silent ones, and then put a fake back on the LACK table, with cutouts for the PSUs, and 2 huge 200mm extractor fans. This makes the entire thing silent, whilst still pulling through the same CFM that the original (Delta) fans did, but without the 80db whine.

I run FreeBSD on the server, using ZFS to manage storage. The current configuration is 8 x 3 TB + 8 x 1.5 TB, for about 31 TB of usable storage. Sequential read speed from the array is around 800MB/s, most writes are async, and there is an SSD for an adaptive read cache.

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