NAS box or use cheap HP microserver

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  1. Posts : 11,172
    Windows / Linux : Arch Linux

    NAS box or use cheap HP microserver

    Hi there

    I can get a decent HP ProLiant micro server with 4 bays for around 450 EUR. A cheapish decent NAS box costs around the same.

    I'm thinking of using the server as an alternative to a NAS box -- I can install my own OS (I'll use a Linux distro for this)and it's reasonably customiseable.

    Power consumption on the server would also be minimal so suited ideally to Multi-media serving. I like the idea of using an OS I'm familar with rather than things like QNAP on NAS boxes.

    Any disadvantages in going this route as opposed to using a NAS box.

    HPE ProLiant Gen8 G1610T 2GB RAM MicroServer - Ebuyer

    Update --

    after a lot of googling etc I've ordered the Server -- with an extra 3TB drive (I already have 3) and 8GB RAM total cost around 450 GBP - / 600 EUR.

    A decent NAS box costs around the same BEFORE populating with HDD's / extra memory.

    What I like particularly about this server is that you can use the ODD bay for an SSD and also for Linux GRUB to boot from an external USB stick or even the built in SD card. - You don't need to boot a server very often once its up and running.

    Hopefully Air freight from Amazon UK to Isl should deliver in the next two days so looking forward to getting it working. Boot options can disable RAID too so makes for a great equivalent NAS saystem.

    Will post back my efforts later -- W10 systems can access PLEX etc on Linux boxes.

    I like also that it's got a router also so I can use as an Internet gateway for guests etc. Much more flexible than a bog standard NAS and cheaper too.

    Am surprised others haven't gone down the "Small / Micro" server route.

    Note - it comes with NO OS supplied so you have to install your own --and it does work with Windows so I'm reliably informed - as well as certified for SUSE and RED HAT so it should work with most decent Linux distros too if you want to use those.

    Last edited by jimbo45; 19 Jan 2016 at 10:40.
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  2. Posts : 470
    Win 10 Pro (x64), OSX 10.11


    What are you using the server for? Any particular application in mind?
    I am looking at whether go with a server or NAS approach. If I go the route of server, most likely using Microsoft Server. That is my area of expertise. At the same time, the ease of QNAP is particular attractive to me. I am researching this model:

    NAS  box or use cheap HP microserver-159_1.png
    QNAP TVS-671

    TVS-671 with Intel® Core™i5-4590S 3.0 GHz quad-core processor and 8GB DDR3 RAM

    Regardless what approach I take, it will be interesting! Must clear with my wife first! It will be in the area of $2,500.00 or $3,000.00 USD.
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  3. whs
    Posts : 1,935
    Windows 7

    What do you do with this thing. What is the advantage of having a server in a private household.
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  4. Posts : 11,172
    Windows / Linux : Arch Linux
    Thread Starter

    whs said:
    What do you do with this thing. What is the advantage of having a server in a private household.
    Hi there.

    I intend to use this as a decent NAS box. It's about the size of an average decent sub woofer - don't confuse with those commercial servers. This is a Micro server designed originally for a small office network.

    As well as a file server I'll be running PLEX (multi media application) to dish out video to Remote TV's etc and Logitech media server for high quality audio to squeezeboxes and similar. There's enough "oomf" also to run a Windows VM for accessing remotely from my phone / internet.

    @snoopy51 it's about 1/2 the price of a 4 bay QNAP synergy NAS box.

    You can run your own OS (even Windows if you like). Size is small and power consumption if you use the standard supplied CPU is only around 35W. For a NAS you don't need a mega powerful CPU. This server also has 2 LAN cards and 4Bays (I am going to use 3 X 3 TB drives - already have 2 so I bought another one) and have another slot available for use if I need more space.

    I upped the memory to 16GB RAM. I also bought the entry level micro server (more than adequate for a NAS box).

    cost of the entire thing

    NAS  box or use cheap HP microserver-server.png

    Will get back the UK V.A.T too so it's even cheaper.

    Depending on the nr of bays you use you might need SATA-->MOLEX Sata HDD connectors for the power supply -- I already have loads of that stuff lying around.

    You can up the CPU to a more powerful one if you want to run a load of VM's - but I just want it as a NAS box which just sits there quietly in the corner minding its own business. I intend to run CENTOS 7 but on the web loads of people have used Windows or even things like FreeNAS if you want to "Roll your own" OS.

    This IMO makes a great alternative to a NAS box -- quality build from HP and designed to run (like NAS) always on.

    You can also add an SSD / 2.5 inch drive and there's internal bootable micro SD card and USB as well as 4X external USB slots.

    For NAS in the BIOS you can disable RAID if you want so you can use all 4 HDD's as separate HDD's.

    No need to spend 2.5 - 3,000 USD on something simple like a NAS box. OK It's a little bit ugly but who sees it after it's working and connected to your LAN.

    Having studied this for a while IMO using one of these micro servers seems a great way of getting a very capable NAS system at a bargain basement price. Plenty of help on the web also on how to set it up.

    Running things like PLEX 24/7 from a laptop isn't very satisfactory and I don't need or want to get another desktop PC. This tiny unobtrusive piece of kit looks like "It's just what the doctor ordered".

    Last edited by jimbo45; 20 Jan 2016 at 05:40.
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  5. Posts : 7,257
    Windows 10 Pro 64-bit

    I got the WD My Cloud Mirror 6TB NAS for £299. You can get an 8Tb model. I am not sure why you'd ever want to spend $3k for a house setup.
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  6. Posts : 11,172
    Windows / Linux : Arch Linux
    Thread Starter

    swarfega said:
    I got the WD My Cloud Mirror 6TB NAS for £299. You can get an 8Tb model. I am not sure why you'd ever want to spend $3k for a house setup.
    Hi there.

    When I read his post I thought what sort of NAS costs anything like $3K !!!!.

    I considered the Cloud mirror NAS but decided to go with the extra flexibility of the HP server. Am looking forward to getting it all working. Running a poor old LAPTOP for PLEX serving isn't very satisfactory - and my old desktop is a real clunker of a machine which dies as soon as there's any slight load on it (even a Handbrake video recode just causes the old AMD processor to switch the machine off - time for a one way trip to the Tip).

    The HP server sits hidden and once booted up that's it --forget and leave it.

    I'm surprised at @whs asking why would I need a server in a private house -- what's wrong with the idea - loads of people use servers for all sorts of things in private houses. I think he thought I was installing a rack mounted set of "Blade servers" !!!! not a box about the size of a decent sub woofer speaker.

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  7. whs
    Posts : 1,935
    Windows 7

    Hmm, you guys are very advanced. I am glad to have a dishwasher in the house.
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  8. Posts : 11,172
    Windows / Linux : Arch Linux
    Thread Starter

    Hi there

    all done -- great CENTOS 7 OS with 1 X 4 and 3 X 3 TB HDD's. I was going to use the thin DVD slot for an SSD (you'll need mini tp SATA power adapter to connect it - but I thought why bother --it's being used as a NAS server -once booted that's it.

    I've installed the OS on the internal micro SD card (yes it boots from an easily removable micro SD card - there's also a bootable internal USB slot too if you want to have an attached USB stick for booting too.

    The 4 HDD's are in a pool (LVM).

    I run the server headless -- if I need to use the OS then I use Tight VNC from Windows laptop etc - this is like RDP but connects to Linux GUI. Could run only with CLI but I've loads of space so a GUI isn't a problem.

    Only problems

    1) Disable built in RAID from BIOS - switched to "bog standard SATA" (or AHCI SATA). Done in BIOS setup.
    2) VGA (built in video) not HD - but who cares - it's a SERVER.
    3) No built in Audio -- again who cares it's a server --you can always add video or sound cards if you must.

    Set boot to boot from SD before internal USB or HDD.

    Now it's fine.

    Note the limitation of this server is that if you boot from HDD it can only boot from HDD in BAY 1 (of 4).

    For a small always on device -- very happy --it's sitting next to my cable router connected via LAN and working brilliantly. Really quiet and so small it's almost invisible.

    For the price can't beat it.

    Running PLEX, Logitech media server, Samba, NFS and file sharing.

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  9. Posts : 11,172
    Windows / Linux : Arch Linux
    Thread Starter

    Update - all working

    Hi there

    All working now -and with XRDP installed on the Centos NAS server I can use bog standard RDP to access the NAS from Windows if I need to do any tasks.

    I'm just in the middle of copying a wodge of audio / media files to the server from portable USB HDD's to get the whole kybosh on to the server -- quicker to load from USB than use a LAN in this case.

    From a Windows Laptop - accessing the NAS via RDP. Install XRDP though on the SERVER - you don't need any software on the Windows machine other than RDP.

    NAS  box or use cheap HP microserver-centos.png

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  10. Posts : 1,366
    Windows 10 Pro x64

    I actually ended up with both. I went with the NAS first, and got a WD EX4 NAS with 4x2 TB WD Red drives in it for a 6 TB RAID5 array. That stores our movies, music, and my wife's digital photography work. I also use it for back up and store my .iso images, software, etc on it. It has remote access, but didn't really let me do anything or learn anything. So, I ended up buying a Shuttle SH67 on eBay with an i5 proc and 32 GB of memory. I'm in the processes of setting that up as a Server 2012 R2 box so I can run Hyper-V and play around with that as well, but also have access to it remotely through Teamviewer.
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