A home backup server

Just swapped out the trusty old D-Link DNS-321 NAS device for a brand new backup server. More after the break.

The D-Link unit got at least a couple of articles on the old blog, but was not keeping up with the needs of the household over time.

It isn’t that the new setup currently has significantly more disk space — it doesn’t, 1 TB (D-Link) vs 1.7 TB (new server) usable.

What the new server does have are 3 disks in a (minimally) redudant RAID 5 array in a spacious case and a full blown Fedora 19 operating platform to run auxiliary services like named, dhcp and minidlna. While the primary purpose of the box is to provide the hardware needed for future expansion of backup space, it was also important that I finally be able to reduce reliance on my personal workstation’s services so I wouldn’t have to worry about the impact of more frequent reboots and service outtages on the rest of the home network. The D-Link had for awhile been serving up both DNS and DHCP (as well as mediatomb), but lately it had shown iself unreliable.

The build was pretty basic:

Antec Three Hundred Two Gaming Case, Black

Antec VP-450 450 Watt Energy Star Certified Power Supply

Intel Celeron G1610 Ivy Bridge 2.6 GHz LGA 1155 55W Dual Core Desktop Processor BX80637G1610

Gigabyte GA-H61M-HD2 LGA 1155 Intel H61 Micro ATX Intel Motherboard with UEFI BIOS

Crucial Ballistix Sport 8 GB 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Desktop Memory BLS8G3D1609DS1S00

SanDisk SDSDP-064G-G25 2.5″ 64 GB SATA III Internal Solid State Drive

WD Blue 1 TB Desktop Hard Drive 3.5 inch 7200 RPM SATA 6 Gb/s 64 MB Cache WD10EZEX

Just a few notes on the above.

I already had 2 WD drives of the same exact model when I started this project, so I actually only had to buy one more for a 3 disk array. As it turned out though, one of the older drives had hard sector corruption and had to be replaced under warranty. Turnaround was only a few days, although I had to spring for shipping on the defective unit.

Using an SSD for the boot drive wasn’t exactly necessary, but given the cost I could justify it as a way to dramatically reduce startup times after power outtages or reboots.

The Antec power supply was actually one I had in reserve from a previous warranty return. The original unit had briefly lived inside a low power gaming rig for its very short life, again the turnaround for the replacement was quick — but not quick enough for that earlier project, and so was replaced by a Cooler Master of the same power. 450W should be sufficient to power at least another 2 or 3 disk drives, which would be the only additional hardware this unit should see.

I chose the CPU because it was the lowest cost lower power (55W) chip I could find that still promised decent performance. So far it has done an outstanding job in the current configuration.

The motherboard is nothing to write home about, just a very reliable Gigabyte product with 4 SATA connections and minimal legacy ports.

The Antec case was chosen mostly because it had lots of room inside, but also for its tool-less design for 3.5″ hard disk mounting. The main thing I don’t like about this case is the bottom mounted power supply. Getting the CPU power connector safely (that is without stretching across the CPU cooler fan) up to the motherboard required a power connector extension. I’m still looking around for some plywood board to keep the bottom of the case off the carpet floor (right now it’s being propped up by a couple of Oracle administration books — at least they’ve finally redeemed their original price).

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About phil

My name is Phil Lembo. In my day job I’m an enterprise IT architect for a leading distribution and services company. The rest of my time I try to maintain a semi-normal family life in the suburbs of Raleigh, NC. E-mail me at philipATlembobrothersDOTcom. The opinions expressed here are entirely my own and not those of my employers, past, present or future (except where I quote others, who will need to accept responsibility for their own rants).