Server Configuration 2017

The last time I wrote about my server was three years ago. A lot has changed since then. Here’s some of the main points:

  • I dropped RAIDZ and have moved onto RAIDZ2. This gives me two parities per vdev
  • RAIDZ2 requires at least 5 disks in a vdev. I chose to go with 7 which means I needed four more 3TB drives.
  • At some point in 2016 I decided this wasn’t enough and added another seven 4TB drives in another vdev.
  • This makes my entire zpool stand at a whopping 28.5TB usable disk space. For some that may seem like a lot, but I’m planning on getting to at least 70TB by 2019. I will most likely run out of space before then.
  • I dropped the i5 3350p for an Intel Xeon E1230v2. This paired with a Supermicro X9SCL-F motherboard gives me VT-d support which I’ve been meaning to play around with for a while.
  • This motherboard came out of box incompatible with my processor. I’m writing another post soon™ on what went wrong.
  • I switched from dirty non-ECC RAM to unbuffered ECC. Sure it’s not needed for ZFS, but if you’re going to build a server, build it right. (Also the motherboard has extra features that I was but doesn’t support anything other than unbuffered ECC)

I’ve done some additional upgrades like swapping the measly 30GB SSD for a 120GB higher quality SSD and added a card reader in place of the floppy bay. I also removed the GTX 460 and am now running this server purely as a server. No more desktop Ubuntu. It was economical at the time, but I was having issues with stability and generally don’t like mixing environments.

I’m still running Kodi as my media center software with MariaDB running as the database engine. Kodi is invaluable to me. As I gather more and more media it has been able to scale exactly to my specifications. The wonderful devs over there are currently working on a branch to integrate libretro so we can have some game launching support. This is a major feature being added and I plan on donating as soon as it’s merged into core. Kodi has been running on a couple Mac Minis that I have plugged into the TV’s in my apartment.

My server is also acting as my DVR. By integrating tvheadend as a DVR server with an HDHomeRun plugged into an antenna I’ve been able to record and stream my local stations from anywhere. Since my last post Kodi has also added a ton of support for PVR backends. This integration is key and works exactly how I would imagine. Death to cable 🙂

I also use my server as a Steam download cache. I wrote a post on that earlier, you should check it out.

Finally, where do we go from here? Here’s a few things I have in the pipeline that I will probably complete by the end of the year:

  • Move all applications into Docker
  • Somehow sync watch status between Plex and the Kodi database
  • 10gbit link between my desktop and my server
  • Create a Mac server to distribute installers and images. I’m planning on having all of my Mac Minis boot off the network and sharing one image. This should create a unified environment for my Kodi installs
  • I want to set up webdav so I can access my files from my computer anywhere
  • I also want to install NextCloud. In fact I may do that tonight

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