Sunday, April 29, 2018

My homelab hypervisor server gear recently became unstable, it was randomly freezing up and I didn't have the time to diagnose the real problem after I excluded the obvious culprits...

I was using a Gigabyte GA-Z77N-WIFI with a  i7-3770T and 16GB of RAM. It worked fearlessly for 5 years. Humming along 24/7.

...so I decided to change motherboard, RAM and CPU. At first I was thinking about going the second hand server route. There is a good market in Europe with very interesting deals but I decided not to do it, at this round anyway, because I don't have room for a rack server and I was concern about noise and power consumption. Our gear is "hidden" in a special compartment in a closet, but still, less noisy it is always better. I admit that a real server has its advantages, even for a home lab, like being easily upgradable, but it is bulkier and it uses more power than a microserver or a custom build server. Also, for a custom-build, there is the fun part of picking the components and putting them together. :)

I apologize for the mess, I usually don't have much time to
tidy up. Things will change in the near feature, hopefully.
This time the hardware I picked is server grade instead of consumer grade. These are my choices:

Asrock E3C226D2I
Xeon E3-1271v3
Plus, of course, 16GB of ECC RAM:

Transcend TS1GLK72W6H
The E3-1271v3 is a tiny beast, as the previous i7 is a 4 cores 2 threads per core CPU with 80w TDP but it is more powerful. The Asrock E3C226D2I is a mini ITX motherboard and the idea is that in the future I might decide to use a tiny case instead of the bulky Corsair tower you see in the picture. The Corsair was supposed to be temporary to begin with, the precedent server was indeed installed inside a tiny case until the PSU gave up and I had to quickly find a substitute.

In any case the E3C2226D2I has other advantages like having IPMI with a dedicated port and having Intel network cards instead of the usual Realtek stuff.

Not as refined as HP iLO but you don't need a iLO advanced license key to use the remote console.
Power consumption of the hole thing is pretty good, according with the PSU the consumption increased of just 40 VA, which is roughly... I don't know, 30 watts? Increased  compared to no server, not to the old gear up and running. The old gear with the 45w TDP i7, if my memory serves me correctly, was 25 watts. Not bad at all. 

Noise is basically not existent with the fan Intel put in the CPU package, even less noisy then the old Noctua NH-L9i I was using with the i7.

All in all I'm pretty happy about this build, it was fun to put together and Proxmox 5 is running happily on it, but I would say this is subject for another post.

See ya.



















Saturday, April 28, 2018

I'll be back on it soon

I've been neglecting the Codemonkey Sit! project for quite some time now, the reason being that my work sucks and I'm always busy and stressed. But no more, I quit. It'll be a new adventure, I'm going to fly solo. Well, solo means my wife an I are going to do freelance work. She is a developer and I'm a systems engineer and we want to build a business  selling our decades of expertise to whom might need it.

The idea though is to have more time for myself, so I might come back here more often. I'd like to write blog posts about my homelab projects and about other stuff I care about.

For instance the HPE Microserver I was talking in an earlier post, our homelab NAS  server, has been upgraded to 16GB and a new shiny CPU -i3-3220T. It would have been nice to have a blog post about it with all the pictures and stuff.


Another cool thing is that I migrated our home firewall form PfSense to USG. Most of our network was already managed by the Unifi controller -AP's, Switches- and as I'm a big fan of it I decided to give the USG a try. Even though it is less versatile then PfSense it is pretty awesome especially considering how easy it is to set up.


Another thing I would have liked to "review" is our new 4G Internet connection. 

I personally am a big fan of wired Internet, fiber optic being the best thing, but we live in a place where the fastest wired Internet is ADSL2. That means 20Mbit/s download, if you live like beside the DSLAM cabinet, and 1Mbit/s upload. We are more along the line of 15Mbit download but what is really bothering us is the ridiculous upload speed.

What we were doing until recently was to have two ADSL2, balancing them to have, sorta, double the bandwidth. Suffice to to say that we were not really satisfied of the result even though it worked just fine for a long time.

A month ago though a coworker introduced me to the idea of using one of those new services that are popping up recently that give you almost-flat 4G Internet connection. I was pretty skeptical because I've been burned before with hyperlan bullcarp. So I waited until one of these providers offered a contract that you can cancel when you want, a la Netflix more or less. It's been a month now an our 4G Internet is looking pretty good so far. Speeds are not incredible but a decisive step forward compared to ADSL2. 


On average 20Mbit/s download and 10Mbit/s upload is pretty sweet from where I'm standing.

Anyways. This is fun and I'd like to do it more often. Seen you soon.

Note: My wife is not around, I mean, she's out of the country with my daughter visiting relatives and she's the English native speaker, so I don't have the luxury of having her reviewing my writing right now, cut me some slack. Also I don't really want to obsessively reread this post. I'll try to do better in the future. Promised. :) 


Hey guys, new author here. :) I'm Akira, I do not know where this blog is going or whether it's going somewhere at all, but, time ...