NerdLab 5.0

For a while now I have been planning (in my head) the replacement of my file server with an R510. A few months ago the planning escalated as I bought an R510 and really liked working with it. Replacing the whitebox SuperMicro file server I had with an R510 would accomplish a couple of things. First, it would allow it to hold 12 drives instead of 8. Secondly, if I did this, I would also add a dedicated server to shared storage for the VMWare hosts which would immediately free up 2 of the 3TB drives being used as shared storage drives in the whitebox. Finally, it would give me redundant power supplies which, considering this is storing all my important data, is getting to be a more important feature.

One day a few weeks ago I was on a daily craigslist hunt for things I don’t need and I came across an R710 and an R310 for a good price. I haggled a little bit and ended up getting them both. About the same time I saw a post on reddit describing how you could implement 10Gb ethernet in your homelab for under $100. After some ebaying I found 2 of the single port Mellanox 10Gb adapters and 1 of the double port adapters. I picked up a couple of the cables and started to do some research. I did a LOT of research and was still confused by the time I go the new toys. After a couple of reddit posts, a redditor worded the 10Gb stuff in a way that finally clicked. All I had to do was setup the 10Gb adapters with an IP in the same subnet and directly connect them and then pass iSCSI through those adapters. Pretty straightforward, actually.

Once I had the 10Gb figured out I quickly realized that I now needed to add another UPS to my environment in order to handle the new load – and simply have enough outlets in the rack. I ordered another identical APC 2200VA rackmount UPS with network management. That went in without any issues and has been very stable since it’s been added. With that added, I then really wanted to get back into the world of Cisco so I picked up a 3750G 24-port switch to use as my core switch and I got a 2960 from work to use for the rest of the house. It took me a little bit to get back into the Cisco mindset that I hadn’t been in since high school, however, this time I have a good understanding of the logical aspects of the network so it was much easier to pick up. After getting the core switch setup I was able to get my backups routed to the R310 via scheduled tasks on my Windows file server. There was a lot of internal debate for me to go with Windows over FreeNAS for my file server, however, it just works well as a file server and its easy to manage and requires a lot less RAM than FreeNAS.

The last part of this update was to finally punch down the new network cables that I had added by remodeling the basement. By having the Cisco 2960 to manage the wall jacks throughout the house it makes it a lot easier to implement the VLANs I had setup for media, the house, and my IT lab. In addition, I plan on connecting the 3750 to the 2960 via fiber once my wallet has had some time to recover. For Christmas I received a Sensor Push temp and humidity sensor and I keep that in the server room to monitor and alert me in the event that the room gets too hot or the humidity is beyond an acceptable level. My goals is to incorporate that data into a dashboard that I can monitor and keep my environment safe.