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  1. #1
    Super Moderator bbearren's Avatar
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    Windows 10 Pro Server Box

    I've had my NAS/File Server up and running in its (hopefully) final configuration for a couple of months, now. It's a DIY Windows 10 Pro box (upgraded from Windows 7 Pro), Intel DH87RL motherboard (1 mSATA and 5 SATA ports) with Core i5-4670 CPU, 32GB DDR3 DRAM and 4 Seagate 3TB NAS HDD SATA 6Gb/s 64MB (ST3000VN000) drives in a RAID 10 Array, yielding 5.5TB capacity. I'm using the Intel RAID on the motherboard to configure RAID 10 as well as the Intel Chipset SATA RAID Controller driver in Windows 10. The case has a drive dock built into the top that will accept 2.5" and 3.5" SATA drives. The OS is on an Intel 120GB mSATA SSD, with only minimal software installed (Windows Defender and Malwarebytes Anti-Malware, TeraByte's Image For Windows). I access it through RDC, and it's plugged into a UPS.

    The RAID array has copies of my archival storage, my OneDrive folder, and duplicates of my current data from my desktop and laptop. I'm ripping my movie collection (over 50 and counting) there, and it's also a target for drive images from my other machines (as well as other drives/locations). I intend to copy my music collection there as well. The shared folders (drive images, files, movies) are mapped as a single drive on my desktop and laptop, my network is gigabit and configured as a work network, not Home Group.

    The only performance testing I've done is viewing the same movie with three different devices all at the same time. Smooth and flicker-free on all three. I wanted this NAS to serve for the long haul, and did a lot of reading before I started buying parts. I looked into Linux based NAS, but decided I'd rather stay with an OS that I'm familiar with. From what I've been able to deduce from all my reading, this setup should be pretty robust for a home server.
    Create a fresh drive image before making system changes, in case you need to start over!

    "The problem is not the problem. The problem is your attitude about the problem. Savvy?"—Captain Jack Sparrow "When you're troubleshooting, start with the simple and proceed to the complex."—M.O. Johns "Experience is what you get when you're looking for something else."—Sir Thomas Robert Deware.
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  2. #2
    Star Lounger
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    Dude! Nice setup. You really put a lot into it. You're right, it should be pretty robust. Now sit back, have a beer and watch some movies.

  3. #3
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    Why RAID 10, sounds like a waste of disks to me. RAID 5 would be more than sufficient and you get a lot more space.
    You now need to run the Dell RAID monitor and have it alert you when a disk fails - no point in having RAID if you let disks stay failed.

    cheers, Paul

  4. #4
    Super Moderator bbearren's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Paul T View Post
    Why RAID 10, sounds like a waste of disks to me. RAID 5 would be more than sufficient and you get a lot more space.
    You now need to run the Dell RAID monitor and have it alert you when a disk fails - no point in having RAID if you let disks stay failed.
    RAID 10 for the redundancy and the speed. Both disks in a pair have to fail for the array to fail. At 5.5TB I've got sufficient storage, and for me the added redundancy is worth the extra drive.

    I'm using Intel RST (Rapid Storage Technology) for drive monitoring.
    Create a fresh drive image before making system changes, in case you need to start over!

    "The problem is not the problem. The problem is your attitude about the problem. Savvy?"—Captain Jack Sparrow "When you're troubleshooting, start with the simple and proceed to the complex."—M.O. Johns "Experience is what you get when you're looking for something else."—Sir Thomas Robert Deware.
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  5. #5
    Star Lounger
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    "the added redundancy is worth the extra drive."

    That's it in a nutshell. Good thinking.

  6. #6
    Super Moderator bbearren's Avatar
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    I'm close to feeling complete I had ordered a spare 3TB Seagate NAS drive which came in last week, but I haven't really had time to do anything with it. Had a short day at work today, and decided to put my extra time to getting some of those nagging tidbits put to bed.

    I went into UEFI setup and set all my SATA connectors (except the mSATA for my SSD) for hot swap (which I had been meaning to do), plugged my NAS spare drive into the drive dock in the top of the case to initialize and format it. I didn't think it was running; didn't hear it spin up or anything. At first I thought I'd just unplug it and plug it back in, but decided I ought to look at Disk Management first. Sure enough, there it was, waiting to be initialized.

    I initialized it, ran the New Volume Wizard choosing no drive letter and no name, full format with NTFS default cluster size. It's now at 9%, but I still can't hear it running, even putting my ear right next to it. If I actually touch my ear to it, I can hear the whir of the drive motor. The pooh at the Seagate site says they are built to more exacting standards, and perhaps they are. I didn't notice with the others in the case, what with fan noise and such, but this one is outside the case.

    Once the format is complete, I'll store the drive in it's shipping box for the future, so that I'll be ready when (not if) a drive in the RAID 10 array fails.

    The drive dock is also going to be handy for drive images. Plug in a backup drive, create a fresh image, unplug the drive and store it away for safe keeping.
    Create a fresh drive image before making system changes, in case you need to start over!

    "The problem is not the problem. The problem is your attitude about the problem. Savvy?"—Captain Jack Sparrow "When you're troubleshooting, start with the simple and proceed to the complex."—M.O. Johns "Experience is what you get when you're looking for something else."—Sir Thomas Robert Deware.
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  7. #7
    Super Moderator bbearren's Avatar
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    The Adventure Continues...

    As mentioned in the OP, my NAS box has gone through some configuration changes, working my way through, figuring out what I really wanted and how to set it up. Initially I had a Kingston SATA III SSD as OS drive, and some 1TB drives, trying different configurations.

    I changed from the Kingston SSD to an Intel mSATA SSD to free up a SATA port. After I reached the current configuration, I had one 1TB drive still in the box, and I moved some stuff off it to the RAID array. Friday I had some free time, so I wanted to take the 1TB drive out of the box, and make the drive dock in the top of the box hot by using the SATA port where the 1TB had been. Got all that accomplished, cables all tidied up, and closed the box, and completed the stuff in post #6.

    Friday evening I was watching a movie from the NAS, and about 6 or 7 times during the movie there was a very quick pause, less than a second, and then the movie would resume normally. When the movie was over, I RDC'd into the NAS and saw that the array was degraded. Intel RST showed me that the drive on port 3 was unrecognized or missing. My first thought was that at least my spare is ready to plug in, and I could RMA the unrecognized/missing drive after doing some diagnostics on it from the drive dock.

    Then I remembered that the 1TB drive was in SATA port 4, adjacent to SATA port 3, and my machinations taking it out might have disturbed the connector in SATA port 3. I opened the box, and reseated the port 3 connector, then went back to Intel RST. The array was again complete, and had already started the rebuilding process on the port 3 drive, which took roughly 8 hours to complete. The array has a little over 1TB used space.

    This is an old lesson that I have to re-learn from time to time; "if you open the box, check all the connectors before you close the box."
    Create a fresh drive image before making system changes, in case you need to start over!

    "The problem is not the problem. The problem is your attitude about the problem. Savvy?"—Captain Jack Sparrow "When you're troubleshooting, start with the simple and proceed to the complex."—M.O. Johns "Experience is what you get when you're looking for something else."—Sir Thomas Robert Deware.
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  8. #8
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    8 hours for a re-build - ouch!

    Why didn't your monitoring advise you of the degraded array?

    cheers, Paul

  9. #9
    Silver Lounger wavy's Avatar
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    Just a q BB, was that Sata connector the kind W/O a little metal retaining clip? I have had trouble with those and will never buy another w.o out a retaining clip, too easy to work itself apart or disturb when accessing an adjacent socket!

    David

    Just because you don't know where you are going doesn't mean any road will get you there.

  10. #10
    Super Moderator bbearren's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Paul T View Post
    8 hours for a re-build - ouch!

    Why didn't your monitoring advise you of the degraded array?

    cheers, Paul
    I had not yet setup email notifications; one of those things on my to-do list. I had no email account set up in Windows 10. Soon after I RDC'd into the NAS the alert popped up. I had direct-connected to setup hot swap in the UEFI settings, then rebooted. Next I RDC'd back in and did the drive initialization and format of my spare hard drive. The box was still open at that time.

    After the format finished on the spare drive, I ejected it and signed out. It was then that I tidied up and closed up the box (both sides had been open). I'm assuming that is when the SATA connector got jiggled a bit, but I didn't re-connect to the NAS until after I had watched the movie.
    Create a fresh drive image before making system changes, in case you need to start over!

    "The problem is not the problem. The problem is your attitude about the problem. Savvy?"—Captain Jack Sparrow "When you're troubleshooting, start with the simple and proceed to the complex."—M.O. Johns "Experience is what you get when you're looking for something else."—Sir Thomas Robert Deware.
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  11. #11
    Super Moderator bbearren's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by wavy View Post
    Just a q BB, was that Sata connector the kind W/O a little metal retaining clip? I have had trouble with those and will never buy another w.o out a retaining clip, too easy to work itself apart or disturb when accessing an adjacent socket!
    Yes, in fact it does not have a retaining clip. I do have a couple of those on hand though, so that will go on my to-do list.
    Create a fresh drive image before making system changes, in case you need to start over!

    "The problem is not the problem. The problem is your attitude about the problem. Savvy?"—Captain Jack Sparrow "When you're troubleshooting, start with the simple and proceed to the complex."—M.O. Johns "Experience is what you get when you're looking for something else."—Sir Thomas Robert Deware.
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  12. #12
    Super Moderator bbearren's Avatar
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    Getting email notification setup for Intel RST was not as simple as it would appear to be. Intel left out any provision in the configuration settings for using a password for the SMTP server. I found a workaround in post #8 here in Intel Communities.

    I downloaded and installed HMailServer and configured a local IMAP server without requiring a SMTP password on my NAS, used that as the pipe for the email notification from Intel RST, and the email notification test worked.

    Next time I open the box, I'll be changing out the SATA cables.
    Create a fresh drive image before making system changes, in case you need to start over!

    "The problem is not the problem. The problem is your attitude about the problem. Savvy?"—Captain Jack Sparrow "When you're troubleshooting, start with the simple and proceed to the complex."—M.O. Johns "Experience is what you get when you're looking for something else."—Sir Thomas Robert Deware.
    Unleash Windows

  13. #13
    Silver Lounger wavy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bbearren View Post

    Next time I open the box, I'll be changing out the SATA cables.
    And one bottle less of aspirin hopefully.
    David

    Just because you don't know where you are going doesn't mean any road will get you there.

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