I got the 520 in and began poking around. First of all I fired up the machine as a test and it booted fine. I then ran the lifecycle controller’s firmware updater. This machine was far far behind so i told it to install all of the updates. I stuck with it for a few hours and went to bed. I woke up the next morning and the total time for firmware updates was nearly 11 hours…YIKES! I then started evaluating my FreeNAS boot options. For a bit i figured I would use dual USB..but that’s too freaking slow. I thought about using a dell hybrid 3.5-2.5 conversion drive caddy..but I didn’t want to if i didn’t have to as I did not want to lose two of my bays for booting instead of data storage. Then i started looking through the motherboard slots and found one little bitty slow called IDSDM. It’s Dell’s dual SD card mini board. You put in two SD cards and you can run them in a mirror..basically RAID-1 SD cards. This is meant to load things like hypervisors(Hyper-v, VMWARE) along with other small things that can run off USB like FreeNAS…:) I then noticed in the bottom of the box the 520 came in some long skinny things wrapped up in their own box. The vendor i bought the 520 from threw in the rack rails for free..:)(thanks SaveMyServer!) That saved me upwards of $100 bucks. Considering I purchased my R520, R420, R610, R410, R310 from them I guess they figured they would give me a break and throw in the rails..<G>
What’s next? Well I have to start planning to add the 8 3.5″ hard drives. First up, the drive caddies, otherwise called “sleds”. Found 8 of them on eBay for less than $50. Order placed and the sleds are on the way. What size SD cards was I going to get? I decided to go with 64GB as that’s what I am running on my R310 and that 310’s single USB stick has been running for a few years now without a problem. SD cards are stupid cheap and i ordered 2 x64GB SD cards for less than 25 bucks shipped. All I have to do is acquire that daughterboard and the server will be ready to have FreeNAS installed.
Then it’s a slow process to populate the drives. I am going for 8 x 6TB SAS 7.2k RPM HDD. Why not SATA? I can get low hour used 6TB SAS drives for $75 each. If i was going to go SATA I would buy them new and the only brand drive I trust to NOT be SMR is the Seagate Ironwolf drives. 6TB SATA is @ $110-150. What’s the difference? For my purposes…not much..except in this case cost. SAS does have some extra features and abilities that SATA lacks. How much storage? I am going for 8 x 6TB 7200 RPM SAS HDD. That gives me 48TB of raw storage. Setting up the drives as 4 pairs of mirrored VDEVS that gives me 24TB of raw storage. Once you take formatting and the 80% ZFS rule into account I will have 18.5TB usable capacity. Next up…tearing down the rack to re-arrange it with the new servers.