Category Archive:Hardware

So i ordered a  couple of pci-e network cards one for my machine and one for the girls tower.  Let’s see if that helps the eldest’s one game not crash the entire networking stack…:)  Realteks are decent if you aren’t doing heavy networking stuff like I am doing..it will take a couple of weeks for them to come in(ordered from mainland china on the boat).

Now for the Gamecache update.  I really didn’t need to do this..but i figured why not?  I moved my battle.net games(which are the only ones i play…being SC2 and D3)…to my own iscsi target on the FreeNAS.  It’s a total of 40 gigs…but it’s 40 gigs i do not have to download again when i scrub my computer(which I am going to be doing soon as I am having weird video issues…had similar issues on the girls tower and a scrub fixed them).

My workstation actually runs nearly everything off the FreeNAs in one way or another.  My Douments, Music, videos, Downloads actually run from an SMB share.  I use most of the files myself and there’s many that are used to rebuild internal machines when they get scrubbed.  What does the gamecache give me that the smb share doesn’t?  First, is speed.  SMB is not multi-threaded so it does not take advantage of the multiple cores i have going.  Secondly I do not want anyone else possibly messing up the game files.

 

Everything has ZFS snapshots going as well so if something goes boom..i can just rollback that dataset or even individual files…:)  Kinds neat..:)

I came across an interesting use case for FreeNAS.  My eldest daughter likes games that are huge.  Like 100-250 gigabyte huge.  I simply cannot afford to keep adding SSD storage to her machine.  I will not do hard disks as main storage..under Windows 10 it’s too painfully slow.  What Lawerence had done was taken a FreeNAS machine, sliced off a portion of the raw storage, and presented it to the workstation as a hard drive over his network.  His son now run his large games from the FreeNAS zvol as if it was local.  What’s neat is the games initial load time is a bit slower(the NAS is hard drive based) but once it’s loaded..there’s no perceptible difference in gaming performance despite a constant stream of data from the server…usually less than 150 megabit/sec.  Since I have multi Terabytes of free space i am doing the same thing for my eldest.  I am also doing what is called thin provisioning so it initially starts at zero usage and goes up until she reaches her cap of 1 Terabyte.  Let’s see how this works as my quad core Xeon cpu is light years faster(with 4 times more ram at 32 gigabytes) than his FreeNAS mini dual core atom and 8 gigs of ram.  If this works…i have a new idea for future computer builds here at the house..<G>

They are jumping right into virtualization.  Their biggest concern is they are hitting the limits of their colos power envelope before they start getting charged.  They are going to reduce their server footprint by about half and hopefully save some power as well.  I’ll be tracking this however feel free to watch form Anandtech directly.

AnandTech 2010 Server Upgrade: The CPUs – AnandTech :: Your Source for Hardware Analysis and News.

You can read about the donation here.  I have three IBM x335’s on the way with dual p-4 xeon 2.8 ghz cpu’s, dual 36 gig 10k rpm SCSI drives with hardware raid 1, 4 gigs of ram, all the cables needed including ILO, and rails.  All for the cost of shipping.  Why am I posting about it here?  I run the network at my church.  This will be the first time I can start something like this from the ground up and document what I do, how I do it, and what hardware and software I do it with.  I will also be able to show just how much free software can do and still integrate with an established Active Directory layout as well.  It’s something for other potential NPO clients to be able to see what some creative thinking can accomplish for little or no cost…:)  Stay tuned I’ve created a whole new category for this..:)