Description

I went from a desktop to a laptop so I needed somewhere to put my drives will all my data. I built this as a Linux server for simple file serving. Then decided to tinker with it and created some virtual machines with VirtualBox type II hypervisor to test LAMP, media server, HTPC, play with a email client,etc. It went very well so after a year I went full on with a type I hypervisor. I used ESXI and I'm really happy with it.

After couple of years running ESXI I don't have as much time to play with it so thinking of doing a simple update, run FreeNAS or similar and leave it as NAS only.

PS. The pictures are of the first "case" I built for it. I didn't have much money for it and couldn't find a case without huge amounts of space wasted so I built this. It was meant to live under the sofa so had to be small. Didn't save much money (you can get a case for next to nothing) but I do really enjoy a weekend DIY project and it came out pretty space efficient. After a while when I got more drives I bought the Fractal case.

EDIT: Somebody asked to list the parts for the DYI case, so here it is. Bare in mind I built this years ago so it might not be totally acurate. It should however give an idea:

-Threaded rod: http://www.homedepot.com/p/Everbilt-1-4-in-20-tpi-x-36-in-Stainless-Steel-Threaded-Rod-802477/204274013

-Aluminum Profiles: http://www.homedepot.com/p/Fasade-4-ft-Large-Profile-Outside-Corner-Trim-in-Brushed-Aluminum-178-08/203232532 I also used a flat one for the drives cage and mobo but can't seem to find it.

-Tin sheet: http://www.homedepot.com/p/MD-Building-Products-36-in-x-36-in-Plain-Aluminum-Sheet-in-Silver-57000/100351161 Im unsure about this one, I remember it cheaper. it was thin enough to be cut with strong scisors. But gives an idea.

-Bunch of nuts for the threaded rods, end nuts for the top and bottom of the rods. Whasers, screws and nuts for the mobo and secure the HDD cage. PSU and HDD were secured using regular case hardware I believe.

Comments

  • 43 months ago
  • 4 points

That's some sick custom work, is that part of your job or something?

  • 43 months ago
  • 7 points

Thanks! In my head never linked it to my IT hobby but I am a product designer. Only went to home depot and tried to find stuff to build something.

  • 43 months ago
  • 1 point

FRICKEN FANTASTIC

This is amazing +1

  • 43 months ago
  • 3 points

What is the temperature like in that thing? I don't see any air vents.

  • 43 months ago
  • 1 point

Two sides were totally open. It wasn't meant to be rocket science but put some thought. CPU fan blows air on the CPU that gets suck by the PSU and pushed out the back. Drives where on the way of the incoming air from the two fans and get some benefit.

Overall loads are very low and parts don't require a lot so temperatures were more than acceptable.

  • 43 months ago
  • 1 point

Very awesome then. From just the pictures of it finished it looked like the case was completely closed up. Just the camera angle.

  • 43 months ago
  • 2 points

+1, Awesome work on the custom case.

  • 43 months ago
  • 1 point

Cheers!

  • 43 months ago
  • 2 points
My first impressions......

Waat? Did he use air ducting?

Creative Build!!

  • 43 months ago
  • 2 points

Is that what the tin is?? I didn't know...! just fount it and thought it would be easy to work with.

  • 43 months ago
  • 1 point

I don't know, looks very similar to it. If it is kind of sharp then it probably is. Haha, should get extra air flow then eh?

  • 43 months ago
  • 2 points

It should indeed get extra-aerodynamic properties!!

  • 43 months ago
  • 1 point

Out of curiosity, how did you suspend you motherboard without shorting it?

  • 43 months ago
  • 1 point

Short-circuit the board? I put it in a pile of washers so it was offset like 3/8" off the aluminum profiles it was mounted on. it was at least 1/2" to 3/4" to the tin.

  • 43 months ago
  • 1 point

Smart!

  • 43 months ago
  • 1 point

it really looks like air duct

  • 43 months ago
  • 2 points

Bottom hard drive looks pretty starved for airflow. Careful not to let it get too hot. I would recommend putting a fan in between them, or raising the top hard drive a bit.

  • 43 months ago
  • 1 point

I actually thought the opposite! the bottom one is the closest to where the CPU fan would suck the air from getting some flow. I was more worried about the top one. But again, loads were extremely low and temperatures were very good on both

  • 43 months ago
  • 1 point

Don't let that beer get warm!

  • 43 months ago
  • 2 points

Ha! It didn't stay there long!! I was going to have to celebrate I finished, so I used it for scale.

  • 43 months ago
  • 1 point

Good! As a fellow Canadian (I am assuming), that would be sacrilege!

  • 43 months ago
  • 1 point

Very nice custom case +1

  • 43 months ago
  • 1 point

Smart custom work +1

  • 43 months ago
  • 1 point

Great server +1

  • 43 months ago
  • 1 point

wow! I am amazed. Could you list in the description all the details for the stuff you bought at the home depot? I'm not good at crafting, at all, but I'd like to get better.

  • 43 months ago
  • 1 point

I was nothing special really and did it years ago. But I'll definitely try, much of what I know is because someone somewhere took the time to post in internet. So if I can help someone I'll definitely try.

  • 43 months ago
  • 1 point

before posting my comment I thought "wow this should be featured" but it had no fancy leds. looks like somebody else thought your work should be featured

  • 43 months ago
  • 1 point

When i was researching to do this couldn't find loads of ideas. So, if someone can get inspiration from this I'd be very happy!

  • 43 months ago
  • 1 point

Gotta love the customization +1

  • 43 months ago
  • 1 point

Nice design.

  • 43 months ago
  • 1 point

You can't run FreeNAS safely; you don't have ECC RAM. Ubuntu Server should work fine, however...

That's definitely some dedicated custom casework.

  • 43 months ago
  • 1 point

Yeah, though of this. Mobo and CPU dont take ECC so should update those two (needed to get more RAM anyway). Also should get a Intel NIC and more drives to make a RAIDZ2.

Maybe is either not that simple of an update or no update at all... lol

  • 43 months ago
  • 1 point

It's not like not having ecc is going to wrec zfs. It would just be slightly more prone to errors, which has nothing to do with zfs or FreeNAS, just that non-eec ram is slightly more prone to errors.

To make the point of this comment clear:
It's not wrong to recommend eec ram for a nas, but your statement implies that using non-eec ram for freenas would be worse than using non-eec ram for... anything else, which is incorrect.

  • 43 months ago
  • 1 point

While I agree with you and I think it is better in order to protect your data to have FreeNAS with ZFS and don't have ECC than having many others file systems with non-ECC. I've read endless documentation, posts and heated discussions on the matter and I thought was better not getting into that...

Yes ECC is always better and yes: "There’s nothing special about ZFS that requires/encourages the use of ECC RAM more so than any other filesystem. " -Matt Ahren co-founder of ZFS

  • 43 months ago
  • 1 point

Uh, you left out the rest of that quote, which IMHO is kinda important:

There's nothing special about ZFS that requires/encourages the use of ECC RAM more so than any other filesystem. If you use UFS, EXT, NTFS, btrfs, etc without ECC RAM, you are just as much at risk as if you used ZFS without ECC RAM. I would simply say: if you love your data, use ECC RAM. Additionally, use a filesystem that checksums your data, such as ZFS. [emphasis mine]

In other words: If you don't use ECC RAM, any filesystem you use is at risk of corruption (ZFS will just tell you about it sooner).

Your priorities and usage case may be different, and may tolerate occasional filesystem corruption (especially if you're taking regular backups). In my case, I built my NAS for the express purpose of being a long-term archive, i.e. drop files there and never really think about them again. To help ensure the "never think about them" part of that equation, I bought a system with ECC support.

Here's another nice article discussing the issue: http://louwrentius.com/please-use-zfs-with-ecc-memory.html

  • 43 months ago
  • 1 point

Thank you for the link, I have read it among many many many many others... as I said I did not intent to get into this here and my first reply was in agreement with you. Of course it is better, and of course I take backups, ECC or not, redundancy it is no substitute to back-ups and there are many things that can happen to it besides RAM flipping bits ( for one data is generated on devices with non-ECC that could potentially feed it corrupted already to the NAS, therefore making the argument that ALL my RAM in every device should be ECC. Which it should, it wouldn't be the first time I have problems with that).

As you pointed out in my particular case I can tolerate the risk, ZFS or not. Of course I would prefer ECC memory but that would more than duplicate or triplicate the price of the build and non-ECC NAS is better than no NAS. if I buy a Kia RIO I obviously missing in a lot safety features VS. buying a BMW series5, therefore putting my family at risk... but there are other factors to take into account. Hell, if it was for data safety I should upgrade the PSU, I should get a sturdier case than that DYI case, etc, etc. Or forget about all that and get a professional cloud solution to archive my data. This solution, while far from the best was sized to my needs and resources I am whiling to allocate taking into account as many counter measures for the potential risks as I can (having a NAS being one of them).

Thank you though for taking the time!

  • 43 months ago
  • 1 point

That bare metal.. beautiful.

  • 43 months ago
  • 1 point

I love ghetto things...Also,what's the WD Red for?

Cheers,love! +1

  • 43 months ago
  • 1 point

Thanks mate! I got it to backup those two WD black.

  • 43 months ago
  • 1 point

But it's more expensive than the WD blacks. Couldn't you just have gotten another one

  • 43 months ago
  • 1 point

Actually, if you compare the WD black 2TB with the WD red 2TB the red is cheaper. Maybe you got confused with the WD red PRO, those are more expensive but they are 7200 and mean for larger RAID arrays (1-16).

But regardless, I had the blacks cause they came from my desktop and in there you benefit from a performance drive like that. But by the time I upgraded the NAS it was clear I like the concept so I got into the direction of getting NAS grade hardware. WD red is 5200 NAS grade, should benefit from lower temps, less vibration, less noise, TLER, "Intellipower" and are rated for twice the load/unload cycles. That been said my main concern its reliability and although non have failed from what I've read it is there there.

  • 43 months ago
  • 1 point

Okay,sure :P I just looked at the prices in your build,and I swear I saw the red be more expensive.

Anyways,

Cheers,love!

  • 43 months ago
  • 1 point

Not a problem love!!

  • 43 months ago
  • 1 point

Cool home built case.

Thumbs up

  • 43 months ago
  • 1 point

Is that an old iPhone 3G on the desk there?

Case design is great. Looks like a really efficient use of minimal parts and materials. Nice job.

  • 43 months ago
  • 1 point

Cheers!! And indeed it is!! not to sure what it was doing there... haha

  • 43 months ago
  • 1 point

Looks really nice, love these diy builds, great work and congrats on the feature :)

  • 43 months ago
  • 1 point

Thanks man, I really like them too, I really really wish I saw more of them. Tbh there is not much variation on PC cases, same A, B, C. But having good cheap cases it is hard to justify the time and expense.

Either you go very basic like this and its kind of temporary/ghetto, or you do it seriously and becomes time and money consuming... That, vs. going to the store and just spending $100 on a very nice case is tricky to justify.

  • 43 months ago
  • 1 point

HHNNNGG yes ESXi is <3

Excellent work! I do love seeing custom work.

  • 43 months ago
  • 1 point

Fantastic stuff it is, and easier to handle than many other solutions. I highly recommend it.

Thanks!

  • 43 months ago
  • 1 point

so many servers now a day

  • 43 months ago
  • 1 point

I think having more and more devices of various sizes it is useful to consolidate and centralize the information. Which also makes easier to implement redundancy, backups, etc.

Also with the internet connections nowadays there is not excuse to not make it available wherever you want!

  • 43 months ago
  • 1 point

How to make a home server look beautiful....

+1 for roasting my beef.

  • 43 months ago
  • 1 point

Great work, man! Congrats on featured build, well deserved.

  • 43 months ago
  • 1 point

Why would you use a Pentium processor in a server?

  • 43 months ago
  • 1 point

Depending on what you're going to use it for (and the budget) there might be better options. But why exactly not? What would you have used?

  • 43 months ago
  • 1 point

If ot were a NAS, I would have gone for at least a haswell based i3

  • 43 months ago
  • 1 point

Why is that? I'm curious, maybe I'm missing something.

I just needed to get my data storage back and the Pentium certainly packed enough for what I needed(even with several internal and external users rarely seen it beyond 60% load) and it has power left over to play with other services; along with some features like VT-x, 32GB RAM, low consumption, low heat, graphic processor, etc.

The cheapest i3 is more expensive than my entire build (not counting drives that I already had). It takes the same RAM and doesn't support VT-d either. it does pack more power but it would be a waste and it takes ECC but for that I would need to spend even more money on the Mobo and RAM... more than duplicating the price of the project.

If I would have spent a bit more money it would have gone to the PSU.

  • 43 months ago
  • 1 point

The possible load on a server is much more varied than on desktop pcs. I currently have a server running on an early intel atom (equivalent to a Pentium 3) with 512mb of ram. It is still overkill for it's use as an OpenArena server.

  • 43 months ago
  • 1 point

That psu makes me cringe... I realize there is a lot of recycled hardware here, but psus don't tend to age very well; I would replace it for an always on machine. On the bright side, you can get 300-400w oem packaged seasonic unit for less than $30, sometimes close to $20.

This makes me want to take a few threaded rods and a couple of 1000 peice bags of washers... If you can't tell, that's a good thing :P

  • 43 months ago
  • 1 point

Totally! People always worry about the processor, ECC memory, etc.... by far I'd say the weakest point here is the PSU! budget was really really tight here and made it happen under $150CAD but is the one thing that unsettles me most and is first for next upgrade.

All in all I have backups in and out of the server so I'm not too worried, but it is de weakest link in the build.

And get at it with those rods, screws and washers!! I would really love to see more custom cases that encourage me and other people! As shown here the case (with minimal precautions) is the one thing you can go nuts with and get creative without worrying much!!

  • 43 months ago
  • 1 point

My current build is made of cardboard :P it looks a bit better than what I have posted. I was thinking of going for a u4 rack next, but I wouldn't mind going to a testbench style. Although, I do have cats, so I might have to think of something else XD

  • 43 months ago
  • 1 point

I've just seen it! It is a great concept and I would definitely love to see you taking it further.

I though of cardboard but apart from being highly flammable didn't give me confidence that it would protect the parts very much. Also thought of wood but it wouldn't have a case ground, airflow would be tricky, not sure it would save space and it would weight way more than it needs to. So it was a bit against the economy of space and resources I had in mind. I even thought of a metallic bench, gutting one of those could work as a base for a more serious custom case.

I also fantasized with racks but after looking properly into it those things are way more expensive and complicated than what I need, particularly much much more noisy.

  • 43 months ago
  • 1 point

What Linux distro?

  • 43 months ago
  • 1 point

I started off with Ubuntu server. it was the first time I got into it and thought info and community was abundant enough to get me through my first contact with a Linux terminal.

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  • 43 months ago
  • 2 points

Even Google?

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  • 43 months ago
  • 1 point

Cheers mate!

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  • 43 months ago
  • 1 point

It was sad indeed! but needed to. I'll be getting a new desktop soon.

Going geeky and DYI on this was totally to compensate...

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  • 43 months ago
  • 1 point

lol