My Backup ZFS Machine (Correction)

Before going on vacation I finished setting up my new ZFS backup machine, initialized first replication, and happily gone to see the big hole.

When I remotely connected to my main machine a few days later, I've found my sync command has failed before finishing. Also I couldn't connect to my backup server. Well, that was unfortunate but I had enough foresight to get it connected via smart plug so I did power-off/power-on dance. My system booted and I restarted replication. I checked on it a few days later, to find it stuck again. Rince-repeat. And the next day too. And the one after that...

Why? I have not idea as I was connected only remotely and I literally came home on the last day when I could return it to Amazon. Since I did raise a case with Supermicro in regards to video card error (5 beeps) which seemed hardware related my suspicions were definitely pointing only in direction of motherboard issue. I know memory was fine as I tested it thoroughly in another machine and power supply is happily working even now.

For my peace of mind I needed something that would allow me not only to reboot machine but to also access its screen and keyboard directly without any OS involvement. Variants are known under different names and slightly different execution. Whether it is KVM, iLO, AMT, or IPMI.

So I decided to upgrade to more manageable Supermicro A1SRi-2558F. With its C2558 processor (4 cores) and quad LAN it was definitely an overkill for my purpose but it was the cheapest IPMI-capable board I could find at $225 (compared to $150 for X10SBA-L). Unfortunately for my budget its ECC requirement meant adding another $35 for ECC RAM. And of course, different layout made my 6" right-angle SATA cable useless so now they decorate my drawer.

Board itself is really full of stuff with total of six USB ports (four are USB 3.0), one of which was even soldered on motherboard for internal USB needs. Having four gigabit ports is probably useless as Atom is unlikely to be able to drive them all at full speed but I guess it does allow for more relaxed network configuration. Moreover two SATA3 and four SATA2 just scream NAS. And rear bracket on my 1U case fits rear IO perfectly. Frankly, the only thing missing is HDMI albeit IPMI greatly reduces chance of ever needing it.

Total difference in system cost was $100 and it gave me a rock-solid experience (hasn't crashed a single time in more than a month). Here is updated shopping list:

Supermicro SuperChassis 504-203B $100
Supermicro A1SRI-2558F $225
Kingston ValueRAM 4GB 1600MHz DDR3L ECC 2x $45
SATA cable, 8", round (2x) $7
Total $422

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *