A new home server

At home I've a server that I use for file serving, developing and making experiments but it is really old, has no virtualizzation support built'in (I'm using virtualbox but it is desktop oriented and I need something more oriented to server), and the available HDD space is almost out of space.

So my requirements list is:

  • at least 4Tb of raid protected hdd space
  • low power consumptions on idle (at least no higher than current setup)
  • lowest possible noise
  • full HW virtualizzation support
  • two gigabit Ethernet cards
  • full centos 6 compatible (that is the hardest part)

It was not easy, expecially the noise requirement since that information seldom provided into the hw specifications, my main source for this kind of info is Silent pc review but you can sill have bad suprises.

My current server configuration has 3 HDDs (raid 5) + a 2Tb hdd for "slow changing data" and an ssd for booting.

To achieve larger capacity and lower consumption I decided to use only 2.5 hdds. This is a setup that is now also common for enterprise servers, obviously I don't want to buy enterprise grade 2.5 HDDs (those are pricey) and this will also need a proper backplane for assure a good heat dissipation (so no plastic case).

I've selected the Samsung Spinpoint M8 1T hdd the spinpoint series was always a silent one so I've ordered a sample and make some tests, the result into an usb box was quite satisfactory. To reach the 4tb size in raid 5 i need 5 HDDs, so to have those plus the boot SSD I needed a MB with at least 6 sata ports.


Another important subject was the CPU, this is not a gaming PC, I just want to host some virtual guest for making clustering experiments so two physical core should be enough and power consumption have to be as low as possibile. This seemed simple but I soon discovered that there are not many low power consumption desktop cpus.

After a long research I found two candidates:

I have to admit that i liked the idea of using the E3 expecially due to the ECC memory support but I was unable to find a MB that officially supported that (and was compliant to my other requirements) so I had to buy the i5.