Mikes Custom

Server Upgrade–Part 1

No matter what kind of hardware you buy sometimes things go bad.  I have been running two servers for quite some time now.  One as my Windows Home Server, and the other is Server 2008R2 which I use not only for backup, but use as a Hyper-V server to run a variety of VM’s.  As luck would have it, my tried and true backup server decided it did not want to work anymore.  It would at times boot but most of the time it would not even boot.  On the times it did come up, it locked up within a few minutes after loading the OS.  I tried the easy stuff such as memory and power supply but that did not cure the problem.  My obvious thought was the motherboard, however it turned out to be the Crucial SSD that I had been using for some time.  Since I already had ripped things down to troubleshoot the problem, I thought I would take the opportunity to do a bit of an upgrade at the same time.

What I wanted to accomplish with the upgrade was to add a couple more drives so that I could max out my 2680 card.  That would give me the room to port my data over  and upgrade my WHS 2011 box with faster and larger drives which was the original plan before this happened (look for part 2).  My goal was to still keep it to a mid tower but I wanted to have enough drive capacity to hold 8 data drives, one VM drive, and an OS drive.  I looked long and hard for a case to fit that bill and finally settled on the Fractal R3.  This case actually holds only 8 drives total, but it has space in the 5.25 inch bay to hold my OS and VM drive since I do not run a DVD drive in my server.

Steps of the upgrade

  • Move motherboard into the case
  • Mark drives before removal to retain correct sequence (not required but it is good practice)
  • Remove and Install existing drives in new box
  • Add the new drives for the extra capacity

Case First impression

For this upgrade I choose the Fractal Design R3.  This case holds 8 3.5/2.5 inch drives, has excellent air flow, is very quiet, and is very cost effective.

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Pros

  • Very well built and great construction
  • Lots of storage bays for a mid sized case
  • All the the trays handle 2.5 or 3.5 inch drives
  • Quiet.  Sound proofing material installed in all the right places
  • USB 3.0 front panel header

Cons

  • Grommets missing from one of the trays (isolated case I am sure)
  • No front fan (This is really annoying as I would gladly pay the $10 upgrade to get it pre-installed)
  • No hard drive LED light (not a show stopper but annoying none the less)

Summary

When all is said and done, I am very happy with this build. It turned out better than I thought even thought I was not able to use the last tray for storage (at least until they send me the grommets).  The Fractal case is ideal for a server case as it is not only is it quiet, but it provides excellent air flow over the drive areas (once you add a second fan).  Now that I had the server space, I was able to copy my data over from my WHS 2011 using Allwaysync.  Now off to do part 2….

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Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Server Upgrade–Part 2 | The Doc's World - 05/28/2012

    […] I had expanded my other server (see part 1), I used AllwaySync to copy all the data from my existing WHS server to my backup server (2008R2) […]

  2. Fractal Designs-Great Customer Service | The Doc's World - 05/31/2012

    […] you know from my “Server Upgrade – Part 1”, I had a small issue with the Fractal Case I used.  Although I very much like the case, I was […]

  3. Painless Drive Failure Recovery-The Way It Should Be - The Doc's World - 11/25/2012

    […] I logged into the server to verify the issue.  The software does a great job at defining which drive is bad and since the cables are pre-labeled, it was quick to pull out the defective drive.  A quick look at the event log also confirmed the problem.  I powered down the system, and slid out the bad drive.  This took about 10-15 minutes including carrying the headless server to a location where I have access to a monitor.  Since this is in Fractal Design case, drive removal and replacement is very easy and quick.  (See the build article for pictures of the case) […]

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