SuperMicro SuperServer 1U

My first *actual* server. “Actual” meaning I’ve had plenty of machines I’ve ran “servers” on or called “server” but this is my first actual data center rack mount server.


 

Overview:

IMG_7129 IMG_7124

So for the first week or so of having it, it lived on this little shelf next to my desk. That was as short lived as possible. The amount of noise supermicro servers create is insane. To be fair, so is the hardware inside it (for me at least)

  • Supermicro SuperServer 6016T-UF with 560W PSU
  • Supermicro X8DTU-F ServerBoard
  • Dual Intel Xeon L5520 2.26GHz Quad-Core CPUs with Hyper-Threading (8 cores, 16 threads)
  • 36GB RAM (9x 4GB DDR3 1066 (PC3 8500)) – 3x Kingston KVR1066D3D4R7SK3 kits
  • 2x4GB DDR3 RAM from friend (to total 44GB RAM, looking to fill the last DIMM slot soon, or get 8GB DIMMs further down the line)
  • 3ware 9690SA-4I RAID Controller
  • 4x 1TB Seagate Constellation ES Hard Drives
  • Internal DVD-ROM

Unboxing: 

This was fun, carrying the ~50lb machine around the house. First through the door to the other side of the house, and later to the basement.

IMG_7121
The box didn’t fare well, but the server was unharmed.
Packing material seems decent. Nothing was damaged.
Packing material seems decent. Nothing was damaged.
Came with rails, but I have yet to use them.
Came with rails, but I have yet to use them.
Cats like boxes, but sadly the box was burned a few days later.
Cats like boxes, but sadly the box was burned a few days later.

 

Setup:

ya
I set up IPMI so I could work from my desk with the server in the basement. The fan noise got old real fast for everyone in the house.

Something I noticed fairly early on is a strange problem where the I/O with the disks would stop working. Sometimes after rebooting, the disks wouldn’t be recognized. Sometimes while running, all I/O requests would fail. I diagnosed this as a heat issue, partly because if left off for a few hours, it would run great for another few hours before having problems again. That raid card apparently doesn’t get enough airflow where it is, so increasing the system fan speed solved the problem.

Fun problem to diagnose. Only caused slight panic over it possibly being broken.
Fun problem to diagnose. Only caused slight panic over it possibly being broken.
Luckall
Luckily the BIOS has temperature and fan controls. I made it even louder (sadly) by turning the fans to maximum cooling, and I’ve had no more overheating problems since then. Balanced (default) was just not enough.
Installed Windows 10 (I know, weird) to test the hard drives for bad sectors and run system stability tests to make sure everything worked before installing Proxmox.
Installed Windows 10 (I know, weird) to test the hard drives for bad sectors and run system stability tests to make sure everything worked before installing Proxmox.
All hard drives tested fine at the time, but now 1 is showing some SMART issues, but still works fine. May need to replace it some day.
All hard drives tested fine at the time, but now one is showing some SMART issues, but still works fine. May need to replace it some day.
IMG_7131
Installed Proxmox as my main OS. This was my original storage configuration, but as I found out over time, ZFS does not work well with swapfiles on it.

Something I found after months of using it like this is that the reason my VMs would lock up over time is because you should never have swapfiles on ZFS. Given that this was running VMs, most VMs would end up with swapfiles on their virtual disks. The main OS also had swap, so it was a combination of both that causes VMs to lock up, and eventually I reinstalled to correct the issue.

What I use now is each drive as its own unit. If I recall correctly, it’s something like this.

  • Drive 1
    • Proxmox OS
    • ISOs and Container Templates
    • Misc storage
  • Drive 2
    • VM Storage 1
  • Drive 3
    • VM Storage 2
    • VMs for Friends Storage 1
  • Drive 4
    • Local backups
    • Spillover for anything
It's so nice when things work.
It’s so nice when things work.

 

Conclusion:

Living happily in the basement, running VMs and such.
Living happily in the basement, running VMs and such.

Now I have another server on top of it, which you can find here.

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