/ Computers

HP MicroServer + ZFS = Win

I recently procured one of these beauties after staring enviously at the one we have on our desk for testing at work.

It’s a HP ProLiant MicroServer – a bit of a mouthful, but a good piece of kit! It comes with

  • 2GB RAM
  • 250GB HDD
  • Dual-core AMD Turion II N40L processor
  • Gig Ethernet
  • More USB ports than I know what to do with
  • Three more 3.5″ disk bays, which I filled with 2TB Western Digital disks
  • Some flashy lights

I bought it after umm-ing and aah-ing about building a replacement for my ageing Windows Home Server file server. It’s huge, cumbersome, slow and, crucially, *noisy. *The case and CPU fans are so old and decrepit that I can hear it down the hall with my door shut. That, combined with the fact that the device has started to crash, reset and fail to boot on a regular basis meant it was time to upgrade/replace/destroy/purge (delete as appropriate).

So I got this thing after hearing rave reviews of how easy they are to run. Having populated it and powered it on, I found that it was so bloody quiet that if the little green light wasn’t switched on, I’d have no clue it was on in the first place…

[![](https://antisp.in/blog/wp-content/uploads/2012/05/IMG_20120502_173948-488x366.jpg "IMG_20120502_173948")](http://antisp.in/blog/wp-content/uploads/2012/05/IMG_20120502_173948.jpg)
Full of disks and flashing lights and buttons and USB ports!
The next question was what OS I’d put on it. Having scouted around, I thought of FreeNAS and a bunch of other NAS distributions but soon discarded that idea because while it would be easy to set up, the performance would be laughable. We use OpenIndiana to run ZFS servers here at work, as I mentioned in [earlier](http://antisp.in/blog/tech/zfs-send-and-receive/ "ZFS Send and Receive") [posts](http://antisp.in/blog/tech/restoring-from-snapshots-with-zfs/ "Restoring from snapshots with ZFS"), so that’s what I went with, especially after seeing this graph:

Even though this measures performance against Solaris Express, based on the data here, OpenSolaris would wipe the floor with FreeNAS.

The installation went by without a hitch! The unit quickly DHCP’d itself an address which is fine by me. Once that was done, it was time to apply updates and reboot – again, no worries whatsoever.

While this was going on, I stumbled across napp-it, a NAS distro. It turns out that it can also serve as a frontend to OpenIndiana. While I was happy to administer the server from commandline, I figured that it wouldn’t hurt to have a graphical interface for when I was feeling lazy.

Installation was, again, ridiculously easy:

wget -O - www.napp-it.org/nappit | perl

After about 10 minutes of the unit Doing Things under the hood, I found myself with a brand spanking new installation of napp-it!

Creating the storage pool from the three 2-terabyte disks was a doddle too! So now I have 3.56TB of space with the three disks in a RAID-Z pool. This means that one of the three disks can fail and I won’t lose All The Things. This fills me with a great sense of peace.

Also, the snapshotting capability of ZFS means I can back up important data on a regular basis, with an option of copying those snapshots to a remote server for added security!

Now, to copy 1.4TB of data from three (possibly four) NTFS-formatted disks that WHS used for its storage pool…