Around The Lab: Hyperion Home Lab January Update

Brian Marshall

Welcome to the first installment of a new on-going series about what’s up in my Hyperion Home Lab.  First, if you don’t already have your own home lab, why not?  Get started by checking out my guide on building your own.  And yes…I will get around to updating this series soon.  In the meantime, let’s take a look at what’s changed in the lab.

UPS…not just for shipping

I’ve updated the power configuration of the lab to increase the UPS capacity.  All servers are now connected to their own 1500VA UPS.  This means a total of four (4) UPS’s with a total capacity of 6000VA.  I can get roughly 20 minutes of time without power before things fall apart.  The next step will be automating the shutdown procedure after a few minutes of power loss.

More Drives

What about server stuff?  I’ve expanded my FreeNAS server to include an entirely new chassis devoted to storing drives.  This chassis is a Supermicro 45-bay with a pair of SAS2 expanders.  These are connected externally to the FreeNAS server to an LSI 9200-8e controller.  More on this later…

New Networking Goodies

In support of my FreeNAS fun and eventual VSAN implementation, I replaced my ailing Dell switch with a brand new X1052.  This switch is complete with 24 ports of RJ45 gigabit connections along with 4 ports of SFP+ 10G connections.  Each server is directly connected to the switch with SFP+ DAC’s.  Each server is also connected directly to the FreeNAS server using another SFP+ DAC.

While I made everything faster on the wired side, the wireless was still a bit of a challenge.  The majority of the house was just fine, but there were a few select locations that were very problematic.  I decided to price out having a network drop or two added.  While talking to a potential installer, he suggested I try out an extender.  I had tried an extender years before, but it didn’t work well.  Based on the installers feedback, I gave it another try.  I purchased a Netgear Nighthawk X4.

The extender has been nothing short of awesome.  My Nighthawk X6 has a pair of 5GHz radios and this extender allows me to isolate one of those and provide it with a dedicated radio signal.  This is about as great as it can get without dropping an actual network connection.  We’ve been using it for about a while now and I have nothing but great things to say.

Diagrams Are Cool Right?

Here’s what it all looks like in the form of a really bad Visio diagram:

What’s next?

As I continue my Essbase performance series and prepare for my Kscope17 presentation, I’m making some more modifications.  I’ve also finally run out of space on my old file server and I think we have finally reached a point where I can trust my FreeNAS box as my primary file server.  First, here’s a sneak peak at what’s coming in my benchmarking box:

That is an Oracle Flash Accelerator.  This very drive is found in many Exalytics servers out there.  It also happens to be a rebranded Intel P3605.  This particular model is the 1.6TB variety with some insane performance.  I’ll have a dedicated post for this SSD very soon.

In the meantime, I’ll be installing my capacity expansion to replace my existing file server next weekend when the drives arrive.  I’ve ordered 13 3TB drives.  I plan on using a pair of RAIDZ1 vdev’s in FreeNAS to give me 30TB of usable storage with a hot spare in the event of failure.  I may also be transitioning to a new VM backup strategy at the same time, but more on that another time.

Enough Nerding Out

And that’s it for this update on my Hyperion Home Lab.  I should have a few more posts coming in the near future with updates on much of what I’ve talked about broadly here.

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