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Bit of a noobie and this will be the 1st server hardware I have purchased. We are a small design studio and I am about to buy our 1st server. I have successfully run Ubuntu on an old PC which has acted as our file server untill now.

I am keenly looking at the HP Proliant ML110 G6 which seems to me to fit the bill.

Any reason why this wouldnt be a good choice for an Ubuntu file server?

I am hoping to fill the 4 drive bays with 1TB SATA hard drives in some kind of raid configuration. I think RAID 10 or 1. My goal is data mirroring, surviveability, minimum disruption to operation, and fixability if somthing goes wrong. Any sugestions? Will the embedded, HP Smart Array B110i SATA Controller RAID 0/1/10, work for me or will I need a seperate RAID card?

I know this is all a bit vague, but I do hope that someonwe will be able to give me a few words of advice, so as to give me the confidence to make the purchase.

Thanks,

G

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5 Answers

I'm a bit of a HP geek and would warn you off that model and suggest you go for the ML150 if you have the budget for the following reasons;

  • Dual CPU sockets - fill one now but know you can almost double your compute performance in a quick and inexpensive way in the future if required.
  • 12 memory slots, three times the memory capacity, the 110 is limited to 16GB.
  • More PCI/PCIe slots and more higher bandwidth in those slots.
  • Capability of getting the machine with the much better P410 disk controller, faster, more capably and better supported than the B110i.
  • Dual PSU capable - I can't stress how important I believe this is for any server.
  • 8 disk slots, twice as many as the ML110.
  • Server can be converted from tower to rack mounted - unlike ML110

Now obviously the ML150 is more expensive than the ML110 but I genuinely believe the upgrade is worthwhile to give you the ability to expand your CPU, memory and disk seamlessly in the future if needed.

Bare in mind however that HP don't officially support Ubuntu so you might want to check for drivers and also that HP don't officially support non-HP disks on any of their controllers, again you should be fine but perhaps do some research first.

Hope this helps.

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You may wish to consider a server with a redundant PSU, however you would be looking at significantly more expensive hardware, such as a HP ML330

Furthermore the benefit of the redundant PSU is reduced, unless you can put them on separate feeds.

I would recommend putting whatever you buy on UPS backed power however.

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As a server, for what it costs, you can't go far wrong.

What I would do is hit the Ubuntu documentation/mailing lists and see if there are any known issues with that RAID controller card, as that seems to be one area that can really trip people up (not sure from your post what level of linux knowledge you have or whether you're a "put in the CD and so long as it finds all the hardware I'm fine" type or person).

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We have both ML110 G5 and G6es, and have had great luck with them considering the price. We run a FreeNAS file server for network-based backups with 5.25 TB on one box (removed the CD-ROM for bay and SATA port) and another as a low-end NAS using only the software RAID in the OS -- this performs adequately, but using the onboard RAID with some added cache for more high performance storage as @sysadmin1138 mentions makes quite a difference.

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That server should do you well.

I would recommend picking up the add-on that gives the RAID card some cache, that can provide a significant performance improvement. Otherwise, that's a solid value performer.

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+1 for the RAID cache. –  nedm Sep 21 '10 at 19:09
    
+1 Good controller with cache really helps. Check forums. Some HP RAID cards are pretty bad even with cache. –  Dave M Sep 21 '10 at 20:58
    
Thanks for everyones advice. I will check out the RAID controller in more detail. Does anybody have anything to add regarding what RAID configuration to go for? –  user409518 Sep 22 '10 at 13:28
    
@user54887 Considering this is ubuntu, either RAID10 or RAID1 should be just fine. With LVM the exact raid levels don't matter all that much. On Windows, it would to a point, but LVM is much more forgiving than NTFS/DynamicDisks. –  sysadmin1138 Sep 22 '10 at 15:21
    
Thanks for everyones help. I went ahead and purchased the server along with 4 2TB hard disks :-) However I am unable to get the Ubuntu install to see my RAID array. As I understand it, this is because the RAID controller is FAKE-RAID and the Ubuntu installer doesn’t have a driver for it. I have read about others, doing something complicated, with trying to get this to work but have decided instead to go with a software RAID/LVM setup. Does anybody have any ideas/recommendations regarding what setup I should go for? Fault tolerance, continuity, quick recovery from disater are my priorities. –  user409518 Nov 5 '10 at 19:29
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