EX490 replacement
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Author:  danrfxz [ Sun Jul 21, 2013 10:32 pm ]
Post subject:  EX490 replacement


So I've decided that it's time to replace my EX490. While the box is running great (with upgraded RAM and CPU too), I'm just not happy with the efficiency of Drive Expander. I currently have 19 drives installed (mix of 1 and 2TB drives, using the EX490 and 3 multi-bay external enclosures), and with DE I'm only getting 1/2 of my storage space due to the duplication. And with all of the new 2TB drives coming with the Advanced Format sectors it's a pain to expand.

As I see it I have 3 options (listed in order of price):
  1. Upgrade my EX490 to WHS2011 or WS2012E (probably 2012E) so that I can use newer, larger drives and figure out some way of data protection
  2. Migrate my data storage to a NAS box like the Synology DS1513+. Data would be stored in a RAID 6. This solution would continue to use my WHS for computer backups only
  3. Build a DIY Home Server with a hardware RAID card. I'd probably get an Areca controller and WD RE drives in 3 or 4TB.

I'm no stranger to setting up and managing servers and RAIDs ... I'm just not sure which option is going to be the best bang for the buck, and if building my own server has any real advantages to offset the huge price difference (I already run 3 other servers out of my house, sadly all of which are too old or in a form factor that won't support a modern RAID). I figured if anybody could help me find a solution it would be the people on these forums.

Any thoughts or suggestions? Thanks!

Author:  Gardian [ Mon Jul 22, 2013 8:15 am ]
Post subject:  Re: EX490 replacement

My 2 cents: 19 drives I would build, you can find a couple of awesome builds in the DIY thread.

Another option might be the New micro servers to freshen up the hardware side, but you would still need a new OS and a DE replacement and you won't gain in drive numbers so the externals will still be needed:

If you keep the 490, you would want to think of spare parts and getting the VGA device ($80) to see to load the OS...
WHS 2011 ($50) or 2012 essentials ($300-$500) choice.

I would not go NAS, but that is because I want my data in a readable format on every drive and that right now would be a windows solution.


Author:  Comp1962 [ Mon Jul 22, 2013 9:00 am ]
Post subject:  Re: EX490 replacement

I have run WHS2011 with Stablebit Drive Pool and have run it with 4TB Hitachi Drives. Later I migrated to WS2012E and again installed Stablebit Drive Pool and was able to easily migrate my storage pool but Stablebit Drive Pool for WS2012E is in beta but so far its been working well.

WS2012E does support the larger drives natively but I am just confirming I was able to run the larger drives within WHS2011 using Stablebit Drive Pool which may or may not be the storage solution your looking for but its way better then DE and more user friendly and forgiving and still allows you to read your drives in another client.

I lean heavily towards a DIY build but if your not comfortable with that then your kind of stuck looking for an OEM solution but if you have the time its well worth exploring both possibilities. You can always repurpose your EX490 to run the newer Server OS's which are available but I would urge you to get out of the headless world and purchase a debug board and look for a working spare EX49x to keep the server online.

Author:  danrfxz [ Mon Jul 22, 2013 10:41 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: EX490 replacement

I've thought about migrating to something like Drive Pool, the problem is that I want something more than a 50% efficient storage system (ie, in my current system with 19 drives I only get 9.5 drives worth of usable space due to the data duplication of DE). If I ran a RAID 6 with a hot spare I'd get 16 drives worth of useable space.

As far as moving to a RAID I'm comfortable with that, as all of my really important files are backed up offsite via a VPN every night to my parents house, so if the RAID crashed oh well (just wasted time generating media files).

Another downside of my current setup is that my drives are a mix of WD Green, Black, and Red drives ... none of which are really cut out for running in a 10+ drive RAID environment (I guess it could be argued that the Red drives might work).

As for the EX490 ... I already bought a debug board that I ordered thanks to this site :mss:

Any suggestions on spare parts I should look at getting (still have the original CPU and RAM that I took out).

Thanks again for your thoughts and comments!!

Author:  Comp1962 [ Tue Jul 23, 2013 3:16 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: EX490 replacement

Drives are just getting bigger and bigger and the costs are once again coming down so there is actually less need for a large array of drives. Not sure why WD is taking so long to put out larger then 3TB versions of the RED's as they have done with their other drives.

As for what spare parts to get.....Just get an entire working version of the EX49x or X510 that way if something should go wrong you just pop in the drives to the other unit to get backup running. Many of the issues around the MSS occur with the PSU, damage to the backplane capacitors when extracting or inserting the backplane but the hardest component to acquire is the motherboard. Purchasing individual parts if you can find them can get expensive but to find a working unit is often the most cost effective way to acquire all the components.

Gardian and I have purchased many units off eBay for good prices. He has an extensive inventory of working MSS Servers. I look for the dysfunctional units and bring them in and go through them and have good luck getting most working again. I started this when I was building my MSS Port Multipliers and now I just get them working and then sell off fully functional units to others in my area but I also collect them because I think they are cool but I tend to sell more builds. If there was one component I would recommend most it would be the PSU which I actually need to bring in another one soon as my last spare recently was installed in another unit I picked up.

Author:  Gardian [ Wed Jul 24, 2013 4:51 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: EX490 replacement

You can see my list of servers, only 5 out of 9 are really running or runnable, the others are for parts, I could get them running, but I plan on running these as long as I can.
All of my extra servers have been picked up for $75 to $300 for a refurbed 510 and every where in between.
I have two 510's setting side by side, the main sync's to the second one every three days. So if the main goes down, I just reinstall the connector on the clients and we are back up.
I am testing win server 2012 essentials for down the road and the 4-5 tb reds, but that is down the road.

P.S. Over_tek was supposed to have more power supplies in july and I haven't seen any, this is troubling. I may have to break down and buy another kdm.

Author:  Comp1962 [ Wed Jul 24, 2013 5:14 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: EX490 replacement

Gardian you keep buying those servers and HP will have to contact you for parts in which case you can get your revenge and tell them you have the same policy for part sales as they do.

I have not looking into Overtek lately to see if they resumed selling PSU's for the MSS but if they stop then it will be a sad day and while the KDM PSU's work that modified extension cable is troublesome but if they become the only supplier of PSU's then what choice other then modifying an existing Flex ATX PSU which voids the warranty. Nothing good comes from this for sure.

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