Norco RPC-4220 question
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Author:  Vo_Dich [ Sun Dec 01, 2013 8:26 pm ]
Post subject:  Norco RPC-4220 question

Hi. I'm thinking of getting a Norco RPC-4220 to start my media storage build. I have already gotten some new Seagate 4TB SATA 6.0 Gb/s hard drives. According to Newegg's specifications for this case, "Five internal SFF-8087 Mini SAS connectors support up to twenty 3.5" or 2.5" SATA (I or II) or SAS hard drives". Can I use my 4TB Seagate hard drives in this case? Does that mean my Seagate hard drives will only run at SATA II speed?

I'm planning on using my old ASRock G41M-S3 ( ... 6813157242) motherboard with an Intel C2D E8500.

I will probably be using 8-10 hard drives (mostly 4TB, some 2-3TB) to start. Can someone help me with a controller card to go with this case? I would prefer to not have to run a bunch of cables in the case.

I'm looking to get maybe a 60GB SSD to load an OS on, which will be connected to the motherboard.... haven't decided on which OS to use yet.... probably some version of Windows as I don't have experience with other systems.


Author:  Comp1962 [ Sun Dec 01, 2013 9:36 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Norco RPC-4220 question

If you read my TAG Line you will see I am using a NORCO 4220 Enclosure. They have over the years changed the backplane boards so you will need to look at the backplane boards that are included in your enclosure to see what they actually support being SATA II or SATA III. The cards I am using in my server are Supermicro AOC-SASLP-MV8 which are I believe SATA II but I build my server back in July 2011 so its been online a couple years now and the only issue I have has with it was with one MV8 card and with failed Backplane LED's which were taken care of under warranty.

There are other Controller Cards on the market and if you search out the forums you can see which ones are being used. The one I am using is a popular model that's been around awhile and has stood the test of time but if you want something more robust then you will have to look around a bit more but over all I am pleased with the performance I am getting.

If your looking for a RAID Solution then plan on a series investment and go with Hardware RAID as it will give you outstanding performance but the cards and drives are expensive otherwise you will end up with Software RAID which is not as fast but doesn't actually break the bank. I only have 1 server using RAID 1 Mirror for the OS Drive and its more of a test server to determine if I want to go that route but time will tell.

Before you chose your Motherboard you may want to chose the Drive Controller Cards first and then make certain the motherboards your looking at can support the drive controllers. For the most part you should not have to much difficulty in this area but you should look at all the cards you may want to use with your server then look at motherboards to determine which form factor serves you best. Nothing worse then purchasing a motherboard that falls short on expansion slots for your needs and while I have not looked at your motherboard I would encourage you to review it to make certain it will support your needs. If your looking to run the SATA Ports on the motherboard in a JBOD configuration make certain they can run that way as many motherboards will only support a range of RAID Configurations making the SATA Ports useless for JBOD Operation.

Actually I just looked at your motherboard of choice and you will fall short on running many Storage Cards that support SFF-8087 ports of which many are PCIe x4 cards and that motherboard has an x1, x16 and the rest are PCI. So to actually use that motherboard you will need a PCI SATA Drive Controllers and use an SFF-8087 Reverse Breakout Cable to make the connection to the NORCO Backplanes SFF-8087 connectors. You could connect a x4 to the x16 slot and finding an SFF-8087 drive controller for PCI x1 is not impossible but there are very few available and most only support 1 SFF-8087 connector. So you may want to revisit the motherboard question but if you already have the motherboard and have your heart set on using it then you will have to work around what it can support thus limiting your ability to add cards that would offer you the best performance. Also it may in the end cost you more for cards to support the drives then if were to use a different motherboard.

Oh yea one thing about the MV8 cards I am using and that is some users have reported issues getting multiple cards to work with their servers I actually have 3 running in mine and only 2 actually post when its booting but all 3 are working well. I did get some updated drivers from Supermicro for these cards but I can't recall what the reason was but the stock drivers did work out well for me when I first installed WHS2011.

I have been installing 4TB Drives since April this year and they have been working out well for me. I have 4 Hitachi 7200 Drives and WD was kind enough to send me one of their 4TB WD RED Drives all 5 drives are as I said working well for me. I first ran WHS2011 in the server and have since migrated to WS2012E and I have been happy with the Norco enclosure. Oh I will tell you to check the connectors to make sure the pins are firmly seated before making the connections as I did run into some issues with them and I had a fan that I needed to replace that broke free during shipping but fans are cheap and not worth making a warranty claim. You may want to change out the fans anyway because the stock fans in the enclosure sound like a Shop Vac but if you do not mind the noise they will keep things nice and cool for you.

So take your time and plan out the hardware well so that when your ready you will know how things will work out for you. Nothing worse then rushing and finding out your over looked something. Of course if you already have the motherboard then you will need to work around what it can support as I have already indicated.

Good Luck with your build I know how much fun it is when you build something new.

Author:  Vo_Dich [ Mon Dec 02, 2013 12:35 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Norco RPC-4220 question

Stupid me... for some reason, I thought that each SFF-8087 mini-SAS port is able to connect to 4 backplanes on the Norco 4220 case, and therefore I only need 1 controller card with 2xSFF-8087 mini-SAS, and my old motherboard was I see it now. Thanks for point that out.

I'll see if I can find a different LGA 775 motherboard with more PCIe slots.

Is the Norco 4220 pretty loud with all the fans running?

Author:  Comp1962 [ Mon Dec 02, 2013 9:05 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Norco RPC-4220 question

Yes its pretty loud. Its the first things people notice when they first come to my house to visit so its not exactly something you want to place in a family room. You can always change out the fans for quieter fans or order one of those 120mm fan brackets which reduce the fans and quite the server down but the two rear fans are loud as well. Me I live alone and I am hardly ever in the room where the server is so I barely hear it or maybe I just got use to it. My HP ProLiant is actually louder when the fans run at full speed but I only use that as a test server.

As for the backplane connections you will need one SFF-8087 cable for each backplane and there are different types depending on how you make the connection. If you want to connect say 4 SATA Ports to an SFF-8087 backplane then you will need an SFF-8087 Reverse Breakout Cable which has 4 SATA Plugs connected to a single SFF-8087 Connector. Now these look like the SFF-8087 Forward Breakout Cable which is used to connect to an SFF-8087 Controller to 4 SATA Devices.

If you look hard enough you maybe able to find controller cards for the motherboard, You could get 1 PCIe x1 card with 4 SATA Ports or 1 PCIe x1 with a single SFF-8087 port. The x16 slot could be used for a card with 2 or 4 SFF-8087 ports but the ones with 4 of those ports may prove to be costly. If you get a card like the MV8 then you would need a couple 4 port SATA Controllers for the PCI Slots. This will get you to being able to connect everything to all the back planes. If you use up all your expansion slots then you ability to add features like Dual NICs to your server would be limited.

Do not get me wrong on this next part but do you actually need an enclosure that can support that many drives? I mean I would be the first to say having more expansion available to you is always a plus but the real question is how much capacity do you envision you will need today and down the road.

Anyway this would be a good time to reflect on your needs to make sure you build something that will take care of your current and future needs.

Author:  Vo_Dich [ Wed Dec 11, 2013 12:25 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Norco RPC-4220 question

I ended up purchasing the following during Thanksgiving sales:

1x Fractal Design Define XL R2 case ( ... 6811352029).
1x HighPoint RocketRAID 2720SGL PCIe 2.0 x8 Low Profile SATA/SAS Controller Card ( ... 6816115100).
2x 3ware CBL-SFF8087OCF-05M 1 Unit of .5M Multi-lane Internal (SFF-8087) Serial ATA Breakout Cable ( ... 6816116097).
1x SanDisk Ultra Plus 256GB SSD ( ... CatId=5300).
4x Seagate - Backup Plus 4TB External USB 3.0/2.0 Hard Drive. Will be using these for internal drives ( ... &cp=1&lp=2).

Will be using the new parts with my existing motherboard, ram, and power supply for now until I find something better. Not sure which operating system I should use. I can probably buy Windows Server 2012 or Windows 7 from my co-worker for a decent price. Then there's FreeNAS. Windows 7 is the only one that I'm familiar with the installation. Not sure how hard it is to setup Windows Server 2012 or FreeNAS. Would any of these OS have any issues with 4TB hard drives?

I currently have around 7TB of movies and around 1TB of personal stuff. I prefer to have the server automatically backups my personal folders (~1TB and growing), but not my movies. Hopefully I can setup this server to record my future surveillance cameras. Can I use any of the operating systems mentioned above to meet my needs?

Thank you Comp1962 for the very helpful information.

Author:  Comp1962 [ Wed Dec 11, 2013 1:27 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Norco RPC-4220 question

If your looking to backup your computers then I would take a close look at either WHS2011 or WS2012 depending on what OS your clients are running. WHS2011 costs less but supports a clients running XP, VISTA, Win7 and Win8 where as WS2012 only supports Win7 and Win8 and if you want to setup a domain and use the VPN then you need the higher level versions of Win7 and Win8. The other thing is the cost difference between the two and even if your friend can cut you a deal I doubt he will be willing to cut too much off the price of WS2012.

If you just going to backup computers and share files then WHS2011 will do that for a very reasonable cost under $50. Where as WS2012 will run you $300-450.

Using other OS Software like Win7, 8 or FreeNAS as a server would require you to find a backup/recovery solution where as WHS2011 and WS2012 have this built in and automated and it works perfectly. Over the years I have tried other backup solutions which have at times caused me to cuss words one can not say openly in public. All I can say is the Microsoft Backup/Recovery solution built into WHS2011 and WS2012 work perfectly.

The thing about WHS2011 and WS2012 is you will need to figure out how you would like to configure your storage. Personally I use Stablebit Drive Pool but others use Drive Bender and in WS2012 you also have Storage Spaces but you can also setup a RAID Solution if that interests you but I really like the idea of a simple Storage Pool solution because its easier to work with.

I have run 4TB Drives in WHS2011 and WS2012 without issue in my Storage Pool. As for your drives the link indicates they are external drives which means when you break open the enclosure you automatically void or risk voiding your warranty but I assume you have taken that into account when you ordered them. I have in the past done the same thing but this is up to you.

I can not comment on FreeNAS because I have never played with it or entertained doing so. All I know is what I have running now is meeting my needs and I do run a mix of servers. If you know someone running FreeNAS you should take a look to see what it can do for you to help you make a well informed decision.

Good Luck with your build! Builds are always fun.

Author:  Vo_Dich [ Fri Dec 27, 2013 2:14 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Norco RPC-4220 question

Hope everyone had a good Christmas.

I finally got a chance to put together and attempting to setup my server box with Windows Server 2012 Essentials (WSE). I haven't installed all the hard drives yet....still trying to get familiar with Windows Server and figuring out how to configure it.

Comp1962, if you don't mind me asking some more questions....
Is your server with WSE hooked up to a TV or monitor? I currently have a video card installed connecting to a monitor. But everytime I disconnect the DVI cable and switching it to my other PC since I only have 1 monitor, and switching the DVI cable back to the WSE box, I'm not getting anything on the monitor....looks like WSE went into sleep mode and does not wake up. I would have to give it a one finger salute to the reset button to restart the machine #-o .

Do you have any virtual machines setup on your server? I'm wondering if running WSE in a virtual machine would complicate things for other PC's to connect to.

Is your server setup for remote access? I was going through WSE's Dashboard wizard for Anywhere Access and recall having the option to either use a purchased domain or create one from Microsoft Account. I was trying to setup using MS Account late last night, but wasn't able to complete. I think the error was something about UPnP not enabled on my router or something like that.

If using (4) 4Tb hard drives with StableBit DrivePool, and I have folder duplication turned on for some folders, as I understand it, DrivePool makes duplication of the folders and stores them somewhere within the 4 hard drives. What if 1 or 2 of my hard drives crapped out? What are the chances that my folders and duplicated folders reside on those dead hard drives? The HighPoint RocketRAID 2720SGL card I got supports RAID, but I'm leaning toward not using the RAID feature.

Are there any good guidelines/step-by-step instructions on setting WSE up for home media server and remote access?

Thanks again for all your input. "Builds are always fun", BUT they can be a PITA if they are not setup correctly :P .

Author:  Comp1962 [ Fri Dec 27, 2013 5:36 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Norco RPC-4220 question

Hi Vo_Dich,

My WS2012E server is connected to a monitor via a 4 Port KVM Switch which shares a single Keyboard, Mouse and Monitor with up to 4 other devices. I actually have 2 of the KVM Switches in different areas of the house and will typically populate them with 3 devices leaving a set of cables open so I can service other devices at will. The ones I have are older units made by Linksys and they have worked extremely well for me over the years. I also use the IOGEAR 2 device KVM Switches as well to share devices.

I do not have anything setup in a VM and its not my area of expertise but if you were going to do it I believe you would need quite a bit of RAM available to you to accomplish this otherwise 4GB or RAM in a server should be quite fine.

I do have Remote Access configured on my WS2012E Server and while I do not get the UPnP complaints I do get the router is not configured properly complaints yet my Remote Access is working. I am not using my server as the DHCP server as I am more comfortable letting the router handle that. For UPnP to work properly you need to confirm its turned on within the router itself but even though I have it turned on I am also reserving IP Numbers and forwarding specific ports to my servers so that I can access them. I also have a custom domain and do run the free Microsoft Sub-Domains which most use with their servers. What I suggest you do is confirm that remote access is working from outside your network and if it is just ignore the UPnP warning.

As for a good guide on setting up Remote Access that's a good question and I am not quite sure there is outside the books which have been written for WS2012E but there is a ton of posts by many others on the various issues they have encountered most specific to their particular router and the corrective action they took. There is a utility someone mentioned and I wish I could recall who posted it and what the utility is that when run it correctly configures the router for you but in most cases be it WHSv1, WHS2011 and now WS2012E its not unusual to get a complaint about a router and yet still have remote access working. I have my server setup as a Domain so I can utilize the VPN functions and so if I were having issues I would go crazy. I will mention that I did have issues with NIC TEAMING and with WS2012E always changing my Intel NIC Drivers which do a better job setting up a NIC Team so if your using a NIC Team you may be having issues there too.

I use Stablebit Drive Pool and typically if you keep a close eye on your hard drives using a drive monitoring program like HomeServerSMART2013 you will hopefully avoid drive issues as you will be given warnings about drive failures before they actually fail allowing you ample time to replace the drives. Now drives do fail and sometimes without warning and this part just sucks when it happens. Keep in mind that a storage pool with duplication turned on only provides you with data redundancy and its in no means a replacement for good backup solutions. You should always backup your most important data so that if something were to happen to your server you will still have access to the data. Having duplication turned on is a wonderful thing but if someone broke into your home and stole your server then where is your data? If you have it backed up and stored in a safe location they you will still have access to your data. If your data is stored onsite and unfortunately your house burned down then you lose the data but if its offsite your data is still safe. So do not let duplication mislead you into thinking its a backup solution because its a redundancy solution that works in the event of a drive failure. If multiple drives are lost then its your backups that will save the day. Not all data is important so not everything needs to be backed up but only you can determine what is important and what is not important and if your married and have all the family pictures on your server you best back those up or your server will stop being wife friendly real quick.

If your thinking about a RAID Solution down the road and some like it because of the speed it provides when done correctly and with the right equipment its very nice. The one thing about RAID is you can't pull a drive and still read it. Now for some with sensitive data this is a good solution because you may not want your drives readable but for the average home user being able to pull a drive and still read it is very nice. But with RAID depending on which type of RAID you setup if you lose a certain amount of drives you blow the entire array and this goes your data. I am not knocking RAID it has its place and it has advantages but for the average home user like myself a Storage Pool Solution is inexpensive and works well. Knock on wood I have not experienced more then one drive issue at a time and when a drive presents an issue I promptly remove it from my pool and move the drive to a client for testing and if its bad it gets returned, repurposed if somewhat viable or I will drill a hole through it and discard it.

I have always enjoyed building computers and servers and when you run into issues it is a PITA but if you plan it correctly and cover every detail you reduce the impact of issues. I have some DTX motherboards coming in next week I hope will prove viable for a couple server builds I have in mind but have to hold off on the enclosure until I see the motherboard mount hole locations. I am gambling on this one as these are somewhat proprietary but sometimes you just need to dive in and take a risk but if they work out for me it will be a good thing and if not then they did not break the bank. So its an adventure and this is part of having fun with things. The worse thing anyone can say is it can't be done but the fun is proving you can do it.

Author:  Vo_Dich [ Fri Dec 27, 2013 8:17 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Norco RPC-4220 question

Hello Comp1962,

I'm still new to this server stuffs and not familiar with what to configure to my liking. But now that I have it installed, I can start playing with it and see what others have done.

I am aware of storing backup data offsite for the reasons you mentioned. My plan is to hook up external hard drive to the server box once a month or two months and backing up important data, then store the hard drive outside the home in a safe place. I understand that data duplication is not a replacement for backup. For me, I'm using data duplication for redundancy....hopefully that in a case of a hard drive failure, I can just replace the failed hard drive with new one and have my duplicated data restored without having to get my external hard drive offsite to restore....similar to RAID 1 (mirroring) I guess, but I don't want to lose half my capacity to do RAID 1.

Comp1962 wrote:
Knock on wood I have not experienced more then one drive issue at a time and when a drive presents an issue I promptly remove it from my pool and move the drive to a client for testing and if its bad it gets returned, repurposed if somewhat viable or I will drill a hole through it and discard it.

So let's say you removed a bad drive from your pool that is no longer usable. Do you replace it with a new drive? If so, does the storage pool automatically restore the data that are on the bad drive? What I am still not clear on is how data/folder duplication works within WS2012E or with StableBit DrivePool when a hard drive or 2 hard drives fail from the storage pool.

Comp1962 wrote:
I have always enjoyed building computers and servers and when you run into issues it is a PITA but if you plan it correctly and cover every detail you reduce the impact of issues. I have some DTX motherboards coming in next week I hope will prove viable for a couple server builds I have in mind but have to hold off on the enclosure until I see the motherboard mount hole locations. I am gambling on this one as these are somewhat proprietary but sometimes you just need to dive in and take a risk but if they work out for me it will be a good thing and if not then they did not break the bank. So its an adventure and this is part of having fun with things. The worse thing anyone can say is it can't be done but the fun is proving you can do it.

Sheesh, how many server do you need? I know, all part of the fun :P .

Author:  Comp1962 [ Fri Dec 27, 2013 8:54 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Norco RPC-4220 question

When I remove a drive from my server I have ample capacity available that the data is then duplicated on another drive. If you do not have duplication turned on then you will lose the data. When you do have duplication turned on then your data will exist on two different hard drives within the pool. Often when I pull a drive I will also replace it with a new drive and since I have been installing 4TB Drives then even if I remove a 2TB Drive it will get replaced by a 4TB drive.

I have too many servers but typically have 4 running at all times. Some are just various MSS Models in my collection, others are test servers I will use to test either a Server OS on or will test software on to see if it presents any issues before installing it on my primary servers. I also buy, build and repair servers as well as computers so I am always working on something be it for myself or others..

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