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 Post subject: Re: The Beast is HERE!
PostPosted: Fri Jun 11, 2010 3:32 pm 
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Just for SH1t$ and grins, I looked up the manufacturing info on a few drives.
Even though drives are generally stated to be Sata II 3GB drives and Sata I being 1.5GB, these are burst speeds.
All drives have a much lower sustained rate some as low as 100mbs.
A blue ray play back can be as high as 54mbs, and if you are ripping a blue ray disk with all the very small files I now see where you can thrash a slower RPM drive or one with limited cach.
One thing I have not tried as it's generally frowned upon due to risk of data loss as there is no battery backup.
In disk manager enable the write cache option for each drive, it would be better if the controller did this but hey I think I will give it a shot after all I will always have the original movie to re-ripp it back into the system if corrupted.

WD Actually has a new 2TB drive just for this sort of problem, the WD AV-GP.
It claims to be able to support 12 HD streams at once.

But I honestly have not seen any issues with just strieght playback, I only see pausing while ripping a blue-ray at the same time as viewing one from the same drive.
If the writes are going to a different drive no problem.
I have done up to 5 HD streams at the same time from even the oldest slowest drive I have.
with no stuttering pausing or any visable problem.
I do however think stuttering (Usually caused by an under powered playback system) and video pausing possible drive bottlenecks are two different problems.
Stuttering looks and sounds exactly like someone stuttering, while a pause looks to me just like an old fashioned frame skip from the old film days.

The only thing I can imagine is when the rip hits a ton of small files it jams the buffer on the drive, leaving nothing for the stream to use and you have frame drops.
So the playback pauses for a split second.
And that explains why nothing shows up in perf monitoring, it occurring at a level we don't really see well.

So my solution that I will try, enable the write cache on my slower drives and only buy 7200RPM Large cache drives going forward.

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 Post subject: Re: The Beast is HERE!
PostPosted: Fri Jun 11, 2010 6:38 pm 
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Chasrobin wrote:
I don't think its demigrator, or system bottleneck.
To run my test I took an Areca card and only a single drive in the storage pool.
So all traffic would have to go there, I did ripping from a system running an 8x blue ray, q9300, 4gb-ram, 1gb net, vista ultimate, AnydvdHD.
Going to the Beast, single controller, single drive, drive #1 older seagate 1.5tb 5200RPM (8mb Cache) vs newer 2TB hitatchi 7200RPM (Cache unknown Forgot).

Playback system = Acer X3200, 4gb ram, 3GHZ processor/triple core, 64bit Vista home Prem, 1gb net, MCE/Total media theater Plat
Only happens with Blue ray (Ripping and playback), not at all with DVD, demigrator does not seem involved playback pauses randomly for a fraction of a second audio continues as normal.
Playback on a slower system Acer x1200 4gb ram 2.4ghz dual core same exact result.

Perfmon on the Beast shows nothing wrong, CPU (I7-940) 3-4% util, 6gb ram hardly used, even the HDD controller is under utilized, but the hard drive starts to wheeze around 80-90mbs like sata I with spikes up to 150mbs through put.
the 7200rpm drives easily seem to hit 200mbs.
Im wondering perhaps firmware, but I should stress it's extremely rare and random you miss it if you blink.

If I am not ripping, I can playback 4-5 Blue rays at the same time with no pauses.
To me it seems an issue with writing.
My controllers do not have any write cache perhaps my next ones will.


That's a pretty definitive test. I can't do that because my system here in NY is the production MSS with 14 drives in use. I usually rip on the Supermicro and set the background at a lower priority. But, a copy should produce the same results because if I understand you (You rip on the desktop and the output of the rip is a share on the WHS.) the rip actually copies to the share. I wonder if the problem is the interaction of the 2 machines rather than inherent in the WHS system.

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 Post subject: Re: The Beast is HERE!
PostPosted: Sat Jun 26, 2010 11:00 am 
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Just an update about one of my Hardware choices.
I had swapped out my original fan choice with these Silenx fans as they have a built in thermal sensor that automatically adjusted their speed based on temp.
They worked very well in the beginning, but I noticed over time they required higher and higher temps to get up to speed.
Until recently I got an alert my system was too hot.
Upon inspection the fans were not running at all to get them to spin up I had to take a match to the sensor.
In short DON'T BUY THESE FANS, very expensive $18ea and didn't survive 6mos.

So I did an experiment with my original Schythe Ultra's, I wired them together rigged a connection to a chassis port on the Mobo and in my bios setup Q-fan control.
So now the mobo controls my fans based on temp.
I was a little worried about the amps being pulled through the mobo (three 120mm fans to a port x2 ports = 6 120mm fans + cpu cooler off the motherboard), but was willing to take a shot. the fans have been fine for a week now with no appearent issue's but as we all know heat/power damage is a cummilative thing time will tell if the motherboards fan controller can handle the load.

But so far it's nice to know these fans idle at around 1400rpm extremely quietly, and can ramp up to 4000rpms. On the last hot day they were humming nicely.

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PostPosted: Sat Jun 26, 2010 12:38 pm 
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If you are like me you want your Server available all the time but HATE! what it does to your power bill, not to mention making your home toastier than you like.
Well i thought I would share what I have done to get around this little issue.

The first problem I have is for some reason my Beast does not like S3 sleep mode(Hangs on Resume), and S1 is simply not good enough, fans continue to run and it sucks too much juice.

So what I did was to configure my Bios to power up if it senses a power loss.
Then I connected the Beast to an APC Master switch, it allows me to control the juice remotely.
I do a reset the server boots up automatically.
Ok so now how do I get it to go Beddyby, I use the add-on "LightsOut" works very well.
Monitors the servers usage and powers it down if its idle.

And as a kicker I added the Belkin F1DE101G which allows me to monitor the reboot over an IP connection from anywhere.
So If I need to get access to my files from anywhere I do not need to leave my server powered up.
I simply connect to my Belkins IP address (https://www.home.com:xxxx) then connnect to my powerstrips IP port in another window (https://www.home.com:xxxx) issue a power cycle command and whatch the Bios popup in the first windows I can even Hit an F1 should there be a problem.
BTW some bios allow for a keyboard spacebar to power up your system so the APC may not be necesarry but I like having alternatives if theres a problem.

Total cost for these items was approx $225 off ebay. Power /heat / noise savings = priceless

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 Post subject: Re: The Beast is HERE!
PostPosted: Tue Jun 29, 2010 1:28 pm 
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Just an FYI.
If you use this method of availability turn on your server 15min before your try streaming.
There's a lot of startup activity that can cause some lag.
But it settles down after a few minutes and is normal from that point on.
It's not the demigrator either tried delaying and even stopping that service and it doesn't help.
But it's ok just wait a few and it's fine.

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 Post subject: Re: The Beast is HERE!
PostPosted: Fri Jul 02, 2010 5:51 pm 
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YAHOO!!!!

I had such a fun experience with the belkin F1DE101G KVM over IP tool, I've been drueling over having the same ability for multiple computers.
I could have placed the belkin on the console port of a larger KVM but it would have cost a bit.
And the F1DE101G is limited to passing 1280X1024.
My Win 7 desktop is a bit higher than that.
Not to mention KVM cables are too thick and short to run all over my house.

So I did some poking on my favorite shopping site Ebay, and picked up an Avocent 8 port KVM over IP box.
Cables and all for less then $100, these sold new for $1500 or so.
This uses STD network wire/ports, that plug into a dongle at the back of the PC.
And supports 1600X1280 I think it's time to play with dual video so I can have 1920X1080 HDMI Pri and a lower for administrative stuff.

That way when one of the family calls to gripe about the movie/TV/DVR system, I can remotely fix it instead of coming home to a buggered system because they fiddled with it.

I should be able to kick start just about every system in my home now from anywhere in the world.
Hmmmm I wonder if I can get my xbox to work. :rofl:

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 Post subject: Re: The Beast is HERE!
PostPosted: Fri Jul 02, 2010 9:14 pm 
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Those are sweet, we bought them for about $1500 when I worked at Agilent to manage remote test equipment and they worked well. Coupled with network power switches and it's quite convenient to manage systems remotely.

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 Post subject: Re: The Beast is HERE!
PostPosted: Thu Jul 08, 2010 11:20 am 
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A little followup on my sluggish drive perception.
I found a little thing that seems to have a fairly large impact atleast for my controllers.
My Areca 1300 controllers can use either a SCSI driver or a StorPort driver.
I ran across a forum that suggested the StorPort driver was better for these controllers.
Gave it a shot and saw an immediate 70% reduction in skips/pauses.
So what was already a fairly rare occurance almost disappeared completely, very nice.
I did not have any issues changing the drivers, nothing lost or disappeared.

So if your controller supports StorPort drivers, read your manual ask your manufacturer.
But it might help if you have those annoying pauses. (for me a split second pause once or twice a movie is too much)

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 Post subject: Re: The Beast is HERE!
PostPosted: Thu Jul 15, 2010 1:16 pm 
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Chasrobin, that machine is truly a beast! Sounds like powering off the server whenever possible will help with the electricity bill. How loud is the machine? Do you have the machine isolated somewhere?


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 Post subject: Re: The Beast is HERE!
PostPosted: Thu Jul 15, 2010 3:23 pm 
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I have the BEAST sitting in my office in the corner about three feet behind me when sitting at the desk.
If you read the parts of my post concerning fans you will see I had a bit of a delima.
I wanted lots of air flow so I put Scythe Ultra Kaze high rpm fans in there.
But I decided to switch them out not due to noise but due to the fact they are fixed speed and I used speed controllers to halve their spin ~1500rpm.
But if I were not around the system could get hot, so I swapped the out for Silenx automatically controlled fans they would range from 600-800 all the way up to 1700rpm but extremely quiet.

However after 6mos those fans all six of them failed GGRRRRRRRRRR....

So I decided it was time to do a little experiment, I took the original Scythes put them back in the BEAST used the original fan board wired them together and pulled a speed sensor wire from one of them and wired that directly to the motherboard.
And I then enabled q-fan control in the bios now the fans range from 800rpm - 3000rpm, the noise has been resonable as its summer time I cannot hear it over a room fan, or my music / video games.

The one time I thought hmm thats a bit loud was a 104deg day no AC and the fans were doing their job very well.

So unless the motherboard gives out, Im leaving it that way.

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 Post subject: Re: The Beast is HERE!
PostPosted: Sun Jul 18, 2010 8:14 am 
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Ok some of you might have noticed by now I have been tweaking my network a bit.
I thought I would explain a bit and add some detail.
I have a touch of OCD when it comes to equipment/computers and performance.
I grew up a gearhead with cars and that has carried over into computers.

If I run into a problem such as playback pauses in blue ray movies it drives me to insanity.
when I hit the go button I want instant gratification.
It's like putting 3" pipes on your big block, it may not solve your suspension issue's but boy does it sounds good.

So to that end I have recently been playing hardball with my network.
Currently I have yer basic Motarola modem (16mb down / 2mb up) which I drop into a Linksys WRVS4400n this is a four port gigabit + wireless router that also supports VPN connections.
To handle my Domain name / Dynamic ip issue, I use a DynDNS free account to handle the ip to name issue, I then bought a godaddy domain name and forward that to the DynDns name.

This is cheap works very well, I do not need to have an annual account or even run a client on my WHS, it just works like a full blown Domain.

Not bad but eventually the WRVS4400n will be replaced with either an ASA5505 or better yet ASA5510 with the gigabit card.
This would allow a direct clientless VPN connection from anywhere in the world. (Ladino should try this as he has a 5505)

Ok so from the Gateway device I trunk/team all four ports into an Extreme 400-48t this gives me 4gb from the gateway.
I also recently added an intel pro 1000t quad port controller to the Beast and trunked those as well for 4gb inband traffic to my WHS, I use one of the two onboard 1gb nic for strictly management of the WHS the other is for basic file serving/web. (total of 6gb to the Beast)(Keep em seperate with a host file, similar to multihoming)
(Yes I run multiple vlans to keep the traffic seperate)
Vlans= management, entertainment, Default
By using vlans, i keep my movie systems chatting only to the WHS box, while my personal PC can go to the internet and browse my files on the server but not using any of the bandwidth for the movies.
Or my security cameras from flooding the network when an amorous bee decides my lens is cute cuz he's checking out his reflection.

Each of my HTPC's use 1gb connections on the entertainment vlan.

Every now and then I like to through a bunch of stress test on to see if I can get any appreciable load, not so much yet.

On the management side of things I have also done some things to make my system more usable remotely.
I added a Belkin F1de101g which allows me to connect over the internet to the console of my server as if I were standing in front of it.
To be able to handle more than just my server I added an Avocent DSR800 KVM(will be updated to a DSR2010), which allows me to control 8 computers from one keyboard/mouse which I connected to the Belkin so I can control all of my HTPC's remotely.
I also added an APC master switch ap9210, this bad boy allows me to turn on or off power to up to 8 devices via a web interface.
A lastly I added an APC3200 UPS and connected it via serial port to the Beast and ran Powershut tool so the server will automatically power down in the event of an outage.

And still there's room for more, the Beast has been doing very well but I have noticed as time goes on the drive performance is deminishing which plays into the pausing issue.
I found that backing up a fresh install of the os with all my favorite addons installed, then every 3mos or so simply do a restore helps a bit but thats not ideal.

I've got a sneaking suspition that the way the DE deals with the drives degrades over time and all the horsepower in the world won't change that, could be why the major change in vail.
And I am currently in the process of removing all of my 5400rpm drives and replacing them with 7200rpm drives.

And yet the tweaking continues.

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 Post subject: Re: The Beast is HERE!
PostPosted: Sat Jul 24, 2010 10:38 pm 
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Just did a little experiement.
I took the intel NC364T out and loaded up the Realtek teaming tool v2
What a pain that was but I got them to team and some testing shows that though realtek cards do drop a lot of packets they are usable, but I still preffer the Intel.
Attachment:
2gb.jpg
2gb.jpg [ 225.39 KiB | Viewed 4221 times ]


If anyone tries this you do not need to trunk your switch ports, I tried it both ways didn't seem to have an effect.

If you get the Intel cards they break down thusly

HP NC360T = Dual ($60) port NC364T = Quad ($120)
Dell and intel also has these and depending on the day you can get them cheap.
I had the NC364T, but yanked it out to sell to my Bro and put two NC360T's instead
but did this test first as the HP utility will allow for mix and match cards but I just don't like the realteks.

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 Post subject: Re: The Beast is HERE!
PostPosted: Mon Jul 26, 2010 5:09 pm 
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OK, so you all know my pet peave is LAG, or pauses in my movies playing back.
Well even if my movies are playing well the LAG monster comes to disturb my peaceful thoughts by making file copies sluggish, not to mention my online gaming.
What in the world could slow down 4gb connections.
Well first thats an aggregate connection only at the server side.
So my work station only has 1gb but still doing a file copy should get me really good throughput.
But it doesn't what could effect it. ONE WORD LATENCY..
Yes I have a whopper of a switch doing layer 3 running full bore, but my internet router is a Linksys WRVS4400n and I think it's got issue's. (I already have a Cisco ASA5505 on the way.)
And since it's my DHCP/gateway all traffic goes through it.

Networks are only as fast as their slowest link, so first here's a little primer on Latency and it's effects.
Keep in mind you can have 1gb gross throughput but have it dwindle due to overhead and errors/Lag.

TCP latency effects
TCP is more complicated than UDP. TCP is a guaranteed delivery protocol, which means that the device that sends the packets is told that the packet did or did not arrive at the destination. To make this work, a device that needs to send packets to a destination must set up a session with the destination. Once this session has been set up, the receiver tells the sender which packets were received by sending an acknowledgement packet back to the sender. If the sender does not receive an acknowledgement packet for some packets after a length of time, the packets are resent.

In addition to providing guaranteed delivery of packets, TCP has the ability to adjust to the network capacity by adjusting the ‘window size’. The TCP window is the number of packets a sender will transmit before waiting for an acknowledgement. As acknowledgements arrive the window size is increased. As the window size increases, the sender may begin sending traffic at a rate that the end-to-end path can’t handle resulting in packet loss. Once packet loss is detected, the sender will react by cutting the sending packet rate in half. Then the process for increasing the window size begins again as more acknowledgements are received.

As end-to-end latency increases, the sender may spend lots of time waiting on acknowledgements instead of sending packets. In addition, the process of adjusting the window size becomes slower since this process is dependent on receiving acknowledgements.

Considering these inefficiencies, latency has a profound effect on TCP bandwidth. Unlike UDP, TCP has a direct inverse relationship between latency and throughput. As end-to-end latency increases, TCP throughput decreases. The following table shows what happens to TCP throughput as round trip latency increases. This data was generated by using a latency generator between two PCs connected via fast Ethernet (full duplex). Note the drastic reduction in TCP throughput as the latency increases.

Round trip latency (Test with ping)
TCP Throughput

0ms 93.5 Mbps
30ms 16.2 Mbps
60ms 8.07 Mbps
90ms 5.32 Mbps

Table 1 - Effect of Latency on TCP Throughput

As latency increases, the sender may sit idle while waiting on acknowledgements from the receiver. The receiver however, must buffer packets until all the packets can be assembled into a complete TCP message. If the receiver is a server, this buffering effect can be complicated by the large number of sessions that the server may be terminating. This increased use of buffer memory can cause performance degradation in the server.

With all the problems that latency creates for TCP, packet loss compounds these problems. Packet loss causes the TCP window size to shrink, which may cause the sender to sit idle longer while waiting for acknowledgements with high latency. Also, acknowledgements may be lost which causes the sender to wait until a timeout occurs for the lost acknowledgement. If this happens, the associated packets will be retransmitted even though they may have been transmitted properly. The result is packet loss can further decrease TCP throughput.

The following table illustrates the effect of latency and packet loss on TCP throughput. This data was generated by using a latency and packet loss generator between two PCs connected via fast Ethernet (full duplex). The packet loss rate was set to 2%, which means that 2% of packets were discarded by the test equipment. Note that the TCP throughput values are much lower in the presence of packet loss.

Round trip latency
TCP Throughput with, based on 10/100 connection.
0% loss, 2% packet loss

0 ms 93.50 Mbps 3.72 Mbps (Some studder in movie playback)
30 ms 16.20 Mbps 1.63 Mbps (DVD playback fails)
60 ms 8.07 Mbps 1.33 Mbps (Online games Lag or fail)
90 ms 5.32 Mbps 0.85 Mbps (File copies SUCK)

Table 2 - Effect of Latency and 2% Packet Loss on TCP Throughput
Some packet loss is unavoidable. If a network runs perfectly and does not drop any packets, an assumption cannot be made that other networks operate as well.
Regardless of the situation, keep in mind that packet loss and latency have a profoundly negative effect on TCP bandwidth and should be minimized as much as possible.

As you can see, a little latency can have a HUGE effect, over the next week or so I will cover what I have been doing to combat the monster latency.

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 Post subject: Re: The Beast is HERE!
PostPosted: Sun Aug 01, 2010 9:22 am 
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Ok, so here's the tale.
Approx 3-4 weeks ago there was and update of some sort, and ever since then my movie playback went from a rare occasional pause to everything I viewed pausing or just plain stopping.
Since I was already chasing the pause issue, this was instantly OCD inducing.

I know it wasn't system performance as everything looked very under utilized.
So I started with drivers, thinking the update buggerd one of them.
I even updated the bios on the motherboard.
No bueno!

Ok as you can see from an earlier post I suspected latency perhaps a coincidental switch failure.
I came to this by watching the network activity and seeing drops during playback.
(turned out it wasn't drops but a lack of traffic caused by an interuption)

So ok lets fix the network, I've been wanting to do it anyway.
So I bought a business class layer 3 switch, an Extreme 400-48T (I love it)
So while setting that up I noticed during activity my network traffic was all going through my POS (piece of @#$#) linksys wrvs4400n and I had just read about Ladino's ASA5505.
It was like a sign from above a better gateway! ok whip out the credit card.

So now I have the ASA5505 and it truly seperates internet traffic from internal traffic and since my switch handles routing all my movie playback stays on a 100% giglebyte network.
Guess what! still stutters Grrrrrrrrr
OK overkill time I buy a HP NC364T 4 port gigabit NIC, and put it in my server bond all four ports for a total of 4gb while moving files I have seen some truely impressive numbers as my main workstation has a pair of Nics also bonded for 2gb.
Surely this would cure my stutter? NOPE!!!!

I was about to do a complete re-install and start from scratch, when a little bird whispered in my ear uninstall the addons.
I only run three, so could it be.
I run "Disk Managment" "Lightsout" "MyMovies"
I only had to uninstall the first two and the improvement was immediate and dramatic.
I re-installed lightsout and left MyMovies alone and all is well in the world I haven't even seen the occassional pause that I use to get.
(NO I am not saying Disk Management has a problem)

Some of you may recall in an earlier post, I had to uninstall the addons before because they made the console open extremely slowly, I simply re-installed them and they were fine.

Is it possible updates break some addons?
But through the course of my stutter quest I have discovered many half truths about computers and network.
i.e.
3gb hard drives don't give you 3gb, not even close.
Rotational speed can account for a lot of throughput.
Networks are like tribbles they multiply if you feed them.
and to borrow from Sherlock Holms Once you eliminated the obviouse CHECK YER DAMN ADDONS!

Once I clean up the wire octopus I will post pics of the new hardware.

_________________
Current DIY server DL380 G6 2xquad core 2.8ghz 32GB rdimm ram 512mb 2xHP 410 raid with 2x sas expanders (2 X norco RPC-4220) 48 slots stacked with room to grow.
30TB (Movie/File/Music)Win 2012 essentials 64bit Storage spaces
Ex490 E6400 4gb ram


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 Post subject: Re: The Beast is HERE!
PostPosted: Sat Aug 07, 2010 1:15 am 
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Ok, it's time to do a little virtual tour as if I were connecting to the beast from outside my home.

First I would connect through my Cisco ASA5505 firewall/router.
Attachment:
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ASA5505.jpg [ 279.59 KiB | Viewed 4110 times ]

Then I would log into the SSL VPN, no client needed on the machine I'm using it could be a library PC somewhere.
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VPN-Login.jpg
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homepage.jpg
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Then say I need to reboot the beast because it got hung for some reason.
I can use my APC master switch to power cycle it.
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power1.jpg
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Ok so now it's rebooting, what if it's got a controller error where you need to hit F1 to continue? Easy I use my Avocent IP based KVM.
It allows me to see and control the bios level as the system reboots.
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Avocent.jpg
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And finally we get to the beast, not via RDP, but true console from anywhere.
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4gb-beast.jpg
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And all of this is done very quickly and efficiently through my Extreme 48 port layer 3 gigabit switch.
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extereme.jpg
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Ok I know a bit braggy and over the top but I know you guys love pictures. :crazy:

_________________
Current DIY server DL380 G6 2xquad core 2.8ghz 32GB rdimm ram 512mb 2xHP 410 raid with 2x sas expanders (2 X norco RPC-4220) 48 slots stacked with room to grow.
30TB (Movie/File/Music)Win 2012 essentials 64bit Storage spaces
Ex490 E6400 4gb ram


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