Register for the iXsystems Community to get an ad-free experience and exclusive discounts in our eBay Store.

Best value in used hardware?

Joined
Feb 15, 2020
Messages
4
Gents,

I have a dead Synology, and rather than replace it and stay in an endless propriety hardware/software update cycle, am going to bite the bullet and restore from backups onto a FreeNAS box.

I've had good luck with used HP equipment in other applications, and understand from reading here that the HP Proliant Microserver Gen 8 is/was well respected. I've seen them around the $400 mark on eBay. I understand that Gen8 can be upgraded, but Gen10 cannot (?), and it seems the days of $200 Gen8's are over, and the Gen10+ isn't yet out (so won't be used).

Question: for a server with the following requirements:
  1. Plex, one stream
  2. File serving SMB and NFS to < 5 clients
  3. Some Docker containers on occasion (I hope)
  4. Perhaps a VM or 2
  5. Quiet, in a common area
  6. 15TB or so usable space

What commercial server, HP or otherwise, offers the best value for money? I'll need to buy bare and add disks and RAM due to additional tax if I cross the $425 import duty threshold.
 

diedrichg

FreeNAS Expert
Joined
Dec 4, 2012
Messages
1,224
This will help you with determining your storage requirements:
 

danb35

FreeNAS Wizard
Joined
Aug 16, 2011
Messages
10,786
Some Docker containers on occasion (I hope)
If you do this, it will need to be in a suitably-resourced VM; FreeNAS itself (not being Linux) doesn't do Docker.

As to the hardware itself, in recent years, it hasn't been too unusual to see small servers available new for very low prices--IIRC, the HPE ML10 was sometimes available new for less than US$200, with only the need to add some RAM (it came with 4 GB at that price) and drives; other popular models had been the Dell T20 and the Lenovo TS140. I haven't been following that market much lately, but it might be worth investigating--you may be able to get a new box rather than used. If not, any of those may be available used at decent prices.

In used, this Dell T20 looks like it could do nicely:
Just add disks. Shipping kind of sucks,
 

Alecmascot

FreeNAS Experienced
Joined
Mar 18, 2014
Messages
283
I use Dell T110 II. They are designed for use in an office environment so are reasonable quiet.
By using a 5.25 to 3.5 cage I am running 6 drives in each.
Source it with a E3-1220 and H200 HBA :
 

troybs1d

Newbie
Joined
Feb 7, 2020
Messages
14
I personally have had good luck with used SuperMicro systems & I only recently started to dabble in HP systems. The HP ML350p Gen8 I recently purchased was engineered "too precisely".

A few minutes ago I answer another thread & while searching for the answer for him, I came across this eBay listing. It's $400 + S&H (for my location in the USA it's $68). The only negative is the "1R" type PSU which is loud but you may be able to swap it for the "SQ" series which is much quieter. Plus the seller is UnixSurplus (so basically **chanting** "One Of Us" **chanting**) and they should be able to answer the "SQ" compatibility question.
SuperMicro 4U CSE-846 24 Bay SAS2 BP X9DRi-F/2x W/ 2x E5-2620 32GB IT MODE

If you're just going to put FreeNAS on it directly it should make very solid system & even a bit overkill with the dual E5-2620s but with the dual CPUs you can put more RAM in. Like my signature says I virtualized almost everything with ESXi so that's an alternative to utilize the rest of the system better (and I feel easier than jails/containers). If you want more CPU power I picked up 2x E5-2680s for about $120 a few months ago too & ECC RAM for this platform is very nicely priced as well.
 

1kokies

FreeNAS Experienced
Joined
Oct 7, 2017
Messages
136
i use FN as storage only and esxi for everything else..........only regret is high electricity bills but plenty to scale
 
Joined
Feb 15, 2020
Messages
4
For you folks using ESXi, do you have a source for cheap licenses? I do not know that space, but a quick look over there showed several thousand dollars in software required to make it work. I did see a free version, is that what you use? Anything special to make that kind of free virtualization an option without a lot of knowledge and extra work?
 

danb35

FreeNAS Wizard
Joined
Aug 16, 2011
Messages
10,786
I can't speak to ESXi (others know that better than I), but it isn't the only option out there for enterprise-grade virtualization--others include Proxmox and xcp-ng, both of which are full-featured and free.
 

1kokies

FreeNAS Experienced
Joined
Oct 7, 2017
Messages
136
For you folks using ESXi, do you have a source for cheap licenses? I do not know that space, but a quick look over there showed several thousand dollars in software required to make it work. I did see a free version, is that what you use? Anything special to make that kind of free virtualization an option without a lot of knowledge and extra work?
the ESXI license is free for a stand alone server. Yes i use the free version and i learned it just like anyone would, not too difficult. ESXI will boot VM's from Freenas as a database for the VM OS.
 

troybs1d

Newbie
Joined
Feb 7, 2020
Messages
14
Yes, the free license is good for home users & small businesses especially if you just have one ESXi server. You can get a fully featured ESXi install but it only lasts 60 days. For backing up and/or transferring VMs between different servers I use the "VMware vCenter Converter Standalone Client" to do this instead of vMotion. One of the features that used to be only for paid licenses was the WebUI & free licenses was relagated to the Windows client but with 6.5/6.7 they only support the WebUI. It's pretty responsive though not as responsive as the Windows client & with a WebUI it's now cross-platform compatible.
 
Joined
Feb 15, 2020
Messages
4
So I guess this comes down to what pass-through devices you want (at least in my case). Would it be fair to say that Bhyve will pass through ZFS as block storage (?) and otherwise play well with FreeBSD, and ESXi is generally more robust and will pass through GPUs.
 
Top