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Website Hosting Updates!

Over the past few weeks, the host I’ve been with for over 3 years, OVH, announced a rather large price increase of 20% because of Brexit – the current universal excuse to squeeze the customer for more cash. This change has sent the price of my dedicated server solution with them to over £45 a month. Doing some napkin-calculation gave me £18 a month in extra power to run a small server locally. So I’ve decided to bring the hosting solution back to my local network & run from my domestic internet link, which at 200Mbit/s DL & 20Mbit/s UL should be plenty fast enough to handle the modest levels of traffic I usually get.

Obviously, some hardware was required for this, so I obtained this beauty cheap on eBay:

HP MicroServer Gen 8
HP Proliant MicroServer Gen 8

This is a Gen 8 HP Proliant Microserver, very small & quiet, perfect for the job. This came with 4GB of RAM installed from the factory, and a Celeron G1610T running at 2.3GHz. Both are a little limited, so some upgrades will be made to the system.

Disk Bays
Disk Bays

4 SATA drive bays are located behind the magnetically-locked front door, there’s a 250GB boot disk in here along with a pair of 500GB disks in RAID1 to handle the website files & databases. For my online file hosting site, the server has a backend NFS link direct to Volantis – my 28TB storage server. This arrangement keeps the large file storage side of things off the web server disks & on a NAS, where it should be.

Extra RAM
Extra RAM

First thing is a RAM upgrade to the full supported capacity of 16GB. This being a Proliant server machine, doesn’t take anything of a standard flavour, it’s requirements are DDR3-10600E or DDR3-12800E (the E in here being ECC). This memory is both eye-wateringly expensive & difficult to find anywhere in stock. It’s much cheaper & easier to find the ECC Registered variety, but alas this isn’t compatible.

Over the past 48 hours or so, I’ve been migrating everything over to the new baby server, with a couple of associated teething problems, but everything seems to have gone well so far. The remaining job to get everything running as it should is an external mail relay – sending any kind of email from a dynamic IP / domestic ISP usually gets it spam binned by the big providers instantly, regardless of it actually being spam or not – more to come on that setup & configuring postfix to use an external SMTP relay server soon!

If anyone does find something weird going on with the blog, do let me know via the contact page or comments!

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Cheap eBay Molex-SATA Power Adaptors

Molex to Dual SATA Power
Molex to Dual SATA Power

To do some upgrades to my NAS, I needed some SATA power adaptors, to split the PSU out to the planned 16 disk drives. eBay has these for very little money, however there’s a good reason for them being cheap.

Wire Marking
Wire Marking

The marking on the wire tells me it’s 18AWG, which should be good for 9.5A at an absolute maximum. However these adaptors are extremely light.

Wire Comparison
Wire Comparison

Here’s the cheapo eBay wire compared to proper 18AWG wire. The cores in the eBay adaptor are tiny, I’d guess about 24AWG, only good for about 3A. As disk drives pull about 2A from the +12v rail on startup to spin the platters up to speed, this thin wire is going to cause quite the volt drop & possibly prevent the disk from operating correctly.

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Roku LT Teardown

 

Roku LT
Roku LT

Here’s another retired piece of tech that we used to route media from the NAS to the main TV. It was retired since it’s inability to support XBMC/Kodi & having some crashing issues.

Main PCB
Main PCB

After attacking the case with the screwdriver (Torx in this case), the main board comes out. The CPU in this looks *very* familiar, being a PoP device. There are unpopulated places for an ethernet interface & USB port here.

Flash & CPU
Flash & CPU

After a little digging is turns out the CPU in this device is a BCM2835, with 256MB of RAM stacked on top. It’s a Raspberry Pi! Even the unpopulated part for Ethernet is the same SMSC LAN9512!
There’s 32MB of Flash for the software below the CPU.
On the far right of the board is a Broadcom BCM59002IML Mobile Power Management IC.

WiFi Chipset
WiFi Chipset

On the bottom of the PCB is the WiFi chipset, a Broadcom BCM4336, this most likely communicates with the CPU via SDIO. There’s also a section below for a Bluetooth chipset.