Dell Optiplex FX160 – 2 GB – Spinpoint M9T 2 TB: Ubuntu server economizer

Most of my data, manuals, pictures, web sites, databases etc are hosted on a Dell PowerEdge SC1425 (Dual 2.6 GHz Xeon, 2x 3 TB RAID1), which is a great and affordable machine, but has some shortcomings – massive noise, and considerable power consumption; see earlier post PowerEdge SC1425.

Also, it is just one machine, and in case of some severe failure, all data could be lost in case of some unforseeable event like a big thunderstorm hitting the power line… not a frequent issue, but bad enough, if you have to go back to 6-12 months old partial backups.

Therefore, I decided to try a different approach – still use the PowerEdge as the main system, but run a more energy efficient and silent machine for the actual business. After review of various options, a Dell Optiplex FX160 appeared to be a good option. This runs on an Intel Atom 230 @1.6 Ghz CPU, and included 2 GB RAM. The price is right, USD 40 for the unit, including a 2 GB SATA flash drive, and completely fan-less, and noise-less.

fx160 board

For the storage, 2 GB ain’t enough. First, considering some flash drives, but these still come at a hefty price, for 2 TB storage…. A Samsung/Seagate M9T series will be good enough. These are small, silent, efficient 9.5 mm form factor drives.

fx160 spinpoint m9t

A quick test of the read/write speeds:

fx160 read write speed

Read/Write speeds are quite OK, >100 MB/s, plenty to saturate my internet connection, and mirroring the main Poweredge server won’t be an issue anyway – this is all done with the system life, and only by incremental update – not so many files will change from update to update.

Network performance during mirroring from the PowerEdge Server (aka arctur).

fx160  server nload

Quite a lot of power – in such a nice case; “acrux” refers to a star, and is the host name for this unit.
All is run on Ubuntu Server 14.04.3 LTS, including SAMBA (to work as a NAS for various Microsoft Windows based systems, SSH, Apache/2.4.7, and eventually, a printer server).

fx160 acrux

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