Network overhaul


Limp Gawd
Jul 10, 2008
My network has been a bit of a bodge setup over the past year, just bits dropped in anywhere trying to get it to work.

The purpose of my network:
  • Media storage
  • TV Streaming (still not got this working!)
  • Backups (local systems/documents/vps located around the uk)
  • Dev environment
  • Mini lab for testing projects (VM environment)
  • Home automation

Housed in a 12U RS Rack
24 port Cat6 patch panel
12 port Cat6 patch panel
HP ProCurve 1800 24 Port Gigabit Switch
Avocent SwitchView IP - KVM
Belkin 4 port KVM switch
APC Switched PDU 7921
UPS 1KVA (needs replacing)
Watchguard x700 firewall modded (got the firewall for free but never worked)
  • PSU: 60w ITX PSU
  • MOBO: EPIA ML1000 ITX Board
  • NIC: Sun 4 port 10/100 NIC
  • HDD: 8GB CF Card
Linksys WRT320N Wireless router
Master Server
  • CASE: Xcase RM204 short 2U
  • CPU: AMD FX6 6100 6 core
  • RAM: Corsair Vengeance 16GB (4x4GB) DDR3 1600MHz
  • MOBO: Asus M5A78L-M/USB3
  • NIC: Intel Pro 1000PT dual gigabit NIC
  • PSU: Tagan TG480-U01
  • HDD: 4x 320GB 2.5" 5400rpm HDDs
  • LCD: MatrixOrbital LK202 USB
  • TV: Pinnacle 3010iX Twin DVB-T
  • OS: Ubuntu 10.04 Server x64
File Server
  • CPU: Intel C2D E6600
  • MOBO: Asus P5Q-E
  • RAM: 8GB Corsair XMS2 (4x 2GB DDR2)
  • HDD0: 120GB 7200rpm 16mb 2.5" Samsung for OS
  • 2x 5in3 SATA RackMax RM-223 hotswap bays
  • RAID: 3ware 9690SA
  • EXPANDER: Chenbro CK12803
  • RAID2: Sil3114 4 Port PCI SATA card
  • HDD1/2/3: WD 1TB GP
  • HDD4: Samsung Spinpoint 1TB
  • HDD5: Seagate 7200.11 500GB
  • HDD6: Seagate 7200 1.5TB
  • HDD7: Samsung 2TB
  • HDD 8/9: 2x Hitachi 3TB

Networks clients:
15" MacBook Pro
  • 8GB DDR 1333Mhz
  • OCZ 120GB Agility SSD
  • 500GB SATA
  • Hi-res 1680x1050
iPhone 4
Samsung LE46C750 TV
  • CASE: Antec ISK 300
  • CPU: Intel C2D E6400
  • MOBO: Zotac 9300 ITX
  • RAM: 2x 2GB OCZ PC6400
  • PSU: 120w PICO
  • Power Brick: 150w 240v to 12v
  • HDD0: 120GB 2.5" budget
  • CASE: unbranded ITX case
  • PSU: unbranded 300w
  • CPU: T5500
  • RAM: Giel 2x 2GB PC6400
  • MOBO: Kontron 986LCD-M/mITX
  • GFX: Asus HD 5450 SILENT 512MB
  • HDD: network boot (work in progress)
Sony Vaio Laptop
  • CPU: Intel i5
    [*}RAM: 2x 2GB DDR3
  • LCD: 14" 1440x900 LED
    [*}HDD: 320GB 5400rpm WD
  • GFX: 330m

Incase anyone cares the media setups for
  • Samsung 46" 3D TV LCD LE46C750
  • Xbox 360
  • Onkyo TX-SR606
  • Mission M35i Floorstanders
  • Wharfedale Diamond 8 Centre
  • Onkyo DS-AX2 ipod Dock

  • Samsung 40" 1080p (LE40M87BDX)
  • Technics SA-DV280 HiFi

Wish list:
  • BlackGold BGT3600 TV Tuner
  • 10x 2TB drives for RAID setup
  • Xcase 20 bay 4U case
  • Larger rack mount in a cupboard somewhere
  • Raspberry Pi board for waking/sleeping master server when its not required (idea floating around in my head)

Excuse the crappy pictures, all taken with my iphone! Really should invest in a decent camera

Pictures to follow...
Last edited:
These are just some of the initial pictures.

At the core of the network is a
HP ProCurve 1800

My wireless is handled by a Linksis WRT320N

Lots of colored cables all of which will be cut up and made into exact lengths..

Some of the bits for my main server
I have 4x 320GB 5400rpm 2.5" drives (mixed brands)
And a matrix orbital display (no idea where I got this from, but need to put it to use somewhere!)

All of which lives in this short Xcase in a 2U rack

More to follow...
One last one for today....

2x 3TB Hitachi HDDs
I wanted to buy a bulk load of matching 2TB drives for RAID6 or similar, but with the prices how they are its not worth it at the moment, so going to stick with JBOD setup until the prices drop down...

And a AMD FX6100 6 core processor for the main server
If anyone has any recommendations on the master server setup for running a bunch of VMs it would be appreciated
Recommendations as to what exactly??

Software, links to dos/donts
Best VM related tasks iv created is running a windows VM on my mac!

For waking master server might want to research Wake On Lan packets.

I generally had this in mind, not too sure how reliable this is though.

Jealous of that orbital display, I want one...

Over priced IMO! not too sure how much the display cost, but the facia for it was £15!!
For a hypervisor, I'd recommend Citrix XenServer, it's free and a rock solid platform. It's also pretty easy to pick up.
Bit of progress....

Im using vSphere/ESXi 5 for my VMhosts

My file server/HTPC host (going to see how putting the HTPC inside VMs works!)
Motherboard is a Sapphire Pure Black 990FX
Case is a Xcase 24bay 4U rack mount 550mm deep





Why do they have right angled connectors?! causing me nothing but problems!


I think im going to have to cut away at the case to get at these SATA connectors, the power connector, no idea how Im going to plug something in there, bloody ridiculous!
Get another board, sod chopping it all up.


Not too sure what I will do about the power connector just yet, wonder if its even needed!

Seen a few right angled molex connectors, which i have a feeling are a few mm too big

£40 worth of cables :eek:
Cant see me using more than 16 disks to start with,
Bit of progress....

Im using vSphere/ESXi 5 for my VMhosts

My file server/HTPC host (going to see how putting the HTPC inside VMs works!)

Can you explain why/how you intend to virtualize a HTPC?

I would envisage the following issues:

TV Connection (maybe you can pass-through to hardware)
GPU Power (maybe you can pass-through to hardware)
Remote Control (maybe you can pass-through to hardware or use XBMC remote on iPhone/Android)
Can you explain why/how you intend to virtualize a HTPC?

I would envisage the following issues:

TV Connection (maybe you can pass-through to hardware)
GPU Power (maybe you can pass-through to hardware)
Remote Control (maybe you can pass-through to hardware or use XBMC remote on iPhone/Android)

Its not a primary factor of this rebuild, but im going to give it a go, and if all goes well I will sell my media PCs and run cat5 (for hdmi)

TV connection - Plan for this (when I have a suitable tuner) is for it to sit in the lower powered VM host (maybe I can record) running Media portal tv server. I havent really investigated this too much yet, but it does seem possible where you have a central tv server and stream to multiple clients, my low power VM host will need upgrading to something with pass through though..
This is something I am considering as I could then virtulise the pfSense box with direct NIC pass through to it, this may be frown upon but the way I see it, its still pretty secure

GPU Power, hardware pass through - seems that you can pass it onto a win 7 vm for example and have HDMI audio and DXVA! If this all works ill be very happy! But nothing ever is that easy

Remote control - From what I understand you can pass individual devices over ESXi to VMs, I have two of these:

Best remote iv ever owned! And at under £10 each they have been brilliant

All possible road blocks to this insane idea but would be pretty neat if I can pull it off.

Especially as that board has 6x PCIe slots (as long as I can pass them all along individually)
1x Host GPU (unless this can be passed on? anyone confirm?)
1x Raid controller

2x spare - possible for 2nd tv tuner/3rd media pc/work station?!

If this works well I will potentially have my whole computing setup within a 12U rack
I have but I have tried playing 1080p movies over a 100mb network connection before and it just fails on fast action scenes. So until they release a gigabit version, thats not really an option! :(
I think blu-ray absolute max bitrate is 40Mbps. So 100Mbps should be fine.

Depending on the source of the content- let's assume original discs- which on average are 25GB and 100minutes

25,600MB / 6000s = 4.26MB/s or 34Mbps
UPS which needs replacing as its far too noisy


All my current hard disks!


Inside the current file server


Host 1 (24/7)


This case is far too small for the PSU

Also the Scythe cooler I bought is just slightly too big :(

Got the 6 core system installed with ESXi 5 on a USB 4GB stick today.


First noticeable issue, guess this means it dosent support IOMMU


Bummer! any ideas anyone
Gave up with the FX CPU

Purchased the following:
Asus P8B-WS
Xeon E3-1235
6x Hitachi 3TB (already have 2) totalling 8!

Photos to follow soon!