I dived into the selfhosting rabbit hole once again and again I am stuck at the hardware part. I’d like to start small-ish to make it realisable. I thought about a NAS (Openmediavault probably). First I wanted to do it on a Raspberry Pi with an external hard-drive but then I read USB connected drives are unreliable and so on. Mini PCs are too small to house internal drives so should I go with a (refurbished) business PC from ebay and add some drives to it?But they usually come with Windows 10, which I wouldn’t need but makes them more expensive. I also have at least one old PC case laying around but no mainboard or CPU for it, if that info might be important. Thank you in advance for helping a noob out!

Edit: What I want to achieve: I would like a NAS and (separated) a server with some small services (pi-hole or adguard, syncthing, jellyfin (getting the data from the NAS), and so on). I thought about running the small services with docker on a RPi 4 and the NAS on a refurbished business PC with SATA drives in the case (I checked ebay and there are mainboards with 4 SATA III connectors and PCI so I could even add more SATA connectors). In a second moment a backup server (maybe with borg) would be a good idea but I could also do manual backups with an external USB HDD for the time being.

  • slazer2au@lemmy.world
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    7 days ago

    It is 100% ok to break your homeland into 2 parts.

    Get a dedicated nas and secondhand eBay PC. The windows licence doesn’t matter, no one is going to discount the price because you are not going to use the licence.

    • theorangeninja@lemmy.todayOP
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      7 days ago

      With dedicated NAS you mean a synology or something like that? Because they are not very affordable. Yeah I figured that so I didn’t even ask for a discount.

  • LifeBandit666@feddit.uk
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    6 days ago

    Eh I did all this with a cheap thin client.

    Proxmox as the frontend

    OMV in a VM with usb passed through

    Debian VM for Plex and Docker

    Adguard and Nginx and Arr in Docker

    Network sharing from the OMV VM

    HDDs to USB.

  • geography082@lemm.ee
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    6 days ago

    I have a Chinese minipc (N100 , passive cooling, two network) with proxmox installed, with some vms and some containers running all kind of things in docker too. With an old external usb hdd 4tb plugged in . And Tailscale . Backing up all my shit with rclone crypt to a cheap office365 family plan (4tb) .I have all the self hosting I want for a total … 200 bucks .

  • Voroxpete@sh.itjust.works
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    6 days ago

    Yeah, try to avoid using USB hard drives.

    A refurbished business PC is an excellent choice (or, better yet, make friends with someone who works in an IT department and grab a few machines when they’re being thrown out; you’d be amazed how often companies dump perfectly good hardware). Don’t worry about the windows license, you’re not actually paying for it by the time you get to refurb prices.

    You should easily be able to pick up something decent for under $200 (hopefully that fits your budget). If you go with a small form factor (not ultra small) you can probably get an SSD and two 3.5" drives in there (watch out for the small form factor Lenovos though, they only have one 3.5" slot). Alternatively, look for a larger desktop tower style that could have 3 or 4 drive bays if you want to do something like a RAID5.

    Don’t sweat too much about buying older hardware. What’s old and busted for Windows is lightning fast when we’re talking about self-hosting a file server or a Pihole.

    • RBG@discuss.tchncs.de
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      5 days ago

      Yeah, try to avoid using USB hard drives.

      Can you elaborate for which use case you’d see them as less reliable than other options? I am using USB connected drives now for about 2 years in a home setup and haven’t had any bad experiences. My use case might be a lot more low tech and than others though.

    • theorangeninja@lemmy.todayOP
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      5 days ago

      Yes, having friends who deal with hardware sounds very good.

      I learned a lot from this post about small form factor pcs having different mainboards than towers so I might get a micro atx for my old tower to stay flexible for the future.

  • just_another_person@lemmy.world
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    7 days ago

    I think you’re confusing a few ideas here, and it’s hard to understand what your main goal is. Let me see if I can break down what you want here:

    • Small form factor if possible
    • Storage expansion
    • Low power (antithesis to 3.5" HDDs)
    • NAS features? (unclear here)

    If you’re just trying to run containers easily, Synology NAS that support it (certain tier) are really easy to use, and you won’t have to worry about hardware except inserting the initial drives to use.

    If you’re worried about cost, sure, building your own is going to be the best bet. If you’re not expecting to really tax the I/O of the drives, USB 3+ won’t be the worst thing in the world, but the management of a storage array over USB will be problematic if doing it yourself.

    Lastly, it may help us if you describe what you’re actually trying to to host on this hardware. It’s the difference between someone suggesting a very low power CPU like an N100, or a lowER power CPU like and AMD that has a bit more upfront cost.

    If any of this is confusing, just have a look at Synology or Qnap maybe. It’ll be easier to manage in the long run if you’re not comfortable or enjoy fiddling with hardware.

    • theorangeninja@lemmy.todayOP
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      6 days ago

      Alright, I would like a NAS and (separated) a server with some small services (pi-hole or adguard, syncthing, jellyfin (getting the data from the NAS), and so on). I thought about running the small services with docker on a RPi 4 and the NAS on a refurbished business PC with SATA drives in the case (I checked ebay and there are mainboards with 4 SATA III connectors and PCI so I could even add more SATA connectors). In a second moment a backup server (maybe with borg) would be a good idea but I could also do manual backups with an external USB HDD for the time being. And I have a tight budget.

      This is roughly what I want to to with my system. A synology sounds nice but they are pricey and I’m not learning so much so I’d go another route if possible.

      Maybe it’s best if I just hook up some USB drives to my Pi and get my hands dirty with that. If the performance is not too bad (like you said).

      • ShepherdPie@midwest.social
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        6 days ago

        Maybe it’s best if I just hook up some USB drives to my Pi and get my hands dirty with that. If the performance is not too bad (like you said).

        Just do this and grow as you learn. If you buy WD Easystore/Elements/MyBook external drives, they can be very easily removed from their enclosures later and installed internally.

        The only caveat here is that a Pi is going to be terrible for Jellyfin unless you only download media that is 100% compatible with the devices you’re watching it on. If any transcoding is needed, the Pi won’t keep up. A NUC or Optiplex Micro might work better here as they both have full-fledged PC hardware and aren’t too much more than a Pi.

        • theorangeninja@lemmy.todayOP
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          6 days ago

          I have a seagate external drive at home, do you know if that one can be opened too? But good to know, thanks.

          I will consider it, do you think a refurbished business 1L client would work too?

          • ShepherdPie@midwest.social
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            6 days ago

            I’m not sure as I’ve always stuck to WD drives. You should be able to Google the model + “shuck” and see if anyone else has done it. I know certain models either solder the controller to the drive or add it internally so that there’s no standard SATA port.

            The larger clients should work the same as the micro sized ones, but don’t expect to get much more use out of them than maybe being able to store a drive internally as they’re typically full of proprietary connectors and stripped down motherboards. I’d only bother with one if you can buy it cheaper than one of the micro sized options like the Optiplex 3050

  • tal@lemmy.today
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    7 days ago

    What do you want to do with it? I mean, that really determines the hardware.

    Consider the following use cases:

    • If you’re trying to do a media server to serve video and audio files up to other devices around the house, then access time probably basically doesn’t matter, and rotational drives are fine, and CPU capacity is probably irrelevant; you only need to stream at the media’s speed, and there isn’t a whole lot of seeking, and there’s no computation. You need the system to be running at all time. Expandability, other than storage, doesn’t really matter.

    • If you want a backup server, then you’re probably in a similar situation.

    • If you’re trying to do a box to run LLMs, like a headless Stable Diffusion server, then you probably want a very beefy GPU, and enough storage space to store the relevant content, but you don’t need massive amounts of storage. CPU doesn’t matter much.

    • If you’re trying to do a firewall, then unless you have really elaborate processing requirements, CPU probably doesn’t matter. You are going to want at least two network ports. Keeping power usage low is probably desirable.

    • If you’re doing a home automation server, probably similar (though you don’t need network ports).

    • If you’re trying to have a box that runs VMs, then a bunch of memory and a beefy CPU, not to mention probably SSDs is likely desirable. Limiting power use probably isn’t that important.

    There are applications for which a Pi is completely reasonable, where you’re using very little power and just need to keep the box always available. But there are applications for which it’s unreasonable, too – it’d make a bad VM-hosting box.

    Like, if you say “I plan to do X, and Y and I’m thinking that I might do Z”, and maybe give some kind of a desired budget, that’ll probably get you more-useful advice.

    First I wanted to do it on a Raspberry Pi with an external hard-drive but then I read USB connected drives are unreliable and so on.

    I don’t know about unreliable. I’ve never had problems with USB-attached storage just not working. But I do have one enclosure with about five drive bays that doesn’t have an option to return to the previous power state on power loss – one has to tap the power button – which is incredibly obnoxious, as if it loses power and I’m away, I can’t bring it back up. That wasn’t something that I’d anticipated being an issue, and I’d suggest that anyone getting one for a system that they intend to use remotely check that such an enclosure does have such functionality.

    • theorangeninja@lemmy.todayOP
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      7 days ago

      First thank you for the detailed examples!

      Alright, I would like a NAS and (separated) a server with some small services (pi-hole or adguard, jellyfin (getting the data from the NAS), and so on). I thought about running the small services with docker on a RPi 4 and the NAS on a refurbished business PC with SATA drives in the case (I checked ebay and there are mainboards with 4 SATA III connectors and PCI so I could even add more SATA connectors). In a second moment a backup server (maybe with borg) would be a good idea but I could also do manual backups with an external USB HDD for the time being. And I have a tight budget.

  • bandwidthcrisis@lemmy.world
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    7 days ago

    FWIW, I ran a Pi 2 with external (self-powered) USB drive for about 8 years as my main backup without issue (except that it was slow). I’ve just replaced it with a Pi 5 and TerraPi frame holding an SSD.

    • theorangeninja@lemmy.todayOP
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      6 days ago

      Alright, I would like a NAS and (separated) a server with some small services (pi-hole or adguard, syncthing, jellyfin (getting the data from the NAS), and so on). I thought about running the small services with docker on a RPi 4 and the NAS on a refurbished business PC with SATA drives in the case (I checked ebay and there are mainboards with 4 SATA III connectors and PCI so I could even add more SATA connectors). In a second moment a backup server (maybe with borg) would be a good idea but I could also do manual backups with an external USB HDD for the time being. And I have a tight budget.

      This describes what I’d like to do. Budget is low and I don’t have a lot of hardware laying around. For the capacity I don’t know yet but for sure 6tb to start with. I’d like to try RAID (heard a lot, never tried it yet) and another backup (maybe something for the future).

      • gravitas_deficiency@sh.itjust.works
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        6 days ago

        I would recommend:

        • go on eBay and find some sort of cheap Lenovo/dell/hp thin client for your secondary node. You can find workable 1L-class boxes for around $100. You can get away with some of the older m700/710/900/910 tiny models, but the extensibility of the m720/920 tiny models is going to be much better.
        • for your primary, I think you’d probably be best off finding an old server tower with 8 3.5” bays - if you’re lucky and on-the-ball, you may be able to snipe something like this, but shipping is of course going to be a bitch. An alternative is to pick up another one of those thin clients (making sure it’s a model with USB3, but preferably 3.1 or 3.2 whatever the gen is (side note: fuck anyone involved with the USB versioning scheme, because it’s absolutely indecipherable) that can actually support meaningful data transfer, and then just find a cheap DAS and connect it to that node.
  • Mountain_Mike_420@lemmy.ml
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    7 days ago

    If your power is expensive then go with raspi/nas/mini pc/laptop route. My setup is raspi with 2 usb drives. Going on 5 years now with no problems. They only store media and I don’t care about backing them up.

  • StrawberryPigtails@lemmy.sdf.org
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    7 days ago

    @tal has already given a really good answer. To add to it, this thread might help you some: https://lemmy.sdf.org/comment/11963996 I was asked what I thought was “better” than a raspberry pi. Came back with an eBay search and a trio of suggestions in the price range of a Pi 4. TLDR is whatever you have currently will probably work fine but if you need to buy hardware, there are plenty of low cost options. And of course, Pi’s also work fine for anything they are capable of, which is most things.

    When I started self hosting, Raspberry Pi’s were the cheapest option available. I learned fairly quickly that the SD card was the weakest part of them but not long after the Pi3 came out we were able to boot off of USB drives which solved that issue. I think I had 8 SSDs hanging off of one pi before I finally decided to plop down the money for a tower. I then added a pair of 6 port SATA cards and added even more storage to that system. Eventually I was hosting so many things that I was running out of RAM, So I bought a second used tower, this one with a much newer processor and a lot more RAM. Now I run both with the old system running as a NAS and the new system hosting my other services. I wouldn’t stress about hardware too much. Hardware can grow with you, to a point.

    Mini PCs are too small to house internal drives

    Most mini PCs I’ve heard of (and quite a few thin clients) use m.2 drives for internal storage. Not difficult to upgrade. I’ve also heard of a few that had ports and internal space for 2.5 inch SSDs.

    • theorangeninja@lemmy.todayOP
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      7 days ago

      The link you posted is not working for me but doesn’t matter. Thank you very much for the writeup!

      I found a few of these on ebay, refurbished business machines mostly. I think you can fit a drive or two inside there? The mainboards have SATA connectors. Maybe I could also take the mainboard and power supply out and put them in my old tower.

      Another thing I thought about was buying a mini pc, put it in my old tower, add a M.2 6xSATA card and put the drives in the bays of the tower.

      But probably I should just use my RPi400, hook up one or two big external HDDs (add RAID?) and start there. Then I can better decide what I want and need after testing Openmediavault for example. While talking about the RPi and booting from USB drives. Should I buy a cheap-ish USB SSD and boot from that and not from the SD card? What’s the problem with SD cards?

  • ___@lemm.ee
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    6 days ago

    I would recommend getting a “forever” case like the Node 304. You won’t regret the purchase and you can use for any future upgrades. It stores 8 (correction, 6) 3.5 drives, so you can add on as you grow.

    Find a used a motherboard like this: https://www.ebay.com/itm/235546915389?mkcid=16&mkevt=1&mkrid=711-127632-2357-0&ssspo=GP45S9r5R6-&sssrc=4429486&ssuid=uaLd2h3oTQO&var=&widget_ver=artemis&media=COPY

    With a cheap GE (low power version) AMD processor and 16/32gb ram and whatever nvme ssd you can scrounge.

    It will cost you maybe $100 over some alternatives, but you can use it for years and keep upgrading as you go.

    Most Dell and OEM parts won’t work on standard cases, FYI.

    • ShepherdPie@midwest.social
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      6 days ago

      The Define series of cases from Fractal are also an excellent option. I have 9 HDD and a 5.25" optical drive in mine (Define R6) with room to spare and the whole thing is silent.

    • theorangeninja@lemmy.todayOP
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      6 days ago

      This case looks good but is a bit out of my budget for now. But to understand this properly, the Node 304 fits a micro-atx mainboard? Which this one from gigabyte is, right?

      Most Dell and OEM parts won’t work on standard cases, FYI.

      This was very helpful, thank you! I would have spent money for nothing!

      • ___@lemm.ee
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        6 days ago

        Correct. Micro-ATX is the smaller version of the larger ATX and still larger EATX (extended atx). Your old case probably fits micro atx if it’s not OEM. You can populate it with a mb, cpu, ram, ssd, and power supply (don’t need more than 500w for your use case) and eventually move to a nicer case like that Node if/when you fall in love with the hobby. My Rpis are collecting dust since switching to a low power server.

        It’s a whole different experience when general advice applies to your hardware vs the Rpi ecosystem. Many more options. In 2024, ATX offers no real benefit over the smaller form factor beyond better heat management for high power builds with spaced out components.

        And a correction: node 304 supports 6HD, the 804 supports 8

        • theorangeninja@lemmy.todayOP
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          6 days ago

          Sounds good, I will check how much that would cost and consider it. There are probably plenty of resources going over low power cpu right? Thank you!

          • ___@lemm.ee
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            6 days ago

            They’re basically the same as regular, but the wattage rating (usually called tdp) is lower.

  • Decronym@lemmy.decronym.xyzB
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    4 days ago

    Acronyms, initialisms, abbreviations, contractions, and other phrases which expand to something larger, that I’ve seen in this thread:

    Fewer Letters More Letters
    NAS Network-Attached Storage
    NUC Next Unit of Computing brand of Intel small computers
    NVMe Non-Volatile Memory Express interface for mass storage
    Plex Brand of media server package
    RAID Redundant Array of Independent Disks for mass storage
    RPi Raspberry Pi brand of SBC
    SATA Serial AT Attachment interface for mass storage
    SBC Single-Board Computer
    SSD Solid State Drive mass storage

    8 acronyms in this thread; the most compressed thread commented on today has 15 acronyms.

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