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Rebuilding new old NAS box

Posted by pete_c , 15 May 2020 · 6104 views

This is a NAS box which I built remotely a few years back. 
It was configured with Ubuntu Linux and served as a combo automation server, video NAS, media NAS box.
Made some repairs on it and ordered new drives for it.
1 - Case - Silverston DS380
  • Supports 12 total drives with 8 hot-swappable 3.5” or 2.5” SAS/SATA and 4 fixed 2.5” drives
  • Unbelievable storage space and versatility for small form factor
  • Premium brushed aluminum front door
  • Supports graphics card up to 11” with supporter design from TJ08-E
  • Lockable power button design and adjustable LED from GD07
  • Includes three 120mm fans with filtered intake vents

Repairs done:
- Backplane SAS / SATA two ports burned up and one exploding cap - replaced 
- FANs not functioning - cleaned and lubricated with lithium grease (not sure if this will work)
- plastic and metal cover of case tabs all broken.  Used liquid nail to fix the plastic cover to the case
- two button holders in plastic case broken - glued with liquid nail. 
2 - Motherboard - Intel Xeon S1200KP - Haswell i3 / 16Gb of RAM - running fine
3 - Raid Controller - Avago Technologies (LSI) SAS2008 - ordered 2 pairs of thin cables (8 drives) - Firmware IT version - updated.
To update firmware download most current firmware here for an SAS 9210-8i
Download current bios and IT firmware.
1 - Make a DOS boot stick using Rufus
2 - copy over sas2flash to usb stick
3 - mptsas2.rom file to usb stick
4 - copy 2108it.bin file to usb stick
5 - check firmware and bios version typing
sas2flash -list
6 - clear flash typing
sas2flash -o -e 6
7 - update firmware and rom
sas2flash -o -f 2108.bin -b mptsas2.rom
8 - type 
sas2flash to check your firmware and bios.
DO NOT STOP or shut off computer during the flash as you will brick you device.

4 - Hard drives - Seagate Constellation ES (4) - SAS drives - zero MB reads - damaged during shipping - 4 Seagate SATA enterprise drives - still working fine. - replacing 4 SAS drives with EMC SAS drives.  Ordered one 32Gb SSD drive for boot drive for new OS.
Xigmanas - Been using this OS for another NAS box which is similiarly configured.  Installed the embedded version on the 32Gb SSD drive which is plugged in to the motherboard - running fine now after ~ 1 Day 18 hours.
Hostname ics-raid-00.ics
Version - Ingva (revision 7542)
Compiled Friday April 17 14:26:51 CDT 2020
Platform OS FreeBSD 12.1-RELEASE-p3 #0 r360028M: Fri Apr 17 01:52:46 CEST 2020
Platform x64-embedded on Intel® Core™ i3-3245 CPU @ 3.40GHz
System Time Friday May 15 07:25:06 CDT 2020
System Uptime 1 Day 18 Hours 36 Minutes 14 Seconds
System Config Change Thursday May 14 10:00:17 CDT 2020
CPU Frequency 3400Mhz
The Silverstone case is approximately the same price as my current 8 drive case except that it is larger.  
Note that the EMC drives are "differently" configured for EMC. They need to be reformatted from 520 to 512 to be able to use them. These are literally given away on Ebay as to most folks they are bricks unless you are running EMC storage.

sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get upgrade
sudo apt-get install software-properties-common
sudo apt-get install sg3-utils
sudo sg_format —format —size=512 —fmtpinfo=0 -six /dev/sda
I still have yet to update the firmware on the LSi Raid controller.  Only way I can do these testing on 2 new motherboards is to utilize EFI command line prompt.   
9 - installing new back plane today.  Ordered up thin LSi-SAS cables today.  Ordered another pair of EMC drives today.  First 4 of 8 drives will be configured as ZFS - Mirrored drives.  I have not used ZFS yet.  Other NAS box is using GPT / Raid mirrored configuration.
Note: this is more a learning experience than a need to use experience for me.

May 16 2020 07:42 PM

Wow, that's a hardcore NAS. Why the change from Linux to BSD? What backup software are you using? 


I'm currently in the process of changing out my Netgear RN102 because it's just so VERY slow. I'm using NextCloud, which I like quite well, and haven't found any real problems with it except for phone backup, which I am not highly invested in. 


I have just ordered a used Optiplex 790 SFF with the intention of putting in a single 3.5" (due to lack of 3.5 drive bays) drive from my RN102 and using a second drive for exterior backups on Linux. I don't expect I'll get the performance you do, but should serve my needs. 

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Well been using BSD XigmaNAS (and FreeNAS) for over 10 years on other NAS box which is similar to this one.
The NAS before this one is almost the same and has been running fine for many many years.  (IE: AMD E350 mITX board, LSi SAS Raid controller inside an 8 drive NAS case.)
Don't back up the laptops or desktops here.  I do store movies on one NAS and use KODI for play back.
I just keep a shared files, pictures, music and videos directory on the NAS boxes.  
Ordered up some EMC SAS drives and reformatting them today.  If these work will be using 8 EMC SAS drives in the new box.  These are Hitachi Enterprise SAS drives.  This is similiar to my other NAS box except that they are Hitachi Enterprise SATA drives.

Note that the EMC drives are "differently" configured for EMC. They need to be reformatted from 520 to 512 to be able to use them. These are literally given away on Ebay as to most folks they are bricks unless you are running EMC storage.

sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get upgrade
sudo apt-get install software-properties-common
sudo apt-get install sg3-utils
sudo sg_format —format —size=512 —fmtpinfo=0 -six /dev/sda
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Update 0813 C 19th of May, 2020


Today disassembling NAS, removing drives, removing cage and install installing new back plane.


Note: old back plane has two burnt SAS/SATA connectors and one exploding cap.  (still works as it is though).

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I wanted to update the firmware and bios on the SAS 9210-8i and tried it using a DOS boot up stick and was unsuccessful.  Made up an EFI boot USB stick.
Hardware:  SAS 9210-8i
1 - download latest firmware and bios from here:
a - Package_P20_Firmware_BIOS_for_MSDOS_Windows
b - UEFI Installer
2 - download Shell_Full.efi from here:
3 - make a boot usb stick with Rufus.  (doesn't really need to be a boot stick).
4 - make two directories on the USB
A - efi\boot
B - boot\efi
5 - Rename the Shell_Full.efi to ShellX64.efi and copy it to root and each of the subdirectories created. IE: 3 copies.

6 - copy the rom and firmware files to the root of the USB stick.

7 - copy the sas2flash.efi file to the root of the USB stick.
8 - reboot and hit the optional F key for a boot list. Here it is F10. The boot list will show USB regular boot and USB EFI boot. Pick USB EFI boot which will bring you do an EFI command line prompt which looks almost the same as a DOS prompt.

9 - rest is now easy and the same as if you were doing this at a DOS prompt.

10 - Note do not exit any of this until you are done otherwise you may brick your SAS Raid controller.

A - type sas2flash.efi -list
This will show you the controller connected, firmware and rom - you can write this down if you want.

B - Type:

sas2flash.efi -o -e 6
This erases the controller flash memory

C - Type:

sas2flash.efi -o -f XXXIT.bin -b mptsas2.rom

This will take a few seconds to do. Do not stop this until completed.

D - Type:

sas2flash.efi -list

This will show updated ROM and Firmware.

11 - reboot at this time.

12 - when prompted for the LCI controller management on boot check out the firmware and rom levels. You will see them updated from previous versions.

13 - I then adjust the BIOS such that I do not see the controller as all configurations of the raid ZFS stuff is done via IT mode and the Raid software running.

I have ordered 4 more SAS drives to add to the same SAS drives which are EMC converted to standard via low level format / bios edit. These are Hitachi enterprise SAS drives which will be configured as ZFS pools. May use mirroring here instead of striping across the drives.

Note this was much easier than the last NAS update which was using an IBM LSI Raid controller. I had to cross flash this device because of the built in Lock and key configuration on the IBM controller.
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I just started setting up a new NAS box in a Silverstone DS380 case, it is a little cramped but much smaller than my big SageTV server, my LSI card is due to get here tomorrow, I use one in my SageTV server also. I am trying out Open Media Vault right now but I am still up in the air on what software I will settle on.

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Yes originally and still running U-NAS box is way too tight.  It is much smaller than the Silverstone DS380 case.  
U-NAS NSC-800 Server Chassis
The Silverstone looks nice though and much easier and more spacious for hardware placement.
I went with the thin SATA/SAS cables on last box and ordered a set for the Silverstone box.
It is configured with 8 front hot swap drive slots, top section is using a small server PS and it has two large quiet fans in the back.  The mITX board is mounted to the side of the drive cage and I connected the SAS LSi card with an extension cable above the motherboard.  There are some 50 tiny screws which keep this box together and I haven't taken it apart since first built.
Yesterday reformatted 4 EMC SAS drives and configured the box with an 8 drive ZFS RaidZ2.  First time I am trying this.  
I used to use FreeNAS and went to XigmaNAS.  They are all really similiar.  Not sure if I am going to use the Oracle Virtual box container thing on the box.  This is the first time I am using ZFS.  Still learning here.


Updating the LSi controller was easy using an EFI boot USB stick. 

The EFI command line stuff is a bit more primitive than the DOS command line stuff. 
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So now been moving files from the older 8 drive NAS with SATA drives over to the rebuilt NAS with SAS drives and ZFS.


Really like ZFS.


After I am done with the file migration will replace the drives on the 8 drive NAS with SAS drives / ZFS drive pooling.


All of this is really just an exercise for me.

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Update: 13th of June, 2020
Still had large thick Mini SAS to SATA Cables in the the Silverstone DS380.

The 8 SAS drives get pretty warm.

I am using thin mini SAS to SATA/SAS cables in the U-Nas box mostly cuz the box build was much tighter and would not have been able to regular cables.

I have ordered two different MFG mini SAS to SATA (SAS) pairs of cables from Amazon and have returned them. Only two ports on each cable worked on both sets.

Trying again this week with a different MFG cables.
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Update 2: 13th of June, 2020
I current have 2 Intel Gb ports on the Xeon NAS server motherboard and using a TP-Link Easy Gb Switch so trying Link aggregation.
I am writing these instructions as I test here today.
Link Aggregation on the XigmaNAS box.
1 - make a backup first
2 - ran second network cable - using ports 15-16 on TP-Link
3 - rebooted in to BIOS and enabled second NIC on Xeon server board
4 - In the WebGUI, goto Network --> Interface Management and click the "+" button to add the new interface. This should leave you with two entries in the Management tab (LAN & OPT1). When done click the Save button but DO NOT REBOOT.
5 - In Network --> Interface Management click the LAGG tab. Click the "+" button to add an interface. Interface should already be called "lagg0". In Aggregation Protocol select LACP Link Aggregation Control Protocol. In Ports select both interfaces. In Description just enter any name to identify the new aggregated adapter. Then click the ADD button.
6 - Go back to the Management tab and the "+" button should now be visible because there is now a new adapter ready to be added. Click the "+" button to add the LAGG interface. This should add an interface to the list labelled OPT2 with the network port column as lagg0 followed by the name you gave it in brackets.
7 - Now, still in the Management tab, using the drop downs rearrange the interface order so that the LAN interface is now the lagg0 and the two original interfaces are OPT1 and OPT2. Now click SAVE.
8 - Double check that the interfaces are listed as LAN = lagg0, OPT1 = (first physical adapter) and OPT2 = (second physical adapter).
9 - Click Network --> LAN and check that the IP address etc is correct for your network. Reboot FreeNAS. Once rebooted check connection with the WebGUI.
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Update: 13th of June, 2020

The 8 SAS drives get pretty warm.


 Have you removed the magnetic fan screens and replaced them with wire screens? I also see people taking a piece of cardboard to direct the air from the side fans into the drive bays. I will probably make an aluminium piece and pop rivet it place and also use better fans. I wish I could find a case like the UNAS case only a little bigger, I have seen cases on commercial products that look like the UNAS case with a 5 1/4" drive bay above the hot swap drive bays. here is one https://www.zappiti.us.com/nas-serie

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Thank you for the suggestions @Waynedb.


Went back to the thick controller to SAS drive cables as I had no luck with the "el cheapos" on Amazon.  


I have taken off the magnetic fan screens.  


I was thinking of getting faster fans.  I like the SAS drives in the new box.  I read that these type of Hitachi SAS enterprise drives run very warm. They are running between 55-60 °C.  The drives are very heavy.  Way heavier than any SATA drive I recently have used.


Gonna pull the side panel off and just watch the temps.


Looking this afternoon at the UNas box with 8 Hitachi enterprise SATA drives temps and these run between 35-40 °C.


Drives are old now  in the UNAS box and was thinking of going to SAS drives starting with 4 first and going the ZFS way with the old UNAS box.


Wow the Zappiti NAS box looks the same as the UNAS box except for the top bay. 


There is a bunch of room on the top of the UNAS box as the server type power supply has a small footprint.  Here have the LSi controller mounted on the top part of the case perpendicular to the motherboard.  There is a bracket there to mount the controller.  Next to the controller installed the SSD boot drive.  (just 32Gb).


Looking for my original DIY pics for the UNAS box.  I had them posted on the Homeseer forum and removed them a few years ago.  Thinking too I had them posted on the "serve the home" forum.

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Here are some pictures of the UNAS box build.  It was built around 2012.  It was difficult as it is very tight. Been running fine now since 2012.

I have two older NAS boxes here (one 4 drive and one 5 drive). Siemens and US Robotics. The US Robotics NAS drive is over 20 years old now and still doing fine.

The two large fans are behind the drive cage here.  I did move the LSi Raid controller over about 2 inches and went to using a 32Gb SSD drive.

I needed to use the thin style SATA to controller cables. I would not have been able to use the thick cables in this box.





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Update #2  19th of July, 2020


1 - move NAS box such that the fans face off the rack

2 - removed fan cover on side

3 - opened the front door


Temps now between 40-50 °C which is way better than before.  I am thinking it was just leaving the front door open.


NAS Temps
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Update #2  19th of July, 2020



3 - opened the front door


Temps now between 40-50 °C which is way better than before.  I am thinking it was just leaving the front door open.


NAS Temps

 That door is not a good for cooling, I can feel the airflow out the front with it open, it seems the only good thing about the door is the power switch lockout. I would have preferred they left the door off and made nicer drive caddies, they feel really low quality.

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Been trying to copy around 900 Gb of data (files only) from the old US Robotics NAS over to the new NAS.
I had some issues with writing some files using Samba.
Switches over to using SFTP today and noticed no more errors.
Doing this via my Linux desktop using a program called FreeFileSync

This is a bit different in that the application uses a GUI and does sync checking on the files.
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Wow googled this case and see the issues now with the design and air flow.  Going to insert some cardboard between the drive cage and fan area and see if the temps go down a bit more.  Might 3D print the small per fan ducts.

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23rd of June, 2020


1 - Copied all of the files from the oldest USR-8700 NAS to the newly built NAS

2 - Copied all of the files from the Intel S4700 NAS to the newly built NAS

3 - shutting down NAS boxes 1 and 2 above.

4 - Copied all of the files from the UNAS box (with Hitachi SATA drives) to the new NAS box.

5 - changing the old SATA drives in the UNAS box over to SAS drives / ZFS in the next few weeks.


Found that using SFTP appears to be faster than using SAMBA in Linux for copying files.

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Wow googled this case and see the issues now with the design and air flow.  Going to insert some cardboard between the drive cage and fan area and see if the temps go down a bit more.  Might 3D print the small per fan ducts.

I saw these are on thingiverse https://www.thingive...m/thing:2182572

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Thank you @Waynedb
Been copying old to new files for the last couple of days.  One directory is ~700Gb of files (nothing else) and I am on day 2 now.  Currently at 606 Gb completed and 115Gb to go. It speeds up and slows down.  It is from the Hitachi Enterprise SATA drives.  Should be done tonight.

Wondering (thinking I can) change 4 SATA drives over to 4 SAS drives on the older NAS. Think I can.
Temps have remained as above while copying.
Looking to have my son print out the above stuff as he has a 3D printer.
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Getting very slow transfers between the two NAS boxes.  When I do a test between either NAS box to the Gb connected laptop I get Gb speeds.  


When I run the files sync program on the laptop to copy files from one mapped drive to another speeds are around 10-12Mbs.  


Going to try do do file transfers via consoles on BSD to see if that works better.

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July 2022

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