Is it Time to Upgrade?

Microserver works well for me except for a couple small things: it noticeable chokes on concurrent reads and writes over the network and it cannot do any hard cpu work. I decided to see if I can put together a replacement with more power. I still want to have a small package, get an Intel processor, and ECC support. I went looking for a board. There are two of them out there now: Portwell WADE 8011 and Intel s1200kp. The former is a dream with 6 SATA ports, but it’s difficult to find and I saw someone on a forum quoting $390 Portwell is asking for it. The latter is available everywhere, e.g., $170 at Newegg, but it only has 4 SATA ports. Putting it together with a 4 SATA controller card, small case, Xeon E-1235, and a decent power supply, the bill comes to about $800 without tax. Expensive.

The main problem is that I cannot get a good feel if the rig like that would run OSX. There are some small hints on the forums that someone managed to get Lion running on the Xeon, but it’s not clear if that was the same board.

  1. Alex Johnstone said:

    Your blog is exactly what I’m thinking of doing…! I have a HP Microserver (N40L) which currently runs ubuntu with zfs and I’m thinking of changing it to Mac OS X to open up availability of some other software. Having come across the insanelymac forum post about the N36L I’ve been researching what to do.

    Are you still running the microserver?

    Any issues?

    It looks like you switched to ZEVO from MacZFS, which sound promising to me as I have a zpool made with zfs pool version 28 and so should be able to just import it. Any problems or anything to note about zevo zfs?

    • Alex Johnstone said:

      I meant to ask about 64 bit SL…I assume booting into 64 bit SL worked okay? (for zfs)
      Did it just work automatically or did you need to change things?

    • Anton said:

      Snow Leopard runs in that strange mode when the kernel is 32bit, but everything else is 64 bit. Maybe the OSX hackers (netkas and others) fixed the AMD kernel to run in 64 bits in the last year, but I have my doubts. ZEVO (or MacZFS) being a kernel extension, is running in 32 bits. Unfortunately, ZEVO community edition (the current version of ZEVO) does not support 32 bit kernels. So I’m still running ZEVO Developer Edition beta from last summer on the Microserver. It seems to work OK. The only issue I have is with the send/recv commands. When I move zfs content (snapshots) over network, the command always works the first time, but sometimes zfs gets confused and crashes on subsequent attempts to execute the same send (or recv). I have to reboot the Microserver to get it working again.

      I did build a second server in the meantime, so Microserver now works as an offsite backup unit just for storing zfs snapshots. It seems to work fine for this purpose.

      • Alex Johnstone said:

        Thanks for your info, think I’ll have to try another option as I’d prefer to keep my pool, and therefore need zpool v28. Saved me lots of time though!

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