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Configuring Isilon IQ 9000i servers

Discussion in 'Linux and Unix' started by crcook84, Mar 24, 2017.

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  1. crcook84

    crcook84 Thread Starter

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    We acquired some Isilon servers. I’m sure some of you know about the Dell PEs I posted about. These Isilons appear to be around the same timeline. However, these Isilons are still functional (at least the one I’m trying to learn from is). The main thing about it seems to be that it works on a command line interface. Not a big deal. In this age of Windows 10, I still find myself using “diskpart” from DOS. The problem is I’m just trying to find any information about the command line list and being able to have a command line to interface with.

    This is the screen I’m stuck at after boot:
    20170324_145711.jpg

    I know there used to be a button combination in DOS that you could use to cancel a command in progress. Furthermore, I do have USB keyboard access during boot. So, I know I can control it from a USB keyboard. There is an internal IP pool and an external IP network. So, I got to thinking that I might be able to connect via DHCP directly into the Isilon. Anyone got any suggestions?
     
  2. Triple6

    Triple6 Moderator

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    That's not DOS, it should be OneFS which is FreeBSD based.

    I'd download the manuals for your specific server model and OS version and read through them, the OS version should be shown during the boot process.

    You can probably SSH into it using something like Putty if it has a valid IP address.
     
  3. zx10guy

    zx10guy Trusted Advisor Spam Fighter

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    What exactly are you trying to do with those Isilon storage nodes? Note I said storage nodes. Isilon is now part of EMC. Rob is correct Isilon runs OneFS as the OS. You can read more about Isilon here:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/EMC_Isilon
     
  4. crcook84

    crcook84 Thread Starter

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    When I mentioned DOS, I just meant that I was familiar with command line syntax. Actually, now that I know it's Unix based (which explains why this thread was moved), that gives me a starting point as to what kind of language I need to look into to reprogram the device. I'll look into utilizing an SSH program and see if that'll give me access.

    Plus, it suddenly occurred to me that I could scan for IP addresses by plugging a computer directly into it and seeing what pops up.

    As far as what I plan on doing with it, it was used as a file server at the company it was originally at. So, I was interested in turning it into a home file server. However, since you put emphasis on the fact that it's a node, how easy will that be?
     
  5. crcook84

    crcook84 Thread Starter

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    My dad decided the Isilon was drawing too much power to be able to use it long term as a file server. Instead, after opening it up to see what was inside, it doesn't look too far fetched to consider the idea of gutting part of it and adding our own motherboard and OS. The power supply uses a 24 pin connector not too dissimilar to consumer grade hardware. Mind you, without the hard drives connected, it's drawing 200 watts. So, I'd need to figure out what's draining that power. The backplane that all the SATA drives are connected to connects to a SATA card via SATA cables. So, it doesn't seem too far fetched to pull the SATA cards and purchase some new ones from Amazon.
     
  6. Triple6

    Triple6 Moderator

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    If you start pulling hardware then you might as well sell it as it and buy another computer or NAS.
     
  7. crcook84

    crcook84 Thread Starter

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    I decided to use one of the other Isilons as a throw away computer and see if I could install Windows onto it. (We assumed that, because it didn't have Windows and it was probably a proprietary system, none of the hardware would be compatible with Windows.) Not only could I install Windows, it was fully compatible with the existing hardware. Furthermore, I took a closer look at the power consumption. With no other hard drives and Windows installed and running idle, it leveled out at 165 watts. (I think the first reading was just glancing at it and jotting down the result to move onto the next test.) I then proceeded to add some SATA drives. I had 8 total from my previous DIY server build. With all 8 added, the wattage stayed hovering around 200 watts. Furthermore, other than removing one of the PCI cards to add a PCI backplane adapter for the internal hard drive, I've done very little modification to the computer to get it to work in Windows.

    We're still contemplating whether or not we'll gut the motherboard and SATA cards (keeping the power supply, SATA array, and computer case) and see if we can't get hardware that is more energy friendly. It all gets down to what our next energy bill looks like.
     
  8. crcook84

    crcook84 Thread Starter

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    I did a power comparison between a spare computer I had lying around and the Isilon. The Isilon had a motherboard dated to 2004 and my other computer was dated to 2014. I pretty much stripped them down to just 1 motherboard and 1 power supply. The Isilon idled at 125 watts and my other computer idled at 36 watts. I imagine that the age difference between them, as well as the fact that one motherboard is server oriented, is why one motherboard runs higher than the other. Are there server motherboards that don't run at such high power levels?
     
  9. Triple6

    Triple6 Moderator

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    Power efficiency has massively improved over time, same with performance, not just on the motherboard but on processors, graphics cards, and even drives. There's also more things on a server board like management.
     
  10. crcook84

    crcook84 Thread Starter

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    You know, it wasn't until I got messages from you from both my posts at the same time that I suddenly realized you were answering both of them. Anyways, I finally decided what direction I plan on taking this. 20170404_012333.jpg
    If you look closely, you'll notice that the motherboard is smaller than the case area. Basically, I took the motherboard from my DIY server and managed to find enough anchor points to mount it inside the case. The existing power supply had an 8-pin and a 24-pin connector. I thought that that might be a problem because the motherboard was consumer grade. Fortunately, the only issue I ran into was that the 8-pin cable was JUST long enough. Something that almost became an issue was how to turn it on. The cable that connected the switch to the jumper was custom made to the previous motherboard. Fortunately, we were able to tease the pins out and re-positioned them according to the replacement motherboard.

    The SATA cables were easy to do. You can see that the data cables were all there. Unlike the Dell PEs, this Isilon had a SATA card with all the SATA cables plugged into it. It was PCIX. So, I couldn't use it anymore. Instead, I have the cables plugged into the motherboard and a SATA card I carried over from my DIY build.

    It worked out except for a few hitches. I had to take the brackets off the PCI cards so that they would fit. I plan on remedying that by buying some new PCIe SATA cards along with some PCIe risers. I can then mount then in the horizontal slots. The motherboard has a failed ethernet port. I was using a PCI card before but the design of the metal frame blocks the port. I thought about getting risers. But, the only risers available are for PCIe cards. So, I'll need to get a new motherboard anyways. Either way, I'm fairly satisfied with the direction I'm taking this. Furthermore, the power consumption of this build in it's current state is 50 watts. It's a little bit more than what my previous DIY server was doing. But, it's way below what the previous hardware was pulling, which was 165 watts with just the boot drive attached.
     
  11. zx10guy

    zx10guy Trusted Advisor Spam Fighter

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    While I understand why you're doing this project, in the end you're not going to get the best possible configuration hardware wise. I assume the goal is to create a file server of some sort. By reusing the chassis and the power supply, you've constrained yourself to very old tech. The power supply/supplies are not going to be very efficient. Modern power supplies are more efficient and have ratings reflected as such starting with bronze (80% efficiency) and on up. Second, the chassis is going to constrain the performance of the drives you'll use. If you plan on reusing the old drives, be aware those units were probably running 24/7/365 before being sold off/given away. The specs for the 9000i show it as supporting SATA II which is only 3Gbps. Current SATA drives are SATA III which is 6Gbps.

    As a point of reference on the power consumption of a modern server, I have a Dell R730 on my home network which is running VMware ESXi 5.5. The server has the following items in it: 2x Intel E5-2640v4 procs, 256GB of DDR4 2400 MHz memory, 2x120GB Intel S3510 SSD, 1.92TB Micron S630DC SSD, 3.84TB Micron S630DC SSD, PERC H730 RAID controller, 2x Qlogic QLE2662 FC HBAs, Intel x520 dual port 10Gb NIC, Intel x710 dual port 40Gb NIC, and Intel quad 1Gb NIC. With all that said, the steady state power draw is 182W. I suspect about 20W or so of power draw is tied to the out of band management card (iDRAC) which makes the core server power consumption about 160W. I'm currently running 13 virtual machines on the server and the system is reporting the processors are at 8% utilization. Barely breaking a sweat.

    While servers have become much more energy efficient than those in the past, that's not their primary design criteria. And what is a server really? A server is really anything that provides up a service or application from which clients can utilize. A desktop box can be a server if it's set up to share files stored locally on it. If your goal is to build a file server/NAS which is also energy efficient, I'd look at utilizing an Intel NUC:

    http://www.intel.com/content/www/us/en/nuc/overview.html

    These are designed to be very power efficient and with no noise. You just need to throw in the amount of memory you want in it which doesn't need to be a lot since it's functioning as a file server/NAS and a couple of hard drives (an M.2 and a regular 2.5" disk). Load Windows 8.1 or 10 and share out the 2.5" disk.

    If you're going to still go through the exercise of standing up a server, go all the way and build a server. I would load VMware ESXi 6.5 on it and make the box multi purpose with running multiple virtual machines on it. As I said above, my server is running 13 virtual machines currently. One of them is my file server/NAS.
     
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