Low power home network setups

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Low power home network setups

Unread postby johnnym » Fri Jan 12, 2018 8:51 am

Shiunbird gave me the idea. Why not collect some solutions for low power home network setups? I'm looking forward for your solutions, ideas, devices, etc. ...

Let's start with Shiunbird's setup:

Shiunbird wrote:My whole setup draws 135W (2 x86 systems, 8 hard drives, a switch, a modem, 2 ARM boxes). If I would go non-x86 (use my POWER5 as a server, for example), I'd go to 500W+. The POWER5 eats 35W on standby!

If you are aware of low power, non-x86, relatively modern stuff, I'd love to hear about.

I recently purchased an Odroid HC1. This is practically an XU4 without USB 3.0 hub but built-in USB3.x-to-SATA bridge supporting a single 2.5" drive. It's also passively cooled, but can get somewhat hot when all eight cores are in use permanently and fully clocked up. Works well with Armbian and can fully exploit the 1 Gbps NIC attached via USB 3.0. With a Samsung SSD 850 EVO I've seen more than 350 MB/s R/W running IOzone, so more than enough to saturate the network connection. Odroid also sells a matching case/hood and in the near future they will offer the HC2 which will support a single 3.5" drive with matching case. Have a look at this thread in the Armbian forum for more info about the HC1 and HC2. So far I'm pretty happy with the HC1, it will provide my machines with NFS and TFTP services in the future and replace an older dual-core Atom machine.

Another approach would be to power machines only if needed, e.g. via a PDU. This is how I keep my power bills low. I'm running a Raspberry Pi 1B which controls the PDUs and the remote control facilities of my machines (if available), so power is only used if need be (apart from the power needed for the Raspi, the PDU and network switch and possibly a console server).
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Re: Low power home network setups

Unread postby jan-jaap » Fri Jan 12, 2018 1:12 pm

I always pay attention to power usage when selecting infrastructure bits, especially if it has to run 24/7.

My old server used to consume ~150W. It was a pain to save energy with that thing; virtualization messed with power saving settings and kept the disks spinning 24/7. So I abandoned that, and with the new server the OS is on an SSD mirror, and the data disks don't need to spin most of the day. It's based on a Haswell Xeon on a Supermicro X10SLH-F. I'm using ZFS so I stay away from power sucking RAID controllers. This thing consumes only ~ 15W when idle which is comparable to a NAS except it's way more powerful and can e.g. transcode media for the Plex service. Of course it's more expensive too, but disks are the major cost factor of any storage server and you need them for a NAS too. 'servethehome.com' is an excellent resource when selecting this kind of stuff.

Switches: I use Netgear managed switches. None of them have fans and I think the biggest one (24 ports) uses 15W max, and quite a bit less when many ports are not active. Router is a PC engines APU2C4 running pfSense, I think it uses 8W. Wireless is currently an old wireless router working as an access point. There are a couple of smaller switches around the place which use a couple of Watts each.

I have a lot of old 'enterprise' gear: a SAN server, several disk arrays, FC switches, FDDI switches, a console server etc etc. And two dozen SGI systems of course. All of this is on two large APC PDUs; one in my 19" rack, one behind the SGI workstations. They can be controlled using scripts (SNMP) or WWW/SSH/telnet. Normally everything is switched off. This is not only because of power saving (a powered-down-but-plugged-in Onyx 2 uses ~ 25W!), but also because all this old gear is IMHO a fire hazard, and I have a family to worry about too.
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Re: Low power home network setups

Unread postby Shiunbird » Fri Jan 12, 2018 4:02 pm

Very good thread idea!

A few more details on my setup (what stays up 24/7):

2x HP MicroServers (the latest AMD Turion one, and one Gen8 that I upgraded with a Xeon). Both running FreeNAS. Consumption is around 25W for the AMD and 45W for the Xeon. The AMD one is my Nextcloud server (full of customizations I wrote myself). The Xeon one is storage + a few VMs.
Storage is 4x 500GB WD Re on the Turion and 4x 2TB WD Red. The Xeon Microserver is encrypted, but can still saturate 1Gbps when I need.
Network is a Cisco 8 port SG200 managed switch, Dodoid's Odroid (HAProxy) and a Cisco RV042 (because I have 2 WANs and at the time that was the easiest for me).

Total consumption: 135W, measured at the wall.

The power hungry legacy boxes, my IBM T221-ish and all my other computers are disconnected from the wall jack whenever I'm not using them. TV, Apple TV, home theatre, are all disconnected from the wall whenever I'm not around. I share jan-jaap's concern here.

Future expansion plans:
1. Retire the Turion Microserver. My friends are heavy users of my server and it is slow at times. Lacks CPU power. Replace it with either:
- 4x APUC4s occupying 2U: one to be DB server, one for Apache/Nextcloud, one for pfSense and one for HAProxy, eliminating local storage after the process - everything would be stored at the Microserver. I would reduce my power consumption, as I would also get rid of the RV042 and one of my access points.
- Get another Gen8 Microserver, upgrade it to a Xeon and keep everything virtualized as it is.

2. Move my two Mac Minis to a MacRack and get a 1U 4xHDD bay. These would not be 24/7.

3. Place everything into this: http://www.acoustiproducts.com/en/orion_acoustic_mini.asp and move the whole setup from my living room to my guest room.

4. Replace my ugly UPS with some rack mountable UPS.

The goal would be to reduce my power consumption from 135W to 85W.

Of course, if I would have a house and shit lots of solar panels, I'd get all the old enterprise gear I could get, all non-x86, and build a separate house in the garden for the computers. =)

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