After a lot of discussion, looking around and general wondering what to do, about 10 days ago I ordered a BBS2 from Tranquil PC. I chose to upgrade the memory to 2G and went for the 3+1 RAID option as it gave me the eSATA port on the rear.

The BBS2 arrived in around 7 days (I was actually away when it was delivered) and was exactly as expected. The drive slots work well and it was very easy to install the initial drive. Being a simple person I decided to use the 2 drive bays with the same colours as a raid pair, which left me with the extra bay for the operating system disk. I installed the OS with just the first disk and then added the first 2 disks as a RAID array purely for storage. After installing the 2nd and 3rd disks I did need to change the boot order in the BIOS due to the numbering, but that wasn’t a huge problem.

I installed Ubuntu Server 9.04 as the OS as it’s what I have Ubuntu of some flavour on the majority of my other servers and the desktop 9.04 on my laptop. This policy has already paid off and has allowed things to progress smoothly. The install was done via a USB memory stick and went without any problems.

The fan on the server is constant speed and takes it’s power directly from the HDD backplate. Given this limit on the amount of cooling I’m keen to get the CPU (an Atom 330) running with CPU scaling so it generates as little heat as possible. The server shouldn’t ever see a huge load (it’s mainly being used as a NAS and media server) so I’m hopeful that once the CPU scaling is working it should spend much of it’s life at less than 100% performance.

One slight annoyance was that the BIOS version was 103 when delivered, even though there have been several updates and the latest version was released earlier this month (rev 171). Installing the update took a little while as I needed to create a bootable USB DOS stick and copy on the correct files. It took 3 attempts to get the update completed, but once done it fixed an issue with the server sitting at 100% CPU.

mt-daapd doesn’t run on Ubuntu 9.04 due to an issue with how it uses avahi, so I built a custom package using the instructions from the patch author (here). Once installed Rosies iTunes was able to see the library and play from it with no problems.

Presently the storage RAID is using 2 old 200Gb hard drives, but they’re not especially cool or quiet, so I’m going to upgrade to using newer and larger drives at some point soon. I’m not yet sure which drives I’ll buy, so if anyone has any suggestions for 1Tb+ drives, let me know! The cooler and quieter the better.

UPDATE: I’ve had some network issues when using Windows for large file transfers, so have swapped to using the realtek 8168 driver. Instructions are here.