I was invited to 45Drives Headquarters in Sydney Nova Scotia Canada for a Creator Summit on Data Storage. 45Drives invited Tech YouTubers like Jeff Geerling, Wendell Wilson, Jeff from Craft Computing, Tom Lawrence, and myself for a 3 day event to meet the 45Drives team and other experts in the storage space and discuss the future of storage.
If you want to see the video of this tour, you can check it out here!
Day 1 started out with a tour of the 45Drives HQ. The office is new, fully of natural light, and very modern. One of the last stops was to visit the labs area where they were testing hardware, cluster configurations, and even had some prototype devices.
The first stop was the Storiantor Hybrid F8 x1. This is an interesting configuration because it combines both 3.5” slots of high density drives and 2.5” slots for SSDs. THis something I have been particularly interested in because I’ve modified my Storinator to do just that. This one solution would allow me to keep my workloads that need fast storage, like virtual machines, on up to 8 SSDs, while still giving me 12 bays for HDDs that could store all of my “slow” data like videos, images, and documents.
The next stop was the Stornado Gen II 2U SATA. This machine is specifically designed for speed and offers 32 slots for all flash storage. This is also something that I am interested in, not only because it would allow me to move to an all flash solution, but also because it comes in a 2U factor and would help reduce energy costs. THis does mean however that I will have to spend more on SSDs so not sure if there’s a real cost benefit for my specific application. (Still want all flash storage though! 😂)
The next stop was one of the most anticipated devices for me (being part of the HomeLab community) that was the 45 Homelab HL15. This device is meant to meet the needs of Homelab enthusiasts. This machine has the same build quality you would expect from a 45Drives system and has very similar parts and storage as their enterprise versions. One of the cool things about this version is that it can be rack mounted or stand alone as a desktop. One thing you’ll notice too is that it uses a standard ATX power supply which is a welcome addition for something that will be primarily used by consumers which will allow them to use commodity hardware. 45Drives have said that they will sell this devices in a few configurations, per their website:
The current server under development is a 15-bay, 4U chassis that will be offered in three options:
- Fully built system – including CPU, RAM, etc.
- Chassis with backplanes and PSU
- Chassis with only backplanes
If you’re interested I would highly recommend signing up for their newsletter
The next stop was the Storinator Jr. This device is only a prototype but was inspired by Jeff Geerling’s Petabyte Pi project. The idea is simple, create a “mini” Storinator that is backed by a Raspberry Pi, but the technical limitations of the Pu were almost insurmountable. You’ll have to check out Jeff’s video for all of the challenges he had to overcome. To be clear, this was only a R&D Project and this product may never come to market, cool nonetheless.
With the tour out of the way it was time to hop into our tech discussions. 45Drives kicked it off with talks from their CO-founder, architects, sales, and more. The topics ranged from the history of 45Drives, Ceph Clustering and “Cluster for Everyone”, to even ransomware protection using Snapshield which can quickly terminate connections from a suspected infected device.
After that, it was my turn. For context, all creators were asked to share a topic related to storage, and I felt the most valuable thing I could talk about was my experience with a 45Drives Storinator at home. Also, in case you didn’t know, all current Storinators target enterprise customers and so I thought it was a rare opportunity to give them feedback about using and converting one of their storage servers for home use. This might be something that they would incorporate into their Homelab product. And yes, I did throw in the RGB idea. We’ll see how that goes…
Up next was a discussion led by Jeff Geerling. This was an interesting talk about the history of 45Drives involvement with content creators raging from Linus, to MKBHD, to iJustine, and even their recent round of creators (all of us). Jeff also analyzed each of the videos and broke them down into why they were successful vs ones that weren’t particularly successful (from a YouTube views perspective). He talked about his process, script writing, and even storytelling and offered some feedback on how they could improve their reach on their own content if they focused more on story storytelling with a hook. This is something that I definitely need to work on too, so I will be trying to apply this more to my future content.
Next was Alan Nagl from HDStor who did a deep dive on hard drives, how they work, and how the “SSD will never replace the HDD”. I learned quite a bit about about hard drives, how they work, HAMR hard drives and as a bonus learned all about helium filled drives at dinner. Alan is a wealth of information when it comes to storage!
Last but not least was Tom Lawrence from Lawrence systems. He joined virtual because he couldn’t attend in person but his topic was a discussion on how to position clustering in the market vs single server solutions. Tom had a lot of the same questions I had about Ceph, when to use Ceph, and at what point does Ceph make sense over a large ZFS pool.
Outside of lunch, dinner, and lots of snacks, that pretty much summed up the day. Lots of great talked and more to come tomorrow!
If you're curios what we've been up to here at at 45 Drives here's my recap of Day 1https://t.co/qWvzC4XdHd— Techno Tim (@TechnoTimLive) August 25, 2023
⚙️ See all the hardware I recommend at https://l.technotim.live/gear
🚀 Don’t forget to check out the 🚀Launchpad repo with all of the quick start source files