Homelab downgrade…worth it?

After reading /r/homelab for a couple of months, I thought I found the holy grail of servers. I came across a R710 for $150 on eBay and the seller lived in my neighborhood. I excitedly picked it up on my way home. I was thrilled. I acquired a beast of a machine for less than any previous computer I had ever purchased. The R710 came with 2x XEON E5645, 48GB DDR3, dual 870W power supplies, etc. It was everything I wanted. I was able to run multiple VMs, messed around with Splunk, and tinkered with Docker.

A few months later, I realized that the server was overkill for my usage. I was mostly using the VM with Plex and a few other docker containers. I decided to downgrade. I found a Dell Optiplex 9020 USFF  PC with a Core i5-4570s @ 2.90GHz and 8GB RAM. I didn’t realize how small the USFF size was (about the size of textbook).  I installed Ubuntu 18.04, docker, and then migrated my most used containers from the R710.

I was able to get my most used features from the R710 from a tiny desktop PC. The benefits from downgrading my server are:

  • 18W electricity at load (streaming Plex) compared to 140W for the R710
  • quiet (i can use my office again!)
  • much smaller foot print

All in all, I am happy with the down grade. I’m able to continue running my most used services at a lower cost. I can use my office again because it’s quiet and the temperature is unaffected by the running server. 

I am currently working on revising my docker images and getting into docker-composer. I’ve found the smarthome beginner guide to be very useful.

Reviving the RX100M3

I am preparing for a long trip so I decided to upgrade my camera’s firmware. I downloaded the updater and followed the instructions on my mac. Unfortunately halfway through the process, the upgrade failed and the updater instructed me to disconnect the camera, reconnect it and try again (this was against all the warnings to never disconnect the camera while the upgrade is underway).

I disconnected the camera and it never turned on again. The screen was black, the viewfinder wasn’t powering on and the lens wasn’t extending. I thought the camera was dead. The only sign of life was a green light for the power indicator and a red light next to the battery and SD card slot. I kept trying to redo the upgrade by the updater did not recognize my camera. I tried on OSX, Windows 10 and Windows 10 running in virtual box on OSX. Nothing worked.

I was losing hope thinking that my up until recently great camera was bricked forever. I read many forum posts and they all suggested to keep trying. I did and nothing worked. 

As a last ditch effort I decided to experiment with the updaters’ exe file. I wasn’t sure if anything would actually happen but it was worth trying to save my camera. 

These are the steps that helped me revive my beloved RX100:

  1. download the Update_DSCRX100M3V200.exe
  2. right click the exe and extract it
  3. go to the resource folder
  4. right click SPUFirmwareUpdater.exe and select run as administrator
  5. the updater finally saw my camera continued the firmware upgrade