Archive for November 8th, 2013

Fun with the UD5: Building a Thin Server (Updated)

Friday, November 8th, 2013

Hello Folks,

this is a project done some time ago, the device is now been used nearly six months 24/7 and i did not got any issue with it.. So time for posting it.

First of all: If you do this you will loose your warranty! That’s it and quite simple…

Reason why i did this: I needed a very compact test environment/server providing enough resources to host a Windows Server 2012 incl the Hyper-V and some other roles for demonstration/test scenarios with a low power consumption (required, has to be used in a car/van if needed). So the new UD5 dual core was very promising to be right for this job.

The base UD5 device did not fit to my requirements:

– Supporting two seperate WiFi Networks (one via extension food,one inbuild)
– RAM extension to min. 4GB RAM
– External ESATA connection available
– Increased SSD Size to min. 128 GB
– No external extensions without the power supply

So i did start in the easy way and ordered a half size MiniPCIExpress WiFi Module (~20 US$ @ Ebay), a SATA extension cable (8inch/20cm, 22pins likeΒ, don’t use a longer cable;You will not get it into the case!), a PCI Express ESATA card, 4GB RAM and a 128 GB SSD.Β  (I did not say that this was a cheap project… πŸ™‚ )

First of all the “easy” part…

Simple to include: RAM extension, WiFi module and ESATA controller

Simple to include: RAM extension, WiFi module and ESATA controller

The grey and black wire are for the WiFi antenas, i’ve placed them in the front plate because i needed the signal in the front direction.

Now the difficult part… Placing the SSD in the case, it’s tricky but it can be done… In the front side on top of the smart card reader is just enough room to host the SSD but you need something to mount it. Where is my drill?

I need a place to mount the SSD, who needs warranty? :-)

I need a place to mount the SSD, who needs warranty? πŸ™‚

Looks better now…. Now let me insert the SSD. (The inbuild smart card reader don’t need to be removed!)

Inbuild SSD, fit's exactly in this place... :-)

Inbuild SSD, fit’s exactly in this place… πŸ™‚

Fit’s exactly! After a quick assembling the device is now used for a long time and the client ups… server will not get to hot or something like this (Zero time of failure until now). So for me this is the perfect solution. The SSD is running a pre-installed Windows Server 2012 Standard (already upgraded to R2) via VHD boot to provide a very simple way to upgrade/backup the Server.

Oh i forgot… This is not supported by IGEL Technology in any way! I would also not use a HDD for this solution, a SSD requires less power,produces less heat compared to a HDD and is not as rough for mobile use like a SSD.

Of course you can say… Why not using a Laptop? Try to find a “silent” Laptop providing two WiFi cards, inbuild smart card reader, eSATA, DVI/Display Port/VGA connectors, two serial Ports, 4 USB 2.0 and 2 USB 3.0 Ports, 1 LPT Port (extension food) for max. connectivity and with a >~20W power consumption in total. No chance!


Add-On: I’ve been asked if this can be done with an UD3… Yes but in this case you will loose your SSD warranty and the UD3 can not host a external SATA Controller or a 4GB RAM extension(only max. 2GB!) and the UD3 do not support VT to run a Hypervisor. By default the UD3 can not host a SSD Drive but mostly all SSD’s are using less then 30% of there case… A normal 2.5″ SSD case can not be mounted in the UD3 (not possible) but if you open the SSD case you will see that the “pure” SSD is not much larger as the inbuild SSD Drive coming from IGEL. Before you open the SSD case figure out how the SSD looks inside in advance (for example the SSD i’ve used:Β You will loose your warranty!!! I will not provide any warranty for this! πŸ™‚ You can proceed in this way also for the UD5 (and save the extension cable) but for my personal use i decide to not go in this way…

Have fun!