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Build Advice Home server ish machine ?

Discussion in 'Hardware' started by stephen0205, 22 Nov 2021.

  1. stephen0205

    stephen0205 Minimodder

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    Hi all looking for some advice, i recently started a student placement with a CSP company and very quickly realizing that i know nothing, i finish my degree in may and have saw just how much i lack in what to do with virtualization.

    Ill actually be firing in the general or serious section for advice on this as overall im a little lost on what i want to do tbh, career wise and education wise im just a tad lost these days.

    I plan on signing up and getting my azure certs and stuff but feel i really need to get a grasp of vmwares ESXi and vsphere platforms and get more familiar with using them and setting up remote connections and such.

    Anyhow, i dont have a large house and certainly don't think i could fit a rack anywhere but looking to put it to some form of use in multiple ways as well as let me learn what i need to do.

    So im a little stuck as im looking at desktop form factors over rack stuff, looking at old dual xeon machines just for alot of memory and cheap large core count.

    My personal uses for it will be
    -Media server
    -Camera server
    -Game Server (minecraft / valhiem/ rust)

    But i need to build something that i can throw up maybe between 5-10 vms to play with lans, vlans, pfsense and more.

    My question is, ive been looking at alot of old machines with xeon x1234 based cpus, dual ones, like the hp z600 and 800s, but also came across some of the intel 12-14 core cpus for about 100 quid on the likes of ebay, but buying a board for them seems also expensive and problematic, but then again seems to be some cool alternatives on ali express, and ddr3 is super cheap.

    So wondering if best to try build something from scratch or pick up an old prebuild workstation and go from there.

    Im not trying to break the bank for this, maybe couple hundred ish, i have about 20is tb of hard drives i can use lying here now which are sata based and ddr3 looks like it can be obtained fairly cheap, altho not sure on ecc or non ecc yet.
     
  2. Mister_Tad

    Mister_Tad Will work for nuts Super Moderator

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    If you're not "doing" anything on them, then build for your home requirements. You can run a dozen VMs on any old hunk-o-junk if it's just for dabbling, you just need to make sure it supports the bare minimum of memory per-host.

    But for the sake of learning, you may find you're better served by any freebies AWS/Azure/GCP throw your way for the most relevant skills transferrable into industry in the future. That isn't to say vmware is dead and buried of course, it's just that the former probably look better on a CV.
     
  3. andrew8200m

    andrew8200m Modder

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    You are after essentially exactly what I use myself, well used to use.

    I have an HP promo at G9 something or another with 16/32gb of ecc, 4 2tb HDDS on a raid card, SSD from proxmox and then a backup drive, forget what it’s called that goes in the front like a tape deck. Redundant power and an Xeon 1271 I think it’s is.

    You can’t go wrong at that spec and it won’t cost you more than about £250.
     
  4. stephen0205

    stephen0205 Minimodder

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    Well quite honestly im trying hard with this place in hopes i can get a job there once i finish in may, but im getting shown a whole load of things that i just never learned through Uni and now im panicking that come may i wont know enough for any jobs (probably blowing that out of proportion but i dont wanna be another person with a degree doing nothing with it). But yeah its to give me exp on all as well as use it for some of my own functionality, i have student azure and aws accounts which im playing with, not much more than vm creation atm.

    Been exposed to a lot of stuff the last few weeks with veeam backup solutions, vsphere and vcloud, using Mremote properly, nagios (which i didnt have a clue was, still cant use it all that well), pfsense which i have very limited experience with, but at the same time, if i ran my own servers, nagios could be handy, a pfsense firewall might be nice since i let my parents and family use my media server, if my friends are connecting to me to play server based games, so i can see practical aspects of it fitting into my own situation.

    Nothing i can see me being able to improve at home with ticket based systems, just something ill need to get used to as time goes on i guess, so im gonna make myself a list of things i need to improve on and work from there, but trying to avoid doing it all on my own machine, its bad enough i have everything listed above running on my main desktop.

    Ill have a gander on ebay with regards to those models buddy thank you for the recommendation, ill be playing with alot of different things so i think ill try max memory over anything because high core xeons seems to be cheap enough
     
  5. creative

    creative 500rwhp

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    Im a fan of the asus Z8NA-d6 and x5675 xeons ( built 3 of them now with parts off aliexpress. ) the board will do sata and sas with a pikes card ( which can be flashed to do Sas or Sata. Flash it to IT and have 14 drives, I think)

    Only issue is you can only run upto EXSI 6.7 on them.

    I have one running exsi for VM's at work, Unraid on another which is my home server, and the 3rd I have just put proxmox on. Also just picked up a dell r710 dirt cheap to play around with as well.
     
  6. stephen0205

    stephen0205 Minimodder

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    Yeah im trying to lobby the idea with the wife to let me make a make shift cupboard / rack under our stairs, currently its just filled with stuff to go up the loft (of which i will be up to get the xmas decs next week), add some doors and should drown out the noise somewhat, my worry is if it doesn't then im no sure what to do, im eyeballing an hp cloud line atm if i go that route, as well as possibly a custom build, yeah the older xeons in the hpz800 look like they wont cut ESXi 7 unfortunately, so debating a dual or single x99 board atm, thinking either doing dual 8 core cpu's, just to get that higher clock speed, or just pay more and get one large 12-14 core cpu, but they are a good bit slower.

    Still researching into it :)
     
  7. play_boy_2000

    play_boy_2000 It was funny when I was 12

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    Get a low power machine to run your day to day stuff and something high powered to play with (and shut off when not in use). I'm currently running two linux VMs and my media SMB share on a lenovo xeon e3-1245 v2 mini-workstation and it idles around 20W.

    1U rack servers are loud and typically need 20W for just the fans at idle, so unless you have someplace to put the server(s) where noise isn't a concern, you might also want to get something in a workstation format as well. Dual x5660 1U boxes are pretty cheap (at least on this side of the pond) and even 8GB PC3-10600R dimms are getting pretty cheap these days, so 96GB is fairly doable. v1 and v2 e5 xeons are still DDR3, so might be worth looking at if the price is right. Also, if you get a rack server or prebuilt workstation, try to find something with the drive sleds included, as it can be a pain in the arse to find compatible ones later.
     
  8. stephen0205

    stephen0205 Minimodder

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    Thanks for the info buddy, yeah i have a small machine..... somewhere, i think i may have loaned it to someone im sure its a Lenovo m93p, think its only an i5 quad core tho, but thinking i might sell that, im not overly worried about the power consumption with a work station, at idle i cant see it pulling that much, even then it will probably be turned off at night when i go to bed or on a timer (if i use it for a media server anyway).

    im probably looking at a v2 or a v3 Xeon looking at it, id like a v3 just for the faster speed cores and the faster memory, altho they are more expensive. I still love the look of the z800s but really thinking its the dual v2s im after, just for the core count per cpu, leaves me expandability to really play with things, dont get me wrong prevision wise ill probably add 2 cores and 4gb for most windows boxes to play with, more if they need it, but the 16 cores for only 100 ish more just sounds like a better option.

    Getting a board for that, or getting a workstation all in price wise looks to be the issue, some alixpress ones look ok, not sure how much a trust them tho, and case wise as long as i measure i can buy something cheap with a bunch of drive bays.
     
  9. fuus

    fuus Rocking All Year Christmas

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    @stephen0205 I just want to re-iterate what Tad is saying here, for this specific role they might use VMWare a lot but it's not cutting edge any more. If you like this company and the role they're offering, and it requires heavy use of VMWare, then fair enough invest your time and £. If you aren't set on this role & company the AWS / Azure certificates are more valuable general experience IMO.
     
  10. deathtaker27

    deathtaker27 #noob

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    Just to jump in on the AWS/Azure certs, I would highly recommend getting A Cloud Guru for training. It offers free resources on the actual clouds to learn on so no risk of huge bills. (Also it's on sale: https://acloudguru.com/content/bf40-2021)

    Also having re-read this, it looks so spam like. I am not affiliated with them at all, I have just been doing cloud for far too long.
     
  11. stephen0205

    stephen0205 Minimodder

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    Thanks for the recommendation buddy, once i get some time over the next few weeks (exam time unfortunaly) ill grab a look, tbh atm im not looking to pay alot out in the form of external learning, i have loads of udemy courses to get through already, and some are azure and aws, i got some promos with the uni discounts and bough some training books for aws and azure as well, and i see that freecodecamp are now doing 12-16 hour training videos on it as well, i think i might be able to muddle by just now.
     
    deathtaker27 likes this.

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