Thinking about having a home server to play around with things on, Zentyal seems like a fun project and also looking to practise my skills with Windows VMs and other things. Not looking to overly spend on it, but just wondering what other people are using for such systems.
The Gen7 HP Microserver is seeming good value for money with the cash back offers currently in place it's definitely worth having a go at, but also considering if a custom build will be better suited, with having complete control over what goes into it.
Look forward to hearing people's opinions,
I'm currently using a Core i5-2500K-based PC with 32GB RAM and SSDs for VMs, but I think I will probably downsize at some point to one (or more) Intel NUCs / Gigabyte BRIXs.
In terms of hypervisor, I would go with the latest version of ESXi (5.5) or Hyper-V (Windows Server 2012 R2 or Windows 8.1 Pro). XenServer doesn't seem very popular these days.
The following link explains how to create a custom ESXi ISO for the NUC since VMware doesn't include drivers for the NIC or SATA controller in 5.x.
Like the look of the NUCs, seem to do what I want but then budget is tight (good ol' student budget) so even that may be out of my price range at the moment, which is why the Gen7 Microserver is seeming like a good solution, however was wondering if either that or a used server from eBay with similar pricing will give more power for the price.
Just looking at options at the moment, and seeing which is most viable :-). I've played about with Hyper-V before so I know the basics, so ESXi and XenServer would definitely be a new experience to play around with it.
modified BIOS in order to get the fifth and sixth SATA ports running at the same speed as the other four.
If you want to upgrade the RAM to 16GB (2 x 8GB), make sure you check compatibility first.
Docker might also be worth looking at if you know your way around Linux?
If however you are mainly going to be creating Windows VMs, then Hyper-V would be the logical choice since drivers are already included out-of-the-box.
Last edited by Arthur; 2nd January 2014 at 11:51 PM.
dhicks (2nd January 2014)
It depends on the kind of thing you're interested in doing as to what VM system you might want to install - you could always install multiple systems on separate partitions (I'm not sure how well that would work), or buy a wodge of cheaper harddrives as OS disks and have several sets, depending on what you wanted to tinker with that day. I was thinking the microserver might do very nicly as a Ceph / Hadoop storage / processing node, if you're interested in looking at that kind of system.
Last edited by dhicks; 2nd January 2014 at 11:35 PM.
16GB RAM may be pushing it for my budget (I'd say my budget overall is around £250) which is what is making me consider buying a tower from eBay (although they aren't new, they'll still be adequate for what I would use them for).
It probably will be mainly windows based. I do want to set up a stable base system first (either with Zentyal or 2012 R2) and then use the VMs as tests and to play about with without breaking the main system. Whatever I get I will use as a dedicated server, it won't be used as a normal use computer so things like graphics cards aren't important, but with the likelihood of it being in my room, sound levels is something else to take into consideration.
The biggest expense will probably be the hard drives, probably using a couple of 2TB HDDs and another smaller one for the OS, as I've said before configuration isn't final, which is why a system where I can change it would be beneficial.
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