+ Post New Thread
Results 1 to 8 of 8
Hardware Thread, Home Server in Technical; Hi all, Thinking about having a home server to play around with things on, Zentyal seems like a fun project ...
  1. #1

    Join Date
    Jan 2013
    Location
    Romford
    Posts
    174
    Thank Post
    61
    Thanked 34 Times in 27 Posts
    Rep Power
    9

    Home Server

    Hi all,

    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,

    Tom

  2. #2

    dhicks's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Location
    Knightsbridge
    Posts
    5,624
    Thank Post
    1,240
    Thanked 778 Times in 675 Posts
    Rep Power
    235
    Quote Originally Posted by TomCollins View Post
    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.
    I doubt you'll find anything better value for money than the HP Microserver - it does seem to be the device of choice for those wanting to tinker with a home server. Living in a one-bedroom flat I needed something with no fan noise whatsoever, so I've always bought fanless systems from Tranquil PC or LinITX. If you're looking for a virtualisation platform, I'd maybe give XenServer a try - now free and open source as of version 6.2 and features an OpenFlow-enabled virtual switch as tandard, which should come in handy for investigating OpenFlow / software defined networking applications.

  3. #3

    Join Date
    Jan 2013
    Location
    Romford
    Posts
    174
    Thank Post
    61
    Thanked 34 Times in 27 Posts
    Rep Power
    9
    Quote Originally Posted by dhicks View Post
    I doubt you'll find anything better value for money than the HP Microserver - it does seem to be the device of choice for those wanting to tinker with a home server. Living in a one-bedroom flat I needed something with no fan noise whatsoever, so I've always bought fanless systems from Tranquil PC or LinITX. If you're looking for a virtualisation platform, I'd maybe give XenServer a try - now free and open source as of version 6.2 and features an OpenFlow-enabled virtual switch as tandard, which should come in handy for investigating OpenFlow / software defined networking applications.
    I was looking at XenServer, seems very feature rich for being free and open source. Only downfall is it not being compatible with many backup systems such as Veeam, but as a home server, if the OS goes down it's not going to result in the loss of business so it's not the biggest problem. What spec would you recommend, obviously the processor isn't upgradable (which is it's major drawback) so would you recommend for this use to max it out with 16GB RAM and massive hard drives or just what I need, not knowing what I am certainly going to use it for?

    Thanks.

  4. #4


    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    51.403651, -0.515458
    Posts
    8,900
    Thank Post
    226
    Thanked 2,676 Times in 1,973 Posts
    Rep Power
    787
    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.

    www.virten.net/2013/09/esxi-5-x-installation-on-intel-nuc-fails-with-no-network-adapters/

  5. #5

    Join Date
    Jan 2013
    Location
    Romford
    Posts
    174
    Thank Post
    61
    Thanked 34 Times in 27 Posts
    Rep Power
    9
    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.

    Thanks

  6. #6


    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    51.403651, -0.515458
    Posts
    8,900
    Thank Post
    226
    Thanked 2,676 Times in 1,973 Posts
    Rep Power
    787
    Quote Originally Posted by TomCollins View Post
    the Gen7 Microserver is seeming like a good solution
    The HP Microservers are great for the price (I have two myself), but the processor is a bit weak and you need to flash a 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.

    Quote Originally Posted by TomCollins View Post
    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.
    KVM and 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.

  7. Thanks to Arthur from:

    dhicks (2nd January 2014)

  8. #7

    dhicks's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Location
    Knightsbridge
    Posts
    5,624
    Thank Post
    1,240
    Thanked 778 Times in 675 Posts
    Rep Power
    235
    Quote Originally Posted by TomCollins View Post
    Only downfall is it not being compatible with many backup systems such as Veeam, but as a home server, if the OS goes down it's not going to result in the loss of business so it's not the biggest problem.
    You can take snapshots of virtual machine images and export them as packaged virtual machines, there's no need for third party backup software. Disk-wise, as the microserver takes four harddrives you could always get two fast drives and two larger, slower ones and use them as two separate RAID 1 arrays - it would rather depend on what you plan to use the machine for. A second-hand server from eBay might be a good option, but check the noise level before you go installing it in your front room or whatever - older rackmounts, especially, can be very noisy.

    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.

  9. #8

    Join Date
    Jan 2013
    Location
    Romford
    Posts
    174
    Thank Post
    61
    Thanked 34 Times in 27 Posts
    Rep Power
    9
    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.

SHARE:
+ Post New Thread

Similar Threads

  1. Windows Home Server
    By richard_s in forum General Chat
    Replies: 6
    Last Post: 6th June 2009, 12:21 AM
  2. CentOs Home Server
    By LoveToLearn in forum How do you do....it?
    Replies: 6
    Last Post: 15th February 2009, 08:46 AM
  3. Home server software
    By Little-Miss in forum General Chat
    Replies: 15
    Last Post: 1st December 2008, 02:43 PM
  4. ISP which allows home server
    By My220x in forum General Chat
    Replies: 17
    Last Post: 22nd April 2008, 11:23 PM
  5. Replies: 7
    Last Post: 2nd January 2007, 11:48 PM

Thread Information

Users Browsing this Thread

There are currently 1 users browsing this thread. (0 members and 1 guests)

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •