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How do you do....it? Thread, HomeLab - Few n40l micros or one beast? in Technical; Hey, Between random playthings, coding, and learning for exams/courses been thinking about setting up a full time test lab rather ...
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    Steve21's Avatar
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    HomeLab - Few n40l micros or one beast?

    Hey,

    Between random playthings, coding, and learning for exams/courses been thinking about setting up a full time test lab rather than using VMs on my pc.

    Can't decide between a couple of HP n40l microservers, or one "proper" server. Will be running free version of esxi as the base system for the virtual side at least.

    Advantages of HPs:
    Multiple machines to play with things like one real dc, one client, one server. (Guess I'd still need a physical dc/client to connect to esxi etc)
    "Overall" more storage/RAM/processor to use compared to single server
    Easy to upgrade/play
    Cheap (150~ after cashback + RAM)

    Advantages of beast:
    More storage/RAM/processor options to give to a single VM, as and when needed
    Better options like Xeon processors, hardware raid etc.
    Better warranty/more support for new models

    Can see the benefits in both, but can't really pick anything that would "really" sway me, so looking for thoughts/opinions

    (Trying to stay away from ebay/2nd handers, as no doubt I'll just get things working then it'll break and also prefer towers to rack as easier to find space!)

    Thanks,
    Steve

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    ChrisH's Avatar
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    I have 2 Microservers with a QNAP NAS for ISCSI etc. You can do most stuff virtualised though but I like the physical set up for some things, mostly it depends on situations where you end up virtualising hypervisors to run a more complicated setup and if that performs well enough for you. For most stuff I will use virtualbox on my well specced PC but for things like the higher level MS exams I prefer setting up a proper cluster using Hyper-V and VLANS etc and go from there.

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    Steve21 (1st November 2012)

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    SYNACK's Avatar
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    The hp microservers don't have much power which can get in the way, I'd go with the bigger virtual system, it'll more closely mirror what you'll end up using anyway.

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    Steve21 (1st November 2012)

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    ChrisH's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SYNACK View Post
    The hp microservers don't have much power which can get in the way, I'd go with the bigger virtual system, it'll more closely mirror what you'll end up using anyway.
    I have found the CPU has not made much difference in a test environment.

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    Steve21's Avatar
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    How do you guys go about with things like setting up the esxi/windows server in the first place? Using your main computers, or do you run a virtual client to do that?

    Just trying to work out what's best way to go about it Keeping it totally on it's own network, or merging it with one already up.

    Thanks,
    Steve

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    ChrisH's Avatar
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    If I'm doing it all as VMs I would set them up on there own range and set up a router as part of that network to get internet from the main (home network).

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    Steve21's Avatar
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    Bump Wouldn't mind a few more opinions/suggestions.

    Thanks again,
    Steve

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    cpjitservices's Avatar
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    I have one of those little square HP jobbies from ebuyer.... I have CentOS 6 on it with KVM and 8 Gig RAM (also from ebuyer) The server is currently running my website and has a couple of customers on there on small web packages. The web server itself is a Virtual Machine. Then theres another 4 VM's running DNS (x2), Win XP (in case that call center phones again) and A Samba server for storage of all my data.

    Next year I'm going tobe looking at moving everything over to one of these:

    http://www.ebuyer.com/269297-hp-prol...ver-639260-035

    The only reason for moving the servers over is I want to keep the mini-HP just for a Samba Server, I have one of the ML110's at work and again it's got CentOS on with KVM and is currently hosting 14 Servers and has 16GB RAM with 6TB of space.

    Good little servers for the price!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Steve21 View Post
    Bump Wouldn't mind a few more opinions/suggestions.
    Build a server farm as large as you like. A huge degree of scalability, flexibility and bandwidth, yet only pay for what you use:
    Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2)

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    Steve21 (2nd November 2012)

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    Quote Originally Posted by cpjitservices View Post
    I have one of those little square HP jobbies from ebuyer.... I have CentOS 6 on it with KVM and 8 Gig RAM (also from ebuyer) The server is currently running my website and has a couple of customers on there on small web packages. The web server itself is a Virtual Machine. Then theres another 4 VM's running DNS (x2), Win XP (in case that call center phones again) and A Samba server for storage of all my data.

    Next year I'm going tobe looking at moving everything over to one of these:

    HP ProLiant ML110 G7 E3-1220 Tower Server | Ebuyer.com

    The only reason for moving the servers over is I want to keep the mini-HP just for a Samba Server, I have one of the ML110's at work and again it's got CentOS on with KVM and is currently hosting 14 Servers and has 16GB RAM with 6TB of space.

    Good little servers for the price!
    Nice to hear the little ones work nicely with multiple VMs, Did wonder if they'd get a bit slow due to the CPU

    Any reason you're not getting 2nd micro? Just easier to expand the ml110 I guess?

    Quote Originally Posted by CyberNerd View Post
    Build a server farm as large as you like. A huge degree of scalability, flexibility and bandwidth, yet only pay for what you use:
    Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2)
    Not sure you can do things like setup networks etc on them can you? Not the way I'd need for testing/certs? Unless I'm missing something

    Thanks both,
    Steve

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    Yeah - I like the idea with the Micro that all the drives are loaded from the front of the case (unlock the front and slides drives in and out) which for a data storage server is great! - But the bigger HP I think is better for a more permanent solution especially since I'll be hosting sites.

    So for more storage I'd get a another mini - but for my sites and VM's i'm going to migrate everything over to a bigger server.

    Also the RAM is easier to upgrade on the Tower.

    CPU load is fine, it doesn't miss a beat - check out my site at ey-computerservices.co.uk - it works great and this is hosted on the mini, the site is pretty quick.

    Running TOP via SSH and CPU load is barely anything.

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    SYNACK's Avatar
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    We just banged together a latest gen Core i7 on a reasonable z series MB along with a stack of ram, some HDs and ESXi. Runs great, can shove stacks of HDs in if required and easy/cheap to upgrade. Good power saving thanks to the cpu but also power when it needs it. Four or more VMs without a hassle, can be quiet depending on case and with VT-d you can pass through stuff like a decent GPU or TV tuner to the VMs without a hassle too. Helpful if you want to pass through a gaming VM or media centre.
    Last edited by SYNACK; 2nd November 2012 at 01:18 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Steve21 View Post

    Not sure you can do things like setup networks etc on them can you? Not the way I'd need for testing/certs?
    yes you can define virtual networks

    Amazon Virtual Private Cloud (Amazon VPC) lets you provision a private, isolated section of the Amazon Web Services (AWS) Cloud where you can launch AWS resources in a virtual network that you define. With Amazon VPC, you can define a virtual network topology that closely resembles a traditional network that you might operate in your own datacenter. You have complete control over your virtual networking environment, including selection of your own IP address range, creation of subnets, and configuration of route tables and network gateways.

    You can easily customize the network configuration for your Amazon VPC. For example, you can create a public-facing subnet for your webservers that has access to the Internet, and place your backend systems such as databases or application servers in a private-facing subnet with no Internet access. You can leverage multiple layers of security, including security groups and network access control lists, to help control access to Amazon EC2 instances in each subnet.

    Additionally, you can create a Hardware Virtual Private Network (VPN) connection between your corporate datacenter and your VPC and leverage the AWS cloud as an extension of your corporate datacenter.

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    Ive got the HP as a home lab / backup machine.
    Its got 8GB RAM in it but it can run with 16GB so might upgrade in the future.

    Anyway, Ive got ESXI v5 booting off an internal USB drive and all my VM's hosted on a 120GB SSD.
    one VM runs Server2008r2 which i use to access the 2 1TB SATA drives and backup all the other devices in the house with. I also use it as a general download server.

    Ive then got another 3 vm's setup, 1 vista, 1 w7 and another server to lab with.
    All works pretty well. Its headless and hides away in a cupboard which the wife moan about

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    Quote Originally Posted by CyberNerd View Post
    Build a server farm as large as you like.
    Unless Steve has tons of money, I don't think EC2 is a viable option.

    It's kind of tough to tell exactly how much an Amazon EC2 instance will cost you since it varies a lot by usage. But if I use the Amazon Web Services simple monthly calculator and select the Web Application "common customer sample", that provides a figure of $1,414 per month, or $17k/year. If you want to run a typical web app on EC2, that's what you should expect to pay. So let's use that as a baseline.

    The instance types included in the Web Application customer sample are 4 small (for the front end), and 2 large (for the database). Here are the current specs on the large instance:

    • 7.5 GB memory
    • 2 virtual cores with 2 EC2 Compute Units each
    • 850 GB instance storage
    • 64-bit platform
    • I/O Performance: High

    You might be wondering what the heck a EC2 Compute Unit is; it's Amazon's way of normalizing CPU performance. By their definition, what we get in the large instance is akin to an old 2008 era dual core 2.4 GHz Xeon CPU. Yes, you can pay more and get faster instances, but switching instances from the small to the high-CPU and from the large to the high-MEM more than doubles the bill to $3,302 per month or $40k/year. (Source)

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