I love shopping for new toys.
Building a new homelab can be a lot of fun but it’s also a lot of hardwork. Firstly you have to research the right equipment. Then comes the setup and installation, and of course the countless hours configuring and reconfiguring. Simply put, you’re going to be spending a lot of time working with your homelab so you should put together something you’re happy with, budget permitting.
This time around I’m going to be pushing out the boat and replacing everything. I’ve listed the components below along with some rational I used to decide on each.
As I said in my previous post, space is at a premium at my home so as much as I’d love to have a full size rack cabinet in the house it’s just not practical. Having said that keeping things tidy is also a high priority for me so having switches and servers lying around isn’t an option either so I started to look at small 19″ rack cabinets in the 12-15U range.
The Startech I found fitted the bill, plenty of ventilation and a good build quality. The 12U gives me plenty of room for expansion in the future should I need it.
This was a really difficult choice to make. Whilst I have a very healthy budget for this homelab things can add up pretty quickly and it’s easy to get carried away. Especially when looking at enterprise grade servers.
Although the advances in virtualisation technology would allow me to run most of what I want on a single PC, I want this homelab to pack a little more punch than that kind of setup can currently handle. The fact that I’m looking to run between 30-60 virtual machines, with a minimum of 192GB RAM, means that server equipment would be a better fit.
Second hand server equipment on Ebay makes a very enticing proposition and if I didn’t care about noise, power consumption and space it would definitely be the way to go. However, as I do care about those things I had to look at other options.
The Supermicro servers running Intel’s latest Xeon D-1540 processor are exactly what I was looking for.
3x Supermicro 1U 5018D-FN4T
– 1U Form Factor
– Xeon D-1540 2.00Ghz (8 Cores / 16 Threads)
– 45W TDP
– Supporting upto 128GB RAM
– Dual 1Gb NICS
– Dual 10Gb NICS
These are difficult to find in the UK but I have managed to find a supplier, Server Factory.
That’s my compute cluster sorted out.
I have a real interest in the new hyper-converged server models so I’m going to be using Hyper-V Storage Spaces Direct. This means all my storage is going to be local, which not only makes selecting my kit simpler but also means I benefit from better storage performance.
3x 120GB Samsung EVO 850 SSD [System Drives]
3x 1TB Samsung EVO 850 SSD [SSD Cache]
3x 4TB WD RED [Capacity Tier]
I can’t claim any particular effort was put into my choice of network devices. I double checked Adam’s setup and confirmed it could do everything I wanted, including VLAN configuration and Link Aggregation.
As any keen homelabber knows you always forget to budget for the various miscellaneous bits and bobs.
3x PCI-E Riser Cards
3x 2.5″ Drive Mount Cages
3x Serial ATA Power Adapter
15x Black 0.5m CAT6 Ethernet Cable
Velcro Cable Straps
Rack Nuts and Bolts