Building a Home Server for Study Purposes

Hardware

Below I’ve listed the hardware I’m using on the home lab, with the relevant links for each component. Most of them were bough from Aliexpress, from reliable sellers.

CPU

Intel Xeon E5 2683 V4 E5 2683V4 2.1GHz, sixteen cores, 40M cache, 120W 14nm, socket LGA 2011–3. You can buy it here.

CPU Cooler

Hyper 212x LED Turbo / RR-212TK-16PR-R1. For more information click here.

Case

I like smaller cabinets as they don’t take up much space. However, due to the reduced internal space, small cases tend to make the internal environment warmer than usual. Googling, I found a perfect solution to this problem: Masterbox Q300L from Cooler Master. For more information click here.

Case Coolers

I’ve added 3 X 120mm Rise Mode Coolers. This is the model of the cooler I have. You can use whichever one you like.

RAM

Internally the Xeon I have works at 2133MHz. So it doesn’t make sense to spend additional money buying memories that have a higher clock rate. The setup is 8 X 32GB 2133 MHz DDR4. You can buy them here.

Motherboard

The best model of X99 boards for a home lab is a HUANANZHI X99 F8, as it has 8 RAM slots, several SATA ports, as well as NVME ports. You can buy one here.

Solid State Drives

In my environment I have several disks aimed for performance:

  • 2 X SSD 2TB
  • 2 X SSD 1TB

SAS Controller

I’ve created a RAID0 from 2 X 1TB SSDs. The performance is great, as the SAS controller outperforms the onboard SATA controller.

SAS Controller BIOS
SAS Controller on VMWare

Hard Disk Drives

For cases where performance is not necessary, but the amount of free space for storage is, I used a traditional 4TB HDD. This is the model I have. You can use whichever one you like.

Power Supply

You will need at least a good 600W power supply. I have a 700W EVGA Power Supply model 100-BR-0700-K1. Click here for details.

GPU

Xeon CPUs doesn’t have Integrated Graphics, so you will need a GPU. I’ve used a old NVIDIA GeForce GT210 with 1GB VRAM. Any PCIe video card will do. But if you intend to use 3D acceleration or load applications that do GPU-accelerated calculations, then I recommend an NVIDIA 10 or 20 with 8GB VRAM. The NVIDIA drivers are more hypervisor-friendly.

Software

The hypervisor is a VMWare 6.7 with custom drivers for the network cards, as the mother board has a Realtek onboard NIC. For information on how to customize the ESXi image, click here.

Firewall

For the Firewall service, I’m using pfSense with 4 virtual NICs:

  • WAN
  • LAN
  • OSP External
  • OCP

DNS Service

The DNS service is a Red Hat IDM. I used it because it is easy to setup, and requires no subscription.

  • I also have a Satellite and a VM running VirtualBMC, as this last one is useful for OpenStack related tasks.

Network Topology

It is a simple home topology with a Gigabit Router and Switch.

Port Groups

You can create as many port groups as you like. I’d recommend to segregate network traffic using VLANs, as you may want to avoid mixing your home network traffic with you laboratory traffic.

Power Consumption

My setup doesn’t consume a lot of electricity. But you can judge for yourself.

Watts Average
Watts Maximum

The End

That’s it. Feel free to reach out if you have any questions.

My Homeserver

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Andre Rocha

Andre Rocha

I'm just a SysAdmin with some experience in OpenSource, DevOps and Datacenter Services, who likes to share knowledge.