Right. I have a new home lab. Still have the old one but the new one is SO much better.
I decided to bite the bullet and buy new. Restrictions included:
- Price – it is a home lab after all
- Power consumption
- Normal operating volume
I really liked the Supermicros but at the price point and with DDR4 being the price it is, they were just too expensive. So before Christmas I did some extensive research, and stumbled upon the HPE DL20 Gen 9. They are on the vSphere 6 HCL, They use the E3 v5 Xeons, and its the cheapest server I could find with the E3-1230-V5, the lowest powered of the E3 family with hyperthreading. So I bought 2. And was surprised to find them arrive with rapid-rail mounting kits! Its all good! And I am a very very happy camper!
And as far as the WAF goes – well she said that I could dip into savings to build my lab, but it MUST be future-proofed. And I MUST be happy with it afterwards. Would be rude not to comply. After all….
The story so far:
- 1U shallow 15″ depth.
- 2 x PCIe 8 slots on daughter board
- 2 x M2 headers on the Mobo
- 2 x 1gbs NICs – one shared with iLO
- Mine came with 16GB – 1 x DDR4
- They are whisper-quiet, the fans do spin up occasionally and it sounds like they are breathing. VERY Quietly!
- Booting off a SanDisk 32GB USB 3.0 drive from the onboard socket
- ESXi 6.0U2 – HP Custom Image
- No CD but who uses them these days? I have a USB BluRay player anyway if I need it.
Only negative is the inclusion of 2 x USB 2 ports on the front – but no VGA. Odd. 2 x USB 3.0 on the rear with a VGA there though. In a tight rack its a tad frustrating having to pull the server out to struggle to plug in the monitor though a small gap at the back in but I have resurrected an old 2-port KVM to use with them so that’s not necessary any more.
They come in 2 storage configurations – 2 x 3.5″ SAS and 4 x 2.5″ Hot-swap SAS. I opted for the 2.5″ hot-swap for greater flexibility. However no drive caddies. This IS HP don’t forget. However – Amazon to the rescue – £12. Not HP genuine but have the spinney round LEDs. I bought a pair of WD Red 750GB 2.5″ NAS drives. There are reasons for this:
- They are SATA – but consumer-grade SATAs are not designed for 24×7 operation. The WD NAS Drives are.
- They are designed for hot-swap and RAID – so can handle failing properly and being removed from a RAID without taking the whole set down.
- I already have 2 of the 3.5″ WD Reds in 3TB versions and really like them.
- Its a HOME LAB not an enterprise production datacenter. SAS drives are just too expensive. These were a good price. Don’t care about massive performance differences.
- NAS can present NFS datastores and run VMs happily. So these should do fine.
- I also run iSCSI from both servers to a 3TB WD Red in a Synology NAS.
This is the basic setup. I will add other posts to separately detail the further enhancements – USB 3.0 NICs, 10Gbs NICs, VCSA 6.5 and so on.
These little servers just keep giving and I’m really happy with them.