Continuing from yesterday, I am finally considering a new home server build. I have a lot of goals I want to achieve, some for fun home projects and others to support work objectives. The trick is going to be finding a solution that will work for everything. My biggest hurdle is trying to decide how I want to split it up. Do I want to go for a more beefy all-in-one unit? Or should I go with a stand-alone storage server, and separate my daily use virtual machines?

NOTE: I am still in the early stages of figuring out what I want/need. Much of this is me just putting my thoughts out there.

I’ve been trying to focus on power-usage, so I am targeting low-power server-grade CPU’s. So far, these few have caught my eye:

The E3-1220Lv2 should be great for a stand-alone storage server, but I don’t think there would be enough processing power for VM’s to make it a good choice for an all-in-one unit. The E3-1265Lv2 is still very low power @ 45W, but its more than double the E3-1220Lv2, so is it worth building the all-in-one?

Next up would be memory limitations. Socket H2 (1155) CPU’s are hard limited to 32GB of ram. To get higher you would need to look at Socket 2011 CPU’s, potentially dual-socket CPU’s… at which point you’re looking at 95W – 190W configurations. I am ruling those out as I could likely build two Socket 1155 systems for the same power consumption as a single Socket 2011 setup, and then I’d have a more robust home lab for testing things like virtual machine migrations…

Calculating my memory requirements is dependent on my server setup, but ideally I want something like:

This is just a quick list, I have lots of little VM’s that I would like as well, but many are unrealistic. And while I realize that a lot of it is overkill, at the same time 32GB of ram is cheap in a Socket 1155 setup.

Lastly, I need to focus on the primary purpose of the home server: storage. I want something with a level of parity. I also want to start focusing on power saving options. Things like drive spin-down when not in use, and possibly switching away from higher performing 7200 rpm disks for media storage, while still having high enough performance for VM’s.

So how do I accomplish both?

At the same time, I have several things I am keeping in the back of my mind:

In an ideal world, I could have 3-4 systems:

This would be fantastic. I could have dedicated media storage, and then have a 3-server setup of ZFS + 2 Hosts to do my work testing. However, notice a trend in requirements? Low power. Low power. Low power.

Unfortunately, I am not sure a 4 host setup is really all that low power. At the same time, I am not sure I want to put all my eggs in one basket with a single all-in-one server with that many VM’s all on a single low-power dual-core Xeon CPU.



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