Server Setup pt. 1 - What I'm working with

5 Jan, 2018 — 3 min

This is the start of the documentation for servers. As such, I figured it’d be best to give the background info for what I’m working with.

Over the summer I built two computers, a “workstation” and a server. Here I’m going to be focusing on the latter. I got really fortunate to find a matched pair of Xeons for $250 on eBay from a reputable seller (although they’re Sandy Bridge, and in light of Meltdown & Spectre they lack some security introduced in Ivy Bridge… oh, well, I’m on a college-student budget and hindsight is 20/20 XD). In total, these are the most important specs:

In the future I’d like to look at exactly how the RAM, CPUs, and PCIe lanes connect to each other to optimize the setup (have the NAS pinned to the secondary CPU and using a PCIe slot on that CPU). My previous setup was on ESXi (free version). While great for learning, it can feel a bit limited once you get far enough in, if only for liking full control over my system. Additionally, patching it is a real hassle. I decided (also in part b/c I hang out with a lot of FOSS people) that I wanted to use KVM as my new hypervisor, and the easiest way for me to do that was Proxmox. I used the time I was on ESXi to do a lot of screwing around research, however, it left a lot of unwanted bloat at times, so this will be a clean refresh. The main features I had that I want to carry over were:

In addition to that, these are the features that I didn’t get to implementing (in part because I knew I was going to do a clean refresh):

These will come in a few parts. The next part is going to be on the host setup, including the pfSense VM for networking b/c accessing the internet is kind of important ;)