I really wanted to get into running some VM’s at home hosted on ESXi. We are using them now at work and it looks like the future is heading this way.
My previous server is an inexpensive Zotac socket 775 Motherboard with a Dual core, and 2GB of ram running my home network. It’s a domain controller and file server which has started to have memory issues. I have a HighPoint RocketRAID 2320 8-Port PCIe card controlling 6 2TB drives in a raid 5 array. Sporadically I would get emails from the software notifying me of a drive “unplug” and “re-plug” which would trigger a rebuild. I never backed up the server and without even being on a battery backup, never lost data (still amazed). So the next step was replacing the hardware with something that could run multiple servers on one physical machine. I looked at prices for pre-built machines and with a decent amount of stuff laying around opted to build my own pedestal server. I had a Lian-Li case donated to me because it was “ugly” which seemed like a good place to start. The case allows for 10 drives without getting creative so it was perfect for my file server. Next was a Motherbaord/CPU/RAM choice. I had 1 quad core Xeon E5420 laying around so I opted to buy and additional and find a socket 771 server board to hold them. I ended up spending about $55 on the motherboard (Intel S5000PSL-SATA), $31 on another CPU, and $93 on 16GB of ECC DDR2 FB (4x4GB). After the issues I had with the RocketRAID I decided to go a more familiar way with the raid card. I picked up a Dell perc 6/i with battery for $40 and ordered 2 SAS-SATA cables from work for $14 each (Tripp Lite S502-20N). I had a DVD drive laying around as well as a 500W (underrated) power supply. So I assembled the server, installed ESXi and converted my old server to a VM using the live conversion tool, all went very well.