Home Server Project

 In Home Server

Documenting my home server journey

Why have a home server?

There are several reasons. I have realised how dependent I am on companies like Google. I don’t expect this project to replace that dependance at all. But I am getting tired of services being dropped, bad feature implementation.

Mostly this is just to run some home automation and learn lots of different things, Windows Enterprise environments, running multiple VM’s etc.

Current setup

Right now, it’s more than messy. I could easily consolidate these devices but they all came together rather quickly so, because I new that I wanted to build a new server I haven’t bothered as yet.

Home Assistant | Odroid C2

S905 4c @ 1.5GHz | 2GB | 32GB SD

  • Nginx Proxy Manager
  • FireFly III (not really being used)
  • MQTT broker
  • MotionEye
  • Grocy (not being used)

OpenMediaVault | Dell 920

E7500 2c @ 2.93GHz | 4GB | 1 x 128GB SSD 1 x 3TB HDD

  • SMB Shares

Proxmox | Desktop i7 860

i7 860 4c @ 2.8GHz | 16GB | 2 x 128GB SSD

  • Caddy Reverse Proxy
  • PiHole
  • DailyNotes
  • Code-Server

New plan!

I have acquired a Dell T3610 workstation. The plan is to consolidate everything into this one device.

Current Specs

  • Xeon E5-1607 v2 – 4 core @ 3Ghz
  • 48GB DDR3 1866MHz
  • 2 x 500GB SSD

The E5-1607 v2 only has 4 threads, so it’s not ideal for running lots of different services.

Fortunately there are lots of different options available for the 2011 platform. I quickly found out I could get an E5-2696 v2 a 12 core 24 thread cpu running @ 2.6GHz that boosts to 3.3GHz for only about $165! But because I’m me… I didn’t just buy that straight away. After continuously browsing the used market for the best deals, confusing myself even more, thinking maybe buying new would be a better deal. I decided to make a spreadsheet.

I started just putting in some of the CPU specs and then to help figure out a performance score for each CPU, with no research I came up with this.

(n cores x turbo clock) + (n threads x stock clock) x (max memory speed / L3 cache) / watts

This surprisingly worked pretty well. But was perhaps too generous to energy efficient CPU’s.

Fortunately cpubenchmark.net has collected lots of benchmark data so I was able to import this data to add a more real world performance score.

I went through each CPU and tried to find the best deal for each one and calculated the value.

I decided to add some more modern Ryzen CPU’s in to see if these old Xeons are still good value.

Given I would need to purchase a Motherboard and RAM I found the cheapest Motherboard and 32GB RAM, and added the cost of the CPU to this combo. I have no idea if these are compatible, but figured it would be good enough given I don’t really want to spend that much money upfront.

This showed me that surprisingly even though it would be a large upfront cost the Ryzen 3600 would still be pretty good value. So to investigate that even further I decided to add in a rough running cost, just based off the CPU TDP 24x7x365.

I used the E5-1607 v2’s running cost over 2 years as the baseline.

(- E5-1607 v2 yearly power cost + New CPU power cost ) x 2 + CPU Cost

This helped show that it would be a long time before I recouped the upfront cost from power savings, and given I don’t need the performance it wouldn’t be the best use of my money.

So what did you get?

I ultimately decided on a E5-2665
8 Cores 16 Threads @ 2.4GHz that boosts to 3.1GHz for $42
According to benchmarks that’s an almost 300% performance boost over the current i7 860, and I’ll moving from 16GB to 48GB of RAM another 300% increase. Even if I follow the seemingly insane rule of 1GB of RAM/TB of data for ZFS I should have enough to run a couple VM’s. Still keeping an eye out for good deals on 16GB DDR3 though.

Hardware still to look at…

How fun is buying stuff?

I would like to add in storage with redundancy because I am an adult now…

High capacity drives aren’t too expensive now. But I don’t really need 10TB…
My collection of photos and video doesn’t even exceed 2TB, and I’d honestly prefer to store the photos on some faster storage so that I can edit the photos over the network.

Faster networking would be the next thing to upgrade to make use of all the cool server stuff, but this will require a new switch, re-running some of the ethernet, and desktop upgrades to make use of the faster infrastructure.

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