The Power of an All-in-One for the Home


It seems that i’m revamping my lab constantly.  What i’m finding is that as I age out older Home Lab tech, i’m also rethinking the Home Lab architecture and how it would serve not just me, but the entire household better.

My Home Lab is not a “spin up when I need it” design.  It serves as a functional part of the household as well.

For basic NAS duties I have been relying on an older EMC/Lenovo PX4-300d.  This device has served me very well and will continue to be a part of the lab but it’s based on older Intel Atom/SATAII technology so I will re-purpose this device as a backup device.  It’s low power and will provide enough storage to keep my most valuable Data backed up.

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This part of the Home Network is fully functional and provides 24/7 functionality.  Instead of running a complex Server/SAN solution, I decided to replace it with a more robust platform that can serve multiple duties.  I needed something that could not only provide production NAS duties, but also act as DLNA Server, a UBNT Wireless Controller, a Secondary Virtualized Domain Controller (backup to my physical Intel NUC DC) and still have enough resources to spin up the occasional test VM(s) and/or services here and there. Since I now have a robust Network Switch with my purchase of the Del X1052 (4 x SFP+) ports, I had one SFP+ available and I also wanted to be able to access the NAS from my Workstation via a 10GbE Direct Connection.  In the end i put together a great little system based on the following:

 

  • Motherboard: SuperMicro X10SLL-F
  • CPU:Intel Xeon 1230V3
  • RAM: 32GB DDR3-1600 R-ECC
  • AIC: Intel X520/LSI 9211-8i/Intel AIC 750 NVMe 800GB (Fast Local Storage)
  • Spinners: 6x Seagate Enterprise 4TB (Raid Z2)
  • SSD: 2 x Intel S3710 800GB Mirror (Fast Shared Storage)
  • Cache: 2 x Samsung 843T 480GB Mirrored ZIL
  • Case: SUPERMICRO CSE-825TQ-563LPB
  • PSU: Supermicro 560Watt Gold
  • OS: ESXi 6.x
  • Third Party Software: FreeNAS w/Plugins/CentOS/Windows Server Core 2012R2

Here’s a shot of the system on my Test Bench.  Build log will be coming shortly.

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This system provides 13TB’s usable of reliable storage that can tolerate up to two disk failures. Believe me, i’ll be lucky if I need that much as far as capacity. I don’t store HD Movies any longer which used to be the majority of the capacity required, I let the streaming companies do that now, VUDU, Netflix, Hulu, etc. The Intel 750 NVMe was in my workstation not doing much so I re-purposed this for lightening fast local VM storage. The Intel S3710’s will be used for scratch space for Video Editing duties as I start to include more video how-to’s in the blog.  I’m gearing up for an entire series on Nutanix Community Edition from start to finish, showing all the features/functionality available as well as more build logs and other fun things like gaming and a new feature i’m adding, The Armory (self-explanatory but here’s a hint)

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As you can see, an All-in-one Virtual Host/NAS is a great solution for a majority of Home users out there.  Sky’s the limit here.  You can build these with an array of hardware which will provides the home user a ton of useful 24/7 functionality whether it’s to host VMs, NAS only, services or a combination of many different types of use cases, the AIO is a great option for anyone.

There are a ton of resources out there but one of my favorites is:

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