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addition to the MS Gen8 club


offenmeier
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Hi to all HSS forum members! I've been reading this forum (especially ML10v2 and MS Gen8 parts of it) for a few months now, and now joined to say hi and thank you for all the valuable information.

 

I was eager to try out a few WS2012 R2 features (storage spaces, and visualization, for instance), and I was looking for an inexpensive option to do a full hands on! I was deciding between MS Gen8 and ML10v2, and almost went for the latter because of better processor and upgrade options, but later decided that size matters, and considering that I plan to re-purpose this into a home server in future, I went with MS Gen8.

 

Entry-level spec (1610T / 2Gb RAM) was going for $259 (Australian not-so-green dollars), so I snatched it, plus 8Gb RAM stick (another $95), a 3TB 3.5 drive (another $110), a 240 GB SSD (another $80), and 2 Icy Docks to put into service two 2.5 laptop HDD's I had collecting dust in the drawer. Plus I invested $25 into an Advanced iLO license, which I found extremely useful.

 

I switched RAID controller into AHCI mode (why would I need software RAID when Storage Spaces is far more flexible?), installed WS 2012 R2 onto one of the laptop drives, grouped 3TB HDD + 240 Gb SSD into tiered storage space (for VM's whatever), and the other laptop drive is just a storage option for now (VM templates, ISO's etc.).

 

Just like one of the forum members did, I plugged SSD straight into the SATA connector in bay 2, putting the blank around it with the outer spacer still in, so it has nowhere to go. Great solution, I reckon! No need for another Icy Dock.

 

All in all extremely happy, apart from having to download 5GB worth of SPP just to find out that the only thing requiring firmware update was network interface (I updated iLO and IP first thing out of the box manually).

 

I put in the laptop drive first, and IP installed WS 2012 R2 on it in under 25 minutes, that was a breeze! 

 

Then I had a little confusion when I put the rest of the drives in and got an unbootable system. Turns out, in AHCI mode it always boots from bay 1! What a waste of one of faster 6GB SATA bays it is.. Anyway, switched the drives around, created tiered pool and volume, installed Hyper-V and on to creating virtual servers!

 

I am impressed with it so far. W7 virtual machine takes ~10 minutes from "New virtual machine" to login screen. WS2012R2 virtual machine - ~20 minutes due to all the input required.

 

What can I say? I would have never done this so quickly without reading this forum first! So big thank you all once again!

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