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Over my head... a little

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Hi, I just managed to get my hands on an HP DL380p Gen8 with Dual Xeon E5-2665 8 core processors, 128GB of ram and 8 600GB SAS HD's. My plan is to set it up as a home lab server running a bare metal hypervisor. I have no real experience with any of the hypervisors and would like some opinions on what I should start with.

Thanks in advance for any help.


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I'm interested in doing something similar. Back the homeservershow days I built a server using an ASUS motherboard and i3-2100.

Installed Windows Server 2012 that I had a license for back then and installed WHS2011 as a VM along with some other desktop OS's.  Used WHS to back up the desktops on the home network, but that started getting funky. Used an HD Homerun to record cable TV and save it to the WHS but got rid of cable in favor of AT&T gigabit (which is great). Win Server 2012 is fairly outdated and WHS2011 isn't useful for much. So, I want redo thing,s including maybe using MS Hyper V 2019 stand alone to run various OS's.


The hardware has been working fine for about 6 years with no problems but the occasional drive failure requiring some trouble getting Storage Spaces to release the faulty drive which seems to require moving files around and deleting volumes. But the server won't last forever. Been looking at Youtube videos about Dell R710's being used to set up virtual servers. Appears you can pick up a used one coming off lease for about $200 and was thinking getting one., installing Hyper V Server 2019 which sounds like what you want to do. 



Edited by SortaOldguy
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Have used ESXi and Hyper-V separately and now run a hybrid of both in my home network.

Hyper-V inside a windows box running all the home network VM’s (eg UniFi Controller, Plex server, a Nginx reverse proxy for external access) - if something on the home use network side fails everyone in the house knows this box can be powered down and back up again and 99 times out of 100 everything will simply start back up again and work. Also having all the home file shares on a physical windows machine rather than inside a VM means if anything happens to me it should be easier for anyone else to work out what’s setup where!

For lab use though I’d use ESXi every time. Find it much more configurable, more per-built images available and, dare I say it, enjoyable to use than Hyper-V!

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  • 2 weeks later...

I agree with @Trig0r define what are you trying to achieve. Both Hyper-V and ESX have their benefits, if you are going to go for an M$ exam no point playing with ESX for instance. If you are going to do some more advanced things and want to discretely assign hardware, ESX is better for that.


Personally I mainly use Hyper-V because that's what I use at work so therefore I can configure and troubleshoot that in my sleep (although moving to containers these days so we shall see how that ends up) I also effectively have unlimited M$ licences through work so I do not care to much about costs on that, I get full Datacentre versions for no cost if I want it, therefore its cheaper for me to do this. also I do not know if it still applies but I have a recollection of ESXi having hardware limitations, most notably 32GB of RAM I do not know if that still applies, but its a limitation in the free version (if you want full versions reasonably cheaply have a look at VMUG memberships)


There are also other platforms ProxMox, Xen and others outside "the big two" that may better achieve what you want


Start out with what you want to achieve, and go from there

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My main goal is really to educate myself. I plan to run my home network off of this machine. Unifi Controller, Emby media server, my mail server, some web servers using Nginx, I have about 30 TB of assorted data that the family and relatives have gathered over the years. I currently have a Windows server 2012 r2 running almost everything on the main system and one VM running Linux for the web servers and the mail server. The whole setup is not really ideal, when something crashes, the whole system goes down.

I want to separate as much as possible into separate VM's and get into containers where possible. I'll keep the current system running while getting the new system setup. I also want to play with anything new that might come along without taking down the whole server when I screw up, which I'm sure I will. 🙂


P.S. - I also have an i3 box running Sophos UTM and I would like to switch to pfSense if that makes sense. I recently upgraded to Gigabit FIOS. I plan to set up a VM to test pfSense while not destroying the current setup. Once I get things sorted out, I'll put it on the i3 box (with upgrades as needed). 



Edited by kfonda
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I preferred to set my pfsense in its own hardware while I play with lots of things in VMs. no sense disrupting the rest of the family should I need to touch the host box.


I also found running containers in a vm to be not so ideal, but I hope to play with them too soon enough. good luck and enjoy!

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