Over the past few months, I’ve been searching for a good home lab server to replace the ones I had been using that were decommissioned and given to me by my previous employer…3 HP DL385 G6 rack servers with 64GB each. Well anyone that knows servers, know that these are not ideal from a home lab. Not only are they big, bulky and heavy, but they suck electricity like a newborn baby sucks a warm bottle (I can attest to this, being a new dad to a healthy,hungry boy) and on top of that, they can make a room HOT…really fast! I knew this was not a long term solution for me and there was only so much that I could do with VMware’s online HOL. I needed something that I could not only have to test out all the latest products from VMware without a 2hr or so limit, but also something that I could continue to use to prepare for advanced certifications and create content to share on the blog.
What I Wanted In A Server
First of all…it needed to be small. I have a office at home…not a dedicated server room. I wanted something no bigger than a desktop tower PC. To me, the smaller, the better. I also wanted something that would provide me with enough resources to run two of VMware’s most resource intensive products, NSX and vRealize Automation. Those two products alone would need about 50GB of RAM to install all the components to get up and running. I first began looking into the SuperMicro SYS-E200-8D and SYS-E300-8D servers. I was drawn first to their size and then to the fact that they could max out at a whooping 128GB of RAM. However, I didn’t like the idea of only have 2 options for storage, one 2.5 HDD and one M.2 slot. Then I stumbled across Paul Braren from TinkerTry on Twitter and that’s when I discovered what would soon be my next home lab server.
What I Got
I ended up purchasing a SuperMicro SYS-5028D-TN4T server bundle from WiredZone and added two additional 32GB DIMMs to have a total of 128GB of RAM.