Building HomeServer BattleStar VirtualisticA

This article has been sitting iny my drafts for almost a year. I wanted to delete it but Paul from Tinktertry talked me into publishing it any way even for historic purposes.

My homeserver had been passed its prime for some time now. So it was time to build something new. This is not a lab machine but something that will be running 24×7.
I didn’t want to spend money on an expensive NAS like a Synology, Thecus or QNAP so a plan was hatched to build an allround all-in-one virtualization beast.
So After careful selection, the following components where chosen for my new build:

CASE

Fractal Define R3
Fractal Define R3




Fractal Design Define R3. This is an awesome case, 8 internal 3.5″ drive bays (not even counting the 5.25 bays), it looks beautiful and most important: dust filters and quiet!

PSU

Corisair CX430

For the powersupply I went with the Corsair CX430, The Corsair Builder Series of PSUs are designed for worry-free compatibility for your home desktop PC system build or upgrade. With features usually reserved for premium power supplies, it’s a great choice for systems where continuous and reliable power delivery and low noise are essential. Seasonic G-Serie 360Watt. Don’t buy Corsair PSU’s they won’t last!!! Seasonic is now the only brand I buy.

CPU

Core i5 3550

The processor is an Intel Core i5 3550. I went with this CPU for the extensive support of virtualization goodness (mainly VT-D) something which will we look at in part 2 (if ever get around to writing it..) and also the support for 32GB RAM was something I had on my wishlist. http://ark.intel.com/products/65516/Intel-Core-i5-3550-Processor-6M-Cache-up-to-3_70-GHz

MOTHERBOARD

MSI Z77MA-G45 mATX motherboard.

The motherboard is a MSI Z77MA-G45 mATX motherboard. The Z77 chipset has the most extensive features available with little difference in price compared to motherboards with less features.

RAM

Corsair LP 16 GB

Probably one of the most important things in a virtualization setup is the amount of RAM. In this case more IS better so I went the extra mile and stuffed the Z77MA-G45 with 2 sets of 16GB Corsair Vengance LP Dual-Memory Kits. At the time of writing the dimms were not on the list of MSI but the Corsair website listed them as compatible.

HBA

IBM M1015 Storage adapter. I’ll be needing this for the “all-in-one” piece since I’m not using an external NAS.
I’ve re-flashed this puppy into a LSI adapter by using this guide:

STORAGE

3 x 1 TB drives (already in my possesion)
1 x 256 GB Samsung 830 SSD series
1 x 16 GB Kingston micro thumbdrive to install my OS.

OS

VMWare ESXi 5

STORAGE

I looked at different software options to get my host some storage for its VM’s and the best option I found was Napp-it.
Napp-it ZFS storageserver is high-quality block- and filestorage that runs virtual or on common server hardware paired with a solid server OS (preferable Omnios/ OI/ Solaris).
The uptime of my host up to this last weekend was 515 days!!!. (so yes it is robust!)

Well that summarizes the pieces I’ve put together for my build. Below are some pictures of the components before, during and after the build.