Expanding Capabilities - Need Input On My Upgrade Plans

Hello All,

First time poster here so please let me know if this is the right section. :upside_down_face:

Currently kind of new to the self-hosting side of the house. As of right now I am a systems administrator/programmer so I have a pretty good layout of how to build and self-host. I just wanted to get some expert opinions on the equipment I’ve chosen to upgrade to and maybe some recommendations for better stuff. I currently run a very small setup to do some basic tasks that a Raspberry Pi couldn’t handle. I would like to get more serious about it and dedicate a rack for expanding and learning more. Also self-hosting is just better than buying consumer plug and play stuff. Anyways, here is what I currently run and host:

* 2x Lenovo M73’s (older intel with RAM upgrade to 16GB DDR3 1333MHz)
* A nice Asus Router I can’t remember the model of. Hooked up to my stock Cox router set to bridged mode

* Proxmox
* PiHole
* Docker Server
* Various Docker Containers (Dashboard, Network Monitor)

My plans for upgrading are quite extensive. Been working on it for a little and hopefully I found some items that can help you all out as well. I’ll start off with what I would like to start hosting. This will be mainly for home networking, hosting game servers for discord friends and keeping my skills up in the IT industry.

What I would like to host:
* Proxmox
* pfSense (To replace current router)
* PiHole (Might use pfBlocker as a replacement)
* Docker Server (Running various containers like a dashboard, network monitor, webpage, QoL items)
* Some type of storage solution (Still researching for cheap options that integrate well)
* Various game intensive game servers (Modded Minecraft, Project Zomboid, etc)
* Self-made discord bots

Current build ready for purchase:
* HP ProLiant DL380 Gen9 (2x 2640v3 16 Core total, 64GB DDR4 2133MHz, 8x 600GB 10k SAS)
* Raising Electronics 19 inch adjustable rack here
* Some shelves and rack mounting hardware (obviously)
* StarTech 8 Outlet PDU with Surge Protector
* TP-Link 24 Port Gigabit Managed Switch here

Again, a mass storage solution is still in the works. Trying to do some media hosting as well in the future. Plus recording from some IP cameras can take up a lot of space. I will most likely repurpose one of the M73’s to run pfSense because I heard it doesn’t like to be virtualized. The DL380, I can get for a really good price so I think it’s a great option. I will most likely immediately upgrade the CPUs to 2680v4’s and the RAM to 128GB ECC. For note, if you just search “server” on Amazon you can find a LOT of really well priced refurbished servers (I believe it’s Amazon’s old stuff).

Let me know what you all think about my current pickings. Or if I could get better/cheaper equipment somewhere else.

Thank you!

It’s the right section :+1:

1 Like

It can be virtualized, but it shouldn’t. You don’t want to reboot/patch/whatever your VM host and take down your network. It’s significantly safer to run it bare metal on whatever hardware of choice. It doesn’t need much as long as you’re not doing fairly significant amounts of IDS/QoS.

Also don’t be afraid to run containers (Docker or otherwise) in proxmox if you’re trying to keep it compact. An LXC container is very capable, and if you should want to run it in a VM of whatever size, it’s nice to have that functionality

Thank you, I should have mentioned that my Docker server is running in a Proxmox VM at the moment already. Planning on doing the same thing after the upgrade. I like the VM inception lol.

if I had it sitting I’d use one of those lenovo boxes to run router software and adblocking on the same device. 16gb of ram would be more than plenty I think, I was planning around 8 if I pursued it. is that a 4 core processor on there, as I would want to use a 4 core. but if using router software only 2 core is plenty I’m told. ALso I was looking at both OPNsense and IPFire at one point just as options.

I’ve started using Docker LXC’s on Proxmox directly as I’m still toying around with my Server/NAS build. and I think it works well, dedicated docker vm without installing linux on a vm and then docker - one step easier and replicable. Using that to run Jellyfin and RR’ apps.

How much is your HP Proliant if you don’t mind my asking? My box is an refurb HP Z420 workstation - which are also easy to find and cheap to setup. I mention it becasue your ask for a large storage idea I have about 580 in mine total. Box, 4-6tb drives, some other bits, new fans. you could use more drives and the case has some room for more one of the other bits was a 5-1/4 bay adapter. HBA ect.

Hi there,

The ProLiant is around 450 before upgrades. The specs mentioned with it come included with it.

As for the router. I never really thought of making my own router before and just kept using the same, relatively nice, Asus router I got on sale a while back. As it is right now, Proxmox is running my PiHole VM as well.

you had mentioned pfsense to replace the router and like the above I wouldn’t run that on a server with alot of other bits. I was looking to roll my own router at one point - still might - and I was going to proxmox it with a vm for OPNsense or something and another for Adblock home (I think it’s called). as was recomended to me by a friend of mine.

ONLY reason he runs his on proxmox is to have the backup replication and the like - those are the only 2 vm’s and the only 2 applications on it. Seems like I good idea but again he would also say totally not necessary.

should be pretty capable server box - what would you use those sas drives for and will it take standard PCIe cards? for say a multi=port NIC or even a 10gb nic. etc.

I personally am not planning on virtualizing the pfSense portion of it. I will most likely repurpose the Lenovo machine to run it while the DL380 does the virtualization and various other tasks for me. The SAS drives on the DL380 will mainly be used for VM storage and if I have a lot of leftover space I will most likely partition that portion into network storage and add a DAS solution later on to provide more space. Only thing is that the DL380 comes with 1 hard drive bay with 8x 2.5 inch slots. Finding drive bays to expand the DL380 is kinda rough. I think they are like $100 a piece with the backplane. But, if I can get some of those I most likely won’t need the DAS solution.

I don’t know how the 2.5 bays are setup but if there was something that let you plug into the 2.5 bays with a set of 3.5’s turned sideways or such. but that’s one thing that kept me away from that machine.

and this website is what got me looking at the Z420 workstation and the like for my use. I mean look at replacements for those SAS drives and it gets expensive fast. I would be considering 1tb SATA SSD’s for replacements. I think. anyway good luck with the build out and use.

Thank you. I believe I can get some 900Gb SAS drives with the caddy on this server for around 50 bucks a piece which isn’t bad at all. As for the drive bays… that’s where it gets a little difficult. They are well overpriced on eBay so it might be rough trying to expand it which is why I was leaning towards a DAS/NAS build later down the road.

is that new or used? I assume used as I can’t image that’s new. would the throughput of that drive be better than a new in the box 1tb SSD that’s around 80 dollars right now?

I agree it has alot of potential but the drive formfactor of those boxes is one of the biggest reasons I avoided them.

To be fair I did also consider that one day I would build out a DAS box and might even DIY build the box myself. Use a HBA with external SAS connector - run it to a box with drives and a splitter cable setup and it’s own PSU. etc etc. but for all that cost that it would later add. I decided to shop HP workstations that take standard 3.5 inch drives. or have space for 5.25 to 3.5 bay adapters.

So I believe the SAS drives I found were used (at least they looked like it). But for the DL380 Gen9, I’m pretty sure you can drop in 3.5" hard drive bays as well. Might even be able to mix 'em.