When I decided to set up a home lab, I knew that I needed a powerful and reliable server to run my virtual machines and store my data. I started my journey by purchasing a used server from eBay, thinking that it would be a cost-effective solution.
However, I soon realized that the server I had purchased did not meet my needs, and I had to return it. This led me to the decision of building my own server from scratch, using parts from different vendors. In this blog post, I will share my experience with building a home server and deploying a home lab environment.
Step 1: Research and Planning
The first step in my journey was to research and plan my server build. I read through various forums and reviews to gain a better understanding of the components that I needed and the best vendors to purchase them from. I also made a list of the features and functionality that I needed for my home lab, such as CPU power, RAM, storage, and GPU capabilities.
Step 2: Building the Server
Once I had a clear understanding of what I needed, I moved on to the next step: building the server. I purchased the parts needed for the build, including two Xeon CPUs, 24GB of RAM, a 480GB SSD, and an additional boot M.2 Samsung SSD 256GB. I also purchased a Quadro P4000 NVIDIA card to add to the server.
Step 3: Assembling the server
After receiving all my parts, I assembled the server. I installed the CPUs, RAM, SSDs, and GPU on the motherboard, and connected all the necessary cables. I also added almost 12TB of raw storage on mechanical drives. The process of assembling the server was relatively straightforward, and I was able to complete it without any major issues.
Step 4: Configuring the Server
Once the server was assembled, I moved on to configuring it. I installed the operating system and configured the BIOS settings, network settings, and storage settings. I also set up the NVIDIA GPU for my virtual machines to use.
Step 5: Deploying the Home Lab Environment
With the server fully configured and assembled, I was ready to deploy my home lab environment. I used Proxmox as my virtualization platform and created virtual machines for my different lab scenarios. I set up different virtual networks, and storage pools and passed through the GPU to my virtual machines to utilize its capabilities.
Step 6: Testing and Troubleshooting
After deploying my home lab environment, I tested and troubleshoot my virtual machines and the server itself to ensure that everything was running smoothly. I ran performance tests and stress tests to see how the server was handling the load and if there were any issues that needed to be addressed.
In conclusion, building a home server from scratch was a challenging but rewarding experience. I was able to put together a powerful and reliable server that met my needs for my home lab environment. The final product has two Xeon CPUs with 12 cores, 24GB of RAM, 480GB SSD and an additional boot M.2 Samsung SSD 256GB with almost 12TB of raw storage on mechanical drives and a powerful NVIDIA GPU. It was a bit more costly than purchasing a pre-built server but in the end, it was definitely worth it as it gave me the flexibility and control that I needed. I learned a lot about server building and virtualization in the process and I am confident that this server will serve me well in my future lab scenarios.
*** Update (June 4th 2023): My Home Lab has been constantly evolving since this post and besides having different servers and parts added to it, it has now been moved to a different location – My SHED! 🙂 Below you will have an updated look of what I’m currently working with.
I also created a special page on this site where you can see all my specs @ https://mariusserbanica.co.uk/homelab/