2020? Projects

(If you’re wondering about the title it’s that I doubt I’ll have the budget for any of this in the coming year so maybe next year..maybe.)

I think going forward I’m going to go back to building my PCs instead of buying machines, except obviously for if I replace my going on 10 year old laptop. Maybe buy a refurbished machine for a server depending on the use case but otherwise probably just go back to custom build – I could probably use the practice anyway since I think my last build was my NAS and that was in 2015. In the mean time I’ve been slowly adding/upgrading the PC I use as my primary what I can, which I’m still needing to add more memory and an upgraded network card since for some strange reason the onboard from HP is only 10/100 despite being on a new enough board to support an AMD Phenom II X4 840T. At some point though I’d like to build a new machine so I can support better graphics cards and more memory. (HP shipped with Intel graphics I think and I added a 1GB Radeon 5570 PCI Express card to be able to handle my 3 monitor setup.)

NAS Upgrades / FreeNAS Mk II
So in 2015 I built a new storage box to handle all my file storage and to be a central storage for my home lab virtual machines instead of chunks of storage spread out all over the place. However I did this more on a “how fast/cheap can I get this done?” method than planning for expandability/performance. I’m considering building a second one to use just for my XenServer VMs and leaving the first unit for file storage. I’m not sure how much I can upgrade to increase performance other than maybe additional memory – I’m currently only running 16 GB while the board supports 64 GB. I currently have all 12 bays filled, 7 3TB WD Red, 4 1TB Seagate Enterprise (migrated from old fileserver) and a 400 GB drive I threw in as it was laying around. I don’t have any SSDs installed, and none of the drives are assigned to L2ARC or ZIL so maybe replacing 1-2 of the 1TB drives with SSDs for those could help maybe. Any capacity increase would have to come from swapping out drives with larger capacity drives. I’ve debated about building a second unit to handle just the VM storage but I’m not sure if I will do that yet. I should note I’m not saturating the NICs yet so any bottleneck is likely in the storage itself (short of something in the switch – Cisco 2948G-GE-TX – preventing use of the full gigabit links).

Additional VM Host(s)
I currently have 2 Dell PowerEdge servers being used to run VMs however due to time between purchases they are far from matched.. one is a 2950 and the other is a R900. At some point I’d like to maybe build (or maybe buy) some closer to the R900 to give some room and allow for fail-overs as the R900 occasionally reboots itself. The 2950 doesn’t have the memory to handle all of the VMs failing over from the R900 (32 GB vs 128 GB). The reboots might just be a bad memory module but I haven’t torn the machine apart to try and diagnose this. Perhaps also adding some higher speed (10/40Gbit) network cards for future use (ie storage)

I’m sure I will probably come up with more going down the road but thought this would work for a post since the weather has not been noteworthy outside of being unusually warm for January.

(EDIT 1/6/19 12:55 AM – I realized I forgot a build)

VMWare/Hyper-V Host

I should probably build a small-ish host to try out running Hyper-V and/or VMWare that I can blow up if need be just to get some hands-on time since my main environment is built on XenServer. I think I have some parts towards this I can use so mainly probably just finding a motherboard that fits.

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