Many of you know I've spent the past few weeks putting together a VMware vSphere home lab build. I'm proud to say that I'm finally getting all the pieces put together. I'm also going to give you a parts list so you can re-create it. Luckily, I got a bunch of components on Black Friday (for those outside the US, it's the day after Thanksgiving when every single store is on sale, including Newegg.com).
One goal of this was to retire my old "gaming" rig. It's in quotes because this thing is old now. This new lab should replace my desktop and have a central repository for all my music and photos. I was going back and forth on what to do. Should I build one massive box and do a nested vSphere environment like the vTARDIS or do I build 2 machines and have a NAS serve up storage. The latter is a bit more expensive and I'm doing this on a budget of $2000. After getting input from @vTexan, @j_nash, @Phaelon74, @ericsiebert, @ChrisDearden, @Virtual_Vic, @jasemccarty, and many more, I decided to go with building 2 machines and having a NAS serve up storage. I have to say thanks to my sponsors Veeam, Train Signal, VKernel, and PHD Virtual for helping me with this opportunity.
Since I'm building 2 boxes, I need to go green on everything. The last thing I want are machines sitting around using 350-600watts of power. My thought process was to build 2 machines that contain no drives, not even a CD drive, and boot from SD or USB. Also, many NAS devices out there by QNAP, Synology, and Thecus are able to serve up storage and do it with very low wattage. I also needed a managed gigabit switch to handle all the traffic. I wanted something with 16-24 ports that was also fanless to help cut down on energy.
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