Homelab update – February 2023

Supermicro server

A few days ago I had an opportunity to buy some used hardware that was going to be thrown away. Among all that was a 2U Supermicro server with two E5-2620v4 CPUs and 256 GB of DDR4 RAM. It has 8 LFF slots with caddies but there is no RAID controller and drives are connected directly to the motherboard as JBOD.

It took me a day or two to decide what to do with it and how to utilize it. I will run vSphere on the host with some virtual machines for the lab, like Active directory server, vCenter, Veeam Backup and Replication, vRealize Operations Manager and so on.

I also decided to nest TrueNAS Core on it. I will dedicate up to 64 GB RAM to it and disks will be in passthrough mode so TrueNAS can fully utilize them. I can then map iSCSI LUNs to this host and also to all other hosts in my homelab.
So for the TrueNAS I installed four consumer grade 1 TB SATA SSD drives with converter kit in four slots and in the other four have 2 TB WD RED drives installed. Recently I also bought two Intel DC P3600 400GB SSD NVMe drives that will work as caching drives.

Two Intel DC P3600 400GB SSD drives

But the issue was, where to install ESXi. And I thought of buying a bit better USB key to host my installation, but to my surprise I discovered two 64 GB SATA DOM devices inside the server. This keeps getting better and better.

Two 64GB Supermicro SATA DOM SSD drives

I configured the IPMI so that I can remotely manage the server and then I also installed vSphere 7.0.
This is the first step on utilizing my new host. I will continue this in the next blog post where I will talk about rebuilding my environment from scratch with deployment of first domain controller and vCenter. Stay tuned.