Building an all-in-one home server?

I’ve been thinking about building an all in one server lately. The goal would be to consolidate the two servers I currently have (Win2k3 outside server, Windows Home Server inside) into one physical box using virtualization.

The difficulty is trying to make up for Windows Home Server 2011′s missing features (that were in the original WHS). So I’ve been reading and have been thinking about building a computer built on ESXi 4.1 with OpenIndiana and a SATA controller card through VT-d hosting up to 8 HDDs which would be the host storage for the WHS 2011 drive. The HDDs would be setup using ZFS RAID Z-2 (2 parity drives), at with 3TB per drive, just 4 drives would yield 6TB usable storage. It would be exposed to WHS 2011 through iSCSI in ESXi.

From there the WHS 2011 VM would use that storage to store all my media for sharing. Because WHS 2011 doesn’t have any sort of data duplication (Drive Extender was removed in 2011), just putting the data on 1 HDD wont protect it from failure. And WHS 2011 doesn’t support drives larger than 3TB (the VHD file format used to backup one drive to another for redundancy doesn’t support images larger than 2TB).

Finally, I’d also have a VM of Windows 2k3 server as the outside server, hooked to a VT-d NIC (either the 2nd one on the motherboard or a separate add-in card compatible with VT-d). This would be the web server, server I remote to from work to browse the internet, etc.

The difficulty is that all this requires a fair amount of computer hardware. Just about $2,000 for a nice configuration (from the ground up, no recycled hardware). This includes case, PSU, motherboard, CPU, RAM, SAS/SATA controller card, HDDs, and a 160GB SSD for all the operating systems (maybe that I could replace with a cheapo 500GB drive, or two in RAID-1). Considering I just upgraded my desktop this year, I’m not in a hurry to run out and spend more money on computer parts.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *