HomeLab Adventures: The Expansioning

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Supermicro X8DT3

Over the last few months, I have been building out more and more virtual machines in my HomeLab ESX Cluster.  Its time to expand.

First came a four node Ceph Cluster, then an OpenStack Juno environment, and then an OpenStack Icehouse environment. Plus, I still needed to build out a Docker/Kubernetes test environment. It started to become apparent that I needed to add more capacity. Especially memory.

I figured it was time to dive into my hardware closet and see if I had any decent hardware. Luckily I was able to find a Supermicro X8DT3, and a couple of Xeon X5550s. I was off to a good start, but what I needed most was RAM. A bit more digging and I was able to find a box of 4gb Dimms , I needed 12 total… I found exactly that.

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1/2 of Memory Dimms Installed

Next, I needed to find a case. I did not feel like dropping $100+ on a new E-ATX case, especially if I did not know if my motherboard was actually working. Luckily I found the a used Cooler Master XM on Ebay. $60 shipped was worth the risk. It was not even used, and was in great shape. You can see the original sticker still in place over the dual hot swap drive bay.

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Somebody Donated this Beast to the Salvation Army

I also needed a power supply, but I was not looking forward to dropping $100+ on a massive modular PSU. Instead I picked up a mid-range 650W power supply off Amazon along with a 8pin CPU splitter. 650W should be plenty to push two 90w Xeons. I read somewhere that DDR3 memory is fairly power efficient, around 2-5 watts per dim. I figured I was safe since I was not going to stuff this new box full of disks. I have a freenas box for that.

Once all my parts arrived, I spent an evening cobbling everything together.  Much to my surprise the system booted without issue. A firmware upgrade was in order, so I finished that off in no time flat.

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It Lives

A bit more digging through the pile turned up an LSI-8888elp raid controller. I plan to run two reclaimed 250GB drives in raid1 config (with a cold spare still in the closet) to give me a bit of local storage, and an ssd drive for the OS.

Had the pleasure of working with this beauty on my test bench. Makes system building much more enjoyable.

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Next up — install ESXi and add to the cluster. This will bring my total ESXI server count to three, perfect for a true cluster. All systems have same motherboards, CPUs, and memory configuration.

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