Home Lab Series: Compute v2

This is all about my journey to a more modern Home Lab, a few months ago I upgraded all my networking kit and its now time to upgrade the compute. I already have a patching rack and a server rack at home for all my Cisco networking gear so I decided that I would go down the route of buying 1U Rack Mount servers for my Home Lab. I am very familiar with DELL hardware so that was a simple choice.

I decided on the DELL PowerEdge R610 which is a member of the DELL 11th Generation Family of Servers, which after a BIOS upgrade to v6.4.0 is capable of running a pair of INTEL Xeon X5675s which are Hex Core 3.06GHz 95w TDP Hyper-Threaded CPU and supporting 12 x 16GB DDR3 memory modules giving a total capacity of 192GB of RAM, due to financial constraints I opted for 6 x 16GB DDR3 memory modules giving a total capacity of 96GB of RAM.

I purchased the DELL SD Card Holder and an SD Card on which I installed VMware ESXi v5.5 which I recently upgraded to VMware ESXi v6.0, the little plastic TCP / iSCSI Offload Enabling Key and the DELL iDRAC 6 Enterprise Card which I recently upgraded to v2.85. In order to run the pair of INTEL Xeon X5675 CPUs that I purchased I had to replace the DELL 502w Power Supplies with the DELL 717w Power Supplies. I also removed all of the 2.5″ HDDs from the front of the servers and then I removed the SAS back plane and the 2 SAS cables and the SAS back plane power cable and also the integrated RAID card to both reduce power consumption and also to increase air flow through the server for a lower fan speed. I also purchased a pair of INTEL I350-T4 cards which are quad port 1 Gbit ethernet network cards so this gives me a total of 12 x 1 Gbit ethernet links and also a 100Mbit dedicated DELL iDRAC link.

I had a custom built OAK office into which I designed a server rack which has a hot air extraction vent in the back and also a pair of holes one for the power cables and one for the network cables, below you can see the process of racking the servers.

DELL PowerEdge R610

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