Rent dedicated server or use homelab?

Soldato
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I need a server for various reasons and I'm curious about whether to rent a dedicated server or to buy a server and use it at home? My current situation is that I live in a shared house so it has be small enough to fit in a single bedroom/work room but all support all the major server features so I can ensure that my websites and apps work well in production. It absolutely must support IPMI or iDRAC or another alternative. I use a Mac with macOS as the client so that needs to be taken into account.

I have a static IP address so I'd like to see how it performs in the real world.
 
Soldato
OP
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Oh and a couple of other things. I'd like to run FreeBSD on it to test out ZFS on a multi drive configuration. I'd also like to test bhyve also running on top of FreeBSD as well as testing Linux in a virtual machine running on top of a FreeBSD host.
 
Soldato
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well.. i dont think its ever a good idea to punch holes through your router to internal network, unless you know what your doing.
so from a safety perspective rent externally.

if your only playing with interal stuff then buy something. you can get soem "cheap" servers but de[ending what you want and get noice / running costs could be the issue.


tbh you dont really need a server, just an old pc or laptop. anythin in production is likely to be a VM.
so i think you need to think abotu waht services you actually want to play with. zfs is a file system.
 
Soldato
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well.. i dont think its ever a good idea to punch holes through your router to internal network, unless you know what your doing.
so from a safety perspective rent externally.

if your only playing with interal stuff then buy something. you can get soem "cheap" servers but de[ending what you want and get noice / running costs could be the issue.


tbh you dont really need a server, just an old pc or laptop. anythin in production is likely to be a VM.
so i think you need to think abotu waht services you actually want to play with. zfs is a file system.
Thank you. The plan was this. I have 5 static IPv4 addresses so I was going to give. the server a dedicated IP address and then set up a firewall using pf.
Servers are not cheap to power , it would also be best to have it on a separate, vlan and ideally a firewall in front of it, other wise you will find it gets hacked very quickly
Thank you. I might have to upgrade my router for VLANs. Luckily I don't pay an electricity bill.
 
Soldato
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noise is something you need to take in to consideration, if you want it on 24x7. even if its on when ever you want to play with it, the wrong one will mean ear defenders and unhappy room mates.

regarding the idrac/ipmi side of things. there are other options the Vpro side of thinks or a ipkvm. it reall depends what you are expecting to do with idrac and ipmi.
you could schedule power on bios (usually if its a busines bios) and off with scripts.

what it sounds like you probably want it actually a hypervisor. were you should be able to do a lot of the core stuff.

maybe consider a HPE ProLiant MicroServer G7 N54L
but it very much depends on the app(s) you running ect.
but its small enough and has some of the idrac feature.
costs should below, and noise is relatively quiet also, you can sit in the same room as it!
4bay default with mods 5-6 bays. RAM 16gb but the cpu lets it down a little. BUT if your apps work on this thing it shoud have issues on production.

depeending on which router you have though oftern its there in settings, for things like setting up guest vlans.
 
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Soldato
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Apart from the storage and IPMI features, there doesn’t seem to be much that can’t be done with small cheap(ish) NUC. Websites and VMs don’t need vast resources and USB3 storage is cheap and easy enough to add if required.

It’s only the IPMI and on board attached storage that will make you feel the need for a proper server class device especially IPMI which always seems to be restricted to server boards. In which case, have a look to see what Dell and HP have available as pedestal servers. Don’t get a rack mount as the fan noise will drive you nuts.

Can’t comment on going cloud based as every time I’ve looked into it myself I’ve found the available options over priced for my needs
 
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Soldato
OP
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noise is something you need to take in to consideration, if you want it on 24x7. even if its on when ever you want to play with it, the wrong one will mean ear defenders and unhappy room mates.

regarding the idrac/ipmi side of things. there are other options the Vpro side of thinks or a ipkvm. it reall depends what you are expecting to do with idrac and ipmi.
you could schedule power on bios (usually if its a busines bios) and off with scripts.

what it sounds like you probably want it actually a hypervisor. were you should be able to do a lot of the core stuff.

maybe consider a HPE ProLiant MicroServer G7 N54L
but it very much depends on the app(s) you running ect.
but its small enough and has some of the idrac feature.
costs should below, and noise is relatively quiet also, you can sit in the same room as it!
4bay default with mods 5-6 bays. RAM 16gb but the cpu lets it down a little. BUT if your apps work on this thing it shoud have issues on production.

depeending on which router you have though oftern its there in settings, for things like setting up guest vlans.

Lost corpse is right noise and heat are also factors to consider.
Thank you both for commenting on the noise. I guess I won't be able to do it in that case then as I'll probably get killed by my house mates. Instead of getting that server I think I'll probably just rent a cheap dedicated server since it sorts out a lot of the problems.
 
Soldato
OP
Joined
1 Nov 2007
Posts
5,594
Location
England
Apart from the storage and IPMI features, there doesn’t seem to be much that can’t be done with small cheap(ish) NUC. Websites and VMs don’t need vast resources and USB3 storage is cheap and easy enough to add if required.

It’s only the IPMI and on board attached storage that will make you feel the need for a proper server class device especially IPMI which always seems to be restricted to server boards. In which case, have a look to see what Dell and HP have available as pedestal servers. Don’t get a rack mount as the fan noise will drive you nuts.

Can’t comment on going cloud based as every time I’ve looked into it myself I’ve found the available options over priced for my needs
Thank you. I guess this is a good point on the other hand Hetzner are doing reasonable one month contract dedicated servers for £30 or so which would be perfect for testing the things I'm looking at.
 
Associate
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If you want to put something together OP, look into Supermicro and their offering in consumer motherboard space.

I've had X9SIL and now rocking X10SRM (both Micro ATX boards) and they have been so rock solid it is unreal.

Never had a single issue due to motherboard failure/hiccup since about 2011 and I've run both at 24/7 (still running my X10SRM now and not planning on changing it anytime soon)

Both boards obviously fully support IPMI for .iso mounting and generally getting into the BIOS when you are remote.

On a more mainstream/consumer market, look for processors with vPro built in which is sort of IPMI but without anything fancy.
 
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Soldato
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What's your actual use-case OP? FreeBSD (assuming 14) and Bhyve are great to work with, and you can just run ipfw or pf on-device. Why is IPMI so important? I mean, I get how handy it is(!) I'm just wondering why *you* need it. Would something like Proxmox work as an alternative? Type 1 hypervisor, webUI to handle containers and VMs, and you can run as many servers as you like. I retired a large, old FreeBSD 12 server in favour of a SER5 mini-PC running Proxmox, and it hasn't missed a beat. I have Rocky Linux LXC containers running docker for servers and a couple of VMs (the webUI has a built in VNC terminal, very handy). That's 12 low power Ryzen threads, a chunk of RAM and a couple of TB NVMe storage sipping a few watts and serving almost my entire infra at this point. Worth considering. You don't need a server to play with ZFS, and I'd leave that type of experimentation to a non-production device.
 
Soldato
OP
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Posts
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Location
England
What's your actual use-case OP? FreeBSD (assuming 14) and Bhyve are great to work with, and you can just run ipfw or pf on-device. Why is IPMI so important? I mean, I get how handy it is(!) I'm just wondering why *you* need it. Would something like Proxmox work as an alternative? Type 1 hypervisor, webUI to handle containers and VMs, and you can run as many servers as you like. I retired a large, old FreeBSD 12 server in favour of a SER5 mini-PC running Proxmox, and it hasn't missed a beat. I have Rocky Linux LXC containers running docker for servers and a couple of VMs (the webUI has a built in VNC terminal, very handy). That's 12 low power Ryzen threads, a chunk of RAM and a couple of TB NVMe storage sipping a few watts and serving almost my entire infra at this point. Worth considering. You don't need a server to play with ZFS, and I'd leave that type of experimentation to a non-production device.
Sorry for the reply being late.

Basically I'm looking to create an automated platform that can create, edit, manage and destroy virtual machines automatically and I want to support NetBSD, FreeBSD and OpenBSD out of the box. I want a dedicated server as the only other option is to buy a cheap PC. Also I want to do some stress testing.

The plan is to try and launch a VPS platform and I need to make sure I have everything I need to do it properly.
 
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