HP ML150 G6 – The start of my first homelab!

I’ve planned doing this for a while but I just never got around to doing it. Building myself my first homelab with a new to me HP ML150 G6.

I’ve thought about this long and I’ve tried to make sense of why I do in fact need a homelab.  Well for a few reasons.

  1. Replicating a lot of stuff I do for work, in a lab will help me grow and learn. Working in a 24/7, 365 day environment is extremely difficult. I need to be able to work on certain projects in my spare time and practice so that I can deploy them in a live environment.
  2. I need more practice and experience with Hypervisors.  During my day job, I have access or our Vmware ESXi infrastructure but there really isn’t a whole lot to do in our environment.  We do have two other Hypervisor’s in use (Microsoft Hyper-V and Xenserver), which will be decommissioned over the span of a few months and the servers moved onto ESXi.
  3. Building a home network would help me work on skills that I lack in and need to improve on. Working on a proper firewall, such as PFsense or Sophos for home would allow me to step away from the typical consumer grade software/hardware and deal with it on a daily basis at home.
  4. Hosting a game server or two for friends is important for me.
  5. Lastly, I will be preparing to write my CCNA so I’d like to create some kind of working lab (GNS3 or physical) in home home office.

Now as this is my first homelab, I don’t have high standards for the hardware.  I know I don’t want a rack or a rack mounted server. I don’t have the space for it. My house is old and small and I need something much smaller.  A tower server would suite me well.
Tower server’s tend to be a bit quieter as there is much more air flow, thus the fan’s don’t necessarily need to be extremely fast, powerful nor loud.

I have a friend that was selling a tower server I helped him acquire a year ago. It’s an HP ML150 G6. This is a pretty basic server for me but looks like it will work fine.  Looking at the specifications from HP, it was an entry model unit, so it doesn’t have all the higher end components on it. Not a problem.

HP states that this server can take up to 48GB of memory, with both CPU’s occupied. This is a bit of a bummer as I do plan on having a bunch of Virtual Machines and I don’t like being limited by such an amount.  Reading up on the forums regarding this server, many people have been able to surpass the 48GB limit.  Reading this, I test installed 6 sticks of DDR3 ECC server memory.  I currently only have one processor (Intel Xeon E5504 but I have two E5540’s on the way!) installed so I can only use 6 memory slots of the 12 available.

With 48GB of memory installed in the 6 memory slots, I turned on the server and it fired up as normal.  Checking BIOS, it reads the memory just fine. WUNDERBAR!

So now for me to utilize 96GB of memory, I need the following:

  1. 2x Intel Xeon E5540 CPU’s
  2. Second HP ML150 G6 Heatsink
  3. Third system fan for the second CPU installation

I ordered all the components and now I’m playing the waiting game for all the items to arrive.

That’s as far as I’ve gotten with the server. With a hectic personal life and a busy work schedule, I don’t have a whole lot of time.  This will change soon!

The HP ML150 G6 comes with SATA 2 (3Gbps) speeds.  As I would like to run an enterprise Samsunsg SSD or possibly a few SAS drives, I will need to look into a RAID controller which will give me faster drive speeds.  This server came with the built in HP Smart array B110i SATA Raid controller, which can do RAID 0, 1, and 10.

So the next step is to look into a storage solution.  I don’t want to run an external data store. I need to  keep power consumption as limited as possible for the server. I plan to have a few hard drives in a raid fashion, stored inside the server.

For personal data, I do have an older HP EX490 server (not stock) that I use for storing images, videos and personal data. The data is saved and replicated to a total of 4, 2TB drives.  It’s a older server but it’s worked great for my needs at home.

That’s about it. It’s time to sign off and get some sleep before digging into deploying Bit Locker at my workplace.

Once the components arrive, I’ll create a follow-up post and will document my journey from start to finish.

 

Thanks for reading 🙂

2 thoughts on “HP ML150 G6 – The start of my first homelab!

  1. Hi!

    How did it go with ESXi on this machine?
    Am also looking into reconfiguring my ML into a homelab-come-production server for labs, testing and production services at home.
    Have the same hardware, but a Smart array p410i instead.

    Any insights on this?

    Reply

    1. Hello Sorin,

      I haven’t done a lot yet with the server as I am trying to figure out what I will do for storage. I do have a HP P410 that a kind person off of the web shipped me so I installed it. I’ve been looking to get the additional license to run RAID6. I haven’t understood storage yet and this is what I am trying to figure out and keep it low cost. I could purchase a 4-bay RAID unit and have it plugged into a switch but they tend to be a bit pricey.

      I do have ESXi 6.5 installed on a USB Flash drive and that is plugged directly onto the motherboard. I think I will run one or two drives off of the RAID controller using RAID 0 (Not really raid but more for speed) until I sort out storage. I had to purchase off ebay two Mini SAS 36P SFF-8087 to SFF-8482+15P to have spare as I don’t have the cabling to attach my 1TB SAS drives into the server.

      Of course I will write a post about this and detail what I find. I have sourced the HP SPP’s but I can’t seem to get the server to update accordingly.

      Reply

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