So yesterday I bought a server, like an actual server capable of being installed in a rack. A Dell Poweredge R710 with dual Intel Xeon E5640 cpus, 24GB RAM, 2x 146gb 10k HDDs. It has upgrade potentials in all those areas but that’s at a later date.

The idea for this is for me to get my hands on a cheap server to get a real world sense of what’s inside, to see how it goes together, and play with random software. It will become a virtual lab server. I’ll boot it up occasionally to run whatever software I’m looking at at the time during my free time. I want to play with enterprise grade software within a virtual world. I figured this would be cheaper than just getting a few optiplexes and toss some OS them and set up a simple network. Just one optiplex was going for about or a bit more than just this one server and wouldn’t be powerful enough do a lab themselves. I need to be able to run 3 or 4 VMs with several GBs of ram each and my current computers just can’t cope with that.

First, I want to play with some bare metal hypervisors. Just to poke about the interface and likely will settle on ESXI and from there, install one or two windows servers (maybe look at the different versions I’d expect to see in the real world) and a client box or two and whatever else I might need to run.

My current computers are just a couple quad cores with 8gb of ram each and are configured just how I want them. They can and do run VMs, just small ones though. My desktop might have 2 or 3 at the most and that’ll occupy more than half of the ram. The other desktop, my file server, runs a few small linux VMs for various reasons.

Considering I can pick up a decent used computer for under $200, I figure, why not. It’s something to learn on. Maybe I’ll blog about it.

And the purpose of it all, to practice for my comptia network+ and server+ certs. The virtual networking within the VMs probably won’t help but it’ll give a general idea.