If redoing your homeserver, what would you do differently?

I have finally gotten to updated my home ‘server’ from an ancient AMD to a modern i5 (with more RAM). I had Ubuntu server on the old one, but am not tied to that moving forward. My original plan was to do CentOS + oVirt, but with the recent CentOS news I’m not sure.

I liked having the Ubuntu base, before snaps and dockers were as popular as they are now. Since it will be LAN-only, I’m not too picky on security. I would rather rename my server/services to be something like function.lan or app.homeserver.lan. I am familiar with nginx, but not https on local area.

With all that said, what would you do differently if redeploying your home server? What things did you buy-in on that you would like to change now? I want to set this one up for another 5+ years without having to go back to change anything!

I bought into dual xeon processors for my homeserver with a power supply that nearly dims the lights on the street – okay not that bad – but you get the idea. I have since discovered that later generations of the intel core series have a built in “GPU” that handles videos better than my dual xeons and they sip the electricity instead of guzzle it. I do alot of video delivery on my home server – mainly surveillance and media/entertainment services.

My next server won’t take $350 a year to keep it on.


Ovirt is a bit overkill for a single node, things I would do diffrently is more defined DNS, non of that storage.lan garbage, but use storage.home.my.domain so that I dont have to worry about weird DNS stuff

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Having built several home servers in the past, I would say, never USB-attach anything, where some sort of network service relies on that USB connection. Having said this, periodically doing a backup onto a USB-attached external drive, to take a backup offsite, is fine.

Also, never cheap out on hardware. I’m not saying you need any enterprise grade hardware just for your home, but start with decent-quality hardware which isn’t dodgy. Let there be not a single off-brand, cheapskate part in your server setup. Better to wait, save up a little more money if necessary, and do it right the first time.

What does this mean? Don’t do it on LAN, do it using a normal domain?

@esbeeb It’s an extra from a workplace, a Dell Optplex something something. It is an upgrade from a leftover VERY cheap desktop I had, where the ethernet port didn’t work.

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instead of having a DNS entry like node.home or node.lan. use node.home.waltr.tech and use the power of DNS settings so that node will get turns into node.home.waltr.tech

I’ve got great mileage myself out of old Dell Desktops as home servers. BTW: I have no qualms about using used hardware, so long as it’s tested as working well from the beginning (as in, put it through its paces).

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Maybe it would be worth looking into reproducibility? I’d suggest looking into Nix packages, or if you are brave NixOS. It is a declarative distribution, that means that if you backup the configuration file, it is very simple to completely rebuild your system from a software perspective :sunglasses::+1:

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Any important conf file I make, I back it up into a personal git repo. There is no declaritiveness, however. I use Debian or Ubuntu on all my servers.

Agreed with the Dell desktops bit. That’s what I currently use for a home server. Lenovo ThinkCentres also make reliable servers.

Also, in the past, I have also reused old Thecus NAS units - I’ve blown away the Thecus firmware and replaced it with standard Ubuntu Server. They work well as a cheap to run Intel x64 server (only Atom so nothing too CPU heavy).

What about OS? AlmaLinux, CentOS stream, Ubuntu, somrthing else? I was going to convert to CentOS until they changed their release cycle. I have Ubuntu now (for home and on DO for other services), but wanted something that just STAYS for several long years until the hardware starts failing.

use what you have the most knowledge with.

a CentOS stream system that you dont run dnf update on is the same as CentOS OG.

You have 16 free Redhat Production licenses. So if you are more versed in the Redhat world. Run Redhat! :slight_smile:

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I don’t have so much a home server, but I have a backup server built from leftover parts. I only bought a new 600W XTech power supply for DOP 750 ($15). As Dutchman I really cheaped out on the server :slight_smile:

  1. The case is an original Compaq Evo Tower with a Windows 98SE sticker :slight_smile:
  2. The Xtech power supply has two SATA plugs and two Molex plugs just perfect for my build.
  3. The server has 4 disks (1.21TB). 2 x SATA-1 2.5" (2 x 320GB) and 2 x IDE 3.5" (250 & 320GB).
  4. The motherboard is from a 2003 HP D530 SFF,
  5. The CPU is a Pentium 4 HT at 3.0GHz with 4 x 512MB of DDR (400 Mhz).
  6. The server runs 32-bits FreeBSD 13.0-RC5 on OpenZFS 2.0 with two lz4 compressed datapools, one for the striped laptop HDDs and one for the striped IDE HDDs.

FreeBSD runs from the striped IDE disks too. The system is powered on for max one hour during the weekly backup, so electricity costs are close to zero. It ages say 50 hours/year, say 1 week/year and 1 year in half a century. It is in use since June 2019.
I’m 75, so the system should easily outlive me :frowning:

The only disadvantage is, that the 1 Gbps Ethernet link runs at 200 Mbps, because the CPU load on one CPU thread is between 90% and 95% for mainly the SSH process. I’m not afraid for the cheap power supply, because it is protected on the net side by a 1200W Avtek Surge Protector and the HP D530 SFF did run of a 250W power supply with that same motherboard; CPU and 250GB IDE HDD.

Needless to say that for $15 I can’t imagine a better solution :slight_smile:

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Thanks! I couldn’t remember what RedHat had changed them to. I’ll look into that. I am more comfortable in Ubuntu, but I want ‘real world practice’ with RedHat which is why I was looking at CentOS.

*EDIT: after looking at it, Ubuntu and RHEL have close to same EOLs, I may stay on Ubuntu

I would have started using Proxmox sooner.

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