Homelab downgrade…worth it?

After reading /r/homelab for a couple of months, I thought I found the holy grail of servers. I came across a R710 for $150 on eBay and the seller lived in my neighborhood. I excitedly picked it up on my way home. I was thrilled. I acquired a beast of a machine for less than any previous computer I had ever purchased. The R710 came with 2x XEON E5645, 48GB DDR3, dual 870W power supplies, etc. It was everything I wanted. I was able to run multiple VMs, messed around with Splunk, and tinkered with Docker.

A few months later, I realized that the server was overkill for my usage. I was mostly using the VM with Plex and a few other docker containers. I decided to downgrade. I found a Dell Optiplex 9020 USFF  PC with a Core i5-4570s @ 2.90GHz and 8GB RAM. I didn’t realize how small the USFF size was (about the size of textbook).  I installed Ubuntu 18.04, docker, and then migrated my most used containers from the R710.

I was able to get my most used features from the R710 from a tiny desktop PC. The benefits from downgrading my server are:

  • 18W electricity at load (streaming Plex) compared to 140W for the R710
  • quiet (i can use my office again!)
  • much smaller foot print

All in all, I am happy with the down grade. I’m able to continue running my most used services at a lower cost. I can use my office again because it’s quiet and the temperature is unaffected by the running server. 

I am currently working on revising my docker images and getting into docker-composer. I’ve found the smarthome beginner guide to be very useful.

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