The Pursuit of Homelabs, Part 4 – Parts A-Plenty

Something to note about the RAID controller: I’m 99% sure that when flashed into IT mode, this will support the drive configuration I’m planning on implementing. I believe this controller was originally intended to only support two logical volumes comprised of up to four physical disks each. As I learn more, I’ll document/post it here. Worst case scenario, I stick with my two drives and upgrade the RAID controller to an H700 or H800 when I order more HDDs.

Optical Disk Drive to HDD Caddy 

After discussing my plans on a few forums, it was recommended that I run my hypervisor (VM manager) on a flash drive or SSD. I don’t want to burn one of my drive bays on a 2.5″, small capacity SSD, and I definitely don’t want a USB flash drive hanging out the front of my SSD (even with the tiny models out now, it wasn’t worth it to me), so what do I do? I remove the blank for the optical drive from the front of my server and replace it with an SSD in a charming optical drive look-alike. Listing here.

Crucial 64GB SSD 

This is only kind of cheating – I already had this SSD lying around after I upgraded my main PC a few years ago. This should be just enough space to install my hypervisor and get things going. Practically any SSD with a SATA interface can accomplish this, so find whatever’s affordable and reliable if you’re piecing together your own build.

Dell GP703 Optical Drive SATA Cable

My R710 listing didn’t specify if it came with an optical disk drive or not, so I played it safe by buying the specific cable needed. Since most servers don’t have the same kind of PSUs and cabling, any old SATA cable wouldn’t have done. It was pretty cheap (listing here), and even if I ended up not needing it – I did – it would have been a nice insurance policy.

What’s Next? 

I had hoped on getting everything set up and running this weekend, but because I need to wait on Amazon to deliver my M246M cables, that’ll have to wait for another day. In the next few posts, I’ll cover hardware set up and installation, updating/flashing the firmware and BIOS on the parts that need it, and start getting hot and heavy with a baremetal hypervisor installation. After that, I can start really getting into setting up some VMs and knocking out some other projects I’ve got planned.