Home Server Stack v2

     It has been a year or so since I have done an update on my home server stack, there have been a considerable amount of changes and of course a lot of lessons learned. I recently changed jobs and had to move my stack over 1500 miles away, which ended up in a complete rethink in how I built my server rack. I have also made a few nice additions including a PF Sense firewall along with more everything, lol.

Network Configuration


     Up front I have a cable modem/wireless/router combo that runs on its own subnet (192.168.0.x), behind that is a dedicated PF Sense Firewall connected via dual wired gigabit to the modem and then dual wired gigabit to the switch. The firewall is also running a separate subnet (192.168.100.x) for all of the devices behind it. At the back bone of my network lies a Dell 5324 PowerConnect 24 Port Gigabit Managed switch, I picked this thing up off ebay for less than $100 and it has been nothing but solid for me. There is an additional wireless access point behind the firewall, this way if the firewall would ever be down for whatever reason the wireless in front of the firewall will still be accessible. All of the connections to the servers are through wired Cat 6.


“Custom” Server Rack

     I had to move this whole thing over 1500 miles, and what I found was my other server rack was not the most move friendly. Basically because none of the devices were flush in the front and back of the rack, there was no way to wrap it and move it as everything would slide and probably break. This called for a new rack and this time I made sure to build it to be completely self contained and moveable as one piece. The frame is constructed from 2 x 3’s and I used 3/4 thick pine boards to cover the sides and top. For the finish I went with an ebony stain and finished the top with a few coats of poly urethane. The end result has a nice desk top and can hold 5 x 1U and 2 x 2U servers.


For power I have 2 x CyberPower 1000VA/600W (CP1000AVRLCD) units. I made a simple shelf out of wood that allows me to stack them and stained it to match the rack.



Dell PowerEdge 1950

Role: Dedicated Firewall/IDS/VPN
OS: VMWare ESXi 5.5
CPU: 1 x 1.6GHz Xeon Quad Core
Disks: 4 x 73Gb SAS 10k (RAID 5)
Network: 4 x Gb NICs
VMs: 1

Notes: Runs PFSense for firewall with Snort package for IDS. I am using VMWare to separate the network interfaces, 2 nics on a “WAN Network” and 2 nics on a “LAN Network”. At the OS level PFSense only see’s 2 nics, one WAN and one LAN, the redundancy is transparent.

Dell CS24-SC

Role: Utility
OS: Windows 7 x64
CPU: 2 x Xeon 2.5GHz Quad Cores
Disks: 1 x 250GB 7.2k Sata, 1 x 1Tb 7.2k Sata
Network: 2 x Gb NICs

Notes: I use this as my “jump box” and for misc utility work like moving VMs and other time consuming task. I also use it as my dedicated Serviio media server.

3 x Dell CS24-SC

Role: Dev Enviroment
OS: VMWare ESXi 5.5
CPU: 2 x Xeon 2.5GHz Quad Cores (each)
RAM: 16Gb DDR2 (each)
Disks: (1) 3 x 250GB 7.2k Sata, 1 x 3Tb 7.2k Sata
           (1) 4 x 250GB 7.2k Sata
           (1) 4 x 146GB 15k SAS
Network: 2 x Gb NICs (each)
VMs: 12+

Notes: This is purely my dev environment for building, learning and playing. I currently have 12+ VM’s running Fedora, Ubuntu, Windows Server 08 R2/2012, FreeNAS and more. I currently have an entire Windows web farm which has 2 AD, 2 IIS/ARR Load Balancers, 2 IIS Webservers and 2 MS SQL/MySQL DB servers running on 2 of these physical servers, it runs great!

Dell PowerEdge 2950 GII

Role: Load Balancer, Web/DB Server
OS: VMWare ESXi 5.5
CPU: 2 x Xeon 2.0GHz Quad Cores
RAM: 16Gb DDR2
Disks: 6 x 73 15k SAS (RAID 5)
Network: 4 x Gb NICs
VMs: 2

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