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Building a new home server for NAS / web hosting / etc. Hardware opinions?

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Have you looked at ESXi? It's free (even for business use), assuming you don't need anything beyond the ability to run VM's. ;) I use it on an HP Z800 with dual quad Xeon 5670's (I think that's the right model). I have a WHS2011 VM (StableBit DrivePool with three 1TB HDD's, Plex, Sonarr, sabnzbd - it has the onboard 6 port SATA HBA and a PCIe 1x USB3 card attached via pcipassthrough), my 'gaming' machine (Win 8.1 pro with an R9 270X and a pair of onboard USB ports attached via pcipassthrough), and a couple other VM's running.

The reason I ask is, if you're using Windows VM's, I found the performance in ESXi to be / feel much better than what I found in Xen (and pcipassthrough was easier to configure).

:)
 
Have you looked at ESXi? It's free (even for business use), assuming you don't need anything beyond the ability to run VM's. ;) I use it on an HP Z800 with dual quad Xeon 5670's (I think that's the right model). I have a WHS2011 VM (StableBit DrivePool with three 1TB HDD's, Plex, Sonarr, sabnzbd - it has the onboard 6 port SATA HBA and a PCIe 1x USB3 card attached via pcipassthrough), my 'gaming' machine (Win 8.1 pro with an R9 270X and a pair of onboard USB ports attached via pcipassthrough), and a couple other VM's running.

The reason I ask is, if you're using Windows VM's, I found the performance in ESXi to be / feel much better than what I found in Xen (and pcipassthrough was easier to configure).

:)

I did try ESXi on the test server. It just did not work well (lots of problems with setup) and it required a windows machine to manage it with (which I don't have - at least any that are not VM guests) which was a deal breaker for me.

I ended up using Citrix XenServer 6.5 and it worked quite well. I had some minor setup issues with the storage due to my choice for the raid controller but once I got past that it all worked perfectly. I had to add a second raid mirror using a couple of cheap SSDs for the XenServer OS partition and I used my large spinning disks for the local storage. I currently have a ubuntu web server, a ubuntu plex media server, a ubuntu test server, and 2 Server 2012 R2 VMs set up on it. I use openxenmanager to administrate most of it from my mint workstation and a handful of command line things that need to be done only when a new VM is added (adjust CPU/memory minimum/maximum and set autostart if needed). So far it has been running perfect. I still have not decided on a NAS solution. I hope to find something that can connect to an external USB 3.0 drive so if the OS croaks the stored files will be safe.
 
I still have not decided on a NAS solution. I hope to find something that can connect to an external USB 3.0 drive so if the OS croaks the stored files will be safe.

You might look at XPEnolgy. It runs great in a VM and supports externally connected devices (including storage). Once some cables I ordered arrive, I plan on putting it to use in my ESXi host for use in my office at work. :)
 
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