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MiniITX Hyper-V Server

by Moaxial

10
12 Comments

Part List View full price breakdown

Details

Date Published

Dec. 1, 2014

Date Built

Oct. 1, 2012

CPU Clock Rate

2.9GHz

CPU Temperature While Idle

45.0° C

CPU Temperature Under Load

65.0° C

Description

I started off with an Atom based MiniITX Windows Home Server, I quickly outgrew that and I knew I wanted to virtualize. I couldn't afford a "proper" server and didn't want a big, noisy, power hungry 2nd hand blade...

As you can see from the pic (in its natural environment next to the printer and covered in dust!), this is tiny server in space that wouldn't fit a normal ATX. Its based on desktop hardware with enough space for 5 drives internally (2x3.5", 2x2.5" and 1 MSATA), and one external (pictured). I chose Windows 2012 and Hyper-V after messing about with ESXi and realising how fussy it could be with non-server hardware and frankly a pain to configure on non-supported gear.

This runs 4-5 guests, a 2012 server for a domain/file server, a windows 7 desktop for CCTV software and a couple of alternative transcoding media servers, a couple of Linux turnkey boxes, and most of the time a Windows 8.1 development machine.

Small cramped case, small fans and in the summer its hot and noisy, however in the winter under a normal load it can be barely audible. The low profile cooler does only an adequate job and start to push it and the 5 case fans often spin up, I use Speedfan to control it and that works great.

Still averaging about 50-60W and obviously more than double that under load, can't touch my Atom at 30W, or those Synology NAS things at 10W, but acceptable. It sits at around 40C in the case and the CPU is around 50C most the time, so tiny cases and low profiles coolers are a compromise.

Virtualization servers don't do power management, and the reason is obvious, however for a home lab I needed to offset the 24/7 power use somehow. So, I coded my own power management command line util that reports on the host and all its guests to determine if they are busy and then shut the whole thing down...Wake On Lan can bring it up even from the internet and this works well as Hyper-v will "save state" on the guests (like hibernate) and it can back to normal in a couple of minutes.

I built this up gradually over a couple of years and didn't have the £1100+ quoted here to spend on a system outright, my starting point is usually about half that. Pretty sure due to price fluctuations in drives and memory, promotions etc, I paid less than a £1000.

CPU rarely stressed, the only downside is the 16GB ram limit which now leads me to consider porting it all to a bigger board?

Comments Sorted by:

Eschaton 6 Builds 1 point 46 months ago

I assume linux has no issues with that ethernet adapter you've got in there? Also, why are you using that? Need two connections or something?

plgdg 1 Build 1 point 46 months ago

Most servers should have 2 or more Ethernet connections for the sake of redundancy. Never have loss of connectivity due to a bad port or bad cabling.

Eschaton 6 Builds 1 point 46 months ago

Haha, tell that to the guys at my work.

plgdg 1 Build 1 point 46 months ago

I have 4 Gigabit Ethernet ports on our server at work...

Eschaton 6 Builds 1 point 46 months ago

All serving the same connection, though?

plgdg 1 Build 1 point 46 months ago

Yes.

Moaxial submitter 2 Builds 1 point 46 months ago

Yep, what he said :-)

Most servers will have at least two, wish I could have bought a proper server board with two ports built in OR had room for 2nd PCI ethernet card in my case...After crossing those two off pretty much leaves only USB.

Works OK though, used to get occasional USB 3.0 drop out on the host though :-( Think this is Z77 chipset related.

Yes! My Linux machines use this fine. Hyper-V "virtualizes" the hardware and Ubuntu and the versions of Turnkey Linux servers I use seem to support Hyper-V.

the_masater_jt 1 Build 1 point 46 months ago

Definitely needs more pics!

Moaxial submitter 2 Builds 1 point 46 months ago

Sorry! Yes I know, to be honest I didn't think it would get much interest!

I will pull the server out of its hiding place, give it a dust and take some more pics soon.

the_masater_jt 1 Build 1 point 46 months ago

Awesome, that's good to hear and don't worry about, but especially since its a server i think it would get more attention since typically there int as many on here as there is gaming pc's.

Moaxial submitter 2 Builds 1 point 46 months ago

Corrected the parts list, removed extra drive and added the cooler

Moaxial submitter 2 Builds 1 point 46 months ago

Added more photos!

It needed a dust so I got it out for some shots of my spectacularly bad cable management :-)

At least you can see just how small and tightly packed it is.