Intro to this Blog


Hi Everyone,

This is my first post here and I wanted to share with you what I am planning on blogging about.

I have a great many interests, from programming, to developing robotics to building large pieces of equipment. I love the idea of building something in the virtual world and also being able to control something in the physical world.

For the next few months, this blog is going to be covering my adventure into building a lab that fully shows how an on premise to azure datacenter works and all the pieces that make it work.

I also have other uses for this hardware such as:

  • Game for Mobile phone
  • Home Audio Controller via Mobile
  • Home Automation via Mobile
  • Home Cloud
  • Home zero Client for every room in the house, every screen/TV included.
  • Home Security

Lets look at the hardware in place thus far:

  • 6x HP DL380 G5 servers, each with 2x 3.19ghz dual core processors and 32gb of ram (8x 4gb ddr2) with 4x 73gb Hard Drives at 10k RPM
  • 1x HP DL380 G5 servers, each with 2x 3.19ghz quad core processors and 64gb of ram (8x 4gb ddr2) with 8x 156gb Hard Drives at 10k RPM
  • 5x HP DL580 G5 servers, each with 4x 2.4ghz 6 core processors and 128gb of ram (32x 4gb ddr2) with 16x 73gb Hard Drives at 10k RPM
  • 1x Dell PowerEdge 2900 with 2x 3.19ghz quad core processors and 48gb of ram and 6x 156gb Hard Drives at 15k RPM
  • 4x Dell MD1000 DAS arrays, each can handle 15x hard drives up to 2TB each (at 5400 rpm at 2tb), though only one of these is populated with 15x 500GB 10k RPM hard drives in Raid 5
  • 2x Fast Iron 24 port Work Group switches, each has 5 SFP ports which I have populated with 10gbs transceivers, one switch per rack.
  • 1x Fast Iron 48 port POE switch (Power over Ethernet), this is mainly for connecting the home ports to the racks
  • 1x 16 port Silkworm Fiber San Switch 4gbs with 10 transceivers (all the servers have at least one hookup to this to share the MD1000 storage).
  • 2x Quantum Superloader L700 Tape backup systems (LTO-3)
  • 2x APC 3000 Rack mount UPS 110v
  • 2x Eaton 3000 Rack mount UPS 220v
  •  2x Raritan PX2-4464R-K1 Red 208V 30A PX2 Metered Power Distribution Units
  • 2x Dell 8 port KVM switches
  • 2x Slide out Consoles
  • 2x Full height Racks

Small datacenter

Small datacenter

The above is what I have put together in the past 3-4 weeks. Believe it or not, I’ve been able to buy most of this at great discount.

One of the first things I ran into was sometimes a great deal isn’t a great deal.

I purchased a san switch by McData it’s the 4500 model, I found out that the description for the item in Ebay was false. I had not researched the component enough because I was so excited to buy it for 9 bucks with 10 dollar shipping. Well the item only handles 1 and 2gbs transceivers. So all the 10gbs and 4gbs ones I had were useless with that switch.

Though I did run across another switch I got for a great deal as listed above.

Another issue I ran across, I had wanted to upgrade the DL380 machines. I wanted the Intel x5460 CPU’s, they are quad cores. I got a great deal on a pair, but found the machine kept rebooting. I found this Post: https://community.hpe.com/t5/ProLiant-Servers-ML-DL-SL/DL380-G5-CPU-upgrade/td-p/5590881 and found that I simply needed to upgrade the BIOS. I was very lucky that the system board supported the CPU’s, too bad the documentation is so misleading. Though I was able to update one machine after the BIOS refresh. I now have that marked as my SQL server.

I also go lucky, I was at Disney world for my anniversary a few weeks ago. Well I was in a line, yes a line can you believe it? SOO I was on eBay looking to see what my newly purchased DL580’s were going for. Load and behold I found one with 128gb of ram but with lower spec’s on CPU and other things. Note this is before I upgraded the servers to 128gb of ram, though I had the memory coming in the mail. So for whatever reason this local recycle center had it marked for 59 bucks!, pick up only. I see deals like this sometimes but never in a city I’m currently in. I was in Orlando, and they are in Orlando. So I purchased the unit, picked it up to by wife’s annoyance. and the first thing I did when I got it in the car was pop it open. OMG it had 4x 4gbs fiber cards, not to mention that it had a lot of 8gb memory, along with some 4gb. I already had some 4gb ram in the mail, but that was just for the DL580’s. So I swapped out the memory and extra cards. Installed 64gb worth of 2gb memory. I moved those 8gb memory modules over to what is now my SQL server. That DL380 is maxed out in CPU and memory now, 64gb. I ended up selling the unit to a friend, made up for all the time and effort getting that machine.

I’m not ready to go or finish with the infrastructure yet. I’m waiting on several cables to come in the mail, I need more fiber cables, the SCSI cables as well as more power cables (C13 to C14 cables). Though I expect to have all the cables in the next week or so.

The other major thing is software. right now I have all the machines with Windows 10 Enterprise, though I want to load up on windows 2016. My plan is to install Windows 2016 Nano on the DL580’s and on 1 or two of the DL380’s.  All the DL580’s are going to be a HyperV cluster managed by SCVMM 2016. So yea I’m waiting on that piece of software too.

I know what many of you are thinking, OMG the power, yes I had to install a new power circuit and run it though the garage (which is under the room pictured). I ran 50amps of 220v power to this room.

Plug on Floor

Plug on Floor

I also plan to only have a 2 or 3 machines on at any regular point. Most of the machines are off. When I need them on I will have System Center turn them on. All the machines have Wake On LAN, and power can be managed remotely. Using SCVMM I can have machines come on as needed and more machines come online as demand grows. This is one of the key aspects I will be configuring with System Center.

Well that’s what I have for now, I plan to share my adventure with this infrastructure as well as my projects listed above in the weeks and months coming. Please share any advice you may have, I know none of this is state of the art. I know that different arguments can be made to do testing in the cloud. Though the customers I have in my day to day, are most likely to be a hybrid model and that is what sets Microsoft apart from the rest in the field. That ability to have a hybrid cloud datacenter, where organizations don’t have to make a 100% choice between on or off.  That’s where I see many of the customers I work with going and I want to be able to know all the in’s and outs in great detail to make that happen.


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