As mentioned in the previous article, there are serval ways to host a personal blog. I decided to buy a server and run it at home, just for fun.
Server buying guide
First, you may not need to buy a server. An old PC is definitely OK to use as a server.
Unfortunately, I don't have one,so I have to buy something.
I collected information about the types of server machines that are suitable for personal use (mainly on the aspect of price) in 2020.
HP Microserver Gen8
This is the most appropriate and popular ones.
The 8th generation of HP's Microserver series designed from the start for small offices or home use.
The previous generation N54L may not called a real server because of insufficient processing power, lack of virtualization support and lack of remote management function which is a standard feature of a server.
The 8th generation Microserver Gen8 is built as a "real server" with Xeon E3 processor and iLO4 remote management. Even the successor model (microserver gen10) don't come with iLO remote management on board, so microserver gen8 is still the best choice in 2020.
The price of the model with Xeon 1220v2 CPU is about $200 to $300, not very expensive, but not cheap as well.
Tower servers looks like a normal PC or workstation, with server specialized equipments such as hot-swap HDDs, remote management, redundant power supplies and more NICs. It is suitable for office and home use because it can be placed anywhere without a rack, and is really quiet.
HP Proliant ML series, and DELL PowerEdge T series are tower servers.
It takes up a little more space than Microserver, so it's less popular and the price is lower. The Proliant ML310e Gen8, which has almost the same configuration as Microserver Gen8, are available for half the price of about $100 in Japan.
This is the most "professional" ones. HP's Proliant DL series and DELL's PowerEdge R series are rack mount servers.
As the name suggests, it is a server that has a chassis standardized to be 19 inches (482.6 mm) wide and 1.75 inches (44.45 mm) in height (thickness) to fit into a rack. It is the most common format in datacenters due to its high installation density and easy management.
To that extent, there is a large amount of end of life ones on the market and have less buyers, for some disadvantages such as loud noise. So the price is also lowest for the same processing power.
In addition, there are several benefits besides cheapness.
- Since it is a industrial standard product, it has the best robustness and durability.
- Because it is a standardized size, installing multiple units may save space compared to the tower server. (You can even get racks from IKEA!)
- It's cool
HP Proliant DL320e gen8
I got a HP Proliant DL320e gen8 from something like Ebay in Japan.
RAM: 16GB DDR3 RDIMM ECC
RAID: P222 512MB FBWC
HDD: 600GB 15K SAS * 2
NIC: 4port GbE
Entry-level spec, but should be enough for a blog.
Install an SSD on ODD SATA port
This server is equipped with ODD, but most people don't need a physical ODD since iLO's virtual media do the same thing in a much convenience way. So I tried to attach an SSD using its SATA port.
The ODD of DL320e gen8 is connected to the system board with a normal SATA cable, but the power interface is microSATA, converted from a floopy mini 4Pin power connector. So you need to procure a FDD to SATA power cable or use a microSATA-> SATA conversion adapter.
Also, since the power supply for this ODD is +5V only, some SDDs with +12V requirement like intel DC series should not work.
Redundant power supply
This DL320e gen8 comes with redundant power supply. It will work with only one PSU plugged in, but if only one power supply is powered on, the healthy status LED on the front panel flashes amber indicates a warning. It is OK in issuing the warning itself, but you may miss some "real warning" that needs to be mentioned, so plug both PSU and keep health indicator green is a better choice.
Fan noise of DL320e gen8
Since this is an one CPU entry level server, it's quite quiet after completely booted. It is audible, but not loud than my desktop PC even with two 15K SAS HDD.
(I had a Proliant DL360p gen8 later and it's much louder)