It's about time. Time for some context. This week I've recently purchased a Dell PowerEdge T330 Xeon E3-1220V6 3GHz 8GB RAM 1TB HDD 5U Tower Server. And what a lovely machine it is.

Over the past few weeks, I've been attempting to play around with ESXi with some success, followed by a random, abrupt power failure. Going back a year before this, I bought myself an upgrade to the HP N54L I've already got, and procured a HP ProLiant Gen8 solely for virtualization via ESXi. Once I finally got around to spinning the box up, I started to realise, and should of checked at the time, that the shitty stock Intel Celeron process wasn't cut out for ESXi. In true Sam fashion, I bought the most powerful compatible CPU for the Gen8, an Intel Xeon 1265L V2.

The honeymoon period was bliss, everything worked perfectly, ESXi installed, environments setup, and then I started to notice the server over several occasions switch itself off. Days and hours of trail and error's, I couldn't figure out the probably until I narrowed it down to the CPU. Reading around, again as I should have initially done, I found that the CPU breached the recommend TDP (not going to bore you, its power and temperature shit).

A post I was knocking up only last week...

Any who the story ends with me sticking the stock CPU back in and selling it on eBay along with the CPU separately.

This leaves me with my existing HP ProLiant N54l (only just spent the last two weeks backing up, removing XPEnology DSM 5.5, installing Ubuntu and re-backing up 5TB!!!) and two Dell Optiplex 3020's (Intel i5, 8GB, 500GB, slim form factor, nice).

So. The way I sold it to myself was I could either spin up three separate boxes, including a few RasPi's, or restructure everything into one single machine. Plus I'm drastically running out of ports on my switch. With the brucie bonus of ESXi, I will be able to consolidate all my applications in one place (I may keep a RasPi running a NGINX and OpenVPN server).

Unboxing the Box

It's been a few days now since I wrote the stuff below and the server has finally arrived...

At first glance and weight, this thing is a beast! Sounds like it as well when it powers up. Once I checked it powered up my first plan was to put a SSD internally to host ESXi OS and found the relevant SATA ports ... However, these were labelled SATA ODD/TBU ... Optical Disk Drive and Tape Backup Unit. Not suitable for SSD or HDD speeds. At the moment I'll have to stick with the 1TB HDD which came with the server ... and the 1 drive tray which the drive is in.

Aim of the Game ... ESXi

This post isn't a guide so I won't bore you with the whole setting up of this thing. It mainly involved a USB stick, a Dell custom ISO image of ESXi 6.7 and several button presses once booted up. Now ESXi is installed, the fun begins.

The aim of the game? ... Hopefully setup and host or 'virtualise' the following environments below.

Plex Media Server [Ubuntu]

Media server hosting media. Nuff said really

Docker 'Lab' [Ubuntu]

A sort of 'pre-production' environment to build/learn/test different containers

Docker 'Web Server' [Ubuntu]

A 'live/production' environment hosting (at some point this blog!), several static sites and other web related application

You've guessed it, Docker 'Home Automation' [Ubuntu]

Loving Docker at the moment. Also Home Assistant. Add that with a MQTT and other containers

'Dark Box' [Kali Linux]

An isolated instance of Kali Linux for penetration learning/testing

SIEM 'Lab' [Snort, OSSIEM, Security Onion]

This is all dependant on how much RAM I have. Aiming to get back into learning SIEM solutions

Windows 'Lab' [Windows XP/7/10]

There's always a time I need a non-Windows 10 OS to install or run a certain program, usually to fix/update hardware. Handy as shit

Windows Server something [Windows Server 2016?]

To be honest, I've had no hands on experience with Windows Server. Good time to have a play

For now ... I've got a fair bit of setting up to do and more so making space in the office. Check back soon and I'll spin up a post around ESXi and setting up a VM.