New homelab machine

I've been meaning to share the new addition to my homelab setup for a while now but just never got around to it. It's a beast that's definitely overkill but I wanted to play around and future proof as much as possible.

It initially started as a project to replace my old 2-bay Synology NAS. I needed an upgrade, storage wise, but I also wanted to switch to ZFS, and since Synology doesn't support ZFS I knew I'd have to build my own rig. That in turn meant I needed to figure out what I was going to install on the thing. Initially I looked at openmediavault but it didn't seem to support ZFS at the time (I don't know if this is still true). Then I looked at FreeNAS as they were going through their rebranding to TrueNAS - but I was weary about switching to FreeBSD at the time. I wanted something that I knew well (Linux) and that I can easily customize. Before you mention TrueNAS Scale (which is Linux based) it wasn't ready at the time1 and I was hesitant about all the cruft that comes pre-installed with it (my main issue with Synology). I guess I wanted to install and configure stuff my way when I need it.

So...Since I was going to just install plain ol' Linux on this thing I figured there's no reason to restrict it to being just a NAS. That's when things got a bit out of hand and I went all out. :)

Here's a list of components I ended up going with:

  • Case: Silverstone CS381
  • Motherboard: Supermicro X12STH-F
  • CPU: Intel Xeon E-2388G
  • Noctua NH-L9i (initially Noctua L9x65 but it didn't fit)
  • RAM: 32GB DDR4 ECC (x2)
  • Samsung Evo 970 Plus 1TB
  • Samsung 870 Evo 4TB (x2)
  • WD Red Plus WD60EFZX 6TB (x2)
  • Be-Quiet Silent Wings 3 (x2)
  • Noctua NF-A9x14 (x2)
  • DeLock Kabel Mini SAS HD SFF 8643 x4
  • PSU: Be quiet! SFX-L Power 600W 80+ Gold Power Supply
  • Mini SAS HD (SFF 8643) to 4X Sata (Reverse Breakout Cable)

With that kind of power I knew I had to utilize this thing beyond just a NAS machine. Since most of my machines these days (including my other homelab server - an Intel NUC) already run NixOS, that's what I decided to go with. At the time I was doing some heavy duty projects that seemed to prove too big to handle for my slightly outdated X1 Carbon laptop, so I set it up as a remote nix builder among other things. But that's something for a future blog post. It's been running for a while now and I'm quite happy with it.

Here are some photos for your viewing pleasure:

  1. Though honestly, if I was able to easily purchase a pre-built FreeNAS machine by ixSystems in Europe ... I might have gone this route...but since I wasn't I ended up looking at a different solution. 

homelab nixos

Did you like this post?

If your organization needs help with implementing modern DevOps practices, scaling you infrastructure and engineer productivity... I can help! I offer a variety of services.
Get in touch!