When I set my lab up my primary concern was keeping costs fairly low. My needs were not, and probably still are not, for a powerful system. Just a capable one, even if only barely so. The setup I had fit the bill. A 90 dollar expense through eBay, another 25 or so for RAM got me a machine with dual Xeons, 32 GB RAM, it go the job done.
Then I turned it on. And then this happened with the power:
So in the interest of global warming and the future of humanity, I came up with another solution. I ended up on the SuperMicro e200-8d, which has a single Xeon with six cores, and 64 GB of RAM. All that with only a 60 watt power supply. This was significantly more expensive, though. Approximately 800 for the server alone and another 400 for RAM. I have enough room to expand to 128 GB but couldn’t justify the expense quite yet, given my usage.
The SuperMicro server has an IPMI interface. The Dell server I had before did as well, but mine never worked and I was never motivated enough to troubleshoot it. The remote management is a really nice feature. I didn’t think ahead to benchmark the old server so i can compare, but there’s no nee really. The SuperMicro is an incredible upgrade.
The only drawbacks, so far, is the cost and the RAM. According the the Internet, which is never wrong, this model has compatibility issues with RAM. Luckily, SuperMicro provides a list of RAM models
verified to work. Unfortunately, these are all quite expensive. This took the total price up close to 1300 dollars. If I needed the full 128 GB, it would have been 1800. That’s a lot of pressure to make the purchase worthwhile, which is good in a way. Still, one of my primary concerns was keeping the lab as cheap as possible and this has hosed that goal completely.
Projects so far: all-purpose Ubuntu server which serves as a OpenVPN server and whatever other junk I want to throw on it (twitter bots, etc), pentesting lab, Metasploitable 3.
Projects in the works: build my own AD forest, hook up some automation, enhanced pentesting lab, solve world hunger.
Here’s the new server sitting on top of the old one: