This first post will focus on my choice of hardware components and supportability topics. In part two I will provide a detailed account of the steps taken to run ESXi 5.
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Having a place to experiment on software and hardware without the fear of impacting the work or services of others is a beautiful thing. You can make and break configurations all day long without any apprehension or fear of it affecting others. Nesting an environment, that is running VMs within VMs, is also a great way to get your hands dirty in this way.
Ways to use your Mac server
This is the method I used for the last several years on a Dell PowerEdge Server and it has served me very well. For the last three weeks I have been running vSphere 5. What drew me in to the idea of running this lab on the Mac Mini was the novelty, the challenge, and size of it. I highly recommend you survey the waters prior to committing to any one build.
Children of the revolution
An important choice I had to make when designing this home infrastructure setup was supportability. With this project being a personal investment, it is important you understand and are comfortable with that. I utilized some stellar blogs in this little project of mine and I will be providing a consolidated reference list of all the articles I leveraged at the end of this series. If you follow me on twitter you may have seen that I run a Mac Pro as a Plex Media server and I felt it was time to take this thing virtual.
The Mini was intriguing to me in conjunction with VSAN due to how small the footprint of the environment is. All of that and you can barely even tell they are powered on, which when compared to the full rackmount server, well.. I was also interested in a storage solution that would function independently of my vSphere environment, which I fully intend to destroy and rebuild at least 10x in the next month or two.
The series supports LACP up to four groups and VLANs with static routing, which covers everything I was looking for in my attempt to simulate a segmented physical network. Resilio is a file sync server built on bit torrent technology. It's very good for large files. Here is a tutorial to setup a file server with Resilio on a Mac mini. NuoRDS is a scalable terminal server for Mac. Here are some setup instructions. Hazel is an automation tool that can keep your Mac server clean.
I use it to offload things from Dropbox, make a copy of full resolution images, etc. Just set it up and let it run. It's especially useful for people who use an iOS device full time but want a Mac to do some heavy lifting in the background without much interaction. Sendy is a self hosted service to email your newsletters at a significant discount. Similar to MailChimp. Guacamole is a client-less remote desktop gateway.
You can control your machine without needing a client and just a browser using HTML5. Yourls is a self-hosted URL shortener. It provides stats as well.
- Just like that, your Mac is a powerful server..
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Pow lets you create a quick environment to build and test Rails apps. Moodle is a CMS for education. VirtualHostX lets you setup multiple websites quickly on a Mac. It comes with it's own self-contained Apache web server as well.
Owncloud is a replacement for Dropbox, but also provides calendar, contacts and so much more. FileMaker is a powerful database server. Very Powerful. Run it for yourself or as a paid service for others. A very good alternative to Exchange. Run a Minecraft Server of your own.
ServerPilot makes it simple and fast to create and maintain Wordpress installs. Built for DigitalOcean, but works great on a Mac mini with Ubuntu. BBpress is clean forum software from the makers of WordPress.
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