# From a barebone to a PowerEdge
Published on 30-07-2015

It all started on my hobby barebone server. My goal was to learn setting up an webserver and to create some hobby websites on it. As a student, I bought an Asus Terminator T2-P deluxe.

The Asus Terminator T2-P deluxe had the following specs:

  • Socket 478 motherboard
  • Intel Celeron D 2.4 Ghz(after a while upgraded to a Pentium 4 3.06 Ghz)
  • 2x 1 GB DDR PC 3200
  • 1x 80 GB WD disk
  • 1x 1TB Samsung disk
  • Running Windows XP with Xampp and Webmin(yeah i know :'))

 

After my home server got hacked due to crappy security(who the hell allowes remote access to webmin), my server became a member of an botnet. This lasted a few days until my ISP disconnected me and send me a letter. The letter stated that there were illegal activities from my IP and that's why they kicked me off the internet.

It was time to try the real deal: FreeBSD. My first introduction to linux was FreeBSD. When I look back, it was the hardest distro ever, but it was the best way to start learning about UNIX systems. It took me around 4 reinstalls to learn about things I should do better the next time. I was running a Postfix mailserver with an open relay. There were around 40k mails send each day.

The next step into the UNIX systems was running CentOS. Like FreeBSD I was running Apache, PHP, Postfix, MySQL and Bacula on the same operating system. This setup wasn't reliable because as soon as one component crashes, everything crashes.

It became time to go enterprise. In 2010 I bought a Dell PowerEdge R210 with the following specs:

  • Intel Xeon 3430
  • 12GB RAM
  • 2x 500GB 7200Rpm WD RE

 

Colocated at Leaseweb at datacenter Evoswitch in Haarlem

 

After a year running CentOS colocated, I was interested in virtualisation. I've read about it and everyone talked about it like it was the answer to the meaning of life. Hell yeah, it was.

The first hypervisor I tried was ESXI. I bought a second hand Dell PowerEdge 1850 with 2x SCSI 72GB disks to try some things with ESXI. I became deaf with the server running in my room. There were also problems with the drivers. Because the PE 1850 was kinda old, I was forced to use an older version of ESXI and wasn't happy with the lack of a web interface. I sold the PE 1850.

Next thing I tried was Proxmox. This was the thing I was looking for: an opensource Debian based bare metal hypervisor. I couldn't install it on my colocated PowerEdge R210 because my mail and websites were running on it, so I made the decision to buy another Dell server.

The new Dell PowerEdge R310 server specs:

  • Intel Xeon 3430
  • 16GB RAM
  • 4x 500GB 7200 RPM WD RE
  • Dell Perc H200A

Well, the server was up and running Proxmox with 4 virtual machines and faced to next problem: the datacenter gave me 1 public IP. I have managed to make all virtual machines reachable behind 1 public IP.

 

The solution was using an virtual internal network between the virtual machines and Proxmox was configured to bridge incoming connections to the virtual firewall/router. This process is called NAT(Network Address Translation) and Masquerading.

All other virtual machines are behind the firewall/router. If the virtual machine running firewall/router is shut down, then all the underlying virtual machines are not reachable. Sounds secure to me. Every virtual machine I am running, has it's own responsibility. Like I said, running multiple 'servers' on one operating system is not reliable. So I have  virtual machine running only apache, the other vm is running MySql etc.

Why no VPS?

Well, I like to learn about managing my own server so I can do whatever I want. The only advantage you have with VPS is that you don't need to worry about the hardware of your server. If something gets broken, then it isn't your responsibility anymore.

VPS mostly have a limited choice of operating systems. Like I said before, It's not reliable to give one server/operating system many responsibilities.If you want to install a webserver, database and a mailserver on three seperate VPS'you will pay at least around €100,-.