Building the perfect Proxmox VE server
Hi everybody and welcome to today’s video episode of Bernardo’s Tech Blog. Today I’m going to demonstrate how you can build a perfect server for running Proxmox Virtualization Environment, otherwise known as Proxmox VE. Just in case you don’t already know what that is, Proxmox is basically a hypervisor. It is built on Debian Linux and it includes two different virtualization technologies namely KVM and OpenVZ, and then it puts on a fantastic web-based administration interface. So you can use this system to host virtual servers or virtual machines. Now the title this video is a little bit misleading there’s really no such thing as a universally perfect server. Everybody’s needs are a little different and so with that in mind I just want to give you what my objectives were in building this server. First of all the hardware needs to be compatible with the latest version of Proxmox VE and that happens to be version currently. and I want to be able to just install it and not have to mess with any extra drivers.
The server also has to be a sufficient speed and power to host three or four linux guests and possibly more in the future. The server needs to be rackmount and also needs to be short depth because I want to be able to mount in a two-post rack as opposed to a four-post rack that would be required if the server is rather deep. The motherboard in the server also needs to have a remote management consule so I can shut down and make BIOS configuration changes and restart and so forth from remote. Lastly I wanted the server to use standard off-the-shelf components as opposed to proprietary stuff that you have trouble finding in the event you need a part. If you’d like to have a complete parts list for this server head on over to my blog. I’m going to put a link in the description of this video that will get you there and I have the model numbers of everything that I used in that blog post.
For the purposes this video I’ll just give you the general description of the parts I used. I started out with a Norco case This is a 2U case – it’s about 16 inches deep and is obviously rackmount. I’ve used this one before I’m pretty pleased with it I’ve also done a separate review of this case in another video if you’re interested. The first thing I added to the case is a drive cage from iStarUSA. This is a very tight fit – you almost have to stand on this cage to get it. In fact, you might have to do that. But once it’s in there it works very well basically takes 2 inch drive bays and gives you three hot-swap inch bays. As far as power supplies go, when you buy a power supply for this case you have to be sure that it has fans on the front and/or on the back as opposed to the top or the bottom.
A lot of the higher wattage power supplies nowadays have big fans at the top or the bottom and if you use those it will be blocked by the edges on the case. So make sure you get one that has fans in the front and back. For a processor I’m using an AMD Opteron six-core processor. This motherboard will also take an 8-core, although if you get a model that has a really early firmware version you may have to update the firmware before will support such a processor. I put in two eight-gigabyte RAM chips for a total of 16-gigabyte. this motherboard will take at least 32 gigabyte – I’m not sure if it will go any higher than that or not but for my purposes right now 16 is gonna be fine.
Now for a heatsink, the first thing I tried was a Supermicro fanless heat sink that you see here and I thought maybe there was enough airflow that I could get by with the using this but that didn’t turn out too well – it did actually start up and run without overheating, but even with a very small load it was running very hot and I didn’t want to continue that way so I swapped it out with a Dynatron heatsink and fan.
They sell a number of them that are designed for 2U server cases and they have the side-to-side air flow as opposed to top-to-bottom. This case is pretty tight – you won’t get a full-size ATX into it – only a micro-ATX or a mini-ITX. It’s helpful to take out the internal drive bays at least long enough to get the motherboard mounted. I use the Supermicro motherboard with an IP management console and I also put in a RAID card so I can run two drives at the same time and have all the data mirrored between them and lastly we put on the top cover and here’s the finished product. Now this server is currently running three Linux servers as guests. and it really doesn’t tax the hardware much at all – I think I could probably put 10 servers on here if I wanted to as long as the 16-gigabyte of ram held out. If you have any questions feel free to put them in the comments. Again, there’s a link in the description that will get you to my blog post that will have more details.
As always thanks for watching and I’ll see you next time!.