Hardware Hijinks and Welcoming the Cattle

Act 9: Hardware Hijinks and the Rise of Modular Systems

The arrival of 2021 saw yet another relocation, which posed a unique challenge—how to avoid interference with the existing network. A spare Raspberry Pi came to the rescue, connecting to Wi-Fi and forwarding the connection to my personal router. However, the technological revolution didn’t stop there.

Frustration grew with my UniFi setup. So I bade farewell to UniFi switches and routers, ushering in a new era with a Cisco switch and an old thin client running OPNsense. My choice of hardware—a Dell Wyse thin client with a single network port—wasn’t ideal. Undeterred, I soldered a missing mSATA header onto the motherboard and carved out a hole for an mSATA-to-Ethernet NIC.

Always craving more power I decided I wanted to retire the IBM x3550 mk4 and replace it with something a bit newer and more responsive, I was really feeling the speed of the ddr3. So I sold the x3550, and bought a x3250 mk5 but before that even arrived I had already replaced it with a HP DL160 Gen9, a server that now sleeps below our bed.

For a time, this served me well. But I now had a different problem, even with the v4 xeons i put in the DL160, the power-hungry nature of a dual-socket server started to nag at me. So, I downsized again, this time to a single-socket DL120. These servers are beasts, I cannot believe the power you can get for second hand gear.

Although these machines were not to last, or atleast they’ve been retired in favor for lower power devices.

Life circumstances changed again, and I moved once more. Suddenly, I no longer had the benefit of solar power to offset the electric appetite of my enterprise gear. For a few months, I operated in a low-power mode, only firing up servers to access the disk shelf for essential documents and data.

I was in need of a new solution, one that was less greed and more need. It was time to really asses my needs and build to them.