Here are a few notes on my most recent server build. I’ll fill in more details as time goes on, so check back here in the future. If you have questions, leave them in the comments and I’ll try to address them as best I can.
The server was purpose-built for running Proxmox Virtualization Environment. Proxmox VE is a fantastic Linux distribution based on Debian Linux. To the base OS it adds OpenVZ and KVM, two mature Linux virtualization technologies, and then puts a very easy-to-use web-based GUI on top. I also have built two other servers for running Proxmox VE. The videos for those are here and here.
You really only need to make four purchases to build this server, not counting peripherals such as mouse, keyboard, and monitor:
- Case: Supermicro CSE-504-203B
- Motherboard: Supermicro MBD-X9SBAA-F-O
- RAM: Kingston ValueRAM 8GB KVR13LSE9/8
- Storage: Any SATA hard drive or solid-state drive should be fine – I used a spare I had laying around.
This case is very similar to another one from SuperMicro, the CSE 505-203B. The difference is that the CSE 505 has the motherboard ports exposed on the front panel of the case, whereas the CSE 504 that I used has the ports exposed on the rear of the case. The motherboard compatibility of these two cases are the same. Here is a quick list of some of the popular Supermicro motherboard models and the cases that match them:For a motherboard, I used Supermicro model MBD-X9SBAA-F-O. This motherboard has an integrated Intel Atom™ Processor model S1260. The cool thing about this processor is, unlike many other Atom processors, it has hardware virtualization support. There are a couple of things you need to know about this motherboard. First, it has no PS/2 ports for mouse or keyboard and supports only USB 3.0. Therefore, only newer operating systems will work properly. Supermicro has published an OS compatibility list here. Secondly, it supports only ECC RAM, and accepts SO-DIMMs. As a result, your choices on RAM are limited as there are not many SO-DIMM memory modules on the market that support ECC. The Kingston RAM I choose works fine.
I will be adding to and revising this blog post as my server project progresses.