So assuming you leave your HomeLab for a while...

SecCon

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I am an adult with fixed work and pre-defined vacation periods. I leave my home for several weeks at a time, several times on the year.

I have all my hardware and servers in my home, on two locations: my main server rack in the garage and my networking cabinet in the attic of the house.

Having spent the spring doing just about everything that everyone does in a HomeLab / SoHoLab environment, and work, I was looking forward to a few vacation weeks. In that planning it suddenly hit me... "I don't want all my servers running while I am away for a few weeks!". Waste of power if nothing else. Lack of onsite monitoring is also a factor. So I had to revise my setup, what runs on the servers I would shut down? Do I want to keep any of it powered on?

Do someone recognize the situation? You may want to leave Internet access on, the ip-telephony on, the alarm on, some sensors for temperature and water and such, on. The problem is described above, you have some or all of those apps in virtual machines on a physical server you would rather leave off while you are away.

Having OPNSense just like that made me reconsider its implementation. I don't want it on a server I may shut down for extended leaves. I want it on a low power 1U or smaller in my network cabinet inside the house, protected by alarms and , in theory, inaccessible from outside. Same goes for other applications like my web site monitoring, Matomo app and the UISP for my Ubiquiti Edge network hardware.

So now some may start thinking about why I don't put that on servers and clouds outside my home and office? I could do that for some apps. The thing is I like to have all under my hood. It's controllable, inexpensive and accessible. I do not trust AWS or any Cloud solutions...

As it is, I will be putting a short 1U appliance computer to host my OPNSense in the network cabinet - TBH it should have gone there in the first place.

What considerations and ideas do you have? Have you thought about this and what did you do about it?
 

i386

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I had plans to run multiple servers (at least 1x mission critical, 1x file/media server, 1x vm host).

Ended up with one (beefy) server runnning 24/7 because the costs for the different servers was more than what I would save with them running 24/7 or "on demand" ._.
 

SecCon

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Well, I might, but one backs up the other so... well.. yeah sure its just hard drives in the end.
 

Sean Ho

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First step is prioritising what services you want running 24/7, then determine resource requirements for each, then design a solution to keep them running.

OPNSense doesn't take much (old R210ii, cheap TMM plus NIC, etc.). VoIP just needs the ATA. Sensors, I assume you have HomeAssistant, NodeRed, or similar; also very minimal requirements, just the Zigbee/Z-wave dongle if relevant. Your various monitoring apps, UISP, etc. also only need a bit of RAM and a network connection. So far all of this could go on a single TMM with virtualization, or perhaps one for the router and another for containers/VMs. They plus your ATA and modem/ONT could last quite a while on a 1500VA UPS.

If you have security cams and BlueIris or similar, that'd need some storage and perhaps a Windows VM.
 
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BlueFox

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Maybe not what you're looking for, but I've just accepted that things might break while I'm away and that there's nothing I can do. Just don't think about it while I'm gone. My last vacation earlier this year, I was over 1000km away from the nearest cell tower for nearly a month and only had a satellite phone for emergencies (internet on it is a whopping 2400 bit/s and really expensive). Could be a bit easier for me as I live in an access-controlled highrise, so security/environmental stuff isn't a concern at least.

If you want to minimize energy usage, I use a NUC for VMs. It actually does double duty as my HTPC. Modern ones have 2.5GbE (some even dual), support 64GB RAM, and include reasonably powerful CPUs. Hard to beat and will run forever off a UPS.
 
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SecCon

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@BlueFox In regards to cell phone coverage that is kind beside the point, I am not allowed by my employer to be unreachable, not like that anyway...

As for the other aspects of setting up low power virtual machines for "necessary apps" it is currently something I am doing. OPNSense will be running in a Sophos SG 210 box I recntly bought and I have reconfigured my network to run on UISP, but in order to do that (I can't use the UISP Cloud, not enough UI devices).

I would really like to get my hands on a short low power 1U rack server. Max 40 cm deep. Then I could run my local UISP, server monitoring and some other aforementioned apps on that. Hard to find for some reason.
 
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BlueFox

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@BlueFox In regards to cell phone coverage that is kind beside the point, I am not allowed by my employer to be unreachable, not like that anyway...

I would really like to get my hands on a short low power 1U rack server. Max 40 cm deep. Then I could run my local UISP, server monitoring and some other aforementioned apps on that. Hard to find for some reason.
That is unfortunate. I specifically travel outside of the country because that's the only way I get out of carrying my work phone on me (can't take corporate assets outside of the country without very high levels of approval).

As for short depth 1Us, Supermicro X10SDV line and SC504/505 chassis (depending if you want front or rear IO)?
 
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SecCon

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Yeah, well work phone can be a pain...

Nice pic I found



That looks great... front IO makes things easier.

Seems Dell PowerEdge R230 CTO also comes in a short version

I guess I should make a new thread in hardware and request tips for these kinda servers.

Lots of models here: 1U-4U Short Depth Systems rackservers
 

acquacow

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I put all of my 24x7 stuff onto two Xeon-D 8-core boxen.
One is FreeNAS that holds all my files up, plus utility jails: nginx, nextcloud, minecraft... VMs: win10, rhel, foreman.
The other is an ESX box that runs any other VMs I'm working on and still need up and running. It's usually off though. I turn it on for projects and have 4 other ESX nodes I spin up when I need to test a larger deployment.

If power goes out while I'm gone, FreeNAS is connected to my UPS and will decide when to shut itself down. It can shut down my other nodes too if they are up and running. I can turn everything on remotely via IPMI later if needed.
 
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SecCon

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Pondering doing something like this...

Stage1:
Reduce amount of physical servers as @i386 suggest. Today I have three but only really using two and that could probably be trimmed down to one. I am not sure on what OS to base that one on. I need at least three Windows machines, one Ubuntu and one FreeBSD.
  • Windows 1: Windows Server, all my file share and backup is tied in to that, and have been for years. backup software, synchronization, the works. Not planning on changing that, my environment is based on Windows and required for work and family.
  • Windows 2: Windows 10, for lab and odd stuff.
  • Windows 3: WXPx32, doing some with a decade olde code, can't do it any other way.
  • Ubuntu: To run UISP and other Docker or Linux based apps
  • FreeBSD: It's the core OS of OPNSense. Standalone machine.
I could run all that via Hyper-V on a Windows Server that also handles the Windows1 stuff, not virtualized.

Then again I could run it all via ESXi, with all the machines virtualized, everything on RAID drives. But not sure how that would work with my file shares (16TB on 4x6TB drives I think it was). ESXi works great for machine management though, especially the graphical console is great and have saved my ass countless times. Maybe a virtual ESXi as Hyper-V on Windows Server... easy backup if nothing else.

I have done some work in TrueNAS (well, FreeNAS) and it is great, but it's just to many functions for my needs and I never could get the Console for virtual machines over VNC to work. Is that better nowadays? ZFS is of course a bonus, but with RAID5/6 and a working backup, I think I am covered.

Stage2:
When I have my OPNSense appliance move that there. One vmachine less.
If I get a small server like the mentioned SuperMicro, I could move UISP and some other apps to that one. Another vmachine less, or moved from "big server".

When done, this would let me shutdown the big server as needed, yet still running my network related apps in a safer, low power, environment. Also, leaving one server on is not the same as leaving 2 or even 3 servers on, so with added security, I could run that 24/7. More chains and pad locks. :p

I forgot to mention I do have a NAS, but that is running backups from everywhere else 24/7, and inaccessible from anywhere else, so that I leave as is.
 

SecCon

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Thanks to @Rahvin9999 I am several steps closer to achieving this. He is selling me two SuperMicro mini servers that will be part of above mentioned Stage 2.
 

ErniePantuso

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Aug 24, 2022
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Having spent the spring doing just about everything that everyone does in a HomeLab / SoHoLab environment, and work, I was looking forward to a few vacation weeks. In that planning it suddenly hit me... "I don't want all my servers running while I am away for a few weeks!". Waste of power if nothing else. Lack of onsite monitoring is also a factor. So I had to revise my setup, what runs on the servers I would shut down? Do I want to keep any of it powered on?

Do someone recognize the situation? You may want to leave Internet access on, the ip-telephony on, the alarm on, some sensors for temperature and water and such, on. The problem is described above, you have some or all of those apps in virtual machines on a physical server you would rather leave off while you are away.

What considerations and ideas do you have? Have you thought about this and what did you do about it?
I'm just starting my homelab and I was struggling to decide what to put where. Which containers/services to co-locate, etc. Your post introduced another layer of complexity - but it might also bring things into clarity.

Let's see, off the top of my head...
I'll definitely want access to NextCloud. (In fact, as heavily as I rely on it, I should probably consider moving it to a VPS.)
I'll want Home Assistant to keep an eye on various important IoT devices. But that's on a Raspberry Pi so power consumption isn't really much of an issue.
That's probably all I need.
Wait - Blue Iris. I'll want to look in on the place occasionally.
But that should be everything.
Wait - I'm obviously going to need pfSense if I want anything else to work. But it's running on a 35W mini PC. And obviously the switch needs to stay up but it's very green - less than 15W.
There, that should be everything.
Except some of my websites will need to stay available so there's the High Availability Kubernetes NUC cluster... and I might want to watch some of my movies or TV shows so maybe leave the Emby server on... but that disk array, Yikes!
Maybe it'd be easier to list the things I won't need!
I know! I'll turn my printer off!
 
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ErniePantuso

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I use a NUC for VMs. It actually does double duty as my HTPC. Modern ones have 2.5GbE (some even dual), support 64GB RAM, and include reasonably powerful CPUs. Hard to beat and will run forever off a UPS.
Ah! I should factor that in, too - how much can I run (and for how long) on a UPS?
 

SecCon

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OPNSense installed and moved in to a new physical machine as specified above. Just waiting for a bit more RAM.

Another step closer.

@ErniePantuso I am pleased to see others benefit from my thoughts. Thanks for posting. And good point about the printer. These days I am looking to get a newer one with less power consumption, if that even is possible. Its one of those machines that are always in stand-by and having to turn it on and off for printing is just a source for irritation.
 

Sean Ho

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And good point about the printer. These days I am looking to get a newer one with less power consumption, if that even is possible. Its one of those machines that are always in stand-by and having to turn it on and off for printing is just a source for irritation.
ZigBee or WiFi outlet like a Sonoff? One with a relay that can handle the high current of a laser printer.
 
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SecCon

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ZigBee or WiFi outlet like a Sonoff? One with a relay that can handle the high current of a laser printer.
TBH I wouldn't know how to use ZigBee for Printer. It's cabled. And its like 10 years old, so kinda due for renewal anyways... most my network is cabled, except for the most obvious devices like phones and tablets.