One mans perpetual headache in the land of data centre automation


If you do, you should follow my original posts about building a homelab based on whitebox hardware. If on the other hand you prefer to not waste money you should check out this eBay seller who is flogging enterprise hardware (albeit a bit old) for silly money. I will post the link once I realise what the catch is and am sure I don't want to buy anything myself. Can't have demand driving the price up!

I was too chicken to fork out my own hard earned cash on one of these beastly old-time server room legends, so I persuaded my colleague to instead. I found him an old Dell server with dual quad core Opterons and 64GB of RAM for only £168 with free shipping and he just couldn't resist. The order was placed and a couple of days later he was unwrapping a very well packaged Dell DCS CS24-NV7 ooh!



Being a nerd like me, the first thing he did was whip the lid off the old beast. Primarily to see how many fans he could unplug because these things sound like a jet engine when they're running.


Straight away on seeing this picture, my first concern was alleviated; that the RAM figures quotes on the eBay listing were just maximum capacity. This thing actually had 64GB of RAM stuffed in it. Brilliant. My other concern was that being so old that these machines wouldn't run the latest and greatest ESXi version.


Happily I was proven wrong.

So, if you're in the market for some home lab hardware and are hard of hearing of don't mind sitting next to a Boeing 747 at full throttle, you should take a look at the seller Bargain*Hardware on eBay.

UPDATE: My good friend informs me that once the initial boot is over where the fans spin up to maximum speed for a couple of minutes, the server gets fairly quiet. He used an iPhone app to measure the dB and it was 61 decibels which is fairly quiet, in the range of normal conversation at about 1 meter.


  1. Malin

    How the hell did you get ESXI 6.0 installed on it with the original NICs?

  2. Brian Knudsen


    could you ask how he did install ESXI because i just bought the same server from that vendor 🙂 but i have problems even with the ESXI version 5.5 it hangs when i want to start ESXI and also having trouble install it.

    • Lee Harris

      Just asked him, he said he went straight to ESXi 6.0 and had no problems. He didn’t have to customise the ISO or anything, it just worked fine but obviously he installed ESXi onto a USB stick. Bear in mind that ESXi 5.5 and above don’t support the onboard SATA disk controller on that server model, so you’ll have to install to a USB stick, ideally 16GB, but 8GB might do.

      • Brian Knudsen

        Okay thanks

        I also installed on a USB stick because off the onboard SATA but i can only get it 2 see 1 HD and not the 2 i have in it

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