EXPTA Gen6 Home Lab Server Survey Results

Saturday, July 11, 2015
I started providing parts lists and instructions for home lab server builds back in 2009. Since then, I've updated my Windows Hyper-V lab server five times - beginning with an AMD-based 16GB server with traditional hard drives to my Gen5 server with an Intel-based 32GB with SSDs for blistering fast performance and high capacity.

I've been asked to update my server build again with the latest hardware, and some have asked for a build with more RAM so they can host more VMs on the same server. That led me to create an EXPTA Gen 6 Lab Server Survey to find out what's most important to you, my readers. As you can imagine, there are competing desires. For example, more RAM translates to higher cost. Here are the results of the survey:

EXPTA Lab Server Survey Results
These survey results show that most respondents are looking to build their first lab server, but most do not need step-by-step instructions and screen shots to build it.

It's almost a tie between those who want a lower price server (~$1,000 USD) and those who want a higher RAM server that can host more VMs (~$1,700 USD). Noise and speed were also important criteria. A common comment from those in the low price camp was that it's easier to justify a $1K purchase to the family.

Almost everyone wants an Intel-based server. It's neck and neck between a lower priced Intel Core i5 4-core 32GB system and a super-fast Intel Core i7 6-core 64GB system. Somewhat surprisingly, only 11% of respondents are interested in a true server-class Intel Xeon E5 64GB system.

In the coming days, I plan to put together new Gen6 server builds. That's right, builds. Plural. Each build will use the best hardware for that solution. The focus will be on reliability and speed in each segment. All builds will use the same storage configuration - SSDs for the OS and running VMs, and a single high capacity hard drive for mass storage of ISOs and base images. This provides insanely fast speed and keeps the noise level to a minimum.

Stay tuned...