Xeon D home lab success stories

Posted by Paul Braren on Feb 28 2018 (updated on Mar 24 2018) in
  • Virtualization
  • ESXi
  • Efficiency
  • HomeLab
  • HomeServer
  • So many Xeon D form factors
    There are so many form-factors for Xeon D out there, thanks to the System On a Chip design that allows for a variety of embedded and IoT centric-designs. See my recently updated:


    Xeon D home lab success stories
    There are so many successful stories of using the Intel Xeon D-1500 as the basis for a wide variety of home labs. Many of these authors have many Xeon D articles, so be sure to have a look around at each of their sites. Most of these authors purchased their systems with their own money, but I still notate where each blogger works, since it's sometimes used as a part of their day jobs too.

    If I forgot a home lab story featuring Xeon D that I really should add to this list below, please drop a comment below to let me know!

    Here's a small sampling, in company name/last name alphabetical order.



    I love this story about a portable little system with lots of RAM, told by an IT Pro who goes on the road with RAM-hungry databases.

    • How I designed my mobile Data Center
      by Klaus Aschenbrenner at SQLpassion

      The SYS-E200-8D Micro Server enters the game
      A few months ago I heard about the Intel NUC for the first time. That’s already an amazing piece of hardware (32 GB RAM!) compared to the Surface Book and the MacBook Pro. But still – 32 GB RAM these days is almost nothing. Just power up a few Virtual Machines (for example for an AlwaysOn Availability Group deployment) and your RAM is gone. When I’m doing my performance tuning and troubleshooting demos, I mostly work with databases which have a size of more than 100 GB – 32 GB RAM is just peanuts!

      But back in November 2016 my life changed! It was the first time that I had seen the SYS-E200-8D server from SuperMicro.

      • 6 core processor (still not a NUMA system!)
      • Up to 128 GB DDR4 RAM
      • A super-fast M.2 slot for SSD Storage
      • 2x USB 3 Ports for external storage
      • 2x 1Gbit Ethernet Connection
      • 2x 10Gbit Ethernet Connection (yeah!)
      • Weight: 1500 grams!!!!

      So you’ll be thinking what I was thinking back in November 2016: 1500 grams would fit perfectly into my hand luggage for travelling, and having up to 128 GB RAM would be more than awesome to run VMware ESXi as my Hypervisor platform! Here is my money, please take it!


    vBrownBag's "Hyperconverged Home Lab 2.0 with Joshua Stenhouse" featured at Virtually Sober leverages Xeon D-1541 and VMware vSAN

    Josh Stenhouse works in a technical role at Rubrik, and on his particularly awesome recent vBrownBag, he really gets into the weeds about how he built his home lab, along with the challenges he had to overcome. I figured this would be right your alley! He made 15 or 20 different revisions (prototypes) before setting on his finalized configurationW.

    While this recording available in audio-only form at this spot that features playback controls, you'll really want to watch the whole video on the vBrownBag YouTube Channel for a much richer experience, where Ariel Sanchez Mora does his usual fantastic job of interviewing:


    VIDEO - Hyperconverged Homelab 2.0 with Josh Stenhouse [@joshuastenhouse]

    Here's his detailed article:

    • Introducing The Hyperconverged Home Lab v2.0
      by Josh Stenhouse @JoshStenhouse at Virtually Sober

      I use my lab daily to perform my job as a sales engineer. I need to demo solutions and test my PowerShell scripts at a reasonable scale with multiple hypervisors. Any investment in my lab enables me to do the best job that I can. Also, it’s fun. 😊
      due to idling host efficiency and HA config issues I had to switch back to ESXi and trusty vSphere with vSAN (6.5 Update 1). For me, vSAN is the best thing to come out of VMware in years. Why? Because it disrupts a legacy market, it works, it’s efficient, and most importantly, it’s integrated! I just check a box and go.


    Here's the key part of the BOM (Build Of Materials)


    Here's the modDIY site that Josh mentions:

    The Speedware Company



    • Homelab : Supermicro 5028D-TNT4 One Year On
      by Anthony Spiteri at VIRTUALIZATION IS LIFE!

      In terms of the power consumption the Xeon-D processor is amazing and I have not noticed any change in my power bill over the last 12 months…for me this is where the 5028D-TNT4 really shines and because of the low power consumption the noise is next to nothing. In fact as I type this out I can hear the portable room fan only…the Micro Tower it’s self is unnoticeable.


    Venture Technologies

    Here’s yet another great review:

    • HomeLab: SuperMicro 5028D-TN4T One Year Review
      by Chestin Hay at Let's v4Real

      To round things up, I can say I’m very satisfied with my purchase. I don’t have any regrets in my purchase and at least from a storage standpoint, I still have room to grow. The system has been very reliable. I have not had a single hardware issue or any quirkiness from the system. Everything has worked as expected. The system runs 24/7 at home and is only powered off when performing updates to it.


    • Intel Xeon D-1518 (X10SDV-4C-7TP4F) ESXi & Storage server build notes
      by Erik Bussink at bussink.ch

      These are my build notes of my last server. This server is based around the Supermicro X10SDV-4C-7TP4F motherboard that I already described in my previous article (Bill-of-Materials). For the Case I select a Fractal Design Node 804 square small chassis. It is described as being able to handle upto 10x 3.5″ disks.

    • "SuperMicro vs Intel NUC" by Tai Ratcliff, featuring Xeon D inside!
      by Tai Ratcliff at lab-rat.com.au

      My previous home labs have generally been made up of used enterprise servers that can be picked up cheaply. These used servers are loud, power hungry and heavy. My goal was to firstly consume less power and secondly make my lab somewhat portable.

    • Upgrading the Home Lab
      by Kyle Ruddy at That... Could Be A Problem...

      There were things now running in it which had an uptime requirement (mostly self-imposed) and that 16GB of RAM was almost always over-subscribed.

      This all means that it was time for a home lab upgrade! There were lots of characteristics to take into account such as the lab’s footprint, cooling, power, connectivity, noise, and so forth. After a couple months battling back and forth between the new Intel NUCs and SuperMicro Xeon-D systems, I ended up going the SuperMicro route.

    • "Project USB to SDDC" by William Lam, featuring Xeon D inside!
      by William Lam at virtuallyGhetto

      During the Sydney VMUG, we had did a live demo using an Intel NUC. Prior to the Melbourne VMUG, fellow VMware colleague Tai Ratcliff reached out and offered to let us borrow his Supermicro kit for the demo which was great as the hardware was much beefier than the NUC. Thanks Tai!

    • The Portable Software-Defined Datacenter by Zack Widing, VMware vSAN cluster features 4 Xeon D Supermicro SuperServers
      by Zach Widing at 123Virt

      Personally, I’ve always learned the best using the “Stick” method. I know that if I learn best by hands on, so what better way to provide others than a real hands on learning experience. The problem is that in some of my customer locations there is no access to the internet and VMware’s Hands on Labs. Some of my customers place a premium on Space, Weight, and Power (SWaP); so I needed something tangible to demonstrate the power of the SDDC and its ability to eliminate the need for massive amounts of data center space. In comes the Portable SDDC ...

    Closing Thoughts

    It's worth noting that both Anthony Spiteri and Chestin Hay mention that they wish they had more than 128GB of RAM. Earlier this month, Intel announced the Xeon D-2100 System On a Chip that will help address this concern, at a higher price point. Read more about it right here at TinkerTry. Last week, some new competition called the AMD EPYC Embedded 3000 Series was also announced. The question is largely around whether anybody will ship one of these "edge/IoT" devices in a compact and quiet mini-tower form factor that is suited for home labs, rather than the 40mm 1U screamers that seem to be the focus, at least initially. Whatever happens, exciting times and opportunity lie ahead!

    See also at TinkerTry




    Happy TinkerTry'd Bundle Supermicro SuperServer owners share their stories, featuring Intel Xeon D


    TinkerTry.com, LLC is an independent site, has no sponsored posts, and all ads are run through 3rd party BuySellAds. All equipment and software is purchased for long-term productive use, and any rare exceptions are noted.

    TinkerTry's relationship with Wiredzone is similar to the Amazon Associates program, where a very modest commission is earned from each referral sale from TinkerTry's SuperServer order page. I chose this trusted authorized reseller for its low cost and customer service, and a mutual desire to help folks worldwide. Why? Such commissions help reduce TinkerTry's reliance on advertisers, while building a community around the Xeon D that strikes a great balance between efficiency and capability.

    I personally traveled to Wiredzone near Miami FL to see the assembly room first-hand, and to Supermicro HQ in San Jose CA to share ideas and give direct product feedback.

    I'm a full time IT Pro for the past 23 years. I've worked with IBM, HP, Dell, and Lenovo servers for hands-on implementation work across the US. Working from home over the past year as a VMware vSAN SE, I'm quite enjoying finally owning a lower-cost Supermicro solution that I can recommend to IT Pro colleagues, knowing it will "just work." That's right, no tinkering required.