Mini Homeserver Build Project - Gen 8 Intel NUC

Hey there and thanks for joining me on my Summer 2019 Project.

Okay so I have outgrown my current home server needs and need something with a little more power. My old setup consisted of parts scavenged from my old gaming rig but primarily it is an i5 with 16gb of ram. I used it to run Plex and several virtual machines for my lab environment. Great at the time, but it was mostly a home theater pc running …Windows 10 :stuck_out_tongue:.

My main 3 requirements are:

  1. Does not take up a lot of space
  2. Low noise output
  3. Low power usage

I live in a tiny apartment/condo so space is a premium, I already have my gaming rig in my bedroom and don’t want additional noise. Also since it’s summer time I don’t want my electricity bill to get out of hand with my AC running 24/7, and my gaming rig and a home server running at the same time.

After looking at my options the Intel NUC seems to check off everything on my list. I’ll be driving down to Microcenter after work today to pick up this:

As well as an SSD and memory:

What will I be doing with this?:
I will be using this as an ESXI host. I will be running several virtual machines consisting of Pfsense, Jenkins, Gitlab, Salt, Docker, Kubernetes (Kubeadm), Ansible, Spinnaker, and Terraform. I want to get better at the entire software development and delivery best practices as well as infrastructure provisioning and maintenance. This will provide the foundation.

For anyone with experience with ESXI, I know I can install ESXI on a thumb drive or SD card and use it as an OS drive, however are there any caveats to be concerned about when doing this?

Alright that is it for now, later on this week, I’ll be providing an update on the setup process.


Potentially degraded performance over time. However, you’ll have your entire SSD as your dataset for storing ISOs, logs, backups, and VMs, which is really nice. The installation process is surprisingly quick when installing to the install medium, as the entire process is loaded into RAM.

While I’ve not personally experienced degraded performance over time, I am always reading about it when people use a flash drive as the host drive, so I assume that it has happened to a handful of people.

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Not really.

SD/Flash Drives wear with writes.

ESXi is very much WORM. You’re going to install it, then you’re not going to see many writes at all because you’re not modifying the packages and system config that much. Hell, I think the root partition is normally mounted read-only.