Turning a second hand HP Microserver small business server into the perfect home storage server solution.

Current Setup

My current homelab (more like a collection of computers and drives haphazardly configured together) was about at its breaking point.

Current Homelab Mess.jpeg
My setup was quickly turning into a mess

In particular, my most pressing issues are with my current mass storage solution, a Pegasus2 R4 RAID + Intel Mac:

  • TB2 only connection - This is a big issue. Thunderbolt is still not common in the PC world and I don’t want to rely on an older Thunderbolt version.
  • Deprecated RAID software - The Pegasus R2 software was good for its day, but it hasn’t been updated in years. It also involves installing kernel extensions, which Apple has highly discouraged for years now. I can’t imagine trying to get this to run fully on Apple Silicon.
  • I’ve had several random Thunderbolt-related system panics
  • Buggy SMB sharing on macOS
  • Promise says Pegasus2 R4 doesn’t support more than 4TB HDDs.

New (to me) Server: HP Microserver Gen 8

HP Microserver Gen8.jpeg
A bit dusty!

Enter the HP Microserver Gen8. A compact little low power server with 4 non-hot swap SATA bays. I didn’t know much about this little machine when I snapped it up on eBay. The specs barely checked off the boxes (maybe I’ll regret that) but it did check them off and the price was right.

Turns out it’s a great little machine. Not much room for upgrades, but the build quality is great. It’s compact and quieter than my Pegasus R4, even with all the new hard drives loaded. Having the built in (albeit clunky) HP IPMI for remote administration is a great bonus.

A few upgrades

RAM was maxed out to 16GB for the whopping price of $30.29. The CPU was upgraded from an Intel i5-3470T (2C4T) to the 4C8T powerhouse (/s) of the Xeon E3-1265L V2. An old 240GB SATA drive I had sitting around got repurposed as the boot disk.

3D printed bracket to mount SSD in empty optical drive bay

The Hard Drives: HGST 10TB Used Drives

26TB of available capacity!.png

The hard drives I picked up were used 10TB HGST Ultrastar enterprise drives. I know getting used drives is a risk, but the price was right ($79.99 when I bought them). I will also be using a striped RAID solution (RAID-Z1) and will still retain my Pegasus as a secondary backup.

26TB of raw capacity when configured as a RAID-Z1!

After configuring TrueNAS Scale on a bootable USB drive and configuring the drives, I now have a whopping 26TB of usable space from my 40TB of raw hard drive space. Not bad at all!


Price Breakdown

  • HP MicroServer Gen 8 (Ebay) - $173
  • 8GB PC3-12800E ECC UDIMM - 2x $15
  • HGST Ultrastar 10TB (Renewed) - 5 x $80 (4 active + 1 cold spare)
  • Xeon E3-1265L V2 CPU upgrade - $30 (optional)
  • Dual 2.5Gbe Network Card - $30 (optional)

Total: $663 for 40TB of raw storage (26TB formatted as RAIDZ1)

Overall not a bad little project. Great little computer if you’re looking for a compact, budget friendly storage server, especially for backups or offsite.