HAL – the server that fuels all of this

What are you doing, Dave?

HAL – the server that fuels all of this

A few years ago my employer was downsizing their data center and it became known that a server rack was going to be tossed if nobody claimed it. I thought about it for a good eight or nine seconds and then I took the bait. I knew what it meant – at some point I was going to be purchasing a rack-mountable server for the house. Why would I need rack-mountable server for the house? Because I want one. Also, the toys for all of these projects were becoming too much for a windows desktop box masquerading as a server.  I also later acquired a rack-mountable 16 port hub (see top of picture below).  

This would be another endeavor that would require both time and money. After all, I knew nothing about how to manage such a box. After doing some digging around it became obvious that something like Open Media Vault would be the solution. OMV was targeted for someone like me – I want a lot of the bells and whistles that corporate environments have but I don’t want to go out and get degrees to manage them.  It is also a Linux-based platform that has some nice bells and whistles that come with it but still gives you the flexibility to work at the OS level as needed.

My next step was procuring a server. One could easily spend several grand on such a box. I noticed that on ebay that is a large market for old corporate servers that were put out to pasture. I did some research and settled on the Supermicro 2U 8 Bay U320 / FREENAS CSE-825 X7DB8+ / 2xL5420 / 64GB MEM. I figured that if I needed more than 8 drive bays or 64 gig of memory then I probably have too much stuff.

I won’t bore you with too many more details other than to give a description of what is running where.

Open Media Vault

  • Docker
          1. MariaDB –  Hosts tables for Kodi Movie / TV stats for the house.  This means that I can stop watching a movie or show hosted by HAL in one room and pick up where I left off in another room.   My watch history is uploaded to trakt.tv and I do have a demo app that pulls back that data.  I have also used this docker at other times while playing around with relational databases.
          2. Murmur – voice chat server. 
          3. Sonarr – tv show nzb downloader.
          4. Radar – movie nzb downloader.
          5. Pi-hole – blocks all website ads on my network.
          6. OpenVPN – allows any device on the home network to open a vpn connection.
          7. NextCloud – file share and collaboration package for an intranet.  
  • Virtual Box
          • Windows Server
            1. Virtual Weather Station – communicates with my backyard weather station. Uploads stats to various sites where I can access via api calls and Alexa (demo here).
            2. Logitech Media Server – servers music files to Logitech Squeezeboxes in the house.  
            3. IBM Web server – serves a couple of old sites that I made while learning Xpages.
          • Ubuntu
            1. Various incomplete projects
  • SFTP
  • Network File Shares
  • Photo Collection
  • File System Backups




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