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Home Lab Server Manufacturers Recommendation/Horror Story

For my home lab I'm curious as to the strengths and weaknesses of different Server Manufacturers that I'm contemplating buying off-lease.  HPE/HP for updates requires a service plan.. and paying $1500+ for the minimum service plan for a $500 server seems a bit excessive.
HP ProLiant DL380 G8
IBM/Lenovo X3650 M4
DELL PowerEdge R720

IBM/Dell's seem to be using LSI Raid controllers that I can use the Megaraid software on. Advanced ILO/IMM/IDRAC is something I'm looking at adding

I realize that this will be almost completely subjective but I'm looking for peers to share with their experiences so I can build out this lab making intelligent decisions. I've heard some bad news re: HP Proliants

I've had no issues with HP DL380G6 and IBM x3650M2 (had to upgrade the raid card to a 5015 for >2TB Support
Awaiting any and all recommendations/horror stories.
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kevinhsiehNetwork Engineer
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Commented:
I have Dell R710 in production, so a 720 is a step up. You don't need maintenance with Dell to access updates, which is very nice.
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Commented:
I've been using $180 HP rackmount servers from eBay.  DL380 G7, 24G of RAM, 2 6-core Xeon 5670 CPUs.  You need to add drives, but the end product is inexpensive and very functional.  If you are concerned about reliability, consider buying two and keeping one as a spare.
David FavorFractional CTO
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Commented:
Or you can lease an OVH server for <$100/month - 16-32 thread CPU, 64-128G, 4TB RAID 1 Disk.

Tip: If your projects include any type of front facing (public) Web or APP or API code, you'll have far more flexibility using online hosting, rather than home hosting.
Brian BEE Topic Advisor, Independant Technology Professional
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Commented:

If you are concerned about parts availability, there are third party warranty companies as well. I user to use a specific one, but I can't remember the name. I'll see if I can locate someone still on that site and find out.


As for hardware choice, I also found that Dell has better out of warranty support than HP.

Aaron TomoskyDirector, SD-WAN Solutions
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Commented:
no one I know has home labs under warranty support, it costs too much. just buy spares, they are cheap enough and it’s a lab so it shouldn’t be production. it’s also a good way to design for failure, relying on manufacturer support cannot be your only method of insuring uptime.
David Johnson, CDSimple Geek from the '70s
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Commented:
What I'm interested in is firmware updates and items like HP SIM
I'm really not interested in buying a support contract. I just to get the software that is behind their paywall. I would be willing to pay them for this option.  That or buy servers that the software is not behind a paywall. As has been mentioned a support contract costs about 2-3x the price of the hardware and one could buy multiple spares for the price of 1 support contract (to support 1 server)

I do not need nor want a maintenance contract. So basically I get from the off lease sellers is what the original customer ordered. Minus any software.. i.e. raid/ilo if I want the advanced firmware features I have to specify that the server that I buy have these features. Some refurbishers state they ship the machines with the latest upgrades that they have..
David Johnson, CDSimple Geek from the '70s
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Commented:
The consensus of 1 is that Dell has the better after warranty driver support. No one has mentioned IBM/Lenovo X3650 line.
Simple Geek from the '70s
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Commented:
Thans for the limited feedback