Building - and maintaining home server conway 2017

Time for another generation of home server since home server greenblatt from 2008 was getting 9 years old. Room for improvement and reduced power usage. Again, a log of choices and specials done to make things work.

The server name is conway to keep in line with the machine names theme at home. The name for the home server seems to alternate between gosper and greenblatt, but now with virtual machines gosper will be the new shell server and the main hardware had to have a different name.

Hardware choices

The choices in hardware are based on 'what do I want it to do' and virtualization will be an important part. I want to run a bare minimum 'base machine' which hosts virtual machines so I can have smaller attack surfaces and less interaction between services.

And the choice of hardware was left to my current favourite supplier, I just mailed them the needed specs (enough cores, enough memory, gigabit ethernet with vlan capability, minimal video, a case with good shielding, dual ssd) and they responded with a 'shopping basket' link including assembly.

Virtual servers

At the moment I see the following virtual machines, but that is up to change:

With only one routable IPv4 address an inverse webproxy and/or portforwards will be needed, and some services will get new IPv6 addresses.


Bulk storage has been delegated to a synology nas. Server storage will be a mirrored (raid-1) SSD, with a mirrored /boot and lvm for the rest. I may add harddrive(s) or 'spinning rust' for virtual machine experiments, although I could also do that with iscsi targets on the synology.

OS choice

Linux is logical (for me) but 'which linux' is a thing at the moment due to systemd which I don't feel comfortable with for my home server that I have to understand to the last bit and has to do what I want. I found Devuan linux is 'Debian without systemd' which sounds like a good idea for a server.


I want software raid over the 2 SSD disks and I want LVM (logical volume manager) to make disks available to virtual machine and UEFI boot has some strong wishes on how the disk is partitioned so it will boot at all. It took a few iterations to get this right, and it takes the long road in the Devuan/Debian partitioner. First partition has to be set up as EFI system which is FAT32 and will mount on /boot/efi, second partition as EXT2 for /boot. I set up the third partition as software raid. And both disks have to be partitioned exactly the same. The 'software raid' of the first and second partition has to be done by hand.

On that software raid I created an LVM physical group and created a logical volume of 10G in that group for the server itself. The installer complained about the lack of a swap partition but at the current memory size and the fact that this is just for running virtual machines it won't need swap.


Koos van den Hout e-mail:
Other webprojects: Camp Wireless