After nearly two years, I have decided to migrate my home server from an ESXi machine running multiple virtual machines, two a farm of raspberry pis running various services and configurations.
Why Migrate From ESXi and VMs?
This was a fairly easy decision for me. The benefits far out weighted the drawbacks.
Multiple Physical Machines
One of my major concerns is all of the virtual machines are located on a single physical server. The server itself has redundant onsite data, however, if the one physical machine goes down all the machines go down.
The raspberry pis will provide physical redundancy, if one server goes down it will not impact another physical unit.
Easily explained, the power of four raspberry pis will draw way less than the full blown ESXi server. The ESXi server can be turn on and off ad-hoc based on the requirements at that time.
With the ESXi server reaching max capacity, it is no longer a scalable solution. I will not be building a new power hungry server in order to add one more virtual machine.
A raspberry pi can be purchased when required for a small amount of money. This a very similar reasoning to how cloud has grown in popularity. It is a lot easier to increase spending incrementally versus a large upfront purchase; aside from the ongoing energy costs.
How Am I Going to Migrate?
One by one I will slowly be building raspberry pis and configuring them in order to host a set of services and/or applications. All of the builds will be from scratch or through a new build and restore.
Currently, all of the virtual machines are hosted on a third generation i7. The machine has 16gb of ram, of which 8gb are dedicated to a security management server.
Aside from the security management server, all of my services run on nine separate virtual machines. There are an unnecessary amount of resources dedicated to basic upkeep; nine separate operating system instances. The services and applications deemed similar will be dedicated to the same raspberry pi aka Ant.
The Ant Farm is the named coined to the server farm full of Ants, or raspberry pis. This is where all of the seanland-vm services will be rebuilt. Four raspberry pi 4b+s with 2gb of ram each will be doing the work of nine virtual machines.
To specifically answer, how will this be done? Everything will be a straight rebuild. Data will be migrated, but everything else will be a clean install.
What Has Changed?
My personal and professional requirements have changed. All (unless something comes along) of my personal requirements can be easily hosted on the Ants. Professionally, my requirements are always evolving. This project will provide me with a larger canvas for testing and building both personally and professionally.
Work Related Tasks
In May, my position at work changed. I switched from a team where I was focused on solving a larger number of smaller problems. Now, I am in a position where I work on a smaller number of large projects. The additional space and resources from seanland-vm will allow me to build out larger environments to examine more unique situations.
Stable Home Requirements
What I need set up in home is obvious. My requirements have not changed in over six months and the changes I have made has just been for testing.
I will still have the ability to test new home (production) requirements in a virtual machine prior to migrating a solution to an Ant.
This is an easy solution that any one can partake in. It will be a great learning experience to dive into a project like this; for anyone, novice and experts alike. I look forward to recording and sharing the process so anyone can learn. On top of this all, I am hoping to improve the way I can present information to the public. The secondary goal is to pass along a message and articulate in a way for people to easily comprehend.