vSphere Homelab Version 2017

vSphere Homelab Version 2017

Well there are a lot of people having a lot of home lab installations out there. The latest trending home lab servers are Intel NUCs. I started to think about replacing my old PCs I still use as physical ESXi servers. Looking at Intel NUCs is for sure an option. The price is really interesting, but the max mem is 32 GB and they come with one NIC only, and you cannot really put a lot of disk space into these beasts. – So my plan was to have a home lab with some VSAN capacity, and the option to extend them in the next 12 months. – So I started to look for an alternative to these NUC babies.

What I found was Shuttle XPC cube barebone. The latest model the SZ170R8V2 comes with 2 built-in Intel 1 GB NICs, four DDR4 DIMM slots offering 64 GB max memory, 4 x 3,5″ disk chassis and M.2 SSD card slot, and on top of all this 2 PCI slots all of this in a nice 33 x 21 x 19 cm cube and it accepts Intel Gen 7 CPU (with the latest BIOS). – The best of the Shuttle motherboard is it uses Intel standard chips for NIC and graphics, so just run ESXi 6.5 without any tweaking of drivers etc.

For sure it is not supported to run VSAN, but it works – and that’s the main point for a home lab! (the Shuttle has HDMI and display port video connectors, so maybe you need an adapter to connect you DVI or VGA monitor…)

Here is the link to the baby: SZ170R8V2


My configuration to start would be an I7 Gen processor (quad core) 32 GB memory, M.2 250 GB SSD as cache and a 512 GB SSD for capacity. This confiurationg can be extended  with maybe a dual 10 GB NIC, another 32 GB of memory and some SSD (there is space for 3 more SATA devices…) for capacity in the next months when prices hopefully drop…

So what was the price for this? – Living in Switzerland I just take the swiss price and convert it in US$ to give you an idea

1 x Shuttle Barebone SZ170R8V2

306 US$

1 x Corsair Vengeance LPX (2x, 16GB, DDR4-2400, DIMM 288) 

281 US$

1 x INTEL Core i7-7700 Kaby Lake Prozessor

299 US$

1 x SAMSUNG SSD 2.5″ 512GB SATA 6Gb/s 850 Pro

235 US$

1 x SSD 960 Evo M.2 250 GB

126 US$

1 x USB Stick 32 GB Kingston DTSE9 G2 (boot device)

  24 US$


1271 US$


The other good thing I saw so far, the Shuttle does not produce much heat, and it is pretty quiet!

4 thoughts on “vSphere Homelab Version 2017

  1. Hi,

    Wenn du in der Schweiz lebst dann mach ichs mir einfacher mit der Sprache.
    Was kannst du zur Leistungsaufnahme sagen? Wieviel ca. Strom verbraucht deine Konfiguration?
    Ich überlege mir das gleiche Setup zu kaufen. Alternative wäre ein EliteDesk 800 G3 aber da wird die M2 Schnittstelle nicht erkannt. Somit gehe ich eher richtig Shuttle.
    Gruss und Danke im Vorraus.

      1. Hallo VMWerni

        Hast du die Intel vPro (AMT) konfiguration durchgeführt? Habe im BIOS Manual keine Settings dazu gefunden. Wäre super wenn dies funktionieren würde. So wäre gewährleistet das man aufdie HW zugriffen kann auch wenn keine Monitor etc. angeschlossen ist. (Ala ILO von HP)
        Gruss und Danke für die Info.

        1. Hi Alonso,

          Die Intel Chipsets 170 (und 270) unterstützen leider keine Management Funktionen, der Shuttle ist ja ein Home / Multi-Media PC und keine professionelle Workstation, wenn du professionelle Features willst ist das die falsche Hardware (und wie schon im Blog geschrieben die Konfiguration ist total unsupported von VMware.

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