As a true tech geek, I’ve had a home network since the early 90s, in one form or another. Over the last 18 mos. though, I’ve whittled it down to one main wired desktop (to host Orb, Avvenu, LogMeIn, Emoze, and be the main media storage location), and three wireless laptops.
In previous revisions, I’ve had as many as 6 servers, performing tasks like email (Exchange), systems management (SMS), antivirus (Symantec), web (IIS), another web server (LAMP), SharePoint, Active Directory, DNS/DHCP, and streaming media. The time it took to manage, update, patch, and monitor all these systems was enormous – with little value back to me. The learning experiences were great – I was able to try things that I couldn’t do at work (until we built a full R&D environment).
Finally I got tired of managing all these systems and moved many items to the ‘net. My web sites are on professionally managed hosting services, email is hosted by GMail (with a hosted Exchange account to push email to my MDA), pictures are on either Flickr or XDrive (depending on my mood), and video is on YouTube.
I still have that one machine that allows me to remotely connect, access high-quality media via Orb, and share files that I have on my HDD via Avvenu. All my needs are met by this configuration.
But I find I still have one need. To explore software that I find interesting.
So I believe that it is time to resurrect a more advanced home setup for this purpose – and it’ll be virutalized. I’m going to be adding a powerful system designed simply to be a virtual host for other servers. A dual or quad core Intel based system with about 1TB of disk and 4GB RAM will do the trick.
The purpose here is to simply be able to host things like SharePoint 2007 and see how they interact with Exchange 2007 and Conferencing software. Other items will be Groove and the next version of SMS called System Center Configuration Manager. Other systems/software will be running on Linux: WordPress (already been there, but will explore the MP version), Joomla, PHPNuke and a few others like a hosted version of ZoHo Office.