I have been wanting to upgrade my homelab for a while now to allow for running more experimental VMs. I already had six VMs running on the HP Microserver which was much more than could be handled by the AMD Turion 1.2Ghz single core 2 threaded CPU. I decided to go with the ThinkServer TS140 that could be upgraded to use the Xeon 1246v3 Haswell CPU (4 cores, 8 threads) with 32GB of RAM.
I repurposed the MicroServer as a NAS server running FreeNAS and installed ESXi 6.0U2 on the TS140 with a local SSD datastore and a NFS datastore being exported by the NAS. This allowed for keeping the more frequently accessed VMs on the SSD and the ones with lower IO requirements on the NFS datastore (cheaper storage, but more of it). So far, apart from initial trouble with the RAM which was faulty, everything seems to be chugging along fine. Power consumption is not much higher than before. The server snugly fits inside the CPU cabinet in my desk. I am quite happy with the CPU’s performance as well. The DFLYBSD kernel compilation from scratch took around 10 minutes.
I am planning to add a PFSense VM and also a Windows VM for gaming and running MS Applications like Office etc. Not sure if I want to pass through a graphics card to the VM since it would be used rarely but would be consuming power 24/7 in the server.