Getting a used server for running office clients vm's and more. old hw and nvme add inn card?


I’m helping a friend with some server stuff…

We are thinking about getting a new server for him and looking at some used ones right now. It’s purpose will be to run vm’s with win10 and office so clients can log into and work and get access to documents and files. Maybe maximum about 10 users working at the same time.

I’m thinking it will run proxmox or something else.

And a wm with freenas or something like that for the users to have the files shared.

And in the future maybe some other wm’s running debian as a web/mail server.

Maybe even little more.

We are currently looking at a

HP Proliant DL385 G7

2x CPU AMD Opteron 6238
256GB ECC RAM 16GB x 16
2x 15.000 RPM 72GB SAS
8 x 2.5" bays

The seller is asking 1000 usd for it. okey price?

Thinking we will buy new hdd’s and some nvme ssd and use a add inn card to
get them to run. Is this possible? And is the 1tb drive limit for hdd’s a reality or is possible with bigger ones even if the specs i read for the server say it’s max 1tb drives?

Thinking about getting 2 Intel 660p 2TB M.2 SSD in raid 0 to have for the server and vm to operate on and spinning rust for the freenas vm. Maybe 8tb with some kind of secure raid the data.

And will it be something we want to use for the things explained above?

And what lifespan will it have? I’m not sure what the server have been used for or condition.

We have never done anything like this before but were both oldschool nerds with some computer skills and hopefully with some help from this forum and community here to help maybe we can pull it off.


A “clean” setup of FreeNAS in a VM would involve replacing the RAID controller with an HBA and using PCIe passthrough to attach the HBA to the VM. I’m not sure what the IOMMU support is like on this server to make that feasible. Otherwise, it will work but you wouldn’t be much better off than you would be with another Windows VM to act as the file server.

The BIOS will not be able to natively boot from an NVMe device, but you may be able to work around this by installing your bootloader on some other device. Your NVMe devices will not operate at full speed because this is a PCIe 2.0 server.

Most likely 1TB is just the largest 2.5" drive it was ever sold with. If it did have a limit, that limit would be 2TB and it would be imposed mainly by the RAID controller and possibly also the backplane. But I think I’ve seen G7 servers with 4TB 3.5" drives and this would have the same generation RAID controller.

It is already past what most people would consider to be its useful lifespan.

If I can interject a relatable comment
The server outlined above seems to be a reasonably well configured option for the use case although seems to neglect the fact that with out a networking upgrade the server will be limited by the four gigabit networking ports. This could be solved by creating an LACP group of the network cards with a smart switch or upgrading to ten gigabit networking all of which is talked about in this video 10GIG Storage

As far as the other questions I concur with carnogaunt.

Good Luck :grinning: