I’ve been using a 2012 Mac mini server as my personal server/NAS for 10 years, it’s been really solid in all its various forms over the years, at times a networked compressor node, a torrent box+Plex server, home automation hub, and always the center of my backup strategy. I do not currently run my apps or services in containers, so it’s all very brittle, especially after 10 years of abandoned experiments, updates, quick fixes, poor documentation etc. It’s also locked on Catalina, which is not receiving updates, and will likely not support the core Apple services like iCloud/Photos much longer.
I suffered a RAID drive failure and a time consuming partial rebuild/recovery from backups (I wrote off my Plex library sadly) a few months ago, so I’m eager to start fresh with a more modern and expandable system that can grow with me the way the Mini did for the past 10 years.
For the past year or two I just assumed I’d get a maxed out M-based Mac mini and rebuild everything there whenever the 2012 ‘died’, but then I realized that macOS can be virtualized rather easily, so it’s not a requirement that this device be a Mac anymore. Further, I have an open frame 20U rack for my other networking gear, and replacing the shelf+mini+DAS with a single clean rack mount case is really appealing (and sounds really fun too!)
So here I am, considering the HL15!
I’m new to hypervisors and virtualization, excited to learn, but my main question is whether the full build can comfortably manage three immediate core tasks without modifications:
- Proxmox as hypervisor running
- All my various storage and backup needs in a TrueNAS VM
- A macOS vm for full iCloud/Photos backup, and
- An Ubuntu VM to run the arr app suite
In the medium term, I’d be interested in adding new or consolidating existing services to the HL15 including Homebridge, FreshRSS and similar services, as well as Jellyfin/Plex, which I understand would require passing a GPU through to another VM if I went with the full build.
Longer term, I’m interested in experimenting with local LLMs, which would almost certainly necessitate a CPU upgrade, more RAM, and a pretty beefy GPU.
So with these immediate, medium, and longer term plans, should I go for the full build and plan to upgrade CPU/RAM/PCIe as I go, or get the chassis only and build a custom system that’s better suited for those future needs?