New DNS/DHCP server/system

Time to replace

My DNS/DHCP server, an old Intel NUC, died a few weeks ago. It suddenly shut down during the day. I was able to start it again but it would keep shutting down. Didn’t take me long to realise the fan died and the NUC switched off to protect itself.

No problem, find a replacement, order it and put it in the system. The NUC is old but perfectly adequate for the job, running OPNSense but only for DNS and DHCP. I decided a long time ago that consolidation is very good but not for every service: I run two XCP-NG (Xen) servers but every time I take stuff down for patching, maintenance etc I would impact naming resolution and therefore internet access for the rest.

Fan arrived, opened the system, replaced the fan and started it. Fan works, good, but the rest doesn’t. Whatever I did, up to complete BIOS resets, nothing happened. I probably damaged the system opening it up many times or the system just got too hot and died. Running an OPNSense instance virtually is a no brainer so we were back up and running in the time it takes to install OPNSense and restore a backup but that’s not what I want; especially since I am looking into consolidating the two XCP-NG hosts into one that is more power efficient and can handle 64 Gb of memory.

NUCs are expensive and there are surprisingly few second hand systems; and the price of those is almost never worth the risk. A replacement for the NUC should have a decent price, be reliable and power efficient as it will be running 24/7.

And then I read in a Dutch thread about low power systems about the HP T620. Fanless, cheap, made for the business (reliable). Found a company that sells them and ordered one. A quad core (it turned out to be a dual core version, waiting for feedback from the company), 4 Gb of memory and 16 Gb msata. Slow but more than performant enough for it’s purpose and around 4-5 watt of power usage.

OPNSense installs just fine and runs smoothly.

Update 1

I figured out that I received a dual core system (quad core advertised). Reached out and the company offered to replace. Because I like them I ordered another one :-) Would be nice to tinker a bit with the second one; maybe add memory and upgrade storage to see if it can be a low power system to host a few management services.

Update 2

Replacement and additional device arrived today. Happy! Both quad-cores, both 8 Gb, both 32 Gb storage, one of them even has a wifi card in it. Playtime :-) I had a 2 Gb SO-DIMM from the old NUC and guess what, it works. That means I can move the 8 Gb SO-DIMM to the second machine and leave the DNS/DHCP server with 2 Gb (which is plenty) and have a second machine with 16 Gb of memory and 32 Gb storage to play with.

HP Support page

Additional info

ServeTheHome forum discussion thread