When I left Cisco, I knew that I would need to build a lab of my own. I used my lab extensively in TAC and knew I would benefit having my own place to test new features, customer questions, and help colleagues. In addition, owning the hardware would help me better understand the server (hardware and VMware) side of things as well.

In December 2017 I finished my initial build and set up a full UCCE deployment with bells and whistles. Thanks to virtualization, I did not need to utilize the 2951 sitting in my office and was able to use Cisco vCUBE and vCUSP for call routing. For UCCE work, I got a full UCCE system with most of the peripherals up including CCMP and ECE because I wanted to get a better feeling of these products before I needed to deploy them for work.

As I started enabling and using more features for UCCE and add-ons, I started hitting some performance issues. The two that made me really want to spend a few more dollars were CUIC and CCMP. CUIC eats RAM. I could have put 32GB of RAM on the VM for CUIC and it would find a way to need more. Doing some more digging, I found that VMware was reserving ~2GB so I was actually oversubscribed quite a bit. I had a feeling about this all along but thought sluggishness was something I could live with for a while, but it finally got hit breaking point.

I got fed up so I set up an alert on PC Part Picker and finally pulled the trigger. Since I was taking the server apart, I decided to add another SSD for additional VMs coming soon. The upgrade brought me from 500TB SSD and 64GB RAM to 1.5TB SSD and 128 GB of RAM.

Pre-upgrade utilization:

 Note: CUIC is powered down in this image.

 

Final build:
    CPU: Intel - Xeon E5-2620 V4 2.1GHz 8-Core Processor
    CPU Cooler: Noctua - NH-U9DXi4 37.8 CFM CPU Cooler
    Motherboard: ASRock - X99 Extreme4 ATX LGA2011-3 Motherboard 
    Memory: Corsair - Vengeance LPX 32GB (2 x 16GB) DDR4-2400 Memory
    Memory: Corsair - Vengeance LPX 32GB (2 x 16GB) DDR4-2400 Memory
    Memory: Corsair - Vengeance LPX 32GB (2 x 16GB) DDR4-2400 Memory
    Memory: Corsair - Vengeance LPX 32GB (2 x 16GB) DDR4-2400 Memory
    Storage: Samsung - 850 EVO-Series 500GB 2.5" Solid State Drive
    Storage: Samsung - 860 Evo 1TB 2.5" Solid State Drive
    Storage: Western Digital - Red 3TB 3.5" 5400RPM Internal Hard Drive
    Video Card: Gigabyte - GeForce 210 1GB Video Card
    Case: Cooler Master - N400 ATX Mid Tower Case
    Power Supply: EVGA - SuperNOVA G2 550W 80+ Gold Certified Fully-Modular ATX Power Supply
    Keyboard: Logitech - K400 Plus Wireless Mini Keyboard w/Touchpad

Note: The case is a bit bent because my standing desk got caught on the case but there was no functional impact.


Final utilization and VM list of my lab:



This was my first PC build. I have upgraded parts in the past but never really built anything from scratch. Shout out to Chris for his help during the build.