Rebuild needed - hardware advice please - HP N54L to Rasp Pi?

I currently run windows server 2012 on an HP Microserver (N54L). Its early days in my HA journey, but my flaky platform is getting me very frustrated! I had to do another full system restore this morning after the OS started crashing.
The SSD is failing (prob whats causing the crashing), and the server OS is a little heavy weight for what I now use it for (and its old!). I am contemplating a new SSD, but rebuilding with Windows 10 (Linux host possible, but would need a windows VM. I use MS Money and this doesn’t run in WINE etc very well).
Other option is to go with raspberry pi 4B 8Gb and run windows in a VM for just that app. How would the performance of the pi compare to an old N54L with 2Gb RAM and dual core 2.2Ghz CPU ?
I currently run HA in a virtualbox VM, and I could use docker on the pi or virtualbox again in Windows 10.
Am I expecting too much of a pi to run all this? It doesn’t need to be blistering quick, and I’m happy for it to just chug away. It’ll also be a file server, but again, no major I/O requirements other than serving the odd film to the TV. Happy with that on a windows or Linux host.
Any other options ? I looked at an Intel NUC - but they arent cheap! But if they come with an SSD and a windows license, then the cost may not be that different to a Pi with an SSD

Hi Neil,

I’ve been using HA for quite a few years now and took a similar journey.
Initially on an HP Microserver, then RPI 3’s, 4’s etc and finally an Intel NUC.
The NUC is an i7 with 16Gb ram running HA Supervised on Debian, which is completely overkill, but has plenty of resources available for non HA stuff.
The upside is no more failed cards and updates are simple. Plus the added benefit of using snapshots is excellent for development, as you can instantly roll back if you brick the system.

Not cheap, but I wish I’d done it years ago!

I used a NUC 8i3 for over a year and it was way overkill for HA Supervised and some Docker containers like Octoprint and Nextcloud.

I used a RPi3 before and it was a massive improvement.

The downside of a NUC is the limited amount of interfaces e.g. for SSDs.
If you plan to have mirrored drives, a NUC might not be the first choice. Maybe there is a better device out there with the same form factor.
One huge advantage is power consumption, the NUC 8i3 barely needed 10 W, compared to probably 40 W of the N54L.

In the end it’s depending on your requirements.
If a NUC fits your needs, it is a good choice IMHO but there might be cheaper devices with same capabilities.

Usually NUCs come with a 3 years warranty so maybe watch out for a used one.

Definitely overkill! :slight_smile:
I’ve gone for a gigabyte BRIX i5 with 120Gb SSD and 8Gb RAM. Overkill for HA, but it means I can run other things alongside. I’ll pop HA in a VM with a windows host and see how that goes. If its unstable, I’ll switch and run HA in Debian and run a VM for windows.
I have a couple of 3.5" Sata drives I can put into a USB3 enclosure for storage/backup etc.

As someone wise once said on these forums, "Friends don’t let friends use Windows". Unless you have some hugely compelling reason to use Windows - don’t.

If you want to go down the VM route, try Proxmox, or you can do as already noted and install Debian 10 and HA Supervised using this guide..

I’ve been using a Hardkernel Odroid-H2 running Ubuntu. A newer H2+ is now available. It has an Intel (x86) processor. I’ll eventually convert to Home Assistant Supervised with Debian (per Jason’s guide).

There’s one thing I’d advise regarding SSDs. I selected an Intel enterprise-grade product and it was relatively affordable. Look to eBay. The important differentiator is robust power-loss data protection, but you will have to verify the specific feature from the Intel product information. I’ve had good experience with several of these SSDs over the past 6 years.

Unfortunately I do have a need for windows. I need to be able to run MS Money Sunset edition of my financial world will come crashing down! :wink:
I’m also more used to running windows, so happy for that to be the host, and lest the handling of the HA OS to the HA distro on a VM. Virtualbox has died a couple of times on Windows Server 2012 with permissions issues. I need to look at alternatives, like VMWare.

So run a Windows VM in Proxmox.

Thanks - I’ll take a look. It would have the benefit of meaning I only need to spin up the windows VM when I need it. Could I also run freenas on Proxmox to give a lightweight NAS on my network, but not within the HA VM or when the windows VM is off ?