So you need bare metal first to do everything. I searched in google for about 3 months and decided to buy a used HP/Dell Server. Some other options were going on budget and getting a NUC, Mini PC from aliexpress etc., Finally decided to purchase used server mainly because i wanted to get the feel of it.
Server & Rack:
I purchased a used Dell R210II from zaco computers. Came to know about them from some posts i found in quora. The server had quad core xeon processor and 8GB of RAM without hard disk. The total was around Rs.32k including taxes. I then purchased a 120GB SSD from amazon and installed in it. I would highly recommend zaco computers for purchasing used servers. I contacted them through email and got prompt response. They shipped through fedex and server properly packed.
At the time of purchase i had no idea of what an iDRAC is! but they have put an iDRAC enterprise card in it without me saying it. It was a surprise for me actually. Later i found it very useful for controlling noisy dell fans. So if you are going with Dell, make sure you have iDRAC card installed before you purchase.
The only reason for going with Dell R210 was that the length of server would fit into a network rack! I have installed my server and switch in a network rack (jumbo version) purchased from mass racks. I would also recommend mass racks if you need any network racks. Get a cantilever tray for switches. One 6U jumbo rack with cantilever tray costed around 2.7k.
If you are reading this, never ever install a server in a network rack! It was my idea and later i realized that it was very bad. First, the server is very heavy and coupled with rack and switches the entire arrangement is so heavy to lift and mount it on wall. Even if you mount on wall the small 4-corner support will not hold it. I have supported in front by using two extra anchor bolts from top. Second, cable management is very difficult. If you are from India i feel, It is cheap to assemble a wooden rack and rack mount angles with carpenter help. Dimensions can easily be found online. Mass racks also has wheel mounted server racks.
Switch, AP and Misc:
I had a relative coming from US and he was kind enough to carry a used Dell 16-port switch ($40 ebay) and a refurbished Tp-link EAP225 ($50 amazon).
So now i have a complete setup with a modem (i had already), a wifi AP, a switch and a server!
Now let’s spin up ubuntu…