I couldn't agree more. I have almost exactly the setup you describe! You don't need that much hardware actually. Be careful with old (1u) rack servers. They eat power and are incredibly loud! I have a Dell T110 that is absolutely perfect. It is designed for small office use and it is power friendly and quiet. I can't tell how much I have learned from setting everything up. You'll run into all kinds of interesting problems that you'll learn to solve. If you have any questions feel free to ask.
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