Home VMWare ESXi Server specs question

Discussion in 'Overclocking & Hardware' started by Ezy2Confuze, Aug 21, 2010.

  1. Ezy2Confuze

    Ezy2Confuze Member

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    Hi All,

    I've been wanting to get into learning VMWare since ESX 3.5 and now that one of the Sysadmin's above me has been promoted, I'm going to have to finally start learning more about it at home because I'm going to have to start using it more and more at work.

    So I was looking at specs for a half decent build I could do that would get me started with three VM's, a Server 2008 DC, A server 2008 / Exchange 2010 Server and a File & Print Server.

    I was looking at an Intel Core i7 870 CPU on something like an Intel P55 chipset - say the P7P55D-E LX board, with 2x 4GB DDR-3 DIMM's, which leaves two spare slots later.

    Does anyone see any problems with such a build? I've read that the VT on the 870 CPU's is ideal for VMWare.

    I was going to use the free VMware vSphere Hypervisor on this "Server"

    Any feedback is much appreciated.

    Thanks.
     
  2. Mudg3

    Mudg3 Member

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    You might want a little more ram then what your currently going purchasing if your looking at running all that.


    Apart from that the parts that you've listed will do fine.
     
  3. Soarer GT

    Soarer GT Member

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    RAM + number of HDD's (disk IO) is more important than CPU specs when you're doing VM's.
     
  4. youngpro

    youngpro Member

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    ram is most important for a home setup, but for what you want to do you will get away with 8GB..

    i think disk I/O you will do well to saturate a single disk with 3 VMs, especially if one is only going to be a DC and another exchange 2010, unless you have 100s of users on it disk io is going to be low
     
  5. OP
    OP
    Ezy2Confuze

    Ezy2Confuze Member

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    Thanks for all the replies,

    In regards to the RAM, I was thinking of installing another 8GB Kit down the track anyway, so I might as well do that as part of the original build now.

    In regards to storage, I was thinking of 2x 1TB's drives in a mirrored array. I was advised that a 10GB partition for the host OS, then a 5GB partition for the log files should be fine, I can then split the rest up for VM's.

    For additional storage, I can use something like a NAS enclusre similar to this one http://www.pccasegear.com/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=617&products_id=13799 which seems to have all the required file formats etc that I need.
     
  6. Mudg3

    Mudg3 Member

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    I would probably make the OS partition a bit bigger lol.



    Your only going to run into problems if you make it to small.
     
  7. Chemical Pete

    Chemical Pete Member

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    This is just for a training environment for yourself, right? So there will actually be very little load on the servers? In that case, then you might not have to worry too much about speccing the hardware up too much. A bit of lag here and there shouldn't be the end of the world to you.

    Before you go off and buy a bundle of consumer grade equipment, remember that not all hardware will be supported/ work correctly on VMWare ESXi. I'd suggest jumping on their website, and looking at the hardware compatibility list first, otherwise you might end up in a bit of trouble.

    Also, I presume you mean you wish to use ESXi as the hypervisor, and use vSphere to manage it? Is there actually a free version of vSphere? Last time I checked, there was only a 60 day trial... I could be wrong now though :).

    Edit: Seems some of the naming has changed around since I last looked at VMWare's lineup.
     
    Last edited: Aug 23, 2010
  8. Squeezer

    Squeezer Member

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  9. cybathug

    cybathug Member

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    Ezy2Confuze how did you end up going with this project? I've just finished building my own ESXi box and loving it :D

    AMD Phenom X4 955 3.20GHz Quad-core
    Asus M4A89GTD Pro
    2x4GB G.Skill Ripjaw DDR3

    Currently splitting my machines between an old 160GB 5400RPM laptop SATA drive, and a 500GB 7200RPM SATA drive.

    Currently running 2 XP boxes, 1 Ubuntu Server box with 3x750GB SATA drives physically passed through (Using 'Raw Device Mappings') with mdadm running RAID5 across them, another Ubuntu box, a m0n0wall firewall, and a Backtrack machine (Customized Virtual Appliance for security functions - vulnerability scanning, packet sniffing etc.)

    My main motivations for the project were learning VMWare (I'll eventually run a few ESXi machines on my ESXi host and get a full cluster going for training purposes), playing around with Windows enterprise systems (Server, Exchange, AD, IIS, ISA) and playing around with 'security stuff' ;)

    I use one of the XP boxes to manage the host and do a lot of desktop functions, performance seems OK for now, but not sure how it's going to scale. As long as my boxes chug along and do what they're told, I'm not fussed about latency or performance.

    Long-term goal is a beefy RAID card to run 4x500GB in RAID10 for my Datastore, and 3x750GB in RAID5 for my personal data. And an extra 8GB of RAM.

    Keen to hear how you're going.
     
  10. OP
    OP
    Ezy2Confuze

    Ezy2Confuze Member

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    Not doing too well at all so far...

    I changed Mainboards to the ASUS P7P55D-E Pro so I could connect an Adaptec 3405 RAID controller up, one of the guys at work recommended using a controller with battery backed caching, so after checking the VMware HCL, I went with the Adaptec as I've used their products before and like them.

    However whenever I try to open the RAID Management Console, the machine locks up and just continuously beeps. Doing some looking around, this happens on the ASUS Maximus board too, so I have put in a ticket with ASUS and since logging it last Friday, have had one reply to update the BIOS and nothing since then. I've disabled ALL onboard SATA controllers and unplugged the SATA DVD drive, tried without any drives connected to the Adaptec card, updated the Mainboard BIOS and still no go.

    I am going to hook the card up to another PC and if that works, will create a RAID array, swap it back with the drives to the VMware machine and see if it plays nice.
     
  11. bleckers

    bleckers Member

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    The basic vSphere client that comes with ESXi indeed does have a 60 day trial, but you can register it for free and then it is indefinite. If you want extra features such as vMotion you will need to buy one of the correpsonding versions of vSphere.
     

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