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Build Advice Test Server Requirements

Discussion in 'Tech Support' started by Kernel, 27 May 2015.

  1. Kernel

    Kernel Likes cheese

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    I am looking to develop my knowledge of virtualisation systems and server management and I am not enjoying running all my lab stuff through a hypervisor on my main machine as it restricts it's use for other things when I want to keep 5-6 VM's constantly running.

    So I have decided on some dedicated hardware, but my knowledge of server kit is limited at best.
    I am basically after something I can stick ESXi or something on and run 3-4 server and 2-3 client guest OS's on. I am not after stunning performance, but I do want to run it as a quasi live system running a local domain with 2-3 physical machines and a NAS box.
    I am guessing Xeon for the better handling of virtual environments (dual Xeon for pimp factor?) and 16gb RAM minumim? Ideally it has to be tower system as I have literally no where to stick a rack.

    So what would be capable of running this and how much is it going to damage my wallet?
     
  2. theshadow2001

    theshadow2001 [DELETE] means [DELETE]

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    There's a suitable server in the market place for 400 at the moment. In my experience The min should be 32gb ram.
     
    Last edited: 28 May 2015
  3. RichCreedy

    RichCreedy Hey What Who

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    32GB minimum for 4 or 5 vms running concurrently, you don't necessarily need xeons, as current intel desktop procs core i5 or i7 are capable enough.
     
  4. Kernel

    Kernel Likes cheese

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    I've seen it, but sadly it's a 1U rack mount and my space is limited. If it was a tower I'd have probably bought it already.
     
  5. saspro

    saspro IT monkey

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    An ML350 G6 make a perfect lab platform.
    Dual processor capable (up to hex core) and has 18 RAM slots.
     
  6. phuzz

    phuzz This is a title

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    If you can you should go for an actual server as the driver support will be much better.
    As for specs, you'll ideally want one core per active VM (if you have some that don't have to do much you can skimp a bit here). For RAM basically add up the RAM requirements of all your VMs and buy that much (ideally with a bit spare for the hypervisor). The main bottleneck will be storage speed, so either find something with nice fast SAS disks or go for SSDs.
     
  7. theshadow2001

    theshadow2001 [DELETE] means [DELETE]

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    Driver support is the main thing. You don't need xeons as such but supported motherboards may require them. Life will be a lot easier if you pick hardware from the list of supported hardware on vmware's website.
     
    Last edited: 28 May 2015
  8. Kernel

    Kernel Likes cheese

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    The ML350 G6 is looking like a strong contender in this race.

    Although, during my research I stumbled upon this video. I don't even.....
     
  9. saspro

    saspro IT monkey

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    If you load up a ML350 G6 with RAM then you can nest hypervisors as well.
    I'm running ESXi 5.5 as a base with 2 virtualised ESXi 5.5 hosts on that and then VM's on those.
    Gives me a 3 node cluster with a virtualised SAN all in 1 box
     
  10. Mister_Tad

    Mister_Tad Super Moderator Super Moderator

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    For a sandbox, would splitting it down the middle be worthwhile to give you a little bit more to tinker with in the VMware context? Depending on what you wanted to tinker with, that is.

    E.g. instead of a 2P server with 128GB, a pair of 1P servers with 64GB.
     
  11. faugusztin

    faugusztin I *am* the guy with two left hands

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    "RAM is probably hidden" (camera is pointing at RAM modules) :D

    Back to ESXi - question is if you are willing to pay or not. If you want to use the free version, you are limited to 32GB RAM and i think 2 CPU sockets anyway.
     
  12. saspro

    saspro IT monkey

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    ESXi 5.5 got rid of the memory limits :)
     
  13. MarkW7

    MarkW7 Total Noob

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    How about something from the Dell PowerEdge T range?
     
  14. Kernel

    Kernel Likes cheese

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    I did end up with a HP Microserver Gen8 with a E3-1230v2 in it. For the stage I am at right now it's great, needs a RAM upgrade to take it to 16GB.

    I was tempted by one of these tho. £240 after cashback. If in a few months time I need another server I'd likely grab one if the offer is back on.
     

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