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#1 thead

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Posted 03 April 2010 - 09:21 PM

Hello guys and galls
From you own personal experience, what is the best hardware configuration for ESXi server home lab?
Requirements: 6-10VMs (RHEL/Debian as dynamis lab(8-16 routers),Couple of Win2003/2008 servers, CUCM 7, CS-ACS5.0, maybe MARS IPS and other product lines related to networks) all this used primarily on study/testing purposes.
Preferable rack-mounted server but not required,
It is better to build this machine from scratch(desktop-like) or purchase some pre-build product server?
Thanks in advice.

Edited by thead, 03 April 2010 - 09:28 PM.

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#2 Sunfish

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Posted 04 April 2010 - 01:59 AM

Some time ago I decided to build my own server from scratch mainly for 2 reasons: it had to be affordable and perfectly silent (it's sitting right beside my desk)!

So I went for an Intel server mobo with dual Quad-Xeons supporting up to 32 GB of RAM. Definitely enough power to run my testlab with a couple of Win2k8 R2 servers, including Exchange 2010 and OCS 2007 R2, as well as a CUCM 7 cluster. The pre-build servers that I had a look at were either too noisy or too expensive or both and I don't need a rack-mountable one. So I simply took an old tower case and build it myself.
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#3 laf_c

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Posted 04 April 2010 - 06:29 AM

Hello guys and galls
From you own personal experience, what is the best hardware configuration for ESXi server home lab?
Requirements: 6-10VMs (RHEL/Debian as dynamis lab(8-16 routers),Couple of Win2003/2008 servers, CUCM 7, CS-ACS5.0, maybe MARS IPS and other product lines related to networks) all this used primarily on study/testing purposes.
Preferable rack-mounted server but not required,
It is better to build this machine from scratch(desktop-like) or purchase some pre-build product server?
Thanks in advice.


Don't take it personally, but you re out of the line: 6-10 VM each with 8-10 dynamips routers, and many other running OSs like 2008 Server. If you ever will find a HW config to support all this, it will costly these days, more than normal. I suggest you split these requirements to at least two physical servers. About ESXi it's a good choice, but bare in mind you have no RAID or NAT.
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#4 thead

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Posted 04 April 2010 - 04:39 PM

@Sunfish

Thanks, i will consider those hw. specs

@laf_c

I meant just one VM running router lab, not all of them, the point about running the same Server(code) at the same time is to take advantage of Transparent Page Sharing http://blogs.vmware....-hyperviso.html
as for that number of VMs, some of them would be client side OS to test client-server features (e.g citrix), but at some point you i right maybe i won't need that much concurnet VMs, depends on situation. With RAID, maybe external iSCSI storage would solve this.

Edited by thead, 04 April 2010 - 04:53 PM.

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#5 Sunfish

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Posted 04 April 2010 - 06:13 PM

Most of the server mobos support hardware RAID. That should work on ESXi as well, right?!
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#6 abbi_1680

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Posted 10 June 2010 - 01:37 AM

I am not a VMware Guy. why do we need to have such high end config for home lab.
Can we not buy a decent spec workstation of 64 bit and install 4 or 5 VMS with 3 NICs with a couple Cisco catalyst 2950 and 2920XM routers.

I have built in that way, Indeed I have spent very lilttle time with Vsphere to get an understanding and tried vmotion with openfiler.

Please share your views.

My spec i7 intel 64 bit 2.8 Ghz - 8 GB RAM and 3 intel Pro NICs
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#7 FS

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Posted 24 June 2010 - 05:40 PM

I have built a computer specifically for these purposes to create a home ESXi lab.
I mentioned the configuration of my PC earlier, but just for reference will repeat again.

CPU i7 2.8Ghz
RAM 12Gb
HDD 1TB+1TB+1TB

I had to install a server dual GB NIC card to get ESXi 4.0 going on it, even though motherboard already had one which ESXi failed to recognize.

I must say it works as if I have a blade server. It is pretty fast. I run three pools simultaneously each one contains around 7 virtual machines, mostly Windows Server platforms and all is running very fast.

I think it is also very important for your motherboard to be virtualization friendly. I was lucky with mine. I got one from Gigabyte EX58-DS4. I think now after 1 and a half years there are even better ones.

Oh, the sad part is that I paid around $2000 AUD for this PC (monitor not included)

#8 FS

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Posted 24 June 2010 - 05:41 PM

I have built in that way, Indeed I have spent very lilttle time with Vsphere to get an understanding and tried vmotion with openfiler.

may i know how you tried vmotion without SAN ?

#9 redbaron51

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Posted 11 July 2010 - 09:19 PM

may i know how you tried vmotion without SAN ?

You configure an iSCSI target using Openfiler and therefore you have a shared storage to play with vMotion, DRS, HA, FT*, etc (*CPU must support)
You can build a whitebox machine to run the lab no problems (see links)
http://www.vm-help.c...hitebox_HCL.php
http://ultimatewhitebox.com/
I preferred to spend my cash on cheap Proliant ML115G5 to run my lab
3xML115G5 (2x ESXi4 off USB + 1x Openfiler off USB - 2 iSCSI targets configured + 1xProcurve-1810-8 managed gigabit switch + 1x extra NIC for each box supporting Jumbo Frames)
This setup supports vMotion, HA, FT, DRS, everything
Spent around GBP1,000
Hope this helps
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#10 FS

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Posted 21 July 2010 - 12:26 PM

oh, openfiler, that's right.

proliant ml115G5 must be generating you electricity bills :)

#11 manopriyan

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Posted 09 July 2011 - 03:45 PM

Pls can any one tell the system require configuration for esx 4.0 server.
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#12 Steve Jobs

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Posted 09 July 2011 - 08:25 PM

I would like to build my own lab at home. my budget is 600 euros. What would you guys advice?

Thanks
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#13 Lethe

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Posted 11 July 2011 - 12:27 AM

I would like to build my own lab at home. my budget is 600 euros. What would you guys advice?

Thanks


Not the easiest route but that budget I would consider building a lab out of barebone/pc hardware using VMware HCL. Again this is the hardest path to follow as it requires you to hunt down hardware in HCL and put it together yourself (with obvious limitations in expansion) but for sure it is the cheapest route.

If you google you can find tons of pointers on the HW and people making this happen, if you just mean to have a small lab to test stuff out (works pretty well) and don't mind some lag here and there you can also consider to run your lab inside VMware workstation/server. I've done the latter multiple time in the past for training or proof of concept and while this has its limitations it works without many problems (been able to reproduce a full 2 cluster node with ESX, Vcenter and all the rest :))

Hope this will help a bit, L.
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#14 I NEED HELP!

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Posted 23 August 2011 - 05:44 AM

The most important thing is RAM - you need as much as possible and that is practical. You should shoot for at least 24GB and 32 is usually optimal for a home lab. I would get at least a quad port nic card and then set up a small computer with lots of drive space with openfiler or freenas and attach to the storage computer via iSCSI. That will allow you to play around with VMotion and Fault Tolerance. I currently have two old Dell 2950's with dual quad core Xeon processors and 32Gb of memory on each. I have a cheap box that I put together with an Atom processor on board and four 1TB drives in RAID 5 config running FreeNas. I have two small gigabit switches one for iSCSI traffic and one for the network, FT and VMotion. Each server has a quad port nic and 2 onboard nics. I can run quite of bit of VM's and I even run VMWare View with a few desktops which I can access from anywhere via the web portal. Gotta love dynamic DNS and high speed cable internet. Hope this helps you.

I am a VCP4 and and now looking forward to getting my VCP5 in September.
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