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batsona
Maryland

join:2004-04-17
Ellicott City, MD
Reviews:
·Vonage
·Verizon FiOS

HW Verify: ESXi at home...

I've got ESXi 5.0 Update1 running at work, on a Dell R710 with 32GB RAM. I'd like to play with it more at home, but obviously can't purchase such server HW for home. Therefore, I'd like to build my own server of sorts for home-use, like I'm sure many others have done. Can the ESXi Home-Warriors post their configs here? I know that there are specific CPUs and NICs that ESXi will support. How about:

Intel Corei7 4-core.........$289
Intel motherboard (1600Mhz DDR3 RAM).....$113
RAM.....32GB.......$192
CPU Cooler..........$39
CD/DVD Drive..........$30
Power Supply......600W......$70
Video Card.......very basic......$34
ESXi Boot Drive......250GB.......$60
ESXi DataStore Drive......129GB SSD......$100

TOTAL............~$927

JoelC707
Premium
join:2002-07-09
Lanett, AL
kudos:5
Personally I use a Dell Precision 690 (functionally equivalent to the PowerEdge 2900 series). You could also buy a used 690 or some kind of 2900/2950 off ebay for considerably less than your current budget.

If you want to built one your self, that's certainly doable as well. What you need to be concerned with are the motherboard, NIC(s) and drive controller. Those three things are crucial to making a functional white-box system. You can browse the VMware HCL for most of these components and there are white-box HCL sites out there too that are useful.

Generally most gigabit NICs, even some Realtek will work. SAS RAID controllers are almost universally supported while only some SATA controllers are supported (all SCSI and IDE controllers and 100 meg NICS have been removed from support but sometimes their support can be added back in).

»www.vm-help.com/Whitebox_HCL.php
That's the 4.0 page but a lot of the "green" items (meaning it works without providing an additional driver) should still work in 5.0 as well. You can also click through to their forum and view the 5.0 specific threads as they don't yet have a neat list of working 5.0 hardware.

aguen
Premium
join:2003-07-16
Grants Pass, OR
kudos:2

1 edit
reply to batsona
said by batsona:

I've got ESXi 5.0 Update1 running at work, on a Dell R710 with 32GB RAM. I'd like to play with it more at home, but obviously can't purchase such server HW for home. Therefore, I'd like to build my own server of sorts for home-use, like I'm sure many others have done. Can the ESXi Home-Warriors post their configs here? I know that there are specific CPUs and NICs that ESXi will support. How about:

Intel Corei7 4-core.........$289
Intel motherboard (1600Mhz DDR3 RAM).....$113
RAM.....32GB.......$192
CPU Cooler..........$39
CD/DVD Drive..........$30
Power Supply......600W......$70
Video Card.......very basic......$34
ESXi Boot Drive......250GB.......$60
ESXi DataStore Drive......129GB SSD......$100

TOTAL............~$927

How many VM's do you think you'll want? $100 for a 129 GB SSD is a waste of time and money in my opinion for datastores. Are you thinking of putting a datastore on the boot drive? Not that there is nothing wrong with that in your case but just wondering why it's 250GB if you're not going to use it for datastore.
You don't mention the case you're looking to use, so we don't know how many drives/physical size it might accommodate.
Also, unless you are planning on way more VM's maybe in the future, 32 GB of RAM is also way overkill.

Joe12345678

join:2003-07-22
Des Plaines, IL
reply to batsona
just get 1 BIG HDD and skip the SDD.

batsona
Maryland

join:2004-04-17
Ellicott City, MD
Reviews:
·Vonage
·Verizon FiOS
reply to batsona
OP Here: Question... I see it's possible to install ESXi onto a bootable USB stick.. how's the performance with this? I'm guessing ESXi is resident in memory, and is not paged out? I can save on the boot-disk alltogether, and just buy a HD for the DataStore...

Neo62381

join:2003-04-18
Lenoir, NC
reply to batsona
On my old rig, I had a used 2950III that I purchased on ebay for really cheap. These days I run everything on VMware workstation on my ThinkPad and I'm much happier. I purchased an Intel SSD and one of those "ultrabay" adapters that let you put the SSD in the spot where the CD-ROM drive goes. I have a pretty beefed up laptop though. (ThinkPad T430 Core i7 w/16GB of RAM).

On another note, I pretty much use a commercial grade/dock-able laptop for everything these days and couldn't ever think of going back to a desktop rig again. The newer ones with the NVidia chipsets can run three monitors from the dock, and it works really well.

As for speed, I run all the VMs from the SSD and have yet to see it bog down... very happy with this setup.

Also, some SAN companies (for example netapp) make virtual appliances that can make a VM look like a SAN, I thin you can get them for free too... so you can set up an entire lab in VMware workstation.

AsherN
Premium
join:2010-08-23
Thornhill, ON
reply to batsona
I large HDD

i7 is way overkill, a decent i5 will fo.


Paulg
Displaced Yooper
Premium
join:2004-03-15
Neenah, WI
kudos:1
reply to batsona
I run probably 2 dozen ESXi boxes from USB/SD card installs and the performance is no different than running it from a drive.


exocet_cm
Free at last, free at last
Premium
join:2003-03-23
New Orleans, LA
kudos:3
reply to batsona
Click for full size
HP Proliant DL380
Two Intel X5355 CPUs @ 2.66 Ghz
Of the 8 hard drives, 4 are 10K SAS drives, 3 of them are in RAID5, one is a hot spare. The other four are 4 Western Digital Scorpio Blue 1TB in RAID10.
I store my OS's and I/O heavy VHDs on the 10K drives, storage VHDs go on the RAID10.

»www.ebay.com/sch/i.html?_trksid=···from=R40

Cost for everything:
HP DL380 - $221.02 (including shipping, CPUs, RAM, iLO, PSUs)
HP SAS drives - $329.46 (including shipping)
WD drives - $355.94 (including shipping)
$906.42

My setup includes two power supplies, ECC RAM, RAID, iLO remote config, etc.
--
"All newspaper editorial writers ever do is come down from the hills after the battle is over and shoot the wounded." - Bruce Anderson
"I have often regretted my speech, never my silence." - Xenocrates


aa2k

join:2000-10-06
Damascus, MD

1 edit
reply to batsona
Home setup: ESXi 5.1, basic but enough for testing and such... plenty of power for what is needed....

Dell Opitiplex 780 SFF with 16GB DDR3 memory
Intel Core 2 Duo 6400
DRIVES:
4GB HP flash drive - ESXI install and boot drive (plugged on the back)
Internal a 500GB Sata Drive - VM's only
External a 250GB Sata drive attached via a EZ-Dock (eSata) - VM's only
Added a 500GB partition from my LinuxMint server attached via NFS - ISO images for install, etc. and some VM's.
Total cost to put the system together.. around $200.00

I see no difference between when I had the Boot installation in the internal hard drive and now being on a flash drive.

Low power machine, small foot print and very very quiet.. cant even tell is there...


izy
Premium,MVM
join:2000-09-21
endless loop
kudos:2
reply to batsona
Click for full size
I started with a barebones Shuttle system. $239
»www.newegg.com/Product/Product.a···56101117

Added an i7-2600 Sandy Bridge. $315
»www.newegg.com/Product/Product.a···19115071

32GB G.Skill memory. $180
»www.newegg.com/Product/Product.a···20231556

AData 32GB SSD Drive. $40
»www.newegg.com/Product/Product.a···20211717

Total: $774

I basically setup 2 of these identical systems with a QNap NAS for iSCSI target(shared storage).

QNap TS-219PII. $290
»www.newegg.com/Product/Product.a···22107078

And 2x 3TB drives. $340
»www.newegg.com/Product/Product.a···22148901

Granted I bought the NAS and first host almost a year ago and recently added the 2nd host for the full HA solution so it did'nt hit my wallet all at once but now that I think about it...that's alot of money!
--
"Intellectuals solve problems, geniuses prevent them." Einstein

tomdlgns
Premium
join:2003-03-21
Chicago, IL
kudos:1
reply to batsona
where are you guys getting esxi for home use?


Badger3k
We Don't Need No Stinkin Badgers
Premium
join:2001-09-27
Franklin, OH
ESXi is free. It's only pay if you need clustering, HA, storage motion, vCenter, etc.
--
Team Discovery: Project Hope


izy
Premium,MVM
join:2000-09-21
endless loop
kudos:2
said by Badger3k:

ESXi is free. It's only pay if you need clustering, HA, storage motion, vCenter, etc.

And there is a 60 day trial for the full vSphere suite.

»www.vmware.com/products/datacent···res.html
--
"Intellectuals solve problems, geniuses prevent them." Einstein

tomdlgns
Premium
join:2003-03-21
Chicago, IL
kudos:1
reply to Badger3k
i knew that, but i thought they stopped it for some reason. i think i am going to look into the free program again.

tomdlgns
Premium
join:2003-03-21
Chicago, IL
kudos:1
reply to izy
said by izy:

said by Badger3k:

ESXi is free. It's only pay if you need clustering, HA, storage motion, vCenter, etc.

And there is a 60 day trial for the full vSphere suite.

»www.vmware.com/products/datacent···res.html

what are you going to do at the end of 60 days?

AsherN
Premium
join:2010-08-23
Thornhill, ON
said by tomdlgns:

said by izy:

said by Badger3k:

ESXi is free. It's only pay if you need clustering, HA, storage motion, vCenter, etc.

And there is a 60 day trial for the full vSphere suite.

»www.vmware.com/products/datacent···res.html

what are you going to do at the end of 60 days?

You get the key for the free edition. If you have only one host, other thsan the backup APIs, and some hardware limitations, there's no reason to pay

tomdlgns
Premium
join:2003-03-21
Chicago, IL
kudos:1
said by AsherN:

You get the key for the free edition. If you have only one host, other thsan the backup APIs, and some hardware limitations, there's no reason to pay

i was referring to the 60 day trial. it can't be free if there is a 60 day trial.

AsherN
Premium
join:2010-08-23
Thornhill, ON
said by tomdlgns:

said by AsherN:

You get the key for the free edition. If you have only one host, other thsan the backup APIs, and some hardware limitations, there's no reason to pay

i was referring to the 60 day trial. it can't be free if there is a 60 day trial.

When you install the software, it goes in trial mode, with all of the features. At the end of the trial, you need to install a license. One of the licenses is free.

Note that the actual hypervisor is not licensed, It's the vSphere software that is. The license opens up features. If you apply the free license, it imposes a few restrictions on the hypervisor. Most notables is that the host is limited to 32GB of physical RAM, and the backup APIs are disabled.

tomdlgns
Premium
join:2003-03-21
Chicago, IL
kudos:1
said by AsherN:

said by tomdlgns:

said by AsherN:

You get the key for the free edition. If you have only one host, other thsan the backup APIs, and some hardware limitations, there's no reason to pay

i was referring to the 60 day trial. it can't be free if there is a 60 day trial.

When you install the software, it goes in trial mode, with all of the features. At the end of the trial, you need to install a license. One of the licenses is free.

Note that the actual hypervisor is not licensed, It's the vSphere software that is. The license opens up features. If you apply the free license, it imposes a few restrictions on the hypervisor. Most notables is that the host is limited to 32GB of physical RAM, and the backup APIs are disabled.

ok, now i am confused.

esxi is free to use with limited features. i signed up for it and i got a license, i have yet to install it, but i plan on doing that soon. i assume that is free, limited, forever, correct?

assuming that is right, a link was posted for an additional package with a 60 day trial. that is what i was referring to (assuming i was right about esxi being free, forever).

the last thing i want to do is install esxi, with limited features, and have to figure something out at the 60 day mark.

thanks for the info, i just want to make sure i am understanding it correctly.

JoelC707
Premium
join:2002-07-09
Lanett, AL
kudos:5
At the end of those 60 days you either load in that free license you got when you signed up or you pay for one of the higher tier packages. You're free to install that free license as soon as you complete the ESXi install if you like, nothing says you have to wait the 60 days to install it unless you want to test out the full feature set.

tomdlgns
Premium
join:2003-03-21
Chicago, IL
kudos:1
said by JoelC707:

At the end of those 60 days you either load in that free license you got when you signed up or you pay for one of the higher tier packages. You're free to install that free license as soon as you complete the ESXi install if you like, nothing says you have to wait the 60 days to install it unless you want to test out the full feature set.

right.

but i was quoted regarding my question about vsphere 69 day trial, not esxi (the limited version that is free with the license).

AsherN
Premium
join:2010-08-23
Thornhill, ON
said by tomdlgns:

said by JoelC707:

At the end of those 60 days you either load in that free license you got when you signed up or you pay for one of the higher tier packages. You're free to install that free license as soon as you complete the ESXi install if you like, nothing says you have to wait the 60 days to install it unless you want to test out the full feature set.

right.

but i was quoted regarding my question about vsphere 69 day trial, not esxi (the limited version that is free with the license).

At the end of the trial, it needs to be licensed. Can be the free license.

tomdlgns
Premium
join:2003-03-21
Chicago, IL
kudos:1
got it, maybe i am still missing something. there is esxi and vsphere.

esxi- 60 days full features, after 60 days, type in free license, which gives you esxi limited, forever.

vsphere- additional options, good for 60 days...after that, you would pay for it if you want to continue using it.

correct?

AsherN
Premium
join:2010-08-23
Thornhill, ON
said by tomdlgns:

got it, maybe i am still missing something. there is esxi and vsphere.

esxi- 60 days full features, after 60 days, type in free license, which gives you esxi limited, forever.

vsphere- additional options, good for 60 days...after that, you would pay for it if you want to continue using it.

correct?

No. It's sometimes mind warping.

ESXi is the name of the hypervisor. It's what you load on the host. And from the host you can't really do anything with it.

From the host you can download a client used to control. That client is the basis for vSphere. If you don't license the client, all features are active for 60 days. Once you apply a license, the client only shows you the features enabled for that host. One of those licenses is free. It will not let you apply to a host that has more than 32GB RAM and 2 CPU.

tomdlgns
Premium
join:2003-03-21
Chicago, IL
kudos:1
ok, i get what you are saying, maybe i didnt explain/type it out properly.

the last explanation makes sense.

thanks.


aa2k

join:2000-10-06
Damascus, MD
Click for full size
Web GUI
You dont need to download the client separately if you dont want, once you install ESXi (vsphere), at the end of the installation you will presented with an ip address and some other options.
With that IP address open a browser from another computer, appoint it to the IP address and get to the We GUI interface, you can download the client directly from there (it will download directly from VMWare.com, this is just a quick link to it), and some other stuff... see attached.


DarkLogix
Texan and Proud
Premium
join:2008-10-23
Baytown, TX
kudos:3
I suggest saving the client exe to somewhere incase your internet isn't great and/or you have other computers to use to admin the host from.
--
»Death Star Petition

tomdlgns
Premium
join:2003-03-21
Chicago, IL
kudos:1
reply to aa2k
said by aa2k:

You dont need to download the client separately if you dont want, once you install ESXi (vsphere), at the end of the installation you will presented with an ip address and some other options.
With that IP address open a browser from another computer, appoint it to the IP address and get to the We GUI interface, you can download the client directly from there (it will download directly from VMWare.com, this is just a quick link to it), and some other stuff... see attached.

i have worked with vmware, but it was with a licensed copy that had everything. i just wanted to make sure i was understanding the trial stuff.

tomdlgns
Premium
join:2003-03-21
Chicago, IL
kudos:1
reply to DarkLogix
said by DarkLogix:

I suggest saving the client exe to somewhere incase your internet isn't great and/or you have other computers to use to admin the host from.

good advice. i always make a folder with sites, user names, part of the password, make notes if it is something i think i might forget, certain files, etc...

good to have in a jam.